5 Moving Company Red Flags: How to Identify a Scam

We’ve written about it before, but we can’t stress it enough. When planning to hire a state-to-state moving company, do your research. You probably know at least one family member or friend who overpaid for their move, waited weeks for their belongings, and when the truck finally arrived – they were charged additional fees or had missing items. What a nightmare!

There are many good cross-country moving companies out there, but there are a handful of fraudulent moving companies as well, and we want to make sure that you steer clear of those! Here are five red flags that you should look for when selecting your state-to-state moving company.

1. They charge you by cubic feet instead of by weight.

A legit moving company will provide a by-weight price for your shipment. They will ask you questions about how many pieces of furniture, how many boxes, and even come by to see what you are moving to offer the most accurate estimate – but they will not offer a price per cubic feet. If you think about it – it’s not possible to offer an accurate price this way until everything is packed in the truck. A certain piece of furniture may have to fit a certain way, and therefore you wouldn’t know the cost of shipping this piece of furniture until it’s packed. If you know the weight of your belongings before the move, a good moving company will give you a more accurate price estimate. Additionally, many van lines will charge a minimum price by weight, so if you are moving a small home or apartment, consider a small-move company such as MiniMoves, which has no minimum weight requirement, to save yourself money.

2. When you complete an inquiry form, you receive multiple phone calls.

We’re not talking about a series of phone calls from the same person. We’re talking about various phone calls from various people who claim to work for different moving companies. The scam is, once you complete an inquiry form, the fraudulent moving company will have three separate people call you claiming to be from three different moving companies. They do this to get your business because you think you just received three different quotes…when it was actually one company offering three different quotes. Note to self: if you complete one inquiry form, you should receive one phone call.

3. Cash only or a large deposit are red flags to avoid.

Any moving company that is cash only is not worth a minute more of your time. Likewise, if you are asked to pay a large deposit before they even come to move your items, then hang up and call someone else. MiniMoves will never ask you for a deposit before we pick up your belongings. All MiniMoves shipments are paid in full after pick up and prior to delivery and acceptable methods of payment include Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

4. They don’t make you aware of your liability protection options.

While no moving companies want to lose or break any of your belongings, accidents do happen occasionally. Therefore, all moving companies are required by the FMSCA to have two types of liability protection options available to the client: full replacement value protection or released value protection. Both options should be mentioned and fully explained to you during the booking process. If the moving company does not do this, politely decline and move on.

5. You cannot locate their U.S. DOT number in the FMCSA’s system

All licensed and insured state-to-state moving companies will have a U.S. DOT number that you can find when searching the FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) directly. You can search that here. Keep in mind that if you are moving within the state, there may be different regulations – but if you are researching a state-to-state moving company, you will know they are licensed by finding them in this directory. This means that they are federally regulated as well.

If you’re wondering whether the moving companies that you are researching are legitimate, then ask yourself the questions above. Fortunately, there are many great, trustworthy and dependable relocation companies. If you’re looking for a unique, professional, small-move company that does not charge you for minimum weight, consider contacting MiniMoves for a free quote. You’ll get the professionalism of a full-service moving company at the cost of a do-it-yourself move. Click here for a free quote today.

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