10 Tips You Need to Know to Avoid a Moving Scam
With moving scams on the rise, knowing how to avoid becoming a victim is more important than ever. Use these ten tips from Jordan River Moving to avoid common moving scams.
What is a moving scam?
A moving scam is a fraudulent scheme used by dishonest moving companies with the goal of stealing your belongings, money, or both when you’re moving. These scams are becoming more common and expensive to consumers. According to the Washington State BBB, people reported more than $730,000 in losses due to moving scams in 2021. There are several types of moving scams, but essentially, a moving company will give you a low estimate, then ask for more money once you’re hooked. Sometimes they hold your stuff hostage and demand you pay a substantial extra fee; other times, they steal your things altogether. Moving scams are not only financially costly, but can be emotionally devastating.
10 Tips to Avoid a Moving Scam
You can protect yourself and your family from common moving scams with these ten tips.
1. Do your research
Moving companies must have a permit to do business legally. Unlicensed companies are operating illegally and may take advantage of you. If you’re moving in-state, look up your state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission website. For out-of-state moves, you can check a moving company’s permit status with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). Only hire moving companies who are licensed and operating legally.
2. Avoid moving brokers
Avoid moving brokers at all costs. Moving brokers charge you to connect you with a cheap moving company. These third-party brokers “sell” your move to any moving company they want. When you work with a broker, you are not doing business with the company that will be moving you. Many moving scams result from third-party brokers who hold your stuff hostage and demand additional fees. Ask your moving company if they will be doing the move or if another company will. If the moving company is not doing the move themselves- run!
3. Get recommendations
Another way to avoid a scam is to get recommendations from people who have hired reputable moving companies. You can ask family, friends, neighbors, or your real estate agent for a reliable company. Good moving companies have repeat customers who will recommend them to anyone who asks.
4. Get multiple estimates
Getting a few estimates from different moving companies is a good idea. Most of us don’t move that frequently, so we’re unsure what the cost should be. Estimates from reputable companies should be in the same ballpark. If one seems really low compared to the others, watch out! You could be falling for a scammer.
5. Get your contract in writing
Get everything in writing. Your estimate, contract, and all of the details of your move before the moving company shows up. Don’t wait until your stuff is loaded into the truck! Beware of signing any blank paperwork or anything you don’t fully understand.
6. Get an in-home estimate
To get the best estimate for the price of your move, get an in-home estimate. The trained estimator will be able to give you the most accurate cost estimation. Stay away from any company that wants to charge based on cubic feet, volume, or a list of items. These are huge red flags. Good moving companies should charge based on the actual weight for a long-distance move or the time it takes for the crew to do a local move.
7. Hire local when possible
Local companies want to keep a good reputation in the community. They are less apt to pull tricks on people who live in the same city and risk their reputation. Jordan River Moving helps fight scammers! To see how, visit King 5 News for the full story.
8. Ask questions
Any respectable moving company will happily answer your questions and explain the whole process to you. If a moving company is hard to get in touch with or is evasive about specifics, it could be a sign that they’re not reputable. Jordan River Moving has knowledgeable Relocation Specialists willing to be transparent and answer all your questions.
9. Assess professionalism of the company
Even a brief Google search on a moving company will give you a lot of information and should turn up information about companies that might be sketchy. Consider these questions as you’re looking to hire a moving company. Is there a working website? Does someone answer the phone with the name of the moving company? Does the company have its own trucks with its logo on the side? Do the movers have uniforms? If the company seems unprofessional, they probably are.
10. Trust your gut
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a moving company offers you an extremely low price compared to others, promises you an exact price before they see your items, or acts in a way that sends up any red flags, don’t hire them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when your whole life is packed into a moving truck. To learn more about specific scams, how to spot them, and how to protect yourself, read our Complete Guide to Moving Scams: Become an Expert, Not a Victim.
Hire movers you can trust
Now that you know some tips to keep you safe from scammers, you can feel confident about your next move. For a moving company you know you can trust, hire Jordan River Moving. Their website has testimonials, information to help you every step of the process, and you can connect with a Relocation Specialist who cares about you and your move.