How to Avoid Moving Scams

Recently ABC-20/20 came out with a new feature highlighting the problems one can come across when hiring a moving company. The biggest problem was that movers would quote one price and then when the move was over they would significantly increase the price and refuse to deliver the items until they got paid. This is obviously a nightmare for customers who are left with an empty house and their personal belongings held hostage until they pay the “ransom”. There are a couple of things one can do to help protect themselves from unscrupulous movers:

  • Licensing/Insurance: Above all, you should always make sure that your mover has the appropriate State and Federal licenses. While not every licensed mover is of the highest quality, you at least know that they abide by State and Federal regulations. Federal licenses are issued by the FMCSA and State licenses differ depending on the state (see here for local mover licenses). These licenses also require a mover to offer variable levels of insurance coverage. There are also companies out there that offer additional insurance for your move if you think you need added protection.
  • Affiliations: Often in life we are judged by who/what we are associated with. A student that makes the honor roll is seen as an exceptional student because of the confidence that being part of the honor roll instills in others. The same can be said for moving companies. The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) is the main moving association in the US. Movers who are part of AMSA have gone through background screenings to ensure that they have the appropriate licenses and do not have any major issues with their local BBB chapter. These movers have also pledged to uphold the AMSA code of ethics. An association with AMSA is a good sign that the mover should be given further consideration.
  • Brokers vs. Movers: A broker is an entity that helps arrange your move with another moving company. They are not movers themselves and are not involved with the actual move on moving day. Alternately, a standard mover has their own equipment and staff and performs the move themselves. Using a broker can cause some issues which is why some people prefer to work directly with the mover. You can read more about the differences between brokers and movers here.
  • Reviews: While not all reviews online are legitimate, it’s always helpful to see what people are saying about the moving company you are considering. Doing your own research on a company is a simple necessity if you want to protect yourself as much as possible from problematic movers.
  • Estimates: Since the primary concern for consumers is getting quoted a price that goes up at the end, it’s important to know the type of estimate you are receiving from your mover. Some estimate types are legally more in your favor and some may benefit the mover in certain situations. Click here to read more about the different types of moving estimates.

At the end of the day, do your due diligence. Research, research, and then do some more research to make sure your mover is a licensed and reputable moving company. If you would like some more moving tips to help you with your upcoming move, visit our Moving Tips Guide.


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