How to Identify Moving Company Scams
You’ve weighed all your state to state moving options and decided you’re going to hire a professional moving company. Great! How do you choose a moving company – and how do you know whether the company you want to hire is legitimate?
While most state to state moving companies, such as MiniMoves, are extremely reputable and reliable, there are still a few scam companies to watch out for. What signs should you be looking for when researching moving companies, and how do you know whether you are being overcharged and underserved?
Signs of a Scam Moving Company
Moving is an unexpected expense for many people, so sticking within a budget is typically a top priority. Unfortunately, the scam moving companies prey on the individuals who need to stick within a budget and advertise low prices. Take these precautionary steps to avoid moving fraud and ensure you aren’t being scammed:
Check for License and Insurance
All moving companies must be properly licensed and insured. By law, all state to state moving companies must register with the Federal government and are listed in the U.S. DOT system, but companies who advertise themselves as local movers – are not required to register with the Federal government. They are only regulated by the state in which they operate. Every state has its own licensing requirements, so you should check your state’s requirements to determine whether the moving company is legitimate.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires two types of liability insurance options that moving companies must offer their customers: Full Value Protection and Released Value. In addition to this, the company must also be insured as well. While researching moving companies, you should ask for proof of insurance. Legit companies will easily provide this upon request.
Check for Complaints & Read Public Reviews
Read reviews and complaints filed with various organizations. You can check for “official” complaints that are filed with the FMCSA, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can also read reviews on websites such as Yelp.com, Nextdoor.com, and other review websites. Every state to state moving company has a U.S. DOT number, which you can use to search for complaints on the FMCSA website. The BBB is a non-profit whose mission is to help consumers find companies they can trust. A BBB accredited business has met certain standards set by the BBB.
You should always ask your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and family for their recommendations as well. Someone you know and trust might have a personal experience with a moving company, and this feedback is invaluable.
Obtain an Estimate in Writing
Moving companies must provide a binding estimate over the phone or Internet, or come to personally view your belongings that are being moved. For example, MiniMoves provides over the phone pre-move surveys and binding estimates to determine the cost of your move based on the items and services discussed during the estimation process. A binding estimate specifies in advance the precise cost of the move based on the services requested or deemed necessary at the time of the estimate. Binding estimates are valid for a period specified – for example, up to 30 days.
An estimate in writing outlining all charges, fees, and possible upcharges, prior to your signing or paying anything, is important. It is recommended that you contact 3-4 moving companies to obtain written estimates so you can compare the total possible charges. If one company is considerably higher or lower than the others, then this is a red flag. You’ll notice that most freight moving companies will have a minimum weight charge for moves. A small move company such as MiniMoves will provide a detailed list of the items to be shipped, the moving services that are provided, the insurance coverage on your shipment, and a guaranteed total moving price quote to help you make your decision.
Is the Moving Company Professional?
A professional moving company will have a website, a business email address, the ability to provide you a copy of their license and proof of insurance, have comparable prices to other moving companies, and have professional drivers and movers. They will communicate with you from the day you request a quote until the day your move is complete with important information such as dates, times and expected delays.
Select Your Moving Company with Confidence
If you’ve done thorough research on several state to state moving companies, and obtained multiple quotes, then you should be able to choose your moving company with confidence. A company like MiniMoves uses skilled, background checked, drug tested professional state to state movers to deliver exceptional service for moves of all sizes – big and small. If you’re in the process of your moving company research, contact MiniMoves today for a free quote to get started. We look forward to answering your questions and giving you the best moving experience possible.