How to recognize rogue moving companies
Avoid Moving Scams
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 40 million moves take place each year. With this high number, more moving companies have emerged throughout the years. The majority of these are reputable and professional companies that have been in business for many years, providing a secure service to their customers. However, some not so reputable moving companies have also surfaced with the intent to deceive their customers.
Doing thorough research and knowing what to look out for when choosing a moving company is crucial. You will be entrusting your belongings to this company, and paying them to take care of, and deliver your items to your new home. Without any questionable doubt, you want to know you are choosing a reputable moving company.
Things To Pay Attention To
DOT number and registration – Make sure any company you are considering is licensed, bonded, insured and registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation
Website – Having a website is a great way to receive business. If any moving company you are considering does not have a website, be wary. If there is a website, how professional is it? Is the site secure? Legitimate sites that store any personal information have a closed padlock or key in the address bar on your web browser. Is the DOT (Department of Transportation) number visible? All moving companies are required by law to have their DOT number visible on the company website.
Phone manner – When calling the moving company and speaking with the front desk, the call should be answered stating the company’s name and the representative should be courteous, informative and able to direct your call to the right department.
Estimates – Moving companies looking to scam their customers will usually provide a very low estimate also know as "lowballing". In most cases, this is provided over the phone. If you are collecting at least three estimates, which is recommended, you will be able to see right away that something doesn’t look right.
If you do receive an in home estimate from a shady moving company, the estimator will probably do a very quick walk through without doing a thorough check, or asking any important questions. An estimator from a reputable moving company will provide a thorough and detailed walk through and ask a lot of questions, some that might even seem odd, such as, inquiring into what is planned for the existing food in the cabinets. A shady moving company most likely, will not even look in the cabinets.
Deposits and payments – Do not pay large deposits. No reputable moving company will ask for a large sum of money as a deposit. There are warnings that paying by cash should not be done, however, many highly reputable moving companies sometimes prefer to be paid by cash for varying reasons. As do customers, some prefer to pay using cash.
Bill of lading – A moving company out to scam a customer may ask you to sign blank pages on your Bill of Lading. Reputable moving companies will never require you to sign blank pages. Make sure you receive a copy of your bill of lading, as this is your contract.
How To Protect Yourself And Your Move
Rights and responsibilities - Moving companies are required by federal law to provide you a booklet of your "Rights and Responsibilities" This is to be given during the planning process of your move. If any company you are considering has not offered you this booklet prior to moving day, hire a different moving company.
Insurance – Professional moving companies will provide information on the different types of Moving Insurance so your belongings are protected during the move.
Better Business Bureau – Using a BBB certified mover is advised.
References and reviews – While researching moving companies, read reviews and testimonials. Check each company’s ratings and consumer reports. If any close friends or relatives have a company they can recommend, check them out.
Company truck – Professional moving companies will have their own trucks, complete with logos and company name. On some occasions, for example, during summer, when there is a high volume of moves taking place, reputable companies do need to hire additional trucks for this busy period.
Everyone has the right to have their belongings moved without fear of being scammed. Be diligent and thorough in your research.