The unfortunate reality about moving companies is that there are a handful of them that do not act in good faith (or legally), giving the industry as a whole a bad name. All too often you hear stories of movers that are guilty of moving scams or fraud, costing their customers extended delays and unexpected costs, some of them even going so far as to offer services they know they cannot provide, or don’t intend to. On this page, you’ll learn about the most common moving scams and some steps you can take to avoid falling prey to these deceptive practices.
The Bait & Switch: Unexpected Price Increases
One of the most common moving scams is the bait and switch and it works like this: a moving company agrees to move your household goods for a certain price, but then once they’re in possession of your personal belongings, they raise the cost of your shipment and refuse to deliver until you meet the new higher price. In many cases, they will cite unexpected transport costs, higher than expected fuel prices, or other excuses to delay the process until you meet the new, higher cost. The bait and switch typically starts with an unreasonably low cost estimate for moving services; one that the company know they cannot reasonably meet.
The bait and switch is one reason that’s important to work with established movers with a proven track record. You’re much more likely to be taken by this particular scam if a company has been in business only a short time. It can be helpful to seek multiple quotes from moving companies so that you have a baseline cost expectation and you can easily sniff out any company offering an estimate well below the others. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
A-1 Auto Transport is a nationwide moving company with over 20 years of experience shipping household goods and cars to locations around the U.S. and internationally. Contact us today at 888-509-3213 for a FREE no obligation moving quote! Our expert staff are standing by to answer your questions and provide any support we can!
Requesting A Large Up Front Deposit
Another common moving scam is tied to the deposit. While it’s normal for a company to request a small deposit once you have agreed to use their services, the amount should represent only a minimal portion of the entire cost. If you find yourself dealing with a mover that wants half or more of the total cost up front, that is huge red flag that you should seek another option.
Moving Companies That Aren’t Registered Or Licensed
Believe it or not, there are several “moving companies” out there that are not operating legally. Either they do not have the proper licensing and operating authority to provide the services they claim, or worse, they may be nothing more than a website set up to try to take advantage of people. Some of these operations don’t even have any moving equipment, offices, or facilities—it’s just a website trying to win the bid and get some money out of you. One of the best resources to help ward of these type of scams is the FMCSA company lookup feature.
Resources To Avoid Moving Scams
Protect Your Move - The Protect Your Move page on the FMCSA website has more information about how to avoid moving scams, directly from the governing body that oversees the industry.
Moving Company Red Flags - Another article from our website that deals what to look for (and avoid) when you’re searching for a licensed moving company.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.