Finding the perfect place to live is challenging. You may think about building your own house but fear numerous construction issues. Or you may prefer just changing homes while you won’t find what you are looking for.
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.
Also, customers often complain about being overcharged. Thus, the Moving Trends and Statistics 2023 report states that 64% of those hired professional movers in 2022 paid about $2,282 over the initial estimate.
- Moving companies reviews reveal numerous fraud cases and issues related to the moving process and cooperation with movers.
- To avoid moving scams, examining potential red flags such as immediate moving estimation, fake moving insurance, and demand for a significant downpayment is essential.
- Not to fall victim to moving fraud, check the moving company’s license and registration. It should have a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) license.
Having a solid base of about 600 moving 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 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 reliable moving companies.
Moving Companies Reviews: Top Complaints
According to moving companies reviews on Pissedconsumer.com, there are numerous complaints about moving scams and companies in general. The most common of them include:
- Unprofessional, inexperienced, or rude staff.
- Damage to customer items.
- Rare cases of things left behind.
- Deceptive pricing and overcharging.
- Poor customer service.
- Unfavorable policies and business practices.
- False promises of resolution of reported issues or complaints.
- Misleading information about the company.
As a result of the numerous complaints, customers report and claim losses from respective moving companies. For example, customers of All My Sons Moving and Storage report a total loss of around $230K, based on c moving companies reviews on PissedConsumer. While American Van Lines reviews indicate 49.9K claimed losses, PODS and Moving Help count $910K and $59.4K, respectively.
Red Flags of Moving Scams
The best way to avoid moving scams is to be aware of and look for red flags. Here are the top red flags for moving scams.
Immediate moving estimates 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 stuff if needed.
Being given instant moving quotes online should be enough to raise concerns and think about moving fraud, as it almost always leads to extra charges. For example, in one of Venture Van Lines reviews, the customer was frustrated to learn that the cost of transportation was increased several times by adding extra charges for space and packing materials:
This company quoted me a price of $6000 and when the mover showed up on pick up day and went all the way up to $13,000…
Another customer had a similar incident described in the Safe Ship Moving review. They were initially quoted for a reasonable price; however, the company increased the price by $1400 at pickup.
Prevailing Negative Moving Companies Reviews
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. It can help avoid moving scams in the future.
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.
For example, Movemates followed up on a recent online complaint and resolved it. The customer complained that Movemates canceled their moving order and promised to refund; however, the customer had not been refunded:
Unfortunately it hasn't reached my account, it's been almost a month now 13.05.2022. Since them every communication tell me that It would be refunded, but so far nothing is returned.
After posting their feedback on the review platform, Movemates provided the customer with a full refund.
The same happened to one of the Colonial Van Lines customers, who was sure to fall victim to a moving scam. They experienced multiple issues with the moving company, including a rude and impatient salesperson, false estimates, and broken items among others:
In final, false estimate, broken, promises, broken items, and extra illegitimate charges…Not resolved after 53 days or requests…
Another common moving fraud is movers who do not show up on the pickup day. The fake movers provide you with an estimate online, charge you, and then disappear. For example, in All My Sons Moving And Storage review, a 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,
He would call me back in 15 mins. I never heard back from him. So around 1 I moved my own belongings.
To avoid such moving scams, check customer feedback. Carefully read negative moving companies reviews for any indication of a no-show or unprofessional behavior.
Demand for a significant down payment
If you are asked to pay a significant amount of money upfront, it may be a sign of a moving scam, and the company is attempting to defraud you. Reputable companies ask for a reasonable down payment. Don't forget about other upfront payments like tipping movers and discuss them before closing a deal with a moving company. 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.
On the other hand, scammers aim to secure as much money as possible from you before disappearing. Therefore, if a moving company asks for a significantly high down payment, avoid them or do your due diligence to determine if they have been involved in moving fraud.
Fake moving companies names
Beware of moving companies with fake or unverifiable company names. A legitimate company should have a legal business name that appears on its licensing and credentials. If they have one, you can get the moving company’s USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number and look it up on the FMCSA website. Fake movers often do not have an online presence or have counterfeit websites.
Fake moving insurance
Another common moving fraud is fake moving insurance. Many consumers opt for the insurance offered by the moving company to cover potential damage or loss of their property. However, some companies offer fake or unfavorable policies.
For example, the Interstate Moving and Relocation Group customer complained about an insurance scam. Their moving contract was sent online for them to e-sign. Unbeknownst to them, the contract terms included a waiver of insurance. During the move, some items were damaged but they could not claim from the company. The reviewer summed their experience up:
So, in closing, get your own moving insurance, make sure when they sub-contract out the move to another mover, that you are informed who they are.
How to Avoid Moving Scams
Below are tips and strategies to avoid moving scams and make your transition to your new home seamless.
Check the moving company’s license 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.
If you still become a victim of a moving scam, you may file a complaint with one of the consumer rights protection agencies.
Examine Moving Companies Reviews
Moving company reviews are a great indicator of reliability. Check the company’s overall rating and positive and negative feedback. Avoid companies with numerous negative reviews and low ratings, as they are more likely to be involved in moving fraud. Also, beware of companies that only have positive reviews, as they may have fraudulently sourced for reviews and ratings.
Ask around for a moving company recommendation
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 a blank or partial moving contract
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 Lading to avoid moving scams.
Document everything and inspect moving
A crucial measure to avoid moving scams is to keep an inventory of your items. Make a record of your belongings, including photographs and descriptions. Number the boxes to help you keep track of your possessions.
Upon arrival at your destination, ensure all the boxes have been offloaded to the house, and all the items are in good condition. Do not sign off on the delivery if some things are broken or missing.
To ensure a smooth moving experience, do your due diligence to avoid moving scams. Check prospective moving companies reviews, credentials, and registration. Look for red flags such as fake names, unclear or unfavorable moving insurance terms, lack of online presence, etc. Document your inventory and monitor the moving process keenly.
Have you encountered a moving scam? Leave a review or complaint about the moving company on our website.
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