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Common Packing Scams

By Beth Drucker

Shipping your property from one home to another is an unavoidable expense. Unfortunately, some people are scammers and work as movers who specialize in scamming their customers, only exacerbating already expensive bills. Between 10% and 15% of all Americans move annually, and of them about 3,000 ? 4,000 file complaints about having been cheated by their movers.

The most obvious thing to watch out for is movers who have no consideration for your belongings. Some movers scuff the furniture either when loading it, in transit, or while unloading it. Then they'll claim that they have no responsibility in paying for the damage. Make sure to specify ahead of time that they will be held accountable for damaged or missing property.

Another thing to watch out for is movers lying about the weight of your belongings. They often base their prices off of the shipping weight, which is fine until someone takes advantage and adds his own weight to that of your table. And those individuals don't stop there?they'll add their weight to almost every item, adding thousands of dollars to your price. You have every right to watch as they weigh your belongings so they don't swindle you.

You'll want to be fairly certain about the price before the movers load your property onto their truck. Some movers have been known to refuse to unload the contents until after the owner pays the entire bill, no matter how ridiculously overpriced. Some such cases had to be resolved in court, which is yet another hassle to deal with. In fact, you'll want to be clear on the moving company's policy for determining the bill so you can avoid having them tell you one estimate and charge you twice as much. Some legitimate moving companies end up charging more than the estimate, but usually not more than an additional 10% of the cost.

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