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Moving scams are more prevalent than you think. If you’re not careful, you could wind up broke, stressed, and without your most prized possessions. Fortunately, most rogue moving companies are easy to spot and avoid, especially if you know what red flags to look for in these scams.
- 10 Red Flags to Look For When Hiring a Moving Company
10 Red Flags to Look For When Hiring a Moving Company
Whether you’re considering moving to Colorado, Texas, or California, you need to stay vigilant of illegitimate moving companies.
Here are 10 red flags to look for before you hire a mover.
1. They’re Not Licensed
All state to state moving companies should have a U.S. DOT number and be licensed by the United States Department of Transportation. However, local companies will be regulated by the state. Be sure to ask your movers for their DOT number or state license number, so you can look it up.
2. Too Good to be True Estimates
If the company is offering too good to be true estimates, that’s a sign of a scam. For example, most student loan scams say they can cancel or reduce a person’s loan debt for a fee. In the case of both scams, your end costs will be double or triple what they were in the beginning.
3. They Aren’t Insured
Moving someone else’s things is a huge liability risk, so a moving company is guaranteed to be fraudulent if they’re uninsured. Even if they turn out to be legitimate, you won’t want to hire movers that don’t care about your things. Always ask if the company you’re using is insured.
4. No Valuation Coverage
Interstate moving companies are required to offer full value and released value protection coverage, but local movers aren’t held to these standards. Even so, it’s suspicious when a local moving business doesn’t offer valuation coverage, as nearly every other moving competitor will.
5. Non-Binding Estimates
Moving companies that only offer non-binding estimates intend to rip you off. Typically, movers will give you a choice between binging or binging not-to-exceed estimates, which shows they’ll stay true to their initial estimate. With a non-binding estimate, you’re always going to pay more.
6. They Have Bad Reviews
When researching a new job or career, you always look up the employer first. You should do the same for any company you use or purchase from. If a potential moving company has multiple negative reviews, Better Business Bureau, or FMCSA complaints, you should stay away.
7. Can’t Provide References
Any experienced moving company will have no issue finding someone to vouch for them, so a lack of references could be a sign of trouble. Either the company is new, or they have zero satisfied customers. A legitimate brand would jump at the chance to offer you a reference.
8. They’re Unprofessional
Some common sense will go a long way. If you can’t find the company’s business address or email and they aren’t using a branded moving truck, they’re scamming you. Even if you go through with the move using them, the chances are they’ll cause damage to your old or new property, or cause problems with neighbors which can result in you needing a federal defense lawyer. Other signs of unprofessionalism are a lack of uniforms, pattern of rude behavior, and no company cell phone.
9. No Bill of Lading
A bill of lading is the official contract between you and the moving company, and all movers are required to sign one before a shipment is made. If they refuse to present a contract, don’t hand over your possessions to them. That contract acknowledges receipt of cargo for shipment.
10. They Ask for Pay Upfront
Asking for payment upfront is definitely strange and a clear red flag. If you paid your movers upfront, there’s nothing stopping them from taking your money (and possessions) and driving away. You should only pay your movers after they move your things to their final destination.
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