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Moving from one place or home to another comes with several challenges. According to 2023 data from Home Bay research, hiring movers appears to be a two-blade sword as 1 in every 4 Americans regret not hiring a moving company or mover, while almost 50% of those who did still had items broken during the move. 

At the same time, though, 43% of Americans have mentioned that it’s much easier and time-saving to hire a mover than inconveniencing family or friends or doing it themselves. Unfortunately, many consumers have already been subjected to moving fraud. 

Having a solid base of more than 600 moving and storage companies, PissedConsumer has analyzed data received from our customers and moving reviews and prepared this guide with helpful information about moving scams, the most common reasons why people call the customer service of movers. You will also find tips on how to recognize moving fraud signs, how to avoid moving scams, and how to choose a reliable moving company. 

Moving company scams

Moving Scams: What Consumers Say

Most consumers leaving moving reviews related to their experience with a mover report overcharging, delivery issues, and dealing with unprofessional behavior. Most moving scams are associated with the moving price. Other moving company complaints are about delivery of broken items and customer service issues. 

In addition, some consumers speak about moving scams relevant to turnaround time. 

In the section below, you will find details about how to avoid moving scams. Plus, common moving red flags that could help you prevent moving scam and protect your move. 

7 Moving Fraud Signs

When it comes to moving fraud, the seven most alarming pointers are as follows: 

Instant moving quotes online 

This is the case when the selected moving agency simply provides a fixed price when you request a quote. They neither ask additional questions nor want to visit the customer to look at the staff if needed. Being given instant moving quotes online should be enough to raise concerns and think about moving scams as it almost always leads to extra charges like in one of All My Sons Moving And Storage reviews where the “final price was ~300 increase from initial quote.” 

All My Sons Moving and Storage review

The same applies to verbal quotes given to consumers that can easily result in additional fees not agreed upon upfront. In review #2481451, the consumer was called to pay double the initial quote of $600 for moving 12 pieces of furniture, asked right before the unloading of their items.

Numerous unresolved customer complaints 

According to consumers, a professional mover that they can rely on should either have enough positive reviews or very few negative ones. They believe that having a policy that responds to negative moving reviews politely and cooperatively indicates a company focused on improving customer experience. Going through review websites, such as PissedConsumer, will allow you to identify moving scams through negative reviews and unresolved customer complaints, which can help protect your move. 

Unprofessional behavior of movers

To avoid moving scams, look at the company's services. One of the most frequent moving frauds is that movers and their employees demonstrate poor service and unprofessional behavior. This involves a rude attitude, breaking the rules, and mistreating owners’ property. For example, in PODS review #4247605, one customer explains how a moving company “ruined my staff.” They discovered that “everything wreaked of mold. Things were covered in it!”

Another customer has narrated how movers arrived late in the afternoon to make a move. They called the mover “that morning” and the representative promised to call them back in 15 minutes. However, “I never heard back from him” and eventually had to make the move themselves. 

Unreliable moving company

Requests for significant upfront payments 

You should settle every aspect of moving beforehand to avoid moving scams. After considering all factors and requirements on both sides, a moving agency sets the final price . How many items do you wish to move? When? Where is the end destination? Will you require special equipment for the move? Details like these should be discussed before getting a final quote.

If a company demands a significant amount of money upfront, especially in the off-season, it might be a sign of a moving scam. Don't forget about other upfront payments like tipping movers and discuss them before closing a deal with a moving service provider. A recommended tip is around 10-20% of the total bill. However, tipping movers should be done after the completion of the job, not before the move. 

Poor customer service 

When the moving company is difficult to reach, or it takes a long time to respond to your inquiries or complaints, it should make you wary. In fact, this is one of the most common complaints related to moving scams, according to PissedConsumer reviews. 

For instance, in one PODS review #4295665 on PissedConsumer, a consumer has not managed to get in contact with a moving company customer service and resolve their issue even after a month of trying. In Moving Help review #2701074, the consumer calls the customer service “terrible,” indicating that “after spending hours trying to navigate their screwy website and support chat,” they couldn’t get their refund of the rescheduled order. 

 terrible customer service

Suspicious cancellation policy and insurance coverage 

Many consumers about to have a moving company or mover handle their move opt for moving insurance coverage to cover potential damage or loss of their property. However, you should always thoroughly check a moving company’s cancellation policy to avoid moving scams. 

So, pay close attention to the fine print and ensure you discuss every aspect of this matter, including the precise period the cancellation policy takes effect and what it covers exactly. Then, check if you have everything in writing in an official document to avoid moving scams. If anything feels shady or is not clear, chances are the offered moving insurance coverage is part of a scam. 

Fake moving companies with different names 

One of the most crucial pieces of information about a company is its name. All company details should be crystal clear. Otherwise, you are probably dealing with one of the many moving scams. 

A legitimate moving provider comes with credentials like insurance and registration to prove that you will not face a moving scam. To check the latter, you can get the moving company’s USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number, if they have one, and look it up on the FMCSA website. 

Another indicator that a moving company is probably a professional scammer rather than a professional mover is the lack of company details, like a physical address or being provided with an address that does not verify on the maps street-view tool. 

Top Reasons for Customer Service Calls to Movers

Packers and movers receive many inquiries daily. Consumers contact Customer Support for various reasons and moving scams.

Reasons for сustomer сalls 

According to PissedConsumer data, people usually call moving companies to request for information and for reasons related to:

  • overcharges to credit cards; 
  • payments;
  • order cancellation; 
  • order activation; 
  • refund for broken or damaged items;
  • billing errors;
  • loss of payment code;
  • shipping and/or delivery issues; 
  • missing movers.

The most frequently asked customer service questions 

Consumers usually contact moving company's customer service representatives for issues like requiring a payment code, billing mistakes, help with an order, movers not reaching out or not returning the customer’s call, to schedule replacement movers, wrong credit card charges, and refund-related matters. 

When it comes to the number of claims for loss of money after using a moving services, it also can be an indicator of moving scams, especially when a moving company comes with many negative reviews asking for a refund. 

It appears that customers of All My Sons Moving And Storage report a total loss of around $210K, while PODS and Moving Help have $880K and $59K on claimed losses, respectively, based on customer moving reviews on PissedConsumer. 

How To Choose Reliable Packing and Moving Companies?

One of the best ways concerning the issue of how to avoid moving scams is to start by checking the pricing of movers. A legitimate professional moving agency calculates its rates according to the weight of its customer’s items and will have similar prices to other reliable companies. 

Cheap moving companies offering a low bid are not always the most money-saving option, especially if the quote is significantly lower than the market average. Therefore, to avoid moving scams, compare costs by getting multiple moving estimates . To prevent getting caught up in a moving fraud, you can also do the following:

Check the company’s credentials and registration 

You can easily avoid moving scams by inspecting the moving company’s details, including its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) license. To get this information, check the company’s website to find its USDOT (US Department of Transportation) number and then search for the number in the FMCSA database. You may also use the USDOT tool to check whether a moving company is officially insured, licensed, and registered. All these will help you recognize a moving scam in the early stages of your experience and stray from a shady service provider.

Examine Consumer Reviews

Besides word-of-mouth testimonials, a company’s online presence is also significant and indicates its seriousness (or not) in conducting business. The more positive moving reviews a company has, the better, as it can indicate less probability to experience a moving scam.

Stellar customer service usually characterizes long-standing moving companies and strongly focuses on addressing customers’ negative feedback, providing solutions, and restoring trust. So, if you notice many moving complaints and no willingness to resolve them, it could be a sign of a moving fraud. 

Going through the PissedConsumer reviews platform will also enable you to check out customer service questions related to major moving companies, so you can know whether the company has a strong Customer Support service.

Ask around

You surely have friends, family members, co-workers or neighbors with at least one moving experience. Consider asking them for recommendations from their previous experiences to avoid moving scams. You can also refer to real estate agents. If you hear similar moving company complaints for a specific moving company or mover from many different people you trust, it’s probably best to choose another option. 

Don’t sign blank or partial contracts 

If you are asked to sign something that is not comprehensive is a huge red flag of moving fraud. Everything should be transparent and fully documented in writing to avoid issues related to additional or hidden fees that skyrocket the initial competitive or low price.

Also, before you sign a contract, make sure you read both the contract and the Bill of Landing to avoid moving scams. 

Document and inspect everything 

Keep an inventory of your items to avoid becoming a victim of moving fraud. A good way to keep track of your possessions is to number your boxes. Also, inspect the condition of your goods both before you have them uploaded and after they have been unloaded, and only sign the receipt if nothing is damaged or broken. It will help protect your move and save the nervous system.

If you encounter a moving scam, there are always options for solving it, like contacting the company or complaining to the official authorities such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the American Trucking Association. You may also leave a public review or complaint on our website. 

Legal disclaimers:

1. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide any legal, medical, accounting, investment or any other professional advice as individual cases may vary and should be discussed with a corresponding expert and/or an attorney.

2. All or some image copyright belongs to the original owner(s). No copyright infringement intended.