March 23,

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Lowball Estimate From Movers: How to Avoid Moving Scams

Lowball Estimate From Movers Making recognizing and avoiding moving scams a top priority when planning a move will ensure a smooth transition. Fortunately, rogue movers often exhibit several red flags, including the notorious lowball estimate. Identifying this red flag is the key to protecting yourself from the heartache, hassle, and extreme inconvenience associated with falling victim to a moving scam.

So, what exactly constitutes a lowball estimate from movers? A lowball estimate is a moving quote offered by a moving company that is unrealistically low. Regrettably, customers often accept these seemingly affordable (yet too-good-to-be-true) quotes and unknowingly proceed to hire the mover. Although the mover initially provides a cheap quote for the move, the end cost is likely to be double or triple the original estimate.

How do I spot lowball estimates from movers?

1.  The moving company doesn’t actually look at your belongings

  • If the movers did not come to your house to personally inspect all your household belongings, or if they did not request to assess your items via video or photos, you might be dealing with a rogue mover and a lowball estimate. It is important to note that any estimates provided over the phone or online are typically inaccurate. How can a moving company give you an accurate estimate when they have not seen your belongings in person? In addition to evaluating the quantity and weight of your possessions, professional movers will likely inquire about stairs, elevators, parking regulations, and other factors that may impact the final estimate.

2. They leave out fees and other costs

  • If you received a moving quote that conveniently omitted all the additional fees, it could indicate a lowball estimate. A reputable moving company will undoubtedly include the necessary add-ons, services, and prices in their moving estimate. This encompasses charges for gas and transportation, labor expenses, packing and unpacking services, additional insurance, accessorial services, storage services, and packing materials such as mattress bags and boxes. If your move necessitates any of these services, the estimated cost should be clearly stated in your moving quote.

3. The estimate is “non-binding”

  • If the mover provided you with a “non-binding” estimate, running away from this lowball quote is advisable without delay. A non-binding estimate implies that the quote is not fixed and is likely to change, specifically increase, based on the actual weight of your belongings. The mover probably offers you a deceptively low non-binding quote only to surprise you at the end with a final bill that surpasses the original estimate by a significant margin. To safeguard yourself from rogue movers, we strongly recommend accepting either a binding estimate or a binding not-to-exceed estimate. This way, you will clearly understand the maximum amount you have to pay and can plan your budget accordingly. Both types of estimates guarantee that even if the weight of your belongings exceeds the initial estimate, you will not be charged anything extra. In the case of a binding not-to-exceed estimate, you may even end up paying less than the original quote if the actual weight of your shipment is lower than the initial estimate.

What do I do if the mover gives me a lowball estimate?

  • To ensure an accurate estimate, obtaining quotes from other movers is advised. If a quote was given over the phone in a matter of minutes or if the estimate appears too good to be true, it is recommended to seek alternatives for a mover. You can clearly understand your move’s actual cost by obtaining quotes from at least three different moving companies.
  • Ensure that you research and evaluate all the moving companies you are considering.  Check moving company reviews,  details about the moving company’s U.S. DOT number, specific moving services offered, fleet size, Better Business Bureau rating, any official complaints filed with the FMCSA, and any affiliation with the American Moving & Storage Association.
  • When a mover presents you with what you suspect to be a lowball estimate, it is crucial to ask many questions. Here are some essential questions to consider:
  1. Does this estimate encompass all additional services, add-ons, and transportation fees?
  2. Do you provide binding not-to-exceed moving estimates?
  3. Can I obtain customer references for verification? If the mover’s responses fail to meet your expectations, it is advisable to find another mover.

What other red flags should I look out for?

When hiring a moving company, it is important to be aware of various red flags in addition to lowball estimates. Keep an eye out for the following common red flags:

  • The moving company needs proper licensing and insurance. 
  • The mover insists on upfront payment. 
  • The moving company needs to exhibit more professional behavior, such as requiring a business address, online presence, business moving company truck, or business cards. 
  • They may arrive late to your home and display rude behavior. 
  • The moving contract, specifically the bill of lading, appears unofficial. 
  • The mover needs to provide written documentation. 
  • The mover has unfavorable or nonexistent reviews. 
  • They may have a history of customer complaints. 
  • To check a mover’s complaint history, visit the Better Business Bureau or look up their U.S. DOT number with the FMCSA. 
  • The contract does not offer the option to choose valuation coverage.

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