how to spot a moving scam

How to Spot a Moving Scam

With so many moving companies in the industry, customers have an abundance of choice as they decide which movers suit their needs.

However, despite the wide array of movers, customers will quickly realize that not every moving company can provide the same caliber of service. In fact, upon further inspection, plenty of seemingly trustworthy moving companies reveal themselves to be scammers.

When considering which moving company is right for your needs, you’re probably wondering, “How can I discern a moving scam from a genuine moving company?” Luckily, if you know the red flags to look out for, it can be easy to determine which companies are trustworthy. Keep reading to discover the warning signs!

Know the Warning Signs of Rogue Movers

If you’re worried about falling victim to rogue movers during your next move, never fear! Get to know our eight warning signs to look out for, and discover how to avoid moving scams…

  • Missing Necessary Licensing

To effectively operate, moving companies require several different licenses, certifications, and insurance. Without these important qualifications, it’s best to opt for another company.

Whether you’re moving locally or long distance, your movers should have a U.S. Department of Transportation number, which can usually be found on their site. Look out for the term “USDOT” when you search for this certification. Additionally, any moving company you work with should be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

It’s also advisable to ask about the company’s insurance policies and to check that it is in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. All of these stipulations are great ways to verify that a company is legitimate and trustworthy.

  • Poor Online Reviews

A simple and convenient way to determine a company’s merit is to read its online reviews. Fortunately, many sites provide platforms for customers to provide their feedback and weigh in about their experiences with movers.

Although one negative review amid many positive ones may just be a fluke, it’s important to look out for trends in customer feedback. An overwhelming amount of poor reviews can be very telling of a company’s quality and customer service. It’s also helpful to check if they had previous complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau and how they may have handled those issues.

In addition to online reviews, offline evaluations have plenty of merit. If any of your trusted friends, family, or neighbors have had prior experience with a moving company, be sure to ask them how their experience went. If the reviews aren’t so great, you might be better off continuing your search for a reliable moving company to help with your relocation. 

  • Does Not Complete Thorough In-Home Estimate

To accurately gauge how much your move will cost, moving companies will almost always complete an in-home assessment to determine several factors about your relocation. Alternatively, some companies have recently adopted technology that allows customers to complete a video survey to obtain an accurate estimate.

Either of these methods can provide a valid way to determine the cost of a moving company’s services, tailored to your individual needs. However, a lack of a thorough estimate is a major red flag. Whether the assessment is rushed or completely missing, this is a sign that the movers aren’t taking the necessary time to offer their customers the appropriate price.

  • Provides Suspiciously Low Quote

Of course, we all want to receive a fair, affordable price when we’re shopping around for movers. Despite this, it’s important to be discerning about what a fair price actually looks like. If a company is giving you a quote that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

For this reason, it’s always best to request estimates from at least three companies so you can properly determine what a fair price for your move looks like. Oftentimes, when a low quote is provided, these rogue moving companies end up tacking on extra fees at the end.

  • Requires Large Deposit

On the other end of the spectrum, look out for moving companies that request a large deposit upfront. Most movers will ask for either a small percentage of your total cost or no payment at all prior to providing services. However, a common tactic employed by moving scammers is asking for a larger deposit upfront, which then results in providing subpar service or even no service at all.  

  • Missing a Physical Address

For any reputable moving company, it’s necessary to have a physical address to use as an office space and a home to the various supplies needed to function as movers.

Many scammers will not have a physical address listed on their website, and they may also be missing a local phone number. These are warning signs that everything is not as it seems. A physical address and a working phone number operated by an actual human (not a robot!) are two required characteristics for any trusted movers.

  • Various Name Changes

Another red flag to be on the lookout for as you search for a moving company is a history of name changes. If a company has gone by numerous monikers, it’s typically a sign that they are trying to avoid a negative reputation following them. This is seen by scammers as an easy way to prevent customers from finding out more about a poor history when they used different names.  

  • Incomplete Paperwork Provided

Finally, one of the most important things to be wary of is incomplete paperwork. It’s crucial to have all of the agreed-upon terms included in your contract with a moving company so you have something to refer back to.

These documents should always be thorough and precise in nature, providing an accurate depiction of what is expected from your movers. However, if they provide a blank or incomplete contract, this is a major warning sign to steer clear of this company. Professional, trustworthy movers will always give completed documents to their customers to ensure everything is in writing.

Find Sarasota Movers You Can Trust!

Spotting a moving scam doesn’t have to be a challenge. With the right know-how, you can spot it from a mile away! If you’re searching for a reliable moving company in the Florida Gulf Coast, AAA Flat Rate Moving & Storage has everything you need and more. We are Sarasota’s number-one moving company, and we have consistently delivered high-quality solutions to our customers for over 40 years. Request a free moving quote online today, and discover our comprehensive services at affordable prices!

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