How to Spot a Moving Company Scam

Moving is an exciting experience that can bring new beginnings and opportunities. However, it can also be a stressful time filled with lots of packing, planning, and organizing. This time can be incredibly hectic if you encounter a moving company scam. But there are steps you can take to protect yourself. So, read below to learn how to spot a moving company scam.

What Is A Moving Company Scam?

What exactly is a moving company scam? A scam by a moving company is any fraudulent activity that takes advantage of customers during their relocation process. The key to identifying these scams is transparency on the part of the moving company. So, the more transparent a company is about fees and policies, the less likely you are to be the victim of a moving scam. Additionally, a moving company should be easy to contact and communicate with while being willing and able to answer your questions. However, if a company seems misleading or deceptive, it is important to be aware of the possibility of moving scams.

What Are Common Scams?

Common moving scams can include but are not limited to, overcharges, hostage items, disappearing movers, and no-show movers. Overcharges occur when a company initially sets low estimates and charges extra fees once they pick up your belongings and have them in their possession. Additionally, some moving scams will hold onto your belongings and refuse to deliver them unless you pay an additional charge or fee that was not previously disclosed. Another common scam is movers disappearing with your belongings or never showing up on a moving day after you have made an up-front deposit. So, never make a large up-front deposit, seek transparency with a moving company, and be aware of these common scams!

How Do I Spot Scams?

When looking into moving companies, be aware of unprofessional behavior and a lack of transparency. Red flags include:

  • answering the phone with a non-specific name
  • demanding large up-front deposits or cash payments
  • asking you to sign a blank or vague contract
  • providing vague answers
  • not providing a physical address
  • not providing an in-home estimate
  • Charges by the cubic foot of your shipment instead of weight
  • refusing to provide a written estimate or contract prior to booking
  • showing up in an unmarked vehicle
  • lacking a valid USDOT number

If you experience any of the situations above, be vigilant for a possible scam. It is okay to be skeptical when your time, money, and property are at risk. If you have doubts, read reviews on multiple sites to get a feeling for trends in customer experiences. Additionally, you can ensure that the company is properly registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and properly insured in the case of an accident or emergency. Knowing what to look for can help you find a reputable company and avoid a moving scam.

Should I File a Complaint?

If you are a victim of moving fraud, then you can file a complaint against the offending moving company. If you can not resolve the issue with the moving company, then gather all relevant information and file a complaint with the FMCSA. Additionally, you can file a complaint with your state and share your reviews online to help warn others about your experiences. Reporting the fraudulent activity is the best way to help others avoid being scammed too.

How Do I Avoid Being Scammed?

To avoid being scammed, be alert to the red flags listed above. Additionally, do your research, read reviews, and seek referrals from friends and family. Furthermore, reputable companies typically operate on a “payment upon delivery” system, operate under one name, and provide a thorough written contract.

Follow the tips above to learn how to spot a moving company scam! Additionally, take the proper steps to find a reputable moving company to meet your moving needs!

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