Every now and then, we see stories about moving scams. It seems like, these days, fraudulent moving companies spring up like mushrooms after the rain. There are many of them and they are becoming more and more proficient. Luckily, there are ways to recognize scammers; you just have to know where to look. If this is your first time searching for movers, we will show you how to recognize fraudulent moving companies easily.
It is easier to recognize fraudulent moving companies when you have enough time to research
First, you need to be aware that it is not easy to find reliable movers. You have to do a lot of research and checks so the whole process can sometimes last a few days. That is why it is important not to wait until the last moment to start searching for reliable movers. If you wait until the last minute, you will not have time to check every detail. This will increase your chances of hiring fraudulent moving companies.
See whether a moving company is properly licensed
The first thing that you have to check, whenever you are dealing with moving companies is whether they have all the necessary licenses. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates moving companies in the US. So that is the place where you will do your first check. If a moving company is registered, it will have a USDOT number. If you cannot see a USDOT number anywhere on their website, contact them, and ask them to provide it.
Check the website
During your research, you will visit numerous moving websites. Therefore, you will have an opportunity to learn what a proper movers’ website should look like. A proper website should look clean and be readable. It should also provide you with a moving company’s name, address, phone number, e-mail, and working hours. Moreover, you should be able to see their services and get a free online estimate.
Photos on the website reveal a lot. Seeing a lot of all-purpose stock photos that are easy to find online can sometimes be a warning sign. On the other hand, seeing photos of branded vehicles in action is a good sign.
Check other reliable moving-related websites
When you are checking up moving companies, it is good to know that somebody already did some checks. Verified Movers is a website that can provide you with a ton of useful information about a specific moving company. They are collaborating only with reliable movers. So, if you find a moving company on their website, it is a good sign that you are dealing with genuine movers. An alternative is to use an organization like the Better Business Bureau.
Use online reviews to recognize fraudulent moving companies, but be careful
When it comes to online reviews, they could be a very useful tool in your search. Of course, it is important to pay attention to where your reviews come from. Testimonials on a moving company’s website, for example, do not mean much, unless they are linked from a platform like Yelp that allows users to leave unvarnished comments.
No reviews could also be a warning sign. Fraudulent movers change their names quickly. Before the first negative comment arrives, they are already gone. So the lack of comments is usually a clear sign that something is wrong. Secondly, it seems like fraudulent movers are starting to leave fake reviews more often. That is why it is important to read more than a few comments.
Check if a moving company is blacklisted
Maybe you didn’t know but there are independent websites that are running their lists of fraudulent movers. So before you start negotiating, check whether your moving company is blacklisted somewhere. If they have scammed people for hundreds and thousands of dollars in the past, then you will most likely be able to see this on some of these websites. However, if a moving company is blacklisted on movingscam.com or a similar website, it doesn’t mean that they have no legal right to operate. It just means that they have a proven history of fraudulent behavior.
Low prices can sometimes help you to recognize fraudulent moving companies
Another sign of possible moving fraud is particularly low prices. The best way to find out how much an average move should cost is to get free moving quotes from several reliable sources and compare. Of course, sometimes you can be lucky enough to get a discount or run into a special offer. These offers are usually for certain types of customers, like the elderly, students, or military personnel. You can also find some discounts during holidays or when moving in the offseason.
A legitimate moving company will use branded vehicles
If a moving company shows up at your location in an unmarked vehicle or a rental, it is a thing to be concerned about. Almost every moving company will have its logo, name, services, website, and phone number clearly stated on the sides of the truck. It is a moving billboard, a free commercial, and there is no reason why they should not use this to advertise their legitimate business for free. Unless they have something to hide.
Listen to your gut
Finally, the best advice you can get is to listen to your gut. At one point, you will have to talk to your movers either over the phone or in person. Once you establish contact, pay attention to how they conduct themselves. Avoid hiring movers if they:
- Don’t act professionally
- Avoid giving clear and complete answers to your questions
- Are not clear about the price of their services
It is not always easy to recognize fraudulent moving companies. This can be especially true when you do not know where to look. This guide will help you do that and instead hire reliable movers you can indeed rely on and trust.They will undoubtedly give their best to organize a smooth and stress-free relocation for you.