Common Moving Company Scams and How to Avoid Them

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Category: Avoiding Moving Scams

When it comes time to relocate, your top priority is getting your stuff where it needs to be ASAP. Unfortunately, there are also some unscrupulous moving companies more than willing to take advantage of your urgency with questionable and outright deceitful practices. You may not be able to avoid every potentially dishonest moving company out there. However, you can reduce your odds of being taken advantage of by being aware of some of the most common moving company scams.

1. Fake References

Some scammers will falsify references by having employees post fake reviews or creating web pages with made up testimonials. They might even have friends or employees go to review sites to boost ratings. Get some peace of mind by:

  • Asking for names and phone numbers of a few references you can call yourself
  • Checking your state’s Secretary of State website to confirm the status of a moving company
  • Getting their state carrier license number
  • Checking the Department of Transportation’s website to verify their license if you are looking for interstate moving companies

2. ‘Too Good to Be True’ Estimates

Scammers will sometimes make an estimate that’s very low to lure customers concerned about the cost to choose them. They will often take the money and not show up to complete the move. If they do show up, they’ll likely find reasons to charge you more for things like “complexity of the move,” or they may add fees for little things here and there. If cost is a concern, take the following steps instead:

  • Compare rates among your preferred moving companies
  • Ask for quotes that detail what’s included in the price
  • Get any pre-moving estimates in writing
  • Never sign any documents with spaces left blank, so other details and amounts can’t be added later

3. ‘Losing’ Your Expensive Items

Companies that show up to do the work may have employees with an eye for your expensive belongings. In some cases, they’re all in on it, including the person who’s supposed to supervising your move. They may say certain things got lost. Other times, you may open boxes to find some things missing. A local moving company in Phoenix says you can protect yourself and your belongings by:

  • Only choosing companies with licensed and insured movers (they’ll pay if your belongings are damaged or missing)
  • Making a complete list of all items, especially the expensive ones
  • Locking valuables, you plan to transport yourself away in a separate location on moving day when movers will be in and out of your home

4. Holding Your Goods In Storage

Dishonest interstate moving companies may hold your stuff in storage and claim there’s an extra fee you’ll need to pay because they had issues while attempting your move. They may even have someone purposely park a large vehicle in front of your new location. They’ll then tell you if you don’t want to wait for the vehicle owner to get back and move it you’ll have to pay an extra fee.

The lowest of the low will keep making excuses about why your goods are being held before they stop responding to your calls and emails altogether. And you might not get your belongings back at all. Minimize this risk by getting full company information before any move takes place, including:

  • Full legal business name for the company
  • A physical company address
  • A verifiable office phone number (call the number yourself first to make sure a real person answers)

Should you have any doubts about a moving company you are considering, take a moment to check reviews online from review sites you know you can trust. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they’re accredited or if any complaints have been filed. Finally, pay attention to your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right about your initial interaction with someone from a moving company, trust your instincts and look elsewhere.

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