Scam alert

Despite the high temperatures — and the real risk of heat stroke during outdoor activities — summer remains the busiest moving season in Phoenix. To avoid the heat, and just to make life easier, some people hire a moving company. If you do, though, you need to watch out for moving scams less reputable movers might try to pull.

According to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, moving scams include “false advertising, undisclosed fees, lack of insurance and lowball prices combined with bait-and-switch tactics.” New legislation will take effect later this summer that tackles these problems. However, consumers will need to be on their guard until then. You should also know what practices are against the law.

Do your homework first

The Attorney General recommends you research the moving company through the Better Business Bureau to start. You can also check their Facebook page, if there is one, for reviews and complaints.

Watch out for deceptive quotes

If you get estimates from several companies and one seems a lot lower than the others, that may be another red flag. The company could suddenly up their price once your possessions are on the truck. The new law doesn’t allow companies to change the price once you both agree to it.

Avoid extra fees

Always ask about fees up front. According to Brnovich, these can include “travel time, packing materials, fees for stairs or gas and/or a minimum charge for the move.” Some companies will wait and spring these on you when it’s time to pay. Under the new law, all fees must be disclosed before the move begins.

Get it in writing

Finally, before you start the move, get a copy of the signed contract stating the cost of the move. And before you sign, review it for any changes from the estimate.

If you feel like the moving company tried to rip you off, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. The numbers are 602-542-5763 for Phoenix, 520-628-6648 for Tucson and 800-352-8431 for the rest of Phoenix. You can also file online.

Don’t feel like moving that old couch, ratty mattress or soon-to-be-replaced appliance? Find out how to get rid of them for little to no cost and effort.

– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org

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