The Better Business Bureau says people are reporting losing $ 730,000 on transfer scams in 2021. This is a 216% increase in cash losses compared to 2020.
BOISE, Idaho – With the month of May being known as one of the busiest moving times of the year, it is celebrated as National Moving Month. To help people and their finances be safe, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people of on the rise of scams.
BBB Communications Manager Rebecca Barr said nearly 1,100 complaints were filed by the BBB against relocating companies around the U.S. in 2021. Barr added people reported that more than $ 730,000 was lost on relocation. of BBB Scam Tracker scams. This is a 216% increase in cash losses compared to 2020.
Stefanie Salem of Boise was one of those contacted by the BBB to share what she called, “a moving nightmare.”
“It changed my perspective on how companies operate,” Salem said. “I mean, I always see the best in people but the operating company definitely knows what they’re doing.”
Salem said the pandemic changed his entire life. He started working from home and thought he could do that anywhere. With that he and his family moved from Orange County, Calif., To Boise in March 2021.
However, the road to Idaho was not easy.
Salem said he has moved several times in his life, but this is the first time he has moved out of state. He hired a moving salesman, something he had never done before, who helped arrange to carry his belongings.
“The guy I was talking to was like a kind grandfather and like the most trustworthy man ever,” Salem said.
That was his first mistake.
“Everything he told me was a lie,” Salem said.
He said the moving company, which he never knew about before the day of the move, later showed up and drove a truck that was very small.
“I have to get out of my house [that day]”said Salem.” I have to give my bed, my dining table, like my new swivel chair, all these things that don’t fit in the truck to my neighbors. “
Salem was told that the mobilizers would help store all of his belongings and bring all the boxes to help with the movement. He said they didn’t bring enough boxes and they had to buy more – something Salem said he had to pay for.
The price of the move only continued to increase that day. Salem said the movers also changed the price they had agreed upon, which was $ 5,000, to $ 11,500 because of the amount he had.
“They doubled the price,” Salem said.
His nightmare moving story doesn’t end there. After Salem was told his belongings would be in Boise for five days, activists held his belongings for 30 days. They told him because they were waiting for several trucks to go in the direction of Boise.
“This part is very sad because no one can tell me where my things are,” Salem said.
When his belongings were finally returned, he opened the boxes and saw furniture, artwork and other items destroyed. Salem knows that his things are not entirely as secure as he was originally told. It’s only guaranteed to be 60 cents a pound.
“It’s a nightmare. It’s a general nightmare from A to Z,” Salem said.
He said he should have read the good print of the contract and met and talked with the activists before.
“The only reason I’m going back to it is to help someone who’s doing the same thing because it’s something that can be prevented,” Salem said.
Barr said Salem’s story was like bad business and a scam.
“The best thing you can do is do your research in advance and make sure you’re dealing with a reputable operating firm or broker and start from there getting a quote,” Barr said.
Barr said the BBB has many things to watch out for when looking for, or working with, a company that operates. They say there are red flags, such as if the company does not have accessible contact information or has appropriate policies to protect a consumer’s goods. They also recommend being wary of any strange requests such as a large fee or a full refund up front.
“If an individual’s assets are held hostage for additional payment that was not agreed upon when the contract was signed, contact the BBB or local law enforcement for assistance,” the BBB said in a news release.
Barr said people looking to move are also not afraid to ask and write everything down. He added that people want them to read carefully the terms and conditions of the contract, the limits of liability and the disclaimers.
For a list of BBB accredited companies operating in Treasure Valley, click HERE.
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