A dedicated resource for overseas property buyers the Overseas Guides Company has issued a warning to those moving abroad concerning removal and relocation services.
Epats moving abroad are being urged to choose their removals firm carefully, especially during the current period of austerity in Europe, and ensure all upfront payments are protected and all possessions secure until the end of the shipping process.
"A recent episode that saw an expat couple's personal possessions stolen from their container, with the UK shipping company and the receiving firm in Cyprus blaming each other for the missing items, should be a warning to other Brits in the process of emigrating", said Richard Way, Editor of The Overseas Guides Company (OGC).
Given the tough economic climate in some Eurozone destinations, it seems the likelihood of opportunist thieves operating somewhere along the chain of a typical removals process could have increased.
"Witnessing your container being loaded and the lock going on a totally undisturbed cargo is one way of helping to secure your items", said the victims of the aforementioned theft who related their story to OGC.
Mr Way added: "When choosing your removals firm, arguably it has never been more necessary to only employ a properly certified company, one that is a member of a trade association or body, such as the British Association of Removers (BAR) - which offers a prepay protection scheme that members can opt for - or FÃÂ©dÃÂ©ration Internationale des DÃÂ©mÃÂ©nageurs Internationaux (FIDI). Hiring a casual man with a van could come with its risks.
Where possible, one way to eliminate your possessions passing through the hands of a number of different companies is to use a firm that has its own vehicles and offers a door-to-door service with no sub-contractors involved en route.
Also, there can be misunderstanding over insurance too: typically, removal firms do not offer to insure your possessions but instead they insure their own liability for damage to your goods - so make sure you have adequate insurance arranged for when your belongings are in transit.