Underscoring the fact that moving scams are as strong as ever, real estate expert and TV journalist Barbara Corchran talked on NBC about the various types of moving scams that are prevalent today, in the United States.

In her interview, Barbara cataloged the various types of moving scams. The first, she called “the hostage.” The main feature of the hostage, is that the moving company will give a low moving cost estimate and then after the customer’s goods are loaded on the truck, they will find pretenses to raise the move cost, and the customer has to agree to pay the increased fee or they won’t release his goods.

Babara called another type of scam “the bait and switch.” In the bait and switch the company offers one deal, but after the goods are loaded in the truck they switch to something entirely different. For example, they offer to make the move estimate in pounds, and then , on moving day switch to cubic feet.

Barbara explained how companies can raise the price, even after they have given a guaranteed estimate in weight. On moving day, she said, they will claim that the cubic feet of the load exceeded the expected amount based on the weight estimate. The language sounds so official that customers go along with it.

A third type of scam is the late delivery scam. In this scam, the moving company will promise delivery on a specific date, only to deliver the goods weeks later. In between time, the customer’s possessions will be either riding in a truck with someone else’s goods, which will delivered first, or the substandard truck will impounded by the police; and, the customer’s goods will be in storage while the company tries to get the truck back on the road.

Barbara had some valuable suggestions for how consumers can avoid falling into a scam. She noted that people should not give a deposit to moving companies. The furniture is the deposit,she said, and reputable companies do not ask for a deposit ahead of time. She also cautioned against signing any paper with blanks in it. Disreputable moving scam companies will readily fill in the blanks with additional stipulations or charges that will dramatically up the move cost.

Barbara advised people to closely examine the moving truck on moving day. If it is not a company truck with a company logo, one should be suspicious. If the truck is dirty and broken down you should be more than suspicious, because the company is liable to treat your goods the same way they treat their truck.

Regarding online moving brokers that will make a moving deal only to subcontract it to another company, Barbara warned consumers to Google each company and make sure the address they give on their web site is a real place and not a made up front address.

Barbara closed with two more suggestions. Do not sign a contract that is one page or less, that is too small to contain all the pertinent details. And if you must make a deposit, do not pay in cash. With a cash payment, there is no proof that a payment was made, So if the company disappears, or fails to come through on their promises, you will have no recourse, in a court of law.

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