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Like most industries, the moving business is saddled with its share of shady dealers. These hucksters do not in any way represent the moving industry as a whole and the honest merchants that are the backbone of the profession.
The most common moving scam is low balling the estimate in order to get business. These operators quote ridiculously low prices to get unsuspecting consumers to commit to their services. Once their belongings are packed and on the van the unscrupulous agents then use any number of price gouging techniques before they relinquish your furnishings.
It is hard to believe that moving companies can get away with behavior like that but the truth is that action against offending moving agencies move so slowly and are largely nothing more than slaps on the wrist. The reason that this is true is a long story that involves legislation that was enacted after the dissolution of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1995. At any rate, in a nutshell price deregulation has given the dishonest practitioner an upper hand.
These scam firms have no shame when it comes to betraying their customers. You can help protect yourself by documenting every interaction that you have with the service provider. Keep all the invoices, estimates, receipts and all paperwork relating to the move on hand and easily accessible, you may have to show them to a lawyer.
An Honorable Profession
The moving industry consists by and large of very well meaning, knowledgeable and professional members. Most provide more than adequate service and take pride in what they do. When picking a reputable moving representative do some background checks and follow your instincts.
Above all, research and common sense are your two most effective weapons in warding off moving scams. The vast majority of relocation projects are not nightmares, they are mostly very smooth operations that result in both parties being completely satisfied. If you have an unfortunate circumstance with an agent then fight it. Inform the Better Business Bureau of your experience. Hire a lawyer if you must. Most organizations roll over when they begin receiving correspondence written on the letterhead of a local law firm.