Let me cut to the chase. I got scammed by Craigslist movers.
I crossed some river and moved from NYC to the good ole garden state. It was a mere 16 miles, so I was shocked when moving quotes flowed in for $800. I barely had any furniture – a bed, small couch, and 2 lamps.
This really pissed me off. $800 for 4 hours of work seemed ridiculous to me. So, I resorted to Craigslist. The ad seemed reputable calling out “no hidden fees” and spelling out rates by hour and # of movers. When I called, the man had a thick russian accent. He didn’t force the sale and just told me to call him back, the date was open.
At this point – there was only 1 red flag. He didn’t ask me for inventory like the rest of the moving companies. He basically just said 2 men or 3? I took it as he wasn’t a professional, just a decent man looking for some work.
The night before the move, I called to confirm. He knew right away it was me and confirmed tomorrow’s move. He did attempt to switch the time to 8AM because that Saturday was “super busy” but texted me that we would stick to the original time of 9:30 AM.
Okay, I felt relieved. I had confirmed my movers and wouldn’t be stuck moving myself. Or so I thought…
Next morning, they’re late. I give it a half hour before I give him a call. Straight to voicemail. So I text him and he responds “Can’t talk – busy. The guys are on their way.” That right there should have been a red flag. I was tempted to call him back and say forget it – you’re late, unprofessional, and rude. But the thought of moving myself seemed overwhelming.
So after another half hour of waiting I asked for the movers number. Minutes later, a different number called me back. He said he was on his way and babbled on about which tunnel he should take.
Alrighty- so he finally arrives. He gives me an invoice, explains the charges, and collects a $150 cash deposit. He took some inventory and went as far to say “no mattress pad, I’ll give you one for free.” He grabs my suitcase, props open my door and leaves.
He never came back…
Boy was I pissed. They wasted my time, stole my money, and left me moverless. Those idioTs!!! My 30 year old self cried an ugly cry, cursed this stupid city, and let out a few screams. Luckily dad came to the rescue. He got a Uhaul and we moved ourselves (the exact thing I was trying to avoid).
How to Avoid a Craigslist Scam (Or at least protect yourself after)
- Take a picture of the mover.
- Take a picture of their license plate.
- Do not pay any fees up front. Ask in advance if a deposit is required.
- If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Make sure they take inventory of what you have in advance. Can’t provide a proper quote without that!
- Scan Craigslist for similar ads with the same phone number, this SCREAMS scam. I went back and looked at Craigslist ads and there were quite a few featuring the same phone number but with different company names.
- If they’re rude and unprofessional, cancel right away.
- File an internet fraud complaint here. No one has followed up with me yet, but if enough people complain about the same scam, perhaps it will get resolved.
There you have it. A mega botch and learn. Ugh. I am NEVER using Craigslist again!