More than 35 million Americans move every year. Moving is stressful, and there are many details to coordinate. Unfortunately, with more people moving, scams are on the rise. They can take many forms, but the results are always frustrating and costly.
On The Move Moving and Storage wants to help you avoid some of the common moving scams and make your move less stressful. Whether you are moving across town or across the country, we have an expert team of movers who will make the process more convenient and hassle-free.
Cheaper is not always better
When preparing to move, take the time to compare costs and services. Remember, cheaper is not always better. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. There are many rogue moving companies out there who offer great prices, but it comes at a cost.
Customers who hire budget moving companies often complain about many issues, including missing or stolen belongings, damaged property, poor service, and inaccurate price estimates.
If the price a moving company quotes you is more than 20% lower than any other company, you should be very wary. Another red flag is if the deposit fee is more than about 10% of the total job cost. Requiring a deposit is very common, but if a moving company wants a significant percentage of the quote upfront, that’s a telltale sign of a scam.
Hostage Loads Scam
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says the number of rogue movers is on the rise. The “hostage loads” scam is prevalent among nefarious moving companies. The company provides a low estimate to win the contract, then refuses to deliver your belongings until you pay more money than the initial quote.
Some unscrupulous movers try a similar “hostage loads” scam in which they load part of your belongings on moving day, then claim there are more items to move than identified on the original estimate. They will try to charge you more money to finish the job and keep the goods they already loaded as collateral.
If you are moving from one state to another, federal law requires you and your mover to sign a binding estimate for moving services before the moving company starts any work. This protects you from a moving company raising prices after your belongings are loaded or on the way to your new home.
How To Find A Reputable Moving Company
Before you hire a moving company, make sure they are reputable.
Licensed and Insured
The first step is to make sure your moving company is registered and accredited. This guarantees you and your belongings will be protected if something goes awry. Ask all moving companies you interview to provide their FMC number, headquarters’ address, and types of services they provide.
You can find moving company’s registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration online. Any moving company that moves goods between states must be registered and must be appropriately licensed and insured. Reputable moving companies will also be registered with the Better Business Bureau.
Verify contact information
Check to make sure the company’s address and contact information is accurate and registered under the company’s name. An address listed under a residential name is a big red flag. And, just because a company is in the phone book, doesn’t mean they are reputable!
Check the website and read the reviews
High-quality moving companies also have a website and a DMV number. Also, take time to read some reviews on their social media pages, Yelp, or on the Better Business Bureau. Hearing real customer experiences provides valuable insight when choosing a company.
Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. Quality moving companies will readily provide information and a written moving estimate. Be very wary of any moving company located within 50 miles of you that is willing to give an estimate over the phone. Most reputable moving companies prefer to see everything you plan to move before offering you a quote.
Watch for warning signs
Keep an eye out for warning signs as you interview a potential moving company. Stay clear of any moving company that can’t answer your questions or seems unsure of the process or their ability to accomplish the job.
A reputable moving company’s workers will be professional throughout the process. Stay away from moving companies that ask for cash deposits upfront. Also, be wary of companies that do not own their van and equipment.
On The Move Moving and Storage is a licensed and insured moving company with an A+ rating at the Better Business Bureau and proper registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Our team of experts will help you do everything from packing to moving the furniture into your new home. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to get a quote.