Public Safety

Moving company scams reported in Cedar Rapids

Companies give low estimate, then jack up cost later

A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)
A Cedar Rapids police car. (Gazette file photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids Police Department said it has taken three reports recently concerning moving company scams.

In those cases, police said the victims were given an estimated moving cost and made a down payment, but were later told the actual cost would be several times higher than the original estimate.

Most moving companies are legitimate businesses that do quality work, the police department said. However, there have been a number of complaints filed nationwide against interstate movers and their fraudulent practices, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Moving company scams often begin with a low estimate provided to the customer over the telephone or internet, police said. Then, once a person’s items are on the moving truck, the movers demand more money before they will deliver, unload or return those possession, forcing victims to pay more.

Police recommend caution when dealing with any moving company that doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of the household items being moved, noting that if an estimate sounds too good to be true, it often ends up being a scam.

Moving companies that do not have a local address or information about their registration or insurance should also be approached with caution, police said. Another “red flag” would be the use of a rental truck rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.

The Police Department recommends those considering a move get a written estimate from several movers, and make sure the company chosen is insured and registered with the proper authority. Checking the moving company’s complaint history with the local Better Business Bureau and consumer protection agencies may also prove useful, police said.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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