The moving industry has seen its fair share of rogue movers scamming millions out of cash and precious belongings. Scammers prey on the on the less informed everyday leaving helpless citizens stressed, hurt, and without.
For every rogue mover, there’s a moving company that is honest and dependable. How do you find that mover? It starts with proper research and knowledge of the moving industry.
Here are some do’s and don’ts on how to avoid scams by rogue movers and get the best moving experience possible:
- Ask the moving company for up to date references. Speak with references to find out how their experience went. If a mover won’t provide references, move on to one who will.
- Ask friends, family, or even real estate agents for recommendations. Speak to someone who’s already had an experience with a mover.
- Verify that the mover has a US DOT number and license by visiting the FMCSA SAFER site. By law, movers operating a moving truck aren’t allowed to operate with a US DOT number.
- Check with FMCSA's Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 1-888-368-7238 and ask them about the complaint history of your moving company.
- Get at least three (3) in-home estimates signed by the moving company. Understand what types of estimate you are selecting.
- Call your local Better Business Bureau and find out how many complaints the mover has received in the past year. Look for repetitive complaints and unresolved disputes.
- Speak with the owner of the moving company. Speaking with the owner will help you feel more comfortable about the decision you are making.
- Visit the moving company’s place of business. Get a feel for how professional and clean the staff presents themselves.
- Thoroughly read through paperwork and documents before signing. Rushing through without reading can be detrimental to your moving experience.
- By law, movers are required to provide you with a Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet. If they don't provide you with this booklet, move on to the next one.
- Don’t rely on phone, internet or email estimates. Movers should provide in-home estimates for an accurate quote. If a mover refuses to do an in-home estimate, it’s a red flag that the moving company could be fraudulent.
- Don’t sign anything until you have agreed on the terms and price.
- Avoid movers demanding a large deposit prior to move day.
- Never sign blank paperwork.
- Don’t go for the cheapest price. More than likely if it sounds too good to be true, it is.
- Move on to the next mover if they claim that all goods are covered through their insurance. Typically, movers only cover up to certain percentage. Know the types of insurance that are available to you.
- Avoid movers who only accept cash. More than likely they are trying to avoid a paper trail or bank dispute. Legitimate movers will accept checks or credit cards as alternative methods of payment.
- If the mover shows up with a rental or generic truck, cancel the move. You should only see company owned or marked fleet trucks.
- The company's Web site has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.
Every day, customers are getting scammed during the moving process. Avoid being a victim of a moving scam by following the do’s and don’ts of finding a mover. Not only is knowledge of the moving industry power, it’s the key to a successful move.