7 ways to make sure a moving company is legitimate

These seven guidelines can help you watch out for “rogue movers” who overcharge or even steal homeowners’ belongings.

"Rogue movers" are disreputable companies that claim to offer moving services,but in reality they exist to prey on individuals and families. In a common scenario, someone posing as a moving company representative asks for payment up front, then holds their belongings hostage by claiming additional fees are owed. If they don't pay, the movers may unpack their belongings and leave them on the street or sell them off. At the very worst, rogue movers have been known to drive away and disappear with everything on their truck. Here are simple ways to avoid moving scams.
 

1. Don’t make any payments up front.

When moving within the United States, a legitimate moving company won't ask for payment up front. Rogue domestic movers will ask for a deposit or sometimes even full payment before handling any of your belongings. 
 
The practice of requesting payment up front is common when moving abroad, however. As most international movers prepay ocean freight and services at destination, it is standard practice to ask for payment before services rendered. 
 

2. Are they online?

If you can't find any mention of a would-be moving company online, consider it a red flag and a possible moving scam. If salespeople visiting your house showed no identification and weren't wearing uniforms, this is also a red flag. The same rule applies on the day of your move. A truck showing no logos or moving company names is highly suspicious, unless they have proven otherwise.
 

3. Request a free estimate.

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires moving companies to perform a free, in-home estimate.
 

4. Certified moving companies must have a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number.

It's always recommended to work with a certified moving company. To confirm the credentials of a mover who claims to be certified, visit this DOT site and choose "carrier search".
 

5. Check business certifications.

Search to see if a mover is certified by the American Moving & Storage Association, and also check the Better Business Bureau and other online directories.
 

6. Visit consumer protection sites.

Movingscam.com is a great resource on the subject, as is protectyourmove.gov.

 

The best rule of thumb is simple: don't let anyone pressure you into paying them for a service they haven't provided. And if something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts.

Feel free to visit one of our other blogs for more information on rogue movers, or contact us to find out about our own household goods moving services.