The best moving company appears legitimate. Unfortunately, they won’t show their true colors until they get your items on the truck. By then, it’s too late. It’s puzzling to distinguish which companies are scams based on name or first impression. It is up to you to find a reputable mover. Instead of selecting the first mover available, let this article help you find a legitimate moving company.
The Moving Scam
While many frauds exist, a typical scam begins with a nice phone conversation. Customers receive an estimate and a date/time for the move. On the day of the move, the delivery truck looks plain with no company name or logo on it. The movers ask for money upfront. After the customer gives the money upfront, the movers move all items onto the truck. Then, the movers say the money given wasn’t the entire payment or the items weigh more than estimated. The movers then ask for the remainder of the bill upfront.
Customers who pay will see the movers drive off with your possessions but never reach your house. Calling the movers ends in a dial tone or busy signal, and you never see them again. Customers refusing to pay won’t end well, either. Expect the movers to hold your items hostage, toss your things out, or drive away with your belongings. Either response triggers additional stress.
Red Flags of Illegitimate Companies
- No local address
- Gives estimates over the phone or online
- Accepts cash only
- Expects pay upfront before moving (i.e., the full amount or a deposit)
- No business or company insurance
- No moving license
- Instead of saying the company name while answering the phone, they say “movers,” “moving company,” or “hello.”
- The truck doesn’t list the company name and logo on the sides.
- The contract appears incomplete or contains shady agreements
Tips to Avoid These Companies
Thorough research is very important, so start doing research early. Websites like Angie’s List, Great Guys (here), and Protectyourmove.gov list every reputable mover in your area. Basic research such as address, license, insurance, bond, and credentials are mandatory. Additionally, view the BBB’s website for complaints and read reviews about the moving company to view their reputation. If the claims dominate positive feedback, avoid that company. Avoid companies with common complaints (i.e., price scams, arriving late, movers damaging possessions). Also:
- Do business with movers that contain the services you require
- Visit the address in person to ensure the location exists
- Receive an on-site estimate
- Get three on-site estimates minimum for comparison
- Question low-cost moves. Understand why the cost is low, why the others are expensive, and if the price is worth it.
- Get recommendations from family and friends
- Ask the company for three references, call those references, and ask questions about their experience
- Select a mover who estimates price by weight, not cubic feet
- Select a mover who is upfront about hidden charges (i.e., distance-by-the-mile fees, gas)
- Ensure the movers give you the Bill of Lading and Rights & Responsibilities
Because these scams are becoming commonplace, customers moving locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally should not trust anyone to care for their belongings. You can’t find a great moving company on your first try. It comes from thorough and consistent research online, over the phone, and through the yellow pages. That company isn’t a name brand or the lowest price. This company has everything you desire and make the moving process a stress-free experience.