Choosing the right moving company isn't too difficult, especially with sites such as the Better Business Bureau, located at www.bbb.org, being a good source of reviews. However, if it's your first time using a moving company, you should be on the lookout for a few red flags that could indicate that the company may be trying to scam you. It's rare, but it does happen.
Here are some of the main red flags:
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They Don't Inspect Your Home
If the moving company doesn't inspect your home before giving you an estimate, this is a major warning sign. That's because moving companies calculate the cost by the approximate weight of all of the goods that have to be transported. Simply answering their questions over the phone is not enough for them to provide a sufficient estimate, meaning that they may quote you with a vastly lower price than what it eventually turns out to be.
They Want a Full Upfront Payment
If a moving company asks you to pay the full upfront amount or a huge deposit, they may be trying to scam you. You should be paying a small deposit, but for the most part, a legitimate moving company will only charge you once the move has been completed. You do not want to pay everything initially.
They're Not Registered with the FMCSA
By law, a moving company that is transporting items across state lines has to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is also known as the FMCSA. You can visit their website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov to enter the name of the company. They should have a DOT number available, which indicates that they are properly registered. You can also directly ask the moving company for their DOT. Many of the credible ones will already have this information proactively available on their website. If they refuse to give it to you or make up some excuse, move on to another company.
You're Not Given Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move
This refers to the information that's contained at hwww.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move/are-you-moving/your-rights-and-responsibilities-when-you-move. It is an information packet that all moving companies are legally obligated to provide to you if you're moving across state lines.
Your Contract is Not Specific
You should never sign a contract or a document that doesn't specify all of the details of the move and that doesn't have all of the necessary contact information. If the moving company provides you with a vague document, call them out on it and ask for it to be more detailed. Otherwise, this may be a sign that they're going to possibly scam you in the future. They could try to charge you more after the move has been complete or somehow not be held liable for any items that happen to go missing. Don't take this chance.
If you look out for the above red flags, you should be more than fine in finding a credible moving company. Good luck on your move!