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According to the US Census Bureau, about 43 million Americans move each year. In fact statistics have shown that the average American is likely to move at least 12 times in their lifetime.

Last updated June 30, 2016

Estimate by Cubic Feet Scam

Scams are a Problem in the Moving Industry

43 million relocations happen in America each year and this makes it one of the most thriving service industries in the country. However, as with any other thriving market, the moving industry is also flocked with dubious cheats who are out to get innocent customers.

One of the most common scams is done during the estimation process. During this time, the price for the shipping and transport of your goods is determined so in order to get a fair price, you need to be informed on what you need to avoid.

In this article we’re going to delve into the scam of estimations done by cubic feet.


What Happens in This Scam

First of all, if a moving company says that they will be charging you based on cubic feet, it’s already a red flag. Why? Because charging per cubic feet is now considered illegal in most states and it’s a practice that is avoided by legitimate and long-established moving companies. Scammers may defend their actions by saying that their pricing and choice of measurement is based on their published tariff (a tariff or list of prices is a must by the way) but despite that, it only means that their tariff is manipulated and illegal (since measurements done per cubic feet are a big no-no).

You have to understand that the common and accepted practice is to charge customers based on the weight of their goods as well as the distance of the delivery, and not on the volume (as with per cubic feet measurements).

So here is what happens.

The moving company tells their customer that they will be given a guaranteed price based on cubic feet. The problem is, most people don’t know how to compute for cubic feet measurements and even if they do, it’s a very difficult thing to perform because it involves physical measurements for the goods as well as tedious mathematical computations. The result? The customer just agrees to what the company says, no questions asked. This leaves the customer at the mercy of the movers.

How to Compute for Cubic Feet

Just for your reference, here is the equation for getting the cubic feet measurement:

Cubic feet = length x width x height

While this may seem like a simple enough formula, try to imagine doing this for an entire household with large furniture, dozens of boxes and other possessions with complicated shapes.

And for small complicated items that can only be measured in inches, there is another formula to convert them from inches into feet.

In truth, even if the movers ask for the measurements in cubic feet, they still have to convert this into pounds because all known tariffs (the legal ones) are based on weight/pounds/kilograms.

How Do they Cheat Customers

Scam movers often say that the line scale inside truck is told to be different than it really is. Their measuring tools are rigged and of course will result in inaccurate measurements.

Others try a different approach where they pack the truck poorly (not maximizing the space and leaving lots of gaps in between) so as to bump the measurements and therefore the price to be charged.

And if you look at it, there’s no way to check what they’re doing because most customers just sit back and wait. There are no third party experts on the spot to verify their actions or explain what’s going on.

In the end, their poor clients end up paying for an unfair price in which they have no choice because otherwise, they’re goods will be put in danger.

How to Avoid This

To avoid this kind of scam, you have to look for movers that base their service on the weight of the shipment as well as on how far the delivery location is. Aside from that you should check the licenses and accreditation of the company to see if they are indeed operating legally.

Avoid any company that offers to give you per cubic feet measurements because they are often just out to scam you.

Written By
Ariane S

Expert Moving Advisor

Ariane is a proficient moving advisor. She has experience in corporate, individual and special relocations, and is well-versed in coordinating moves, packing tips and shipment estimations.
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