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US Senate Committee Battles Scam Moving Companies

October 4th, 2012 - 4:01 PM

So, I just read a very interesting article in Search Engine Land that absolutely everyone thinking about moving should read.

It looks like the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation has written to Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! asking the popular search engines to examine the practices of some moving services that are using "bait-and-switch" tactics on consumers who find the companies as a result of an online search. 

It’s about time.

For years we’ve seen investigative reports about so-called “moving companies” that hold consumers’ goods hostage. We’ve read sad story, after sad story of people’s financial lives being destroyed due to corrupt practices. And in our call center, we’ve actually spoken with customers who’ve been impacted by these practices and are searching for help. It’s nice to see the Committee taking it to the next level by asking the big guys to step in and do something about it. Kudos.

Here’s what they do (and what you, as a consumer, should be aware of): They deceive you. They typically have names that are similar to large, reputable brands (other services have actually done this to us – ripping content, graphics, etc. off of the U-Pack website in an attempt to deceive customers). Once you set your move up with these scammers, they require a deposit, which is actually a broker fee. You see, they won’t be moving you – and they won’t tell you that. They’ll actually pass you off to the service that will move you. And when the “real” movers get to your house, you’ll learn that the quote you were provided originally, well, it no longer applies. And the payment you already made – it isn’t applied to your move. Now you have to pay more to move your items, or your goods are held “hostage.” It’s a situation no one wants to be in, especially when you're moving.

The Committee's goal is to keep these companies from showing up in organic search results. When you search “Florida moving services” the companies you see at the top of the search results should not be known (or suspected) scam companies with terrible consumer reviews and thousands of unnatural, paid links. You should be able to trust the results.

As a reputable moving service, at U-Pack, we’re extremely pleased these practices are formally being brought to light.

You can view the archived webcast of the Senate hearing here.
The letters sent to Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! can be viewed here.