Moving Scams: How to spot the fake Movers

Moving is complicated, and can end up being quite expensive. While these issues are pretty common, you definitely don’t want to add another layer to an already intense process. With over 14% of people moving annually, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, there’s bound to be a few issues, like moving scams. This could involve dealing with an unlicensed mover or broker, who might do anything from lose or damage your stuff, or even worse, take your money. Here are a few things to look out for when moving!

#1 Make sure that your potential movers are registered:

While it might be tempting to go with a ‘guy with a van’ or an online ad that you saw, you have to be super careful with movers who aren’t registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admission or if they don’t have a USDOT number. While these movers might seem cheap, there’s nothing that the FMCSA can do if anything happens to your stuff. Keaton noted, a big warning sign that you’re working with a fake mover is if they have “no physical, local address and no federal motor carrier number, which shows they are registered with the federal government for a state-to-state move.” According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admission, all movers should be able to provide you with their address (or headquarters), contact information, registration status, and what type of moving business they have.

#2 The movers have bad ratings:

After you call and meet with a few movers, be sure to check out their rating and reviews on the Better Business Bureau. Here, you’ll be able to see reviews, online complaints, company information, when they were incorporated, and their BBB rating. A major red flag, according to Keaton is if your prospective moving company has poor online ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

#3 You don’t receive an estimate:

Before you hire a mover, you should receive an estimate of how much your move will cost. This means that your potential mover should come to your house or apartment to determine the size of your move and how much furniture you have. After they do this, you will receive a written estimate. This will help you lock in a price after you meet with a few movers. Keaton noted, if a mover refuses to visit your home to provide a written estimate for an interstate move, you probably have a scammer on your hands.

#4 You get weird estimates:

While it might be tempting to go with a cheap moving estimate, we recommend getting multiple estimates so that you can compare various services and rates. Keaton noted that a scammer provides “unusually high or unusually low estimates, compared to the other estimates.” A good rule for estimates, he noted is to “get estimates in writing from at least three different moving companies.” This will allow you to make an informed choice by comparing the company, their services and the multiple estimates.

#5 Your mover has an unmarked truck:

A legitimate moving company will never have a generic, unmarked truck. You should clearly see their company name, address, website or phone number on their van or truck. If their van appears shady or something seems off, don’t let them in your home.

#6 Your potential mover isn’t knowledgeable:

Movers should know everything about moving inside and out. There should be no questions about your move–whether locally or cross-country–that stump them. You especially want to know what their policy is pertaining to any issues with your stuff. Bring up questions about their claims process, how they deal with damages or lost items. Keaton said that a sign that you might have a scammer is if your potential mover “seems uncertain or won’t give you answers, especially about the claims process.”

Moving is a complicated process that you don’t want to make even more challenging by having movers that aren’t legitimate. From the onset of your move, you have to make sure that you are diligent as you look for movers. This includes meeting and interviewing multiple movers, viewing their licenses, receiving estimates and more. During this process, it’s important to be alert about anything that seems off, too good to be true, or shady. We hope that these moving tips will help you to avoid having to deal with any fake movers.

Good luck!

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