It can be a great decision to hire a professional moving company to handle the heavy lifting and transportation involved in moving, whether it is a local move to a new home or a corporate relocation. Reputable moving companies make your experience much easier by allowing you to focus on the bigger picture of your move rather than the logistics of transporting your belongings, but a bad hiring decision can cause even more stress and frustration.
Unfortunately, the industry can also include unreliable movers who may use bad business practices to squeeze all the profit they can off your move, all while providing poor service. When searching for a moving company, avoid these red flags that could mean you might be on your way to experiencing a moving scam.
1. Information is Hard to Find Online
Quality moving companies should present themselves online with a comprehensive website that presents the most important information upfront and allows you the chance to learn more details on the site and by contacting the company. If the company only provides a barebones website with no contact information, it likely is not a reputable company you want to hire.
2. No Physical Address
Go to the company’s website and verify the physical address. A company that supposedly owns moving trucks, supplies, and storage space should have a physical location you can visit to learn more about the company.
3. Not Properly Licensed
Moving companies are required to be licensed with the state, and those that move across state lines must be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. For interstate movers, request their U.S. DOT number.
4. Bad Online Reviews
Online reviews can provide you a window into the experience others have had with the moving company. Sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and Facebook pages allow customers to rate and write reviews for companies, and the overall trend of reviews is a helpful indicator of what to expect.
5. Does Not Provide a Written Estimate
Requesting an estimate gives you a ballpark idea of how much the moving company’s services will cost, but the initial estimate does not guarantee a final price. If a company refuses to provide an estimate or does not put it in writing, you could be liable to pay much more than expected.
6. The Offer is Too Good to be True
If the company does provide you an estimate, and the offer seems too good to be true, your gut feeling could be correct. Quality moving companies have significant expenses to cover, and if you feel you have scored a much better deal than expected, it might be the start of a frustrating and disappointing experience that costs you more in the long run.
7. Cannot Provide References
Moving companies who provide excellent service should be able to provide you with references that prove it. You can request references from previous customers that can share their experiences so you can make an informed decision.
8. No Clear Insurance and Cargo Protection Policies
Hiring the best moving company is no reason to not carry insurance on your belongings, and if the company you are exploring does not have substantive insurance and cargo protection policies, you could be liable to cover damages and replace expensive items.
9. Requests a Large Deposit
It is perfectly normal for moving companies to request a deposit upfront, and then you pay the rest after the job is complete. If the company you are speaking with requests a large deposit, or only takes cash, this could be a sign of a moving scam.
10. Ask You to Sign Blank Documents
Just like with any contract, do not sign blank or incomplete documents. There is no telling what the company could add after you have already signed, and you could be liable for higher costs you did not know you were signing up for.
11. A Different Company Shows Up on Moving Day
Lastly, even if you feel you have made it all the way up to moving day with a quality company, make sure it is the company you hired that shows up. If it is not the company you met with initially, it may be a moving scam.