Moving business is nothing if not about responsibility, accountability, and trust. You should know who is handling your things, who is responsible if anything goes wrong and that you are dealing with people which you can reasonably trust to do their job in good faith. The good news is that the majority of New Mexico moving companies have your best interest at heart. However, there are businesses that only seek to exploit you. You should, therefore, learn to protect yourself by recognizing fraudulent moving companies.
Lack of license
This one might be something of a no-brainer to anyone who ever moved, but for all the first-timers, here is a pro tip. Under no circumstances should you use a company that is not registered/licensed. This is is a very good way of losing money or possessions. Even if we are talking about local moving in Santa Fe (and especially if we are talking about something more complicated) you should not allow people who have no license to work for you… but why?
Well, a licensed company is the one that will take responsibility. There will be people that will claim that they have your best interest in a hearth. They might even appear generally friendly and good-hearted. However, do not be tricked by these kinds of approaches. If you are working with a company without a license, there is nobody to talk to if something goes wrong. There will be no complaint system, nowhere to leave the review for them, no association to protect your rights. Actually, rights like the 110% rule (movers cannot charge you more than 110% of the original estimate) will be gone. In addition, you are open to very dangerous things like extrusion (if they don’t want to give you your stuff until you pay a price that is suddenly way higher)
Furthermore, there is no insurance. None whatsoever. So even if they do have the best of intentions, if something breaks – it is not their responsibility. Nobody will reimburse you for the damage done. Therefore, we cannot make this more clear. Stay clear of non-licensed companies.
Recognizing fraudulent moving companies via reviews
Ok, so on to more insidious fraudulent moving companies… how do you know if a company that appears to be legitimate is actually a fraudulent moving company with a long list of questionable behaviors. Well, you go to Yelp, Google, or any other reviewing platform and check, of course.
However, while you are recognizing fraudulent moving companies, you also have to be adept at recognizing fake reviews. A company that is out there to trick you would not be above those methods. Therefore, let us look at the most common characteristics of the face reviews you can find online.
- Too short. “They were great – five stars” is not a review. It is a comment. Intentionally vague, short reviews that award the highest rating possible are not to be believed. Even if they are not malicious, they are not much help either.
- Too good to be true. When aiming at recognizing fraudulent moving companies be aware that they try to present themselves in the best possible light. However, they sometimes overdo it. You can clearly see when they do this. Reviews that are just way too good to be true are not to be trusted.
- Weird wording. Does the review sound just a little bit… off? It is possible that they are hiring foreign “farms” to do the reviewing for them or even bots. Do not fall for these tactics.
Do some research!
Your best tool against a malicious company is knowledge. After reading up on reviews, do further research. Go to their website. Check if their contact number is correct. Heck if their services, such as local and long-distance offerings, present a coherent structure.
Also be sure to specifically search for “is x company a fraud”. This method will produce the best results. If you find results, though, be sure to check them thoroughly. If it is the alone case, maybe it is just a mistake. If there is more, you should recognize the red flag.
If during your research, you call the company to inquire about their license and rates, additional services, storage services in Santa Fe, etc, they might seem dodgy. This is not a good sign. Actually, you should be recognizing fraudulent moving companies by this factor too – an unwillingness to be transparent and straightforward.
Questionable upfront payment requirements
You just received a moving estimate and it just seems… off? Maybe the price is too good to be true? But then when you wanted to make the deal, suddenly they require most of it upfront? Something is not right here.
No moving company will ask for the majority (or half, for example) of the money upfront. Be sure that you are aware of the industry etiquette and don’t be afraid to point things like this out.
Always read the contract carefully. It is not insulting to take time when signing a contract. It is actually a sign that you are doing serious business, which you are. On that point, never sign blank agreements. Sign only if you know all the provisions.
Be careful, but not paranoid
So, what did we learn when we sum it all up? Well, in short, recognizing fraudulent moving companies mainly consists of doing various forms of research on the company, while also having standards as to what kind of company you are dealing with. That is the general policy you should be guiding yourself with. However, we would also like to add this.
We have been thorough in this guide, but it is only for the purpose of making sure you have all the tips you need. This is not to say that you should be paranoid. Most moving companies are honest businesses, legal and licensed. You should be careful, but not paranoid when it comes to fraudulent moving companies. Just go over the steps we have snown and you will be just fine.