How to Choose Reliable Movers and Don’t Become Prey of Moving Scams

April 26, 2021 / Posted in Before the Move
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Moving scams are on the rise all over the world in the last decade. According to the Better Business Bureau, there are around 13,000 complaints and negative reviews about relocation companies annually. Not all of them are necessarily frauds, but over a third of all reports are, and customers are the ones who suffered significant losses. To avoid any inconvenience with relocation companies, keep reading.

A man with a chair
When relocating your home, use all the resources available to find the reliable companies

Around 31 million Americans move each year, and every relocation is stressful enough. The last thing you want is to deal with unprofessional movers that end up being a part of a moving scam. In this article, we’ll help you to notice some of the red flags while searching for a trustworthy relocation crew that can actually help with the move.

Most Common Moving Scams You Should Avoid

No matter if you’re relocating from a small to a big town, prepare your checklist of things you need to do before the whole process. That way, you’ll quickly get organized for the move, and it will save you some time for the next stage where you must decide whether you’re going to do the packing and transportation on your own or find professional long-distance moving services.

If you decide to enlist professional movers, you should be very careful when picking who will be in charge of your belongings. There are many cases of people who ended up without their stuff and their money. If you’re asking yourself how to check if a relocation company is legitimate, know that it is an absolutely reasonable question.

That’s why it is vital to learn how to recognize fraud. These bad experiences don’t have to happen to you, so be careful and read the following suspicious scenarios that will help you determine possible moving company scams:

  • The firm changed a lot of names in a short period,
  • Lack of information on the website,
  • The relocating crew can’t give you clear terms and conditions,
  • Low estimates of your household,
  • It’s not clear which charging method they use,
  • Companies can’t give you a valid contract.

You should pay extra attention to these most common red flags when it comes to relocation to a new home. The most important thing is to find more than one relocating crew when you start your search. Don’t forget to check every company’s references and if the service you need is already included in the final bill.


Is It Better to Move Yourself or Hire Movers

After all possible scenarios of fraud, you might think it is safer to relocate by yourself. It is not impossible. Knowing how to move efficiently will reduce the relocation stress, but be prepared for some extra expenses for packing services if you don’t know how to move a heavy desk or other bulky items.

Don’t forget about the storage services if you’re struggling with relocating your garage. However, if you move on a budget, this is not the best option for you because it can cost you more than hiring professionals. You’ll have to buy all the supplies and materials like boxes and wrapping paper that can be expensive.

A wrapping paper and a box
You might think it is better to DIY relocation based on all the negative experiences, but buying new packing supplies can be very expensive.

Company Changes Name Frequently

The firm that changed too many names in the past is the red flag. This is the most obvious warning that should tell something is wrong. However, a business can change the name and won’t be a scam. For example, a car shipping company can rename their car lines. But if they do it every year and more often, it must be suspicious.

In that case, you can always ask them to show you their license and check if it is expired, the data doesn’t match the information you found on their website, or it is brand new, you’ll know something is not right. Keep looking for a reliable one.

Check FMCSA Licensed Long Distance Moving Companies

A quick check on the website Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration can provide you with information if the relocating crew you found is legit. All companies must have an FMCSA license that supervises their business and protects customer’s interests. If you can’t find the firm, it’s another red flag.

Another piece of information that must be at the bottom of the site of any reputable relocating business is the US Department of Transportation number. This USDOT number is exactly what you need to search for, if considering hiring professionals.

A person is using a laptop
Use the internet as one of the sources that will provide you useful things you need to know.

Missing the Important Information

Knowing how to avoid making mistakes when relocating is more than just choosing the best-sized boxes for relocation. Nowadays, webpages can assist you in investigating companies’ credibility, and you can find a reputable mover who is not looking to scam you. When you start your search, the most natural thing to do is go online and check the company’s website.

Every professional firm has all the data needed online. However, if you have some important questions to ask the relocating crew or just want some clarification, you should be able to call them. So, if you can’t find a phone number you can call for additional advice or information, it’s a bad sign.

Lack of Interest and Unprofessional Questions

If you find a phone number, don’t hesitate to ask everything you want to know or for a further explanation of something you read on the firm website. The person who represents the organization should give you all the facts you need or transfer the call to the person that can clarify and explain everything.

If you notice a lack of interest and that the conversation is not going well, it’s a bad sign. For example, you want to know if relocating in summer is a good idea, and the person on the other side of the phone can’t give you an answer it’s probably a scam. Employees should also ask some basic questions such as the destination of the relocation, the size of your home.

A person on the phone
Every professional business should have active phone service. That way, they can provide you with everything you want to know.

Understand the Terms and Conditions

We came to the most important thing when searching for trustworthy cross-country movers. Once you agree with your relocation crew about the price, you’ll receive a valid contract. It’s important to read the whole document, and if you don’t understand something, ask for further explanation. As a customer, you should be aware of your responsibilities and rights.

So, if the amount doesn’t match with the one previously agreed, know something is wrong. In that case, a contract is illegal. However, you can avoid this kind of scam by learning your rights and reading the contract first, don’t sign anything right away.

Furthermore, ask right from the beginning are services such as auto transport or storage service included, or you have to pay for them afterward. Another important thing is to ask about the contract in advance based on the settlement you had. That way, you can check if everything you agreed on the phone is there. If you notice any kind of transparency and consistency absence, continue your search.

Ask What Services Are Included in the Price

As mentioned above, if you’re relocating in a hurry and want a reliable relocation service with the crew that knows the best relocation hacks, you need to know exactly what is included in the final bill. Also, what amount you’ll need to add if you want and extra insurance for your fragile items. These are only some of the questions you can ask.

A person is writing in the notebook
Ask everything you want to know and make sure you got everything right.

Irrational Low Estimates

When relocating for the first time, this step might be a bit confusing. Initially, you should learn how to estimate the value of household goods because if the price is too good to be true, it most likely is. In that case, look for other opinions and do the math yourself to be sure what estimation is correct.

One of the Useful Tips When Relocating – Estimate Belongings in Your Home

No matter if you’re hiring professionals or you’re relocating DIY, make sure you properly estimate the value of your belongings. This might seem an exhausting task at first because you have a lot on your plate, among other things you have to do, like changing your address. But if you want to prevent being scammed, create a list of all the things you want to bring along.

However, before even starting with a list, you should declutter your home and get rid of all the things you don’t need and use anymore. This is an excellent opportunity to donate unwanted items or to sell them. Then, make an appointment with the relocation crew that will evaluate your goods directly in your house or online.

A laptop on the desk
Get the estimates of your household from at least three relocation crews and see if someone is trying to scam you.

Figure Out Do Movers Charge by Weight or Volume

Before even starting to plan the move, there are two most common questions people tend to ask themselves. While someone’s most important occupation is how to get a job before the relocation, other people often don’t know how relocation teams charge, by weight or volume? Most times, how much money you’ll pay is based on the mileage, additional professional assistance, and your shipment’s final weight. However, make sure you ask the professionals about it.

Two men with boxes
The final shipment, milage, and additional assistance are the norms for the final bill.

What to Do if You Have Been Scammed by a Moving Company

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you might get tricked by movers. If you got scammed, you should report it to your local authorities, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Also, if the relocation assistance cost is unreasonably high or the business keeps your belongings for too long, you must do something. File a complaint to the BBB, FMCSA, or AMSA. However, be aware that some minor damage, delays, and 10% higher costs are not counting as scams.

A storage
Awaiting for your goods for too long is something you should report.

How to Know Who Is the Best Moving Company

Among all the frauds you can come into during the research of the professional relocation assistance you can trust, don’t forget to check the reviews. If you come across the business without any review, it’s undoubtedly a red flag.

We must be honest. It’s not easy to find a reliable relocating business. However, it’s certainly not impossible. So, hire a reputable car shipping company when relocating cross country, and the only thing you’ll have to think about is how to tip movers because they have done an excellent job. Furthermore, even though the relocation can be stressful with the right professionals, it will go without a hitch.

In conclusion, you have to start your homework on time, because it might take some time to find what you’re looking for, but don’t give up, you’ll be rewarded in the end, and you’ll remember this experience with joy.

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