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Moving Scams and News

Scammers can turn moving into a nightmare

Consumers need to look out for red flags to avoid becoming a scam victim

Moving can be a highly stressful activity under the best of circumstances. Picking the right moving company can help, but picking the wrong one can turn the experience into a nightmare.

The month of May marks the beginning of the busiest time in the U.S. for moving -- so much so that the month was designated National Moving Month in 1997. 

With so many people searching for a company to move them across town or across the country, it’s little wonder that some people end up...

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    The financial advantages of moving during winter

    Consumers can find attractive deals and discounts during the colder, off-peak months

    While spring and summer are typically regarded as prime seasons for moving, relocating during winter has benefits for those on a tight budget.

    Since moving during winter isn’t a popular idea, buyers (and renters) can enjoy less market competition and seasonal price drops across many areas pertaining to moving. 

    "Moving during certain times of the year can result in significant savings, and the winter is one of those times," Mike Keaton, senior director of communications for the American Moving & Storage Association, tells ConsumerAffairs. 

    "Most moves happen during the late spring and summer months, so moving companies have greater capacity and more flexibility on moving dates during the off-season. They’re often able to offer bigger discounts during these times when they’re less busy." 

    Financial breaks

    Although you might have to bundle up on moving day, moving during cold weather has its advantages -- namely, lower moving costs.

    Due to decreased demand, most moving companies tend to charge less in late fall and winter. Companies often lower their rates by as much as 30 percent compared to the peak summer months, according to moving industry consultant Vasilka Atanasova.

    “We do generally see slower rent growth and often even a seasonal price drop in the winter months. This year, our national rent index has fallen by 0.1 percent in each of the past three months, and rents have decreased over the past month in 66 of the nation's 100 largest cities,” Sydney Bennet, senior research associate at ApartmentList.com, told ConsumerAffairs.

    She says that’s a big change from the spring and summer months, noting that those seasons are “the busiest time of the year for renters to move.”

    In the winter, consumers are also more likely to encounter motivated sellers who are willing to negotiate on various aspects of a move, such as selling price and even what household appliances and items are included in the sale.

    For those who plan to rent a new home or apartment, moving during winter may also pay off in the form of lease specials. For example, some property management companies may lower the rent or offer a month or two of free rent in an effort to fill vacancies. Many of these deals tend to pop up in February and March, since they are slower months for the rental industry.

    Top cities for job seekers

    Between saving for a downpayment and footing the bill for moving costs, leaving one residence for another can be an expensive endeavor.

    To help offset the cost of moving, it can be beneficial to consider putting down roots in a city with a strong job market and/or relatively high average annual salary. A batch of recent studies highlight a few cities that have been ranked highly by young job seekers.

    • Austin, Texas. Millennials have been flocking to Austin for years, perhaps due to the city’s booming job market. A recent study by LinkedIn showed there are 23,000+ jobs in Austin. The most popular industries include IT and Services, Computer Software, and Internet.

    • Richmond, Va. Richmond constantly ranks on the US News & World Report list of the Best Places to Live. Millennials tend to thrive in this city thanks to affordable housing costs and a strong job market (just 4 percent unemployment for their age group).

    • Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Recent data shows there are 21,000+ jobs available in the Raleigh-Durham area. Raleigh also boasts strong job growth and a high quality of life, making it an ideal place for millennials to call home.

    • Nashville, Tenn. In a recent study, Nashville ranked as the best place for millennial job seekers in the state of Tennessee. The city is rife with job opportunities and has a median annual salary of $40,353.

    • Miami, Fla. Miami took the top spot on Indeed.com’s 2017 list of best cities for job-seekers. The career site evaluated 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. and found Miami scored high across four different metrics: work/life balance, salary compared to cost of living, job postings (weighted to interest), and job security/advancement.

    While spring and summer are typically regarded as prime seasons for moving, relocating during winter has benefits for those on a tight budget.Since mov...
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    'Rogue' Movers Make Moving A Nightmare

    Here are some tips for avoiding these scammers

    Moving is a stressful experience, made even worse when things go horribly wrong. While a good moving company can ease the pain, "rogue" movers who are out to scam you will turn your move into a nightmare.

    "It started when we were quoted one price, then once the company started loading our things, the price doubled," Maurice, of Jackson, Tenn., told ConsumerAffairs.com.

    Bait and switch

    The bait and switch is probably the most common tactic of a rogue mover. The consumer is given a very low quote, in order to get the business. But once everything is on the truck, suddenly, things change.

    "I got an estimate for an interstate move to Georgia of $989, plus a 10 percent discount and a $50 coupon reduction, for a total of $841," Eugenio, of Clarkston, Ga., told ConsumerAffairs.com.

    But when the movers arrived, it turned out that estimate was a bit on the low site.

    "When they loaded the truck, they gave us papers to sign and demanded $4,000," he said.

    Lee, of Logansport, Ind., suspects his movers were "rogues," because some of his boxes turned up missing.

    Guess which boxes were missing?

    "Even worse than that was the boxes housed all of my gaming consoles, blue ray, PC, and a complete history of my personal, educational and business life," Lee said.

    Rogue movers aren't always easy to spot, but there are tell-tale signs you should look for. For example, they often give low-ball estimates over the phone or Internet without ever visiting your home or seeing the items you want to move.

    Once your household goods are on their truck, they demand more money before they will deliver or unload them. The consumers' belongings are held hostage and many have been forced to pay more than the initial estimate they agreed too in order to get their goods back.

    Red flags

    Here are some other  "red flags" to look for:

    • The moving company's only form of acceptable payment is cash or a large deposit before the move.
    • The company's Web site has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.
    • The company claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
    • The mover does not provide you with a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a booklet movers are required by Federal regulations to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.
    • Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
    • On moving day a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.

    To expose a rouge mover before you become a victim, make sure you get a cost estimate in writing, and insist on a walk-through of your dwelling.

    Don't select a mover based on price alone. In many cases, you get what you pay for. If you have a bad feeling about your mover's tactics or charges, stop the move before your household goods are loaded on the truck.

    If you select a 'rogue' mover, your move is likely to be very unpleasant....
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