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Don’t Get Strong-Armed in a Moving Scam

4292575518_3acd072df7The following Scam Alert is a guest post by Sid Kirchheimer:

Summer is peak moving season, with an estimated two-thirds of all moves occurring between now through the end of August. It’s also prime time for moving scams – and “strong-arming” involves more than a carrier’s biceps.

Many of the 9,300 complaints filed against moving companies last year  with the Better Business Bureau were for alleged sloppy service Рlost or broken merchandise, late deliveries and the like. But add to that flat-out scams and extortion: Bait-and-switch pricing, like when an initial low-ball estimate is grossly inflated after the truck is loaded. Your possessions may be taken hostage until you agree to pay the extra amount.

Generally, you can’t be charged more than the mover’s regulated rates and charges, which you have a right to see, notes Consumer Reports. But movers may be allowed to charge you more than the estimate – typically about 10 percent more. You can avoid this by asking for a “binding estimate” that will give you a fixed price but is generally ¬†higher than the more common “nonbinding estimate” based on predicted weight, volume or moving time.

Here are some ways to help assure a trouble-free move:

Also consider this must-have paperwork: