You probably have a pretty good idea of how to avoid certain scams. Credit card scams, email scammers who want you to renew a car warranty you never bought — we see these frequently enough to recognize them. But what about moving scams? Since most people hire professional movers only a handful of times in their lives, working with a moving company is probably not exactly familiar territory. Luckily, we constantly have our eyes and ears open to tell the great moving companies from the… not-so-great. Plan and simple, here is how to avoid moving scams!
Take your time.
The quickest way to get pulled in by a scam is to rush through the process of hiring a moving company. If the process of getting a quote seems far too simple and fast, it probably is! The moving company should ask you lots of questions about your move. Then you should ask them questions about their service! So if a company tries to rush you through the process towards signing a contract, you should be seeing red flags galore.
Check the reviews.
Whether you check Yelp, Google, or AMSA (The American Moving & Storage Association), look for any complaints that seems significant. Watch for language suggesting that the movers held a shipment hostage for more money, or that major goods were stolen from the home or the truck. One complaint is enough to raise concern; multiple complaints like this should send you running the other direction.
Check their credentials.
Any company that performs interstate moves is required to be registered with the DOT. Many larger, local companies will also choose to register to improve their credibility. That information should be readily available, either on their website or by request. Registration with AMSA is not required, but is also a good sign that the company is legitimate. Both the DOT and AMSA track complaints against the company and can revoke their accreditation in the case of moving scams!
Expect a thorough and detailed quote.
In order to give you an accurate quote, a professional moving company should either require a detailed inventory of your entire home or a walk-through by one of their staff. Some companies offer quotes based on the size or number of rooms in your house, but chances are high that it won’t be accurate. You’ll likely find your final bill is a fair bit higher than that initial quote because you had “more freight than expected”. Moving scams often begin with a surprisingly low quote, and end with a giant bill.
Request everything in writing.
You can’t read the fine print if they don’t send it to you, right? The best way to avoid surprises is to know about them in advance. Request that the quote, as well as all of the terms and conditions, are sent to you in writing via email. Read them thoroughly and ask for clarification if anything is confusing. If you notice language about additional fees, be sure you fully understand what they are for.
Don’t send your belongings in an unmarked truck.
If your moving company shows up in a rented (like a UHaul) or unmarked truck, don’t give them your shipment! They may have excuses about not having enough fleet vehicles, but moving companies have to register their vehicles. Rented vehicles could be driven by anyone! Even if they threaten that you will lose your deposit, it’s better to keep your belongings safe and file a complaint.
Expect timely and thorough communication.
A well-run moving company should respond to your questions and communications in a timely and professional manner. If you leave countless messages before you actually get a response, that may be an indicator of how the rest of your business relationship might go. Choose a company that is good with communication and your moving day will be that much easier.
Follow your instinct.
If something feels off, it probably is! There are plenty of great moving companies out there. Don’t allow yourself to get coerced into going with one that doesn’t feel right. If your gut tells you to move on, start searching for another quote!
Unpakt will connect you to verified professional movers. We vet each company to make sure they’re legitimate, and we host reviews right on our site! You can rest assured you’ll avoid moving scams by booking with Unpakt.