One of the most stressful times in your life can be moving home. The whole experience can be quite traumatic, not to mention expensive, so it’s important to ensure you don’t get ripped off by the removalist company in the process.
The department of Fair Trading receives thousands of complaints a year, many about removalist companies that have ripped off their customers, mostly to do with lost or damaged property, overcharging or hidden costs and in some case theft or holding customers to ransom, while demanding more money before releasing their home contents.
Don’t let this happen to you…
On a recent move from our family home of 19 years, I was fairly out of touch with the modern landscape of removalist scams and just thought I would choose the guys I had seen in my local area for years, thinking that they were probably a reliable bunch to work with.
I like most people moving home, was decently stressed trying to organise the electricity account switch over from the old home to the new one, cancelling and redirecting mail, notifying a large list of companies of our address change, putting an ad in the local paper for our garage sale, getting rid of junk we didn’t want to take with us, cleaning out the yard and house for the new owners and the list goes on and on and on…
Amidst all the confusion and hassle, I apparently didn’t read the contract too well for the removalist company we decided to use, and was about to find out that I should have paid closer attention to the fine print.
On the day of the move, we had booked one large van and 3 workman to handle the task of moving a family of six and our dog. Well, they turned up with two vans and 6 men and offered to bring them on to our job and get it over faster.
This seemed like a great deal, us out and in at double speed. So I agreed and off they went to do their stuff, while I and my wife relaxed, (sort of) and watched them handle the heavy lifting. All the while believing that doubling the men and vans would halve the time and keep the cost the same.
After everything was done and we were in our new home, they hit us with a cash demand $1,000 over what they had quoted. I thought there must be some mistake, but no, there it was in the fine print, if an extra truck is required for the removal, an additional fee will be charged.
They Stung Me For An Extra $1,000!
Ouch, as if the whole moving experience was not expensive enough, I had to fork out a total of $4,500 which was a thousand dollars more than our moving budget had allowed for.
So before you go ahead and sign up with a removalist company that might just take more than just your home contents for a ride, I have assembled a list of potential pitfalls and possible scams you need to know about, especially considering it could save you thousands of dollars.
Questions To Ask The Removalist Company:
- How long will the move take?
- Do they charge an hourly rate or a flat rate?
- Are there any additional costs that need to be considered?
- If there are delays with the move, will there be a storage charge?
- Do they accept payment by cheque or credit card?
- What amount of money is required for a deposit?
In their written quote they need to outline the “tariff” items that determine maximum cost for additional items such as property access, stairs and abnormally large items that might require additional manpower to move.
Movers that insist on cash only payments should be avoided, as you will have better protection legally if you have proof of your monies transferred to their company, in the event of something going wrong.
Removalists that demand an overly large deposit of more than 20% should be avoided, as getting your money back when they don’t turn up on the right day and mess up your move, could be quite difficult.
Good Advice: Make sure to choose a removalist who is a member of the (AFRA) Australian Furniture Removers Association. By doing so you will be ensuring that you have chosen a professional organisation that will take good care of not only your beloved family possessions but look after your finances in the process.
Screen Potential Removalist Companies with the following:
A. Do A Google Search For – Removal Company Name + Complaint: If anyone has had a bad experience with the company, then it should show up on one of the many review type websites. If a company has a poor reputation and many bad reviews, then this is a red flag.
B. Get Written Estimates: no reputable removal company will give you a firm estimate over the phone or via the Internet, sight unseen. Getting an in home inspection of your complete list of furnishings and household goods, is the only way to accurately assess the situation. Avoid companies that refuse to come to you first before they quote or estimate the total cost of the move.
C. Compare Estimates Side By Side: If one company is significantly cheaper that the others, the be warned, this is more than likely someone trying to hide the extra costs that they will spring on you once you are committed and standing on the driveway of your new home and them demanding a higher fee. Use our handy Quote Comparison form by clicking here.
D. Confirm Insurance: Find out what is covered by the removalist company’s insurance. Make sure they have insurance, which they must by law and insist upon full disclosure of the fine print details. Don’t just think that their insurance will cover everything, only to find out that after them damaging your lovely flat screen TV, that “we’re sorry, insurance doesn’t cover electronic goods”.
E. Confirm Subcontractor Or Not: Ask if the company will be handling the move directly or will be handing this job off to a subcontractor. Confirm that the moving staff are full time employees or just temporary staff. You want to be dealing with professionals, not your average handyman types, who may lack experience and damage your goods or property.
Download Our – Estimates Comparison Form
To make it easy to compare removalist companies side-by-side please download and print the Estimates Comparison Form to easily compare up to 5 removalist companies, so you can find the clear winner, when all factors are considered.
Click here, to download the form.