Although the vast majority of removal companies are reliable and trustworthy, it is important to be aware and vigilant of moving scams. Most companies employ a professional team of staff, with some carrying out criminal record checks before employing them. This means most of the time you can have peace of mind. It is however, better to be safe than sorry. In this blog we look into removal company scams, and suggest ways on how to avoid them. We will also give great tips on how to spot an untrustworthy removals company, and how to tell if their reviews are ingenuine.
So the first question is, how do you spot a fraudulent removals company? We’ve put together a simple checklist to help you avoid moving scams:
Did you receive your quotes in a professional format? Were the emails sophisticated in appearance?
Did the emails contain contact numbers for the company?
Was your quote too cheap?
Thoroughly read through the company’s website
How long has the company been in business?
Does the company use agency or temporary staff?
Do they have a landline telephone number?
Can you visit the address/ their offices?
Get a home removals survey
Does the company offer removals insurance?
Do they have a policy for dispute resolution?
Did the surveyor leave a business card with relevant contact information?
There are a number of ways that a moving house scam can work, but the most common is theft. The removals company will simply turn up on your moving day, load in your items into their van, and drive off, stealing your belongings. Often they can ‘run out of space’ on their van, and offer to send another van round later. However, they will never be seen again.
Individual items can also go missing during your house move, either during the initial packing stage or whilst in transit.
In order to prevent being involved in a removal scam, be sure to follow our guide. You need to ensure that the company you hire is legitimate by physically checking contact numbers and emails by sending them messages and phoning them personally.
During the packing process, be sure to keep an eye on those that are packing your belongings. Although you may not be with them the whole time, by walking into the room from time to time you will most likely deter them. If you have written on the boxes yourself, try not to write the exact contents of the box on the outside. If your box contains expensive items, do not show this on the outside of the box.
Throughout the moving process, check to see that the tape has not been tampered with. An experienced thief will most likely attempt to reseal the box, so try using a coloured tape when sealing your boxes. A thief won't carry around a coloured tape, so this way you can see if the box has been resealed with clear or brown tape.
Most of the time, online reviews are trustworthy, but there are a few things to look out for if you are unsure. See our quick guide:
How many reviews has the company received? Select 10 reviews with a range of ratings, and assess which problems customers had.
How old are the reviews? If some reviews are slightly older, it shows that the company has been in the removals industry for a while. However it is also important to check that the company has newer reviews.
Is the company franchised? If you can, try and read reviews for your area only.
To conclude, it is really important to thoroughly check the legitimacy of your chosen removals company before booking with them. Follow our guide and you should be safe from moving scams and set for a smooth removal experience.