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How to Avoid Moving Company Scams – Definitive Guide

How to Avoid Moving Company Scams – Definitive Guide

Moving is a time when there’s a lot to take in, consider, and decide on. A lot of decisions come under both financial and time pressure. Some of these decisions can potentially cause you a lot of problems if not chosen well – and the choice of moving company is top of the list. From high fees or slow/ low skilled movers to even the loss of your property through theft or damage, it’s the most important decision of your move, except the new home itself. If you are using the best Sutherland or Baulkham Hills removals company this problem may solve itself, but in the meantime, here’s how you can avoid the scams out there. 

Here are 8 Red Flags to look out for in order to avoid moving company scams. 

1. If you can’t find their company info

Most Manly or Bondi removals companies that are legitimate will have details readily available online, such as their ABN or their license details. 

2. They only quote/ estimate on the phone

If they refuse to take the trip to your home to assess how much stuff you are moving in order to give you their estimate, this is a giant red flag. Pandemic aside, not only will this not give you an accurate estimate, but what often happens is that they ask you to pay a deposit and then if you do, they tend to vanish. 

3. They request a large down payment/ deposit

5%-10% deposit of payment is relatively common, but some of the scam companies ask for large or excessive deposits up front and can often vanish from here.

4. The estimate looks drastically different

If you’re one of those who gets multiple quotes, you will start to see a general pattern emerging on prices, which tend to fall into a similar range. If you find one quote, especially over the phone, undercuts these quotes considerably, there’s a good chance it’s dodgy. Also be cautious of companies who don’t want to put their quotes in writing. 

5. The company doesn’t tell you your rights and responsibilities

If the company is licensed, they should talk to you about your rights, and the legalities of removals. If they do not even mention this to you, take it as a big red flag. 

6. The company’s name has changed multiple times, or the company hasn’t got a long history of operations

Of course, these are not always red flags. But if a company has existed for 10 years and had 5 different names, it’s unlikely to be a marketing thing. It generally implies they’ve had run-ins with clients, reviews, or frequent changes of management. Best advice is to stay away from this. 

If the company has not got a long history, it doesn’t automatically mean that they aren’t legitimate. But it is much harder to tell, and if you’re at all unsure or if there’s this red flag combined with 1 or 2 of the others, avoid. 

7. They insist the quote is fixed

Generally speaking, quotes should be subject to change – especially if you have more weight or items to move than originally quoted on. Set in stones quotes are often seen as a way to get business. 

8. The insurance supposedly covers everything, if they have it at all

Most insurance covers a lot of things, but not absolutely everything. If they say that it does, then they are lying. If they don’t have insurance at all, well, run. 

So those are the red flags, and here are 10 tips from how to protect yourself. Please also see our long distance moving tips article which also covers some of these: 

  1. Pay with a card/ electronic method
  2. Confirm ABN, licensing, insurances etc. 
  3. Read all the terms and conditions thoroughly
  4. Keep a written inventory of all your things
  5. Always ask questions if you’re unsure. 
  6. Research thoroughly online – reviews, scam pages, news reports if needed. 
  7. Don’t sign a partially filled out or blank contract. 
  8. Don’t allow them to load your things into an unmarked, or rental truck. 
  9. Plan as far in advance as you can, so you eliminate time pressures. 
  10. Ask your real estate agency for a recommendation. 

Bearing all this in mind, we are sure you will avoid any scams! Happy, safe moving.

Bill Chen

Meet The Author - Bill Chen

Before 2008, Bill was working with a local removalist company in Sydney and was witness for a number of deformities and wrongs in the working of the company. Observing the atmosphere, a thought came to Bill’s mind that he could do much better if he were the owner of the company, by offering a fully transparent service to the clients with a friendly and trustworthy staff and no hidden fee structure; and thus, in 2008, AAA Bill Removalists Sydney was formed with just one truck and only Bill as staff. Even if Bill Chen began the company as just one man, the company grew fast. The operation expanded beyond the Sydney suburbs and to the surrounding cities: Wollongong, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Coffs Harbour, Canberra, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane, and other.

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