Top 5 Ways to Avoid Packers and Movers Fraud in India
The Most Common Scams Committed by Packers and Movers Companies Are:
- Demanding more money by threatening to withhold your goods
- Fraudulent insurance
- Large upfront cash deposit
- Improper contract, receipts and documents
- Improper handling of goods
- No transparency of process or tracking of goods.
So, how to pick the right packing services? It is a common practice to avoid very cheap services and those with exaggerated features that are too good to be true. However, a higher price tag does not mean good service. So, how does one balance between these extreme scenarios and find fraudulent services and avoid them?
The Common Practices to Avoid Packers and Movers Scams Are:
- Choosing a reputable and registered business
- Getting a written contract with all the clauses explicitly expressed
- Double-checking the insurance
- Cross-verifying the trucks and teams used in the process
- Checking the company’s reviews via websites and social media pages.
So, how to go on with these? Read on to find out more…
1. Choose Registered Businesses
It is best to pick packing services that are appropriately licensed and registered by the government. A registered business should have a PAN card, establishment license, incorporation certificate, GST registration, and more. In addition, such a business would have a registered physical address. This makes tracking or tracing the company much more effortless. In other terms, you need not worry about the company absconding with your goods.
Another important reason for choosing a business with a physical address is to avoid online scams. It is best not to conduct the entire interchange via website and chats. Instead, visit their office premises and clarify the contract and other details face-to-face. There are several phishing websites of verified businesses, and you should not fall into such traps. According to experts, around 6 billion phishing attacks will occur in 2022. Even the employees of the targeted firms could not spot the difference between such phishing scams from the original company mails, and one in every 99 emails you receive is a phishing attack.
There might be a famous and reputed packers and movers company in town, and a fraudulent entity might take up a name similar to that of the reputed one. For instance, ‘Poppies’ might be a reputable brand, and there could be another company called ‘Poppyes,’ with the primary intention of scamming people. The logos and other elements might be very similar. Thus, make sure to double-check before you proceed.
2. Get Everything in Writing
Bill-related scams are the second-most common frauds (29%) committed by organizations in all sectors. The scams related to the bill include hidden costs, ambiguous clauses benefitting the company, lack of clauses for customer compensation, clauses that remove responsibility from the hands of the service provider, and more. Remember to read through the contract and, if possible, get a legal opinion. It is essential to check every clause and cross-verify with the list below.
- Parties Identification – Make sure that the contract covers the company that is handling your goods. Sometimes, the agency would outsource the packing and moving services to third-party packers and movers. The contract (insurance, compensation clauses, and others) you have in hand would not cover any process committed by the third party.
- Liability Provisions – The situations where the company and the customers are liable
- Termination – Situations where the contract gets closed and details about the party that it would favour
- Handyman services for uninstalling any equipment (if it is a paid service, the charges should be explicit)
- Warehouse Charges – Sometimes, the company quotes a hefty bill for overnight storage inside the transit vehicle.
- Location of goods collection – Does the contract specify that the team will do a ‘Door Delivery’, or will you have to collect them from their premises.
- The tentative delivery date and time slot clauses explicitly expressed. In some cases, the company might not accept responsibility for delivery delays due to environmental conditions, political riots, etc.
- The type of vehicle to be used for transportation.
- Number of People Involved in the Process – Number of packers, handymen, drivers, and others.
The Consignment note and the bill receipt that you receive from the packing and moving services should have
- Name of the company, license details, and insurance details.
- Contact information.
- Date of receipt, date of packing, and the delivery date.
- Consignor (initial) and Consignee (destination) addresses.
- Complete identification of the vehicle used in the transfer – the vehicle model, number of trucks, and other forms of transportation if used.
- Cost of packing, transit, loading, unloading, installing, uninstalling, and more.
- The total cost of the order.
Some people prefer paying via cheque or cash to avoid online payment-related scams. However, an online payment would be easier to track and verify. However, check for HTTPS payment portals if you are paying online before entering your card details.
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3. Online Reviews
92% of the people avoid companies do not showcase online reviews and testimonials. So, why should you be in the small 8% population? It is essential to look for negative reviews but not patronize the packing services based on those negative reviews. Check how the brand dealt with the situation and the compensations or alternative solutions given. Moreover, remember that not all customers are always right. There is one downfall to go with the reviews on the website. Most companies would censor the testimonials and only display the good ones. So, take your investigation to social media and check the brand’s reputation.
4. Avoiding Insurance Fraud
There are two types of insurance deceptions that many packing services commit. The first is the lack of insurance or inadequate cover. In this type of scam, you would be paying the insurance money, but in the event of any mishap, there will be little to no coverage or payment. The payout from the insurance not cover much for your items. Yet, in the contract, there will be an accident coverage insurance fee.
The second type of insurance scam is typical with agencies. The agency’s insurance will cover any damages done by their team. However, the actual transit or unloading might be outsourced to a third party, and the insurance might not cover the damages done when the product is in their hands.
Any expert in packing services would recommend asking as many questions as possible. Explore every single element of the process, starting from whether you should pay for the packing materials and what type of material they avoid packing to the drivers’ experience. Some even recommend asking to physically check the vehicles that will be in use for your products. If the company refuses to share details or suddenly becomes defensive regarding their trade secrets and whatnot, it is a major red flag. Any accreditation, license, or registrations will be on the company’s website. Any company would flaunt these certificates and laurels. If the company you choose decides to go silent when questioned about these certificates, there is a significantly less chance of any valid certification.
The same goes for online presence too. In this era, every business has a social media reach. You can find websites, Facebook pages, LinkedIn, and more. Around 71% of small and medium-sized companies have a social media presence. At the very least, they should have a Facebook page. According to Statusbrew, 90 million businesses (source: renolon.com) have FB pages, Messenger, and others. So, if you are dealing with a company with no website or social media, the chances are that it is a fraud or fake business that can abscond with your items.
Even these tips might not be enough. The fail-proof method is to go for word-of-mouth status. Ask around for a good packers and movers company, and you will find three or four names in common occurrence. Now, compare these brands regarding ease of process, budget, and others. Then, pick the best one from the lot. Always ask for a free quote and a face-to-face interaction with them in their premise before finalizing.
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If you follow the above points carefully, you will have a very smooth and trouble-free experience shifting your goods and materials between two locations.