While the COVID-19 pandemic has made it seem like the world has slowed down, when it comes to the housing industry, the trend is quite the opposite. The residential real estate market is red hot, and that is especially the case with Phoenix’s suburbs. According to HireAHelper, Scottsdale is the No. 1 hotspot for moves in the country during the pandemic. Chandler is ranked No. 5.
COVID-19 has been a super busy time for moves. Muscular Moving Men & Storage has seen a 20 percent increase in the number of moves from July 2019 to July 2020. With more moves happening, more reputable movers are booked up and scammers will step in to pick up the extra business. Arizona is one of the least regulated states when it comes to the moving industry and it’s up to you to do the research that will lead to a legitimate mover.
Here’s what you need to know to prevent becoming a victim of a moving scam:
Know the real price of a low estimate
While it might be tempting to go with the lowball estimate, going with a higher priced mover might actually be cheaper in the long run. Arizona’s minimal moving industry regulations allow for anyone to grab a truck and call themselves a moving company. However, inexperienced movers and professional moving scammers have the potential to break your items, run on a slow schedule or even hold your items hostage for a fee.
To find a legitimate moving company, do your research. Read reviews, get multiple estimates and think about the services you’re actually buying. Does your mover use day laborers or employees? Are they insured? Do they do regular wellness checks on employees, especially during the pandemic? While it might be hard to pay a higher price tag, it’s worth saving the headache in the long run.
Requesting a large deposit up front
Most reputable movers do not require customers to pay up front. Rather, payment is taken at the time of delivery. While your mover may request a small deposit to hold the date of your move that can be applied to the total cost, if you pay in full at the start of the transaction, scammers will take that as an opportunity to not do the move at all. No matter what mover you go with, always use a credit card to make the purchase. This way, if there’s an issue with your move or the mover does not show, you can dispute the charge with your credit card company.
Holding your items hostage
Until 2017, it was perfectly legal for movers to charge higher-than-quoted prices after a move, effectively holding the customer’s items hostage until the price is paid. Arizona HB 2145 outlawed hostage moves, but that won’t always stop scammers from trying. Know your rights. If a mover is threatening to hold your items hostage in a payment dispute, contact the Arizona Attorney General’s office immediately.
Muscular Moving Men & Storage and M3 Commercial Moving & Logistics are North Phoenix-based sister moving companies obsessed with the customer experience. For more information and to book your move, visit www.muscularmovingmen.com and www.m3commercial.com.