Fledgling UK expats falling foul of international movers scams

Published:  10 Jan at 6 PM
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Leaving your country of origin and moving overseas is an expensive and stressful business from start to finish, made worse by scams by rogue international freight forwarding companies hitting the headlines.

The recent rise in emigration from the UK has caused unscrupulous international moving companies to spring up across the country, hoping to catch the unwary using several scenarios. An overseas move is even more stressful than a move within the UK, with the distances and means of transportation, customs clearance procedures and import duty causing enough stress to put off all but the most determined migrants.

Forewarned, however, is forearmed, not the least as it protects expats from parting with more of their hard-earned cash than was originally quoted. Telltale red flags to look out for include an unusually low quote compared with others you’re requested and received.

A combination of a low quote and a seemingly friendly initial contact may be the start of a scam. Hidden charges may not have been included and international movers have been known to refuse to part with the shipment until an inflated bill is paid, with getting absolutely everything in writing usually spiking the scammer’s guns.

The most obvious scam is found online at broker websites which quote a deposit or an excessively low fee. Once paid, the mover doesn’t arrive or, even worse, the goods are collected and disappear en route. Avoid like the plague!

Don’t use movers who request your budget for the move, take shipment details over the phone and give an immediate quote. Once your home is loaded up you’ll be told it’s larger by volume than your estimate and will cost far more to ship.

These and other tricks can be avoided by online research at industry-specific review sites. Another way is to contact the International Movers Association for a list of its members.
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