When you’re dealing with the stress and disruption of a move, the last thing you want to deal with is a moving scam. When you hire movers, you need to be able to trust that they will be entirely honest with you and get your belongings to your new home safely.
In this blog, we outline 10 warning signs to look out for in order to avoid moving scams, or “rogue movers.”
1. Large Down Payment
Most legitimate companies will only ask for a small down payment initially. In fact, many movers don’t even ask for a down payment. Instead, you pay upon delivery. This way the company is held responsible for actually getting your belongings to the final destination safe and on time.
A company that asks for a significantly higher down payment is likely to be a scam. There is nothing compelling them to even show up to move you once they have your down payment.
2. Cash-Only Payments
While it’s true you can sometimes get a better deal paying with cash, be careful if the movers won’t accept anything but cash. Credit card payments leave a paper trail and give you the capability to dispute charges. A legitimate moving company has the ability to accept multiple forms of payment, including credit payments.
3. Extremely Low Rates
While a large down payment is suspicious, rates that are too low are also suspicious. Moving is not something that can be done for extremely low rates; quite frankly it is a very expensive service. The company needs to pay their employees and pay for vehicle upkeep and gas. Be sure to compare the estimate you’re given to other moving companies’ estimates. Scams like these may double the price last minute and rely on you being unable to find someone else.
4. No Logo
If your movers show up on moving day with an unmarked vehicle or a rental, there may be cause for concern. There’s no reason for a moving company to not want to put their logo on their trucks. A rolling billboard is perfect advertising while they’re getting paid to move your belongings. If your mover can’t afford a logo and phone number on the side of a moving truck, chances are the business isn’t legitimate.
5. No Address or Office
Most companies, including moving companies, have websites. This presence gives you the perfect opportunity to check for a possible scam. If there’s not an address listed on the movers’ website or if the address is a P.O. box or just a city, you should question it. It’s also a good idea to check if what looks like a real address actually houses a business rather than a vacant lot.
6. No Bill of Lading
Any real moving company will have you sign a contract, known as a Bill of Lading (BOL). The BOL includes details such as the delivery date, the estimated price, and needed supplies. The BOL should also specify that there are no additional and unexpected costs such as mandatory tips or a driver’s fee. A BOL is extremely important to keep your interests and belongings safe as it protects both you and the moving company.
7. Many Extreme Reviews
You always want to check the reviews before hiring a moving company. Of course, too many negative reviews stand out as a testament of their bad service. However, you should also keep an eye out for too many overly positive reviews as it could be a sign of false reviewers. Check out reviews on reputable moving sites and reputable review sites before coming to a decision.
One of the ways to find out if your mover is legitimate is checking to see if they are a certified ProMover from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). The ProMover program is designed to identify “rogue movers,” giving customers a clear indicator of which companies are reputable, professional interstate movers.
8. Scheduling Trouble
If the movers keep changing the time or date of your move, be wary. If the team arrives late for the move or for an on-site estimate, be wary.
While some scheduling changes or tardiness is acceptable, a high amount of scheduling trouble could indicate a scam. You don’t want plans to change last minute.
9. Lax Phone Etiquette
Any professional business will answer a phone call by clearly saying the name of the company. If a mover answers the phone with a simple “hello” or “movers”, they may not be a legitimate moving company. However friendly and nice the movers may be, there should always be a level of professionalism in your interactions.
10. Poor Legal Ratings
Be sure to look up your mover on www.protectyourmove.gov. See if they are a legal mover (good) or a broker (not good). How many trucks do they have? Thousands? Or less than 25? A legitimate nationwide moving company operates hundreds of trucks or more to ensure great service to customers from coast to coast. Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, a member of The Wheaton Group, operates more than 1,000 trucks across the country.
As you prepare for an upcoming move, do the due diligence required to ensure that your movers have the resources to finish your move efficiently and safely.
Stevens Worldwide Van Lines is recognized as a ProMover by the American Moving & Storage Association. The ProMover program promotes ethical principles in the moving and storage industry and works with federal and state governments to eliminate unethical moving practices like those outlined above. ProMover status clearly separates professional movers from rogue operators posing as legitimate movers. To qualify as a ProMover, movers must pass a rigorous review of professional business standards.
Are you anticipating a move in the near future? Let Stevens Worldwide Van Lines help! With over 125 agents (all recognized as ProMovers) across the United States, there is nowhere we won’t move you. Visit our website to request your free, in-home estimate!