MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Moving can be very stressful and expensive. The last thing you need is someone trying to take advantage of you and scam you out of your hard earned money. Sadly, it happens all the time.
Sometimes you can pay a lot more than you were told and in some rare cases, your stuff never arrives.
"You've got to be very careful when you're loading up everything you own in the back of a van and it goes careening down the interstate," said David Smitherman with the Better Business Bureau of Central and South Alabama. "You have to make sure you're dealing with a legitimate company."
Smitherman says you need to do your homework. First, make sure the company is licensed and insured. You can do that by checking with the Public Service Commission.
Another red flag, don't put down a huge deposit or pay for the entire move up front. Get at least three estimates and make sure they are done in person. Consumer experts say there's no way a company can accurately quote you a rate over the phone.
"We've also had cases where all of your belongings are loaded up, once they are loaded up they weigh the truck and it blows out the weight they gave you. So it ends up costing two or three times more than what they said. The worst case scenario, they load up your stuff, take off with your belongings, and you never see them again," Smitherman said.
Also, make a detailed inventory of everything you pack. Number and label your boxes so if something never makes it you'll know exactly what's missing.
Consumer experts also recommend buying additional insurance. Often times the standard insurance offered by the company won't cover the full amount of expensive items if they get broken.
If you feel like you've been scammed or want more on a company you can also contact the Better Business Bureau. They have a list of reviews and can let you know which companies have a bad reputation.