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Saturday, August 22, 2015

BUFFALO — East Niagara college students will soon be heading to campus, moving into new dorms or apartments at universities across the country.

Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York offers new and returning students tips for college housing.

Choosing an apartment:

  • Document your apartment’s move-in condition. Note each and every flaw or defect on your move-in condition form, so that you aren’t held responsible for those damages later.
  • Take photos of your apartment. Before you bring anything in, take photos of the floors, walls, appliances, windows and anything else you may be held liable for after you move out.  This is so that you have documentation available if a dispute were to arise between you and the landlord after moving out.
  • Keep a copy of your lease in a safe place that can easily be referenced
A popular apartment scam these days involves a crook gaining access to an apartment or home and showing it under the guise of being the real landlord or owner. To sweeten the pot, they might offer a deal on the deposit, or pick up some of the fees. You could end up end up without your first month's rent, security deposit and a place to live if you fall for this bait.

  • The deal sounds too good to be true.
  • The landlord is located elsewhere and prefers to only communicate via email.
  • The landlord requires a substantial deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the property.
  • The landlord asks the renter to wire money through services such as Western Union or Money Gram.

Hiring the right moving company

  • No matter the size of your move, before hiring a moving company, check out their Business Review on Here you can see if any complaints have been filed against the company, their time in business, contact information and even request a quote for your move from accredited businesses that are committed to uphold our Standards for Trust. 
  • Beware of the bait-and-switch.  When you get an estimate from a moving company, be aware and cautions of the possibility of a bait-and-switch scam. While the company may quote you a lowball estimate in the weeks leading up to your move, on the day of, you may be told that the load is larger than expected and that the final price will be much higher. In order to avoid a bait-and-switch scam, check for complaints filed against the company and for a pattern of similar complaints. That’s a red flag for consumers and an incentive to keep looking for reputable movers.
  • Keep an eye out for “lost” items.  During a move, valuables may “disappear” or become damaged. In order to avoid either situation, buy full value protection from your mover. This will ensure than anything damaged beyond repair or that is lost will be replaced.
  • Look out for extra charges.  An unethical moving company may give you an honest estimate for moving your items, but then charge you for moving supplies such as packing tape, shrink wrap, bubble wrap and more. Before selecting a moving company, you should typically receive two quotes: one for the cost of moving your items and one for the cost of packing your items. Go over both of these in detail and have them on-hand on your moving day.
  • Get an in-person estimate.  The price of a move is most often based on the weight and size of your items – factors best determined in person. Beware of over-the-phone estimates that may not accurately quote your move; crooks are less likely to send someone out in advance to give a legitimate estimate. As a rule of thumb, its best to get at least three written in-home estimates before selecting a moving company to work with; this way everything is documented and a representative from the company is already familiar with your home and belongings.

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