Moving Scams | Moving 101 | Long Distance USA Movers

Avoid All Moving Scams by Knowing What to Look For

Tens of millions of Americans move every year across the country for personal or working reasons. Finding a reputable and trustworthy cross-country moving company is of utmost importance if you want to avoid moving scams and unnecessary stressful situations. For this reason, we present you with the ultimate guide on how to recognize any fraudulent attempts and how to choose the right long-distance relocation company that will transfer your belongings safely to your new home address.

White trucks on a highway in the sunset
Before hiring any firm for relocation, make sure its registered, legitimate, and trustworthy

How Do You Avoid Moving Scams? Know the Signs of Common Moving Company Scams

Imagine you’ve just got a quote from the long-distance moving company, and you accepted it. After some time, they arrive at your house, and all your belongings have been packed into the truck. The movers started to roll, they got in front of your new home, and now they refuse to unload your stuff until they get extra payment for services they never mentioned before. Since it’s against federal law for a moving company to withhold anyone’s items, it’s obvious – you’re being scammed.

In order to avoid any of those unpleasant surprises and moving mistakes, make sure to research and compare moving quotes of a few companies before you schedule the relocation. Also, keep in mind that there are many ways how those fraudsters work, so be ready for detailed research on all moving terms, and don’t forget to check whether those companies are legitimate or not. Here is the list of all things to be cautious about before confirming any of the long-distance moving services.

Desperate man is sitting in front of his car with all his stuff
You don't want your personal items and memories to become hostages of some fraudulent mover

How Online Reviews Can Help You Avoid Moving Scam

The Internet can be more than a useful source for finding needed information and reduce your anxiety about moving to another state. Online reviews from third-party websites such as Better Business Bureau, or Trust Pilot, or Yelp, or Google recensions, can help you spot if the team is making some inexcusable mistakes. If their ratings are really poor, read as many reviews as you can and try to spot the pain points of their service and whether the recension is unbiased. If you find any experience that refers to some of the bad practices such as surreally low quotes, unexpected costs, damaged goods, or any other problematic situation, you should avoid them and try to find another provider. Finding hassle-free movers is not an easy task. However, with the right strategy, you can easily stay away from scams and organize your move seamlessly.

Girl is checking customer reviews through her mobile phone
Research thoroughly all about the interstate or local companies before you confirm the relocation date

How Scammers Act – Red Flags You Should Be Aware Of

Believe it or not, there is a pattern by which all the scammers function, and here are some essential details that should be red flags for you as a consumer.

The very first contact you’ll make with chosen professionals is through the phone or their websites, which commonly provide users with online quotes that estimate the approximate cost of relocation. If the mover refuses to perform an in-house estimation or tells you you will pay the deposit on the day of the relocation, or you get lowballed, it’s a bad sign. All this is an unmistakable sign you should run away from it cause the company undoubtedly has fraudulent intentions. And you can surely expect some hidden charges that were not part of the estimates. Also, some of these fraudulent companies can even promise you some impossible services, like shipping of live plants, which are forbidden by law.

If you already have booked the service with a company that acted as described above, then you can also expect that there won’t be logos on a truck or even working uniforms. Moreover, they will not use any protective supplies, such as any bubble wrap and packing paper, to protect and adequately pack fragile items and other delicate belongings. Neither will they have the proper equipment such as ramps for getting the stuff into the truck, which could potentially damage your items.

Professional packers usually have very detailed packing strategies, which implies they will take care of the tiniest details. Their aim is to help you move efficiently and according to your packing schedule for moving. They will use the best-sized boxes for moving to pack all the stuff. They can deal with your whole household, including packing paintings or instruments, so using their services is the best way to pack for moving.

Items Held Hostage – the Most Unpleasant Experience You Could Have

Another inconvenience will be associated with payment and extra charges. Strange charges, such as additional charging for items over 100 pounds, for example, are incredulous. And suppose you refuse to pay any extra charges that are not mentioned in a telephone conversation or in the contract. They might perform something known as items hostage and refuse to unload any of the belongings until they get paid extra. And this is something that is called padding the bill.

boxes on the yellow background
Scammers have different strategies to increase the final bill, so be careful when making any agreements

What to Do if You Have Been Scammed by a Moving Company?

While 40 million Americans relocate annually, there are only four thousand complaints a year. Statistically, this is not such a big number. But, whoever is experiencing such a horrible thing would likely say that a situation in which someone has your belongings and refuses to give them back to you until you pay some outrageous amount of money is pretty unpleasant.

In case you’re experiencing any inconvenience with long-distance movers, you can file the complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is a regulatory agency within the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) and American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA,) too. You can also try complaining to the movers themselves, and if this doesn’t bring you any results, you should give the case to an attorney and fight for your rights against moving fraud.

While waiting for your case to be resolved, you can always give your opinion via online reviews and social media and influence others not to make the same wrong decision.

At attorney presenting the case
In case you're a victim of a relocation scam, don't hesitate to take legal action and claim your rights

How to Find Reputable Long-Distance Movers Near Me?

Finding a reputable and trustworthy long-distance moving company within your area is not that difficult if you research all information in detail. This means consulting Google, online reviews, and experiences of other customers, as well as your family and friends for recommendations, especially if they moved recently.

The major benefit of finding local-based professionals is that you can go to their office and speak to them face-to-face. This is one of the best possible ways to see if something is wrong and avoid a relocation scam. Some of the details you should inspect are:

  • The condition of the company’s facility,
  • Is there a secured parking lot,
  • Are there parked trucks with company logos, and
  • What impression do you have while speaking to staff.
Professional cross country movers packing the truck for relocation
Make sure to find a reputable and trustworthy firm for relocation that will protect you from any potential scam

How Professionals Organize the Relocation Process?

Once you’ve contacted them, professional relocation companies will ask you a few questions associated with your destination and the size of your house. Afterward, you will agree on the date of in-house estimation that will give you further insights into the total of moving expenses you could expect. This way, you will be able to create a very accurate and detailed moving-out-for-the-first-time budget.

Do Movers Charge by Weight or Volume?

Once an in-house estimation is done, professional relocation companies will provide you with cost estimation that can be binding, unbinding, and not-to-exceed. They will also send you the contract in advance so that you can clearly understand what their service covers, what is included in the price, and what is paid extra.

The price for interstate relocating is usually determined based on three factors:

On the other hand, the price of a locally-based relocation is based on:

  • The hourly rate that changes with the number of crew,
  • Extra moving services, such as packing, cleaning, storage, and many more,
  • Optional insurance.

After you accept the cost scheme, the usual practice is to settle a 10% deposit in advance to secure your date of relocation.

What Other Details Contract Should Contain?

The contract should also contain a clause defining that extra costs associated with your relocation can not amount to more than 10% of basic price and how your valuable items are secured (this will be especially important for antiques, canvases, or other pieces of art.) Of course, if you add some extra items that weren’t included in the initial plan, then the company has the right to charge you more than listed in estimation. Another detail to revise is what the insurance policy covers in case of damage and your rights in case of delivery delay. They will also provide you with a booklet of  Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, which is their obligation by law.

Moreover, professional long-distance movers will come in uniforms with a company’s logo, and with all necessary equipment, from tools to ramps and protective packing materials that will secure your items to get to your address undamaged. Again, in case you notice any of these elements are missing, you should seriously consider whether to entrust them with your memories, money, and other possessions.

Professionals in uniforms are holding rug and box in the living room
Make sure to know the company's obligations and your rights before signing a contract for relocation

How Do You Trust a Moving Company?

Now you’ve been introduced to all the rights and responsibilities that mover has, we are sure you’re ready to make the right decision and choose the right mover to relocate your household. Relocation is complex enough, and the last thing you want is to feel overwhelmed, ripped off, or emotionally drained. Ensure to explore everything you can about the mover, and don’t hesitate to ask for written estimates and contracts in advance, so you could evaluate all the options and make the right decision. Another question that is a concern of many people is, do movers steal your stuff? Trustworthy crew will not tolerate these situations. They will do everything to prevent them, from choosing the employees to securing their storage facilities with 24/7 video surveillance, guards, and automated systems to record check-in and check out of your goods.

And if you’re wondering is it better to move on your own or hire movers, because these stories make you feel fear of moving, don’t forget that there are still dedicated, responsible, and professional companies that provide impeccable service at a reasonable price. Having professional support during the relocation process will certainly make the whole experience much easier and save you from unnecessary stress if you choose the right mover. So, when creating your checklist for moving to a new state, don’t forget to put the task of finding a reliable mover high on your list cause this is the only certain way to stay far from any potential scam.


Sophie Allen

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