When moving internationally, the steps you should take are similar to moving domestically: find a moving company, pack your belongings and move. But, just as you should be wary of local moving scams, you should familiarize yourself with international moving scams. Here a few common moving scams and how you can avoid them during your international move.
#1. Low-balling quotes
When gathering moving quotes, you might be enticed by a low price and hire that particular moving company only to find out that the initial low price they promised quickly skyrockets because of hidden fees that were never mentioned in the contract. When you see the inflated bill you're shocked and you refuse to pay. At that point, the mover holds your items hostage until they are paid the new, inflated amount.
Rogue movers will often use this tactic to draw in customers, but how do you avoid it? The best way to avoid having the movers hold your items hostage over a disputed bill is to always be skeptical of any company offering a lower-than-normal quote. When shopping for moving quotes it's always a smart idea to gather quotes from multiple companies. Reputable companies should offer an in-home estimate (which will provide you with the most accurate quote) and answer any questions you have about the pricing.
#2. Shady brokers
As a customer you may decide that you'd like to hire a broker to handle your move for you. After an online search, you find a moving broker website that promises low rates for a fee or deposit. After the deposit is paid, the broker is nowhere to be found and never heard from again. Another outcome could be that no one shows up to move your items or even worse, your items are never delivered to the destination. Not only have you been scammed out of money but your belongings could have been stolen as well.
Reputable moving companies should not ask for a deposit or any cash up front. If a company asks for deposits or fees while you're shopping for moving quotes, be wary. An easy way to check if a moving company is reputable is to do a mini-background check on that company.
International moving companies with these affiliations and memberships can likely be trusted:
- Membership in the FIDI, the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux, a global federation of international removers
- Registered International Mover Certification (RIM), which is provided through the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)
- Overseas Movers Network International (OMNI)
- Registered as an ISO 9002 certified company to ensure high-quality practices and performance
- Licensed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
- Positive ratings and reviews with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
#3 Your items weigh more upon arrival
When speaking with a salesperson to gather quotes or information, the salesperson asks for the customer's budget and the volume of their goods. The salesperson will quote a price in the customer's desired price range to confirm the job. Once their belongings are delivered the moving company claims the shipment weighed more than originally estimated and will now cost more.
To avoid this happening to you, be wary of any companies that don't provide an in-house estimate and don't tell the company your desired budget. An in-house estimate is essential to receiving an accurate estimate. How else will a company have a true idea of how large your items are and how will they know what equipment to bring with them?
Contact International Sea and Air Shipping today to discuss your international moving plans. International Sea and Air Shipping can handle your move from start to finish and make it a stress-free experience!