“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.
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.
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires moving companies to perform a free, in-home estimate.
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”.
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.
Movingscam.com is a great resource on the subject, as is protectyourmove.gov.
In the past, reputable movers would never ask for payment up front. However, to meet the needs of the modern consumer, times are a ‘changing. To lock in move dates for customers, oftentimes moving companies will request a deposit before handling any of your belongings, particularly when moving within the same city. This protects the customers so that a disreputable mover doesn’t find a more desirable move (i.e., higher paying) and leave you in the lurch come move day.
In addition, the practice of requesting payment up front is also common when moving abroad. As most international movers prepay ocean freight and services at destination, it is standard practice to ask for payment before services rendered.
The best rule of thumb is simple: if something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts.
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