Everyone moves or will move at least once in their lifetime. Those who already moved, know how stressful and time consuming it can be. They also know a great deal about the process since they went through it one or more times. Those that are about to move want the same thing as anyone else and that is to find a reputable company at a decent price. Reliable Chicago movers will do the entire move for you and save you a lot of time and nerves. Experiences vary a lot from person to person, however. Many will tell you the company they hired performed a dream move. While others will say their move was an absolute nightmare. Unfortunately, the latter fell victim to rogue movers in Chicago. The moving business is always expanding and in order to thrive, some movers stoop to low levels and trick people with tempting offers.
No matter how small a move is, it can go very badly if you bump into a rogue mover. Choosing a reliable mover is done with good planning and attention to detail because of this. Moving day can be stressful enough without giving your money to the wrong people. It’s your responsibility to make sure the mover you hire is legitimate. You also don’t want your goods stolen by a shady company. Luckily, there are simple ways to determine reliable people from frauds. Some are more obvious than others such as unbelievably low prices or high claims. On the other hand, there are subtle methods rogues use to trick people, like false moving insurance and misleading contracts. But to better understand how to protect yourself from scams, you must know the different types of rogue movers.
Different types of rogue movers in Chicago
There are different ways a company might try to cheat you out of your money or items. Here are some of the most common moving scams:
- Ghost movers – This type of mover usually requests a large up-front payment for their services, but fail to show up when the time comes. This is the most common type of scam, so avoid companies that ask for big deposits in advance.
- “Furniture-nappers” – These movers will load your belongings into the truck and bill you the standard price. They will then lock up the items in the vehicle and basically hold your stuff for ransom. You must pay an additional fee for them to unload the truck.
- Sweet talkers – Movers like these have a tendency to trap you into signing a contract with them while successfully avoiding any talk of additional fees. They will either completely skip over the subject or assure you everything will be fine. Everything is not fine. You end up with a bill much higher than originally planned after the move is done.
- Item thieves – Surprising as it may sound, some movers resort to downright stealing your goods. The crew loads the items on the truck, and simply drives off and disappears. These types of movers often target clients who move valuable pieces like pool tables or fine art. They often change the company name and not label their vehicles, making them more difficult to track down.
- Insurance scammers – Another common method rogue movers in Chicago use to swindle people. You may be tricked into signing a limited liability moving insurance. This means you are responsible for any damage. With this, they will look for the easiest way to move, not the safest.
Recognizing these scammers is much easier than you think
Now that you know what kinds of methods rogues use to trick their clients, it’s time to get into detail. There are always red flags that can tell you if the company in question is worth your time and money. Your best defense is to recognize rogue movers in Chicago before they recognize you as a possible victim. Here are some of the red flags you should look out for:
Lack of licenses and contracts
If a company tries to rush the contract signing, it’s best to avoid them. Take your time, read the contract, and make sure everything is covered in detail. It should protect both yourself and the movers in question. Keep an eye out for any additional fees that may appear during the move, as well as the total estimate. All of this should be transparent and listed in the contract. Make sure to completely understand your estimate so you don’t end up scammed. If the company has no contract at all, don’t hire them. The same applies to licenses. All legal movers are required to have a serial number issued by the US Department of Transportation. Additionally, movers must provide the client with a booklet titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. This is a federal requirement and if they refuse to provide one, they most likely aren’t legitimate.
Incomplete estimates and questionable prices
Estimates done over the phone are not reliable. If the mover assures you they can give you an exact number via phone or email, just walk away. In-house estimates are the best method of getting a exact price. But don’t let them rush you through it. Don’t let the crew take a quick glance around without asking any questions and leave. A reliable company will ask what will be moved while taking a good look at everything. This helps them prepare, and give you a solid number price-wise. Speaking of prices, if they sound too good to be true, they probably aren’t. Movers are competitive, so compare a few companies before you make a decision. If a mover claims they can cut the standard price in half, don’t trust them. Chance are they will triple it later on, or worse.
Rogue movers in Chicago don’t always dress the part
Every company needs a name and a logo, it’s basic business. And if a company is proud of what it does, it will proudly display their brand. Except in the case of the rogue movers in Chicago, who probably aren’t proud of what they do, and try to cover their tracks. In most cases, shady movers will have uniforms without the company name or logo added to them. The same applies to vehicles. When the moving day arrives, a plain white truck will park in your driveway. Sometimes the trucks don’t even belong to the company but are rentals. All of this is done for one simple reason. Due to their dishonest methods, rogue movers often change the company name and logo, as well as location, in order to avoid detection and lawsuits.