“Yes, Mr Stranger, I would love for you to load everything I own and value into your unmarked vehicle and speed off into the sunset without me,” is not a sentence that you probably say very often (we hope). But when it comes to moving house, it’s a leap of faith that most of us have to take.
Yes, Londoners: moving house is stressful enough, especially in a city with 24 hour traffic jams and nowhere to park. In fact, after someone you care about dying and getting divorced, moving house is the third most stressful thing most people will ever do. But when you have the added dimension of dealing with a dodgy removals person, it’s even worse.
Just look at what happened to this couple from Wolverhampton, who lost everything they own – right down to their bedding and their baby’s clothes – when a seemingly genuine removals team they’d hired via their Facebook page turned out to be a couple of thieves. These guys came to the house, politely loaded up the van, and then promptly disappeared.
As one of the victims, 22-year-old Becky, said: ‘I have never cried more in my life than I did on Friday afternoon – I am so distraught that they have taken my engagement ring and my baby’s toys.’
Imagine: £10K worth of stuff – gone. And you were the one that packed it up and handed it over to the man with a van!
Now that’s cold.
Okay, you won’t necessarily get screwed over if you hire a man with a van, London. We’re not saying that. But it can certainly be hard to find someone you can trust.
The internet is awash with complaints about removals guys that take forever, or break stuff, or generally come across like this famous pair of chancers. And even though you might not need to transport something quite as pricey (or delicate) as an antique chandelier, no one wants to see their precious possessions smashed to pieces because the person you paid to move it couldn’t care less.
So how do you make sure you’re not getting yourself into a pickle, without paying a fortune?
Well, for starters, make sure that the company (or individual) you’re planning to go with is legit.
As in: do they just have a Facebook page with limited contact details on it, or do they actually have a “proper” website with identifying details, a real address and a couple of ways to get in touch -as well as, perhaps, a couple of social media channels that have been running for a while? If they look like they might have just sprung up from nowhere, they might disappear just as fast.
Secondly, there’s the power of recommendations. Perhaps you know someone who’s used them before? Or, more likely, do they have a testimonials page or some top notch Yelp/Google reviews that seem like real, human people wrote them?
Thirdly, do some screening first. Have a chat with them over the phone to get a feel for what they’d be like to deal with. Ask them important questions, like: do you have cargo and public liability insurance in case something goes wrong? What happens if I can’t get all of my stuff into your van?
… And, if you have any niggles at all, make sure don’t hand over any money until the move is complete.
Looking for a man with a van in London that you can really rely on? Why not give our friendly team a call on 0800 612 6706.