When looking for a moving company for your relocation, it’s important to know the signs to look for that point to a moving company being a scam or otherwise fraudulent. To spot a moving scam, there are multiple ways to check a moving company’s licenses, accreditations, reviews, and other factors to ensure that they’re not only legitimate but that they’re also working with your best interests in mind.
So what are the biggest signs of a moving company scam? Let’s get into the warning signs so you can protect yourself and your items during the moving process.
How to Spot a Moving Company Scam At-a-Glance
In short, some of the biggest signs of a moving scam are that your potential company won’t be licensed by the FMCSA or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Fraudulent companies will also either not have any third-party reviews or will have reviews complaining about their services (or lack thereof). Another warning sign is that they’ll charge by cubic footage or by some other method other than weight. They also might even ask you to sign a contract before giving you an accurate or in-home estimate.
Let’s get into more in-depth reasons why these are red flags when it comes to researching your moving company.
How to Tell If a Moving Company is a Scam
- Not Being Licensed by the FMCSA
If your professional mover isn’t licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), it means that they don’t have a federal license that ensures their authenticity. This agency tracks and regulates the trucking industry, including moving companies.
The best way to check up on the licensing of your potential moving company is by using their US Department of Transportation number to research them through the FMCSA’s database. The company’s USDOT number should be either provided to you by the company or will be listed in fine print at the bottom of their website.
Always remember, do more than just look up a moving company’s USDOT number with the FMCSA’s database when it comes to doing your moving research. All because a company may be licensed doesn’t mean they’ll provide you with the best services or best prices.
- Read Customer Reviews
In learning more about your company’s licenses and doing your research, also always make sure to check customer reviews on a variety of websites. Don’t just check the company’s website – these can often be curated just to showcase the best ones or be paid.
Look on Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau to find accurate reviews. Pay attention to trends of reviews, instead of the odd complaint or a random outlier.
Another good way to find a reliable moving company that isn’t a scam is by asking around to family, friends, or trusted coworkers about their past experiences with different moving companies. Get recommendations for both companies that they’ve had positive experiences with, and make sure to note if they’ve had poor experiences or heard bad things about certain companies. Word of mouth is often the most reliable form of review, so always listen to those you trust about their experiences with different companies.
- Not Charging by Weight
If a moving company is charging by the cubic foot or by another method of charging that isn’t my weight, it’s very often a moving scam. Reputable moving companies will always charge you based on the weight of the items in your move, not by how much room your items will take up in their trucks.
If you’re discussing your move with a prospective company, or are getting a quote from a company that mentions that they charge based on anything other than weight, be wary of a potential scam and grill them further.
- Asking You to Sign a Contract Before an Estimate
If your potential moving company asks you to sign a contract or pay upfront before giving you an in-home estimate, they’re most likely fraudulent – especially if they ask you to pay for an estimate on top of everything.
Reputable companies won’t ask you to sign a contract or pay anything before giving you an accurate in-home estimate before giving you a definitive price.
At the end of the day, doing your research, getting several quotes from many different companies, and overall just remaining vigilant in your research and your moving company search will let you find a reputable company that will provide you with a positive relocation experience for the best possible prices. Looking for the best professional movers for you? Avoid scams and use Excel Moving & Storage for all of your residential and commercial moving needs.