Moving can be very stressful, and getting stuck with the wrong mover can turn things into an impossible situation. You’ve paid someone you believed to be a professional to handle your personal belongings with care, only to find out they’ve been delivered damaged, or worse – not delivered at all, being held hostage for more money. These, sadly, are real scenarios faced by local residents in Toronto and the GTA who have fallen prey to the wrong movers. If this has happened to you, you should know that you do have places to turn. For years, incidents such as this were treated as “Buyer Beware”, with very little legal recourse available. But more recently, the government and police have been taking notice, with scams like this being treated much more seriously and charges being laid. Last year, a large police operation under the name “Project Haul” took down several shady moving companies, with charges laid ranging from Fraud to Possession of Property obtained by crime.
However, these charges only happen AFTER a person has had to endure the stress of their treasured belongings – sometimes even family heirlooms – being damaged, stolen, and held for ransom. And even when police become involved, sometimes it is too late to recover your items. There is enough stress involved with moving, your moving company should be there to assist and make things easier. So, as the old saying goes; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Even though there are now laws in place to help in the event that something like this happens, it would be best to avoid the situation in the first place. There are ways to screen potential movers to ensure they are on the up-and-up.
1. Contact and consider multiple movers.
Don’t just go with the first one you see or the one with the nicest website. Although it is important to see that a company invests in itself, it is not the be-all and end-all of a good mover. Some places set up multiple websites and take them down the next week, using different names every time. Google the phone number to see if it comes up under many different company names. There could be complaints linked to the phone number that aren’t connected to the company name.
2. Ensure they are insured.
Legitimate movers will carry insurance that will protect themselves and you. It is a big warning sign if a company has not bothered to get insurance. That is step one for any business that wants to be responsible in business.
3. Check to see that they have a physical location.
An established, serious business that has a physical location is not going to disappear overnight. Also, if a mover is going to be storing any of your items for you, you will want to know where they will be stored.
4. Get references.
Reviews are great, but if those reviews are only appearing on their own website, they could be from anywhere. The best place to check reviews is Homestars, as they carefully screen reviews to make sure they are from real customers. Google reviews can be fake. The more places you can see reviews, the better. They should go back over the course of time, and not all be in a short time span. Ask the mover if you can contact previous customers to hear, in person, how their experience was.
5. Read up on your rights.
A good place to read up on your rights if you live in Ontario is the Ontario website. To read more, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/hiring-mover
Your mover should be open to discussing any concerns you might have, and not just dismiss your concerns. We know that moving is a major stress in a person’s life, and with Augusta Movers, you will have a guiding partner that can help make the entire process easier.