There are plenty of opportunities available (e.g., a pandemic, a hot housing market, plenty of natural disasters) for moving scammers today. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid being scammed by a moving company. Knowing how to find an honest, reliable company is all about watching out for red flags.
Requiring Cash or a Large Deposit Up Front
Typically, a moving company won’t require you to make a deposit when you book your move. Of course, there are some cases (e.g., summer months, high-volume areas) in which there’s a legitimate reason for requiring a deposit. If you’re asked to pay a cash deposit upfront, make sure you ask what it’s for and if this is a standard policy for the company.
Providing a Quote Site Unseen
It’s difficult to know how much stuff will fit into a moving truck without providing you with an in-home estimate. This is also a great time to get to meet the moving company and have your questions answered. While some legitimate movers can provide ballpark estimates based on the size of your home and the distance you’re going. There are also movers who are willing to do a virtual walk-through due to the pandemic.
Offering a Suspiciously Low Quote
Things that seem too good to be true usually are. This is also true of super-low moving quotes, which could be a sign of a bait-and-switch moving scam. These scams occur when you’re given a low quote, but when your items are delivered, they demand a lot more money saying that the move took longer than expected or that they didn’t know you had so much stuff.
Some other signs of bait-and-switch scams include:
- The moving company wants to charge you by cubic feet instead of by weight.
- Your mover won’t give you a firm quote on paper.
- They tell you that they’ll determine the price once everything is loaded.
Not Being Listed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The FMCSA lists moving companies that are insured, so if your company isn’t listed there, you should find a new company. You can easily search this site by name, USDOT number (this should be listed on your mover’s website), and MC/MX number.
While on the topic of company names, it’s important to pay attention to this as well. If a company changes its name frequently or isn’t clear about its name, you should look for a different company. The same is also true if you call a moving company and they answer the phone simply as “moving company” or “movers.” This is because some scam companies do this to avoid licensure with FMCSA or to avoid bad ratings with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
At 2 Guys and a Van in Chicago, IL, we understand that you’re the paying customer. We’ll go out of our way to make sure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. So the next time you need to move, make sure to reach out to our moving company.