How to Spot Red Flags When Hiring a Moving Company

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Reading time: 8 minutes

You’ve decided to hire professional movers for your upcoming move. Now, comes the important task of finding trustworthy and reliable movers! Unqualified moving companies tend to attract customers with extremely low prices, but usually lack insurance, a license, and a team of movers with years of experience.

The main red flags to watch out for when hiring a moving company are:

  • Not properly licensed 
  • Not insured
  • Very low cost and non-binding estimates
  • Poor or few reviews
  • No valuation coverage
  • Upfront payment required

Not Properly Licensed

If you’re hiring movers for an interstate move, the company is required to be licensed with the United States Department of Transportation. Ask for the company’s U.S. DOT number to look them up in the FMCSA’s system. Keep in mind that local moving companies who move customers within the same state will not be regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Instead, they will be regulated by the state. So, if you’re hiring local movers, check to make sure the company is properly licensed with your state.

They're Not Insured

Uh oh! If the moving company isn’t insured, it’s likely that they are not legitimate movers. Professional moving companies should be insured in order to protect themselves from potential lawsuits, as well as pay customers back for any damaged goods. If the company lacks insurance, it won’t be able to pay customers back in the event of lost or damaged items.

A “Too Good To Be True” Estimate

Be wary of “too good to be true” estimates, or, if the moving company gives you a quote without taking your inventory. Many scams start with a very low estimate and usually double or triple by the end of your move. In order to receive an accurate estimate, make sure the moving company performs either an in-person inspection or a video survey of your belongings.

The Company Only Offers Non-Binding Estimates

Take notice if the moving company only offers non-binding estimates, opposed to binding or binding not-to-exceed estimates. This may be a sign that the mover intends to rip you off. A non-binding estimate is a quote based on the estimated weight of your belongings. However, your final price will change depending on the actual weight of your inventory. This makes it easy for movers to give you a low-ball estimate at the beginning, only to serve you an unexpectedly high bill at the end. Instead, hire a moving company that offers either a binding estimate or a binding not-to-exceed estimate — both of which ensure the cost of your move will not end up exceeding the original cost estimate.

Poor or Few Reviews

While the occasional bad review is to be expected with any service company, a lot of negative reviews shouldn’t be ignored. Pay attention to review sites, or ask friends for recommendations. To check out moving company reviews, visit Moving.com and click on the Moving Company Directory. The directory includes customer reviews for more than 600 moving companies nationwide. These reviews also include the moving company’s U.S. DOT number, specific services the company offers, the company’s fleet size, Better Business Bureau ratings, and any official complaints filed with the FMCSA. Moving.com also will provide information on whether the moving company belongs to the American Moving & Storage Association.

The Company Doesn’t Offer Valuation Coverage

Most fraudulent moving companies will not offer valuation coverage. Moving companies must offer valuation coverage in order to protect their belongings. Valuation coverage is not the same as moving insurance, as it holds the movers responsible for a part of your shipment. According to the FMCSA, interstate movers are required by law to offer two types of liability options: full value protection and released value.

Movers Who Demand To Be Paid Up Front

If the moving company demands to be paid a large amount of a deposit or the full amount upfront, it most likely means they are a fraudulent company. Reputable moving companies always charge the customer after their goods have been shipped to their final destination. Otherwise, the movers could take your money and run!

CONCLUSION

To avoid moving scams, we recommend checking out Moving.com’s extensive network of trustworthy movers. All relocation companies on their network are licensed and insured, so you don’t have to worry about scams and untrustworthy moving companies. If you have any questions or concerns about moving, give us a call! Zip Moving & Storage is here to ensure your belongings are taken care of from start to finish.

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