May is the busiest month for moving. As your to-do list grows, make sure you prioritize finding a trustworthy moving company so you don’t fall for a scam. Fake moving companies are waiting to pounce and may try to take advantage of a stressful, time-sensitive situation.
Keep in mind, the majority of moving companies are legitimate businesses that do quality work. You just need to be weary of a small group of dishonest “companies” known as rouge movers that will try to scam you. The federal government recommends doing some basic research as a precaution to protect yourself.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, offers some helpful advice:
- Get a written estimate from several movers.
The FMCSA says estimates should be based on an actual inspection of items in your home. Take it as a red flag if the company isn’t willing to come to your house to do an in-person estimate.
- Check to make sure your moving company has insurance and is licensed.
If you are moving to a different state check with the FMCSA to make sure the company has a U.S. DOT number. If you are staying in the same state, check for the proper paperwork and licensing with the state, county or local government. The State Attorney General can also be a good resource.
- Read reviews about the moving companies you are considering.
Social media and online forums can be a good resource, but make sure you read several reviews to balance out what people are saying. You might also ask a friend or acquaintance about their experience. Be sure to check out the company’s rating and complaint history with the Better Business Bureau or other consumer advocacy groups. Determine if the company is a member of any reputable state or national moving associations.
- Cheaper isn’t always better.
The FMCSA recommends outlining your top priorities and keeping those in mind when selecting a moving company. If you only consider price, you may sacrifice other priorities like packaging, protection and on-time delivery and pickup.
- Trust your instinct.
If it feels too good to be true, you’re probably right. Trust your gut feeling during correspondence and make sure the company can answer your questions or direct you to someone who can.
If you believe a rouge moving company has taken advantage of you and you’ve fallen for a scam, be sure to report any fraud to the FMCSA, local authorities and the Better Business Bureau.
Learn more by visiting the FMCSA Protect Your Move website.