Protecting Yourself from Moving Companies - Use your Camera Phone to Take Photos

Real Estate Agent with The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate MD 586955

A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, $$ cash $$.  Protect yourself as I did, and perhaps your photos could be worth thousands of dollars, not just words.

Read on.

I helped move my daughter and her husband to their new home this weekend.  We rented a moving truck  form a well known national vendor and returned it as required - broom cleaned, no dents and with the required amount of gasoline to replenish what we used.  The vendor where we dropped it off was closed, so I dropped the key in the slot in the secure metal box provided for key returns.  As a precaution, I took photos with my camera phone just in case any issues might arise later.

The next day I received an email from the vendor indicating I had not refilled the gasoline in the truck and I was fined $38.75 as a penalty.  WHAT!!!

Boy was I angry.  I called and filed a protest (twice) with the moving company's "customer advocate" division.  They promised me a call back within 48 hours.  Well, it's been 52 hours and I'm still waiting for that call and I am @#$%^'&*!!! 

OK.  I'll let you decide.  I say this was either fraudulent (make a quick buck on the side) or incompetency (they need to learn how to read their own fuel gauges!). 

The tank reading from my first receipt when I picked up the truck (between 3/8 and 1/2):

Here is the vendor receipt showing the mileage and the gas tank reading (along with the $38.75 fuel charge penalty) after I returned the truck:

moving company

and here are my photos:


I ain't payin this penalty and I will keep up the protest until I win.  Man, I'm happy to have these photos.

Protect yourself from these moving companies.  Take photos when you finish with your rental truck or car.

Tell me what you think...  Oh, and then have a nice day!

**Update 8/01/09 - I have received a credit for the charge on my credit card.  It pays to take pictures!

Comments (16)

Eric Lowery
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Spring, TX


I've used U-haul several times and felt like they might be trying to set me up for this kind of thing.  So far, I haven't had any issues, but like you I document everything.  Try to get a date/time stamp on your photos too!

I think I'm going to use this as one of my tips from Daily Agent Tips.  "Help Protect Your Clients from U-Haul Fraud" or something to that effect.  If I do, I'll link it back to this post.

Jul 14, 2009 06:16 AM
Larry DeGroat
Realty Professionals, Inc. - Searcy, AR
ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI in Searcy

It's sad we have to deal with this kind of stuff but I take a lot of pictures like this myself.  I had to fight insurance companies twice and if I didn't have pictures, I would have lost.  Good luck!  ( as my wife would say though, make sure it doesn't cost you more than to just settle with what is.  Sometimes being right will cost you more than the ripoff)

Jul 14, 2009 06:19 AM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

Nice Eric!!  Pass this around and let's do our part to make the public aware.

The time stamp isn't going to be necessary (even though I have the date created on the file) since the mileage is clearly visible on the dash. 

Proof that I had it right!  IMHO

Jul 14, 2009 06:21 AM
Kevin Cavanaugh
Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty - Tappan, NY
Lic. Associate Broker, ABR, GREEN

Hey Danny, great advice.  Thanks and have a great day.

Jul 14, 2009 06:22 AM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

Thanks Larry.  Feel free to copy this and send it out to everyone in your email database!

Jul 14, 2009 06:23 AM
Duane Murphy
Expert Real Estate Partners LLC - Appleton, WI
Broker- Owner-Real Estate -


Be sure that I will let people know! Can't blame UHaul as much as the "actual franchisee" but they should be spot checking them as well!

Great Advice!

Jul 14, 2009 06:28 AM
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

Dan: thanks for the heads up on this. Guess you gotta watch everything.

Jul 14, 2009 06:30 AM
Dan Magstadt
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc - Lake City, FL

Uh yea...they're out of line - Good thing you have the pictures!


Jul 15, 2009 04:08 AM
Debbie Walsh
Shahar Management - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.283-3036

Thanks for the heads up.  I never would have thought to take pictures of the dash or the truck before I left.  Good thinking!


Jul 15, 2009 11:14 AM
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

Dan, this is a great idea and a fantastic tip to pass on to my clients and friends.  When we don't protect ourselves (and our wallets!) they really get away with a lot.  Thanks again!

Jul 16, 2009 07:25 AM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

My pleasure Michele.  Let everyone know!!!

Jul 16, 2009 07:45 AM
Angelia Garcia
Pure Realtors - Dallas, TX

So what is the latest on this rip off?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Jul 21, 2009 04:52 PM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

Had to call the moving company three times on this.  This is developing...I'll let you know how this shakes out.

They want my photos!  I'm negotiating; the credit on my card for the photos.  Can you think of anything else I should ask for?  How about free moving trucks for a year for my clients?  I'm guessing the photos are worth more than they want to tell me.

Nov 03, 2009 01:03 PM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

The moving company has agreed to reverse the charge on my credit card and guess what?  They tell me they are in the process of removing the vendor.  That's what I'm talkin about!

It appears my photos were the straw that broke the vendor's back.

I think I'm happy now.

Nov 03, 2009 01:04 PM
Gaynelle Breese

It is also important to remain attentive and cautious while hiring any moving agencies. Relying totally and blindly on them is what I think is quite senseless and you should not do that. Do inspections carefully and after clarifying all your doubts hire them.

Apr 25, 2014 07:57 PM

Must do a background check on any moving company you are considering using. It does not matter if you looking for local movers in New Jersey Jersey or in California. check online before booking.

Jan 22, 2020 05:09 AM