How to Avoid Mover Scams and Get Into Your New Home Safely

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One of the less enjoyable parts of buying a new Waterloo Region home for many is the actual moving day. Moving days tend to be exciting, but fraught with delays, worry and lengthy periods of time without access to food, drink and even a minute to relax.

Lots of people work with a mover to take as much of the stress and worry out of the process as possible. And indeed it does. But did you know that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services receives hundreds of complaints every year from Ontarians about moving company scams, fraud and deceptive practices? And it’s likely many more don’t get reported.

How can you avoid becoming one of these less than satisfied customers? Here are some tips.

Get Everything In Writing

It might be tempting to get a quick quote and schedule your move over the phone or online because you are so busy with your moving plans. Don’t do it. This is one of the easiest ways to get scammed.

Since you have nothing in writing, the movers can easily charge whatever they want once they begin, and they may hold your belongings hostage until you pay an outrageous amount. Always schedule an in-house walk-through to get an accurate quote, and get the agreed-to amount in writing.

Read Everything – Especially the Fine Print

When you sign a contract with a mover, read ALL the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms of payment before you sign and ask questions as much as you need to before doing so. Unscrupulous movers may include terms that allow them to hijack your belongings after demanding more money. If you’ve signed anything that allows for these practices, the police will be unable to intervene.

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Do your Homework

Before you agree to work with a mover, research their reputation. Contact the Better Business Bureau to check the company’s rating. Ask for recommendations from friends. Ask your Realtor who they would recommend. Read online reviews. Ask movers for proof of registration, proof of insurance and an office address. Take the time to vet the mover, so you know you are working with someone you can trust.

Do Some Work Yourself

Even when they have done all their homework, some people are still concerned about letting practically everything they own in terms of household goods head off on the road ahead of them and out of their control.

If that is a concern for you try a hybrid move instead. Consider renting and driving a moving truck yourself, and hiring movers for loading and unloading only. This will keep your possessions under your control to prevent hijacking scams while still giving you an expert hand in moving difficult and bulky items, something that is not easy if you don’t have the right tools and experience. A hybrid move like this can also reduce the cost of the move, another plus.

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