4 Tips for Avoiding Moving Scams

by Miranda Marquit · 7 comments

Moving truck

Late spring to early summer is a popular time for moving. One way to take some of the stress out of moving is to pay someone else to help you move.

There are a number of moving companies that can help you move your possessions to a new location. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of scams.

There are movers who will load up your possessions and take off with everything. There are also scammers who move your things, but then hold onto them until they can extort a higher rate from you. You might keep paying and paying, with your possessions held hostage.

Here are some tips to help you avoid moving scams:

1. Stay Away from Craigslist

While not everyone on Craigslist is a scammer, the unfortunate truth is that the unwary consumer can be easily snared by ads appearing on online classifieds. Instead of looking on Craigslist or similar sources, ask for recommendations from friends and family. You can also get ideas of what reputable moving companies are available by asking a local real estate agent. There are plenty of sources that can provide you with solid recommendations.

2. Look for Marked Trucks

Find out ahead of time whether or not the mover uses marked trucks. Unmarked trucks can be a tip-off that you’re dealing with a scammer. You want trucks that bear the logo and information of a reputable moving company. Additionally, find out if the mover has an actual physical address that you can visit. If all you get is a P.O. Box, or if you visit the address and it appears to be fake, stay away.

3. Get at Least Three Estimates

Make sure that you get at least three estimates. Be wary of movers that seem too good to be true. Many extra-low estimates are just ways to get you to commit and pay a deposit — only for the mover to jack up the price later. Getting several estimates can give you a good idea of what’s available.

Also, don’t use a company that relies only on the information you give them via phone or the internet. The best moving companies will come out to your home, review your situation, and give you an estimate based on what they actually see. You might end up paying more, but you’re less likely to be surprised by a mover that comes and looks at your stuff.

4. Research the Company

Don’t forget to perform a background check on the moving company. Check to make sure that the mover has the appropriate licensing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration licenses interstate movers, so you should make sure that your mover is properly licensed before you choose them. Also check with your state regulator.

Research the mover online to find out what others are saying. Check with the Better Business Bureau, as well as sites like Yelp, so you can learn about others’ experiences.

With a little due diligence on your part, it’s possible for you to hire reputable movers and avoid moving scams.

Have you ever been victim to a moving scam? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Kellimu Ciame says:

    You should have used moovooz.com. They give you a flat-rate quote from multiple companies instantly at their site. All you have do is enter the items you’re moving. They also give a 100% guarantee for their price quotes. I just used them to move in Miami and it was awesome!

  • Andy says:

    I got lucky w/a recent move that I found off of CL. They were an actual reputable company, but advertising discounted rates on CL. Sometimes you can get good deals on there versus just going to their website.

  • Property Marbella says:

    You can always call the transport union and verify removal companies.

  • zimmy@moneyandpotatoes.com says:

    I have made a few moves in my life but they were all paid 100% by the military. I have read some horror stories about companies jacking the price up by thousands of dollars and not released property until you pay. I will just stick with using friends and family along with a rental truck when I move next.

  • Your Daily Finance says:

    Nice tips! Though I have never really had a problem with Craigslist though I do hear a lot of scammers hang out there. If you can get movers through a referral source.

  • Jeff says:

    Additionally, you’ll find lots of great information at http://www.movingscam.com. It’s a great site that’s been around for over 10 years that not only has great information on moving, but lists of reputable movers within each state, volunteers who answer questions and tons of articles on things to watch out for and be aware of during your move.

  • Jenna says:

    Great tips! Another easy way to avoid moving scams is to use Unpakt.com, a price comparison and booking site for reputable, experienced and insured moving companies. No shady movers!

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