5 Ways to Tell a Moving Company is a Scam

A black photo that has "scam alert" written on it.
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If you are looking to relocate for the first time, you will need to consider a great number of factors. If you don’t know where to start, it can seem quite stressful and challenging. To deal with the difficulty and confusion that people who are moving for the first time face, they usually hire movers. Even though working alongside experienced professionals is a great way to have a successful relocation, you need to be careful. This is when you may become a target of moving scams. Instead of searching for a relocation company out of desperation, try a different approach. Once you take a breath and understand how most movers operate, you’ll find it much easier to exclude the ones that may be fraudulent. We’ll go over the five most significant ways to determine whether a moving company is a scam.

1. Charges way less or way over the average price

If you find a company that sounds like the perfect choice for you, it’s only natural that you don’t want it to be a scam. However, you cannot let this blind you to the truth. A good indicator that something might be wrong is the company’s price. If it’s too high or even too low, you should do some further digging. Often, the companies that overprice for their service do so without any actual justification. On the other hand, if you’re looking at a perfectly average company with a really low price point, it may be fraudulent. You should strive toward finding a medium-priced company.

Accepting cash as the only form of payment

Any moving business that accepts cash only isn’t worth another minute of your time. Even if you’re not dealing with fraudulent movers, you don’t want to pair up with a company that’s not professional. If you’re asked to pay a big deposit, especially in cash, before meeting face to face, hang up and find another company. This is one of the sure-fire ways to recognize a moving company is a fraud.

A girl holding a stack of cash since the moving company that she's hired is a scam, and they demand cash as the only form of payment.
If your moving company’s demanding cash as the only form of payment, it may be a scam.

2. Has no reviews

Relocation scams are typically short-lived. Scammers set up websites and makeup company names to escape repercussions. However, they quickly abandon them after a few consumers have been duped. Because of their short lifespan, they aren’t around long enough to be checked by third-party moving websites. This means that if you can’t find any business reviews, it might be a scam. You want to look for already acclaimed movers that have a rich and experienced background.

3. Charges by the cubic foot

One of the most widely known moving scams is precisely this one. Reputable movers (especially interstate movers) bill you based on the weight of your package, not the number of cubic feet it takes up in a moving truck. Pay attention to the method the company uses to measure costs when you get your moving estimate. Find a different company if the prices are based on cubic feet or some other scale factor (square feet, cubic meters, etc.). If the calculation is focused on weight, you’re more likely to be dealing with a reputable company.

For signs as evident as this one is, it’s pretty simple to differentiate between reliable movers and scammers. You use a pretty straightforward formula to ensure all the signs are there. However, it’s not always like this. That’s why it’s important to double-check whether a moving company is a scam using the other methods we’ve mentioned.

A calculator that your moving company should use to calculate your moving costs in the right way if it's not a scam.
The way your moving company calculates your expenses will help you tell whether they’re a scam or not.

4. Offers too little information

You should look for a company that’s upfront and honest, even about its flaws. Don’t fall for a company that’s selling perfection; it doesn’t exist. You can tell that a moving company is a scam if it’s too vague and general with how it defines its business. You want to find a company that offers a free estimate, and that can tell you about the upcoming relocation process in great detail. Most valid and reliable companies will also mention some things you can do or even avoid to have a better experience. They do this because they care about offering you the best deal possible. Not being afraid to talk you through some hardships is an excellent indicator that a moving company has nothing to hide.

Know your liability protection options

Although no moving company wants to lose or break any of your possessions, mishaps do occur from time to time. As a result, the FMSCA requires all moving companies to give their clients one of two forms of liability insurance: complete replacement value protection or released value protection. During the booking process, your movers should list and thoroughly explain both options to you.

A person signing their insurance papers.
If your moving company isn’t a scam, it should provide some sort of insurance for your belongings.

5. You’re unable to find them in the FMCSA system

Any licensed and insured interstate movers have to have a US DOT code, which you can find by checking the FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website directly. Keep in mind that there might be different rules if you’re traveling inside the state. However, if you’re looking for a state-to-state moving company, you’ll be able to tell if they’re valid by looking them up in an online directory. Their presence in the list ensures that they are federally regulated too.

Conclusion – don’t sign anything before knowing if a moving company is a scam

If you’re unsure if the moving companies you’re looking into are legitimate, consider the questions above. Fortunately, there’s a multitude of excellent, reputable, and dependable relocation companies out there. Of course, your expectations also need to be realistic. If you don’t want to wonder whether a moving company is a scam, look for quality. Saving some money when hiring movers can quickly end up costing you far more.





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