Moving scams are increasingly common. Here’s how to spot one.

This time of year is prime time for moving and scammers will try to take advantage - Photo by UnSplash +

If they give you a quote over the phone, that’s a big red flag

School’s out and many families are packing up to move over the next few weeks. But federal regulators are cautioning consumers to be very careful when choosing a moving company to avoid scams and less that reliable operators.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which administers commercial regulations governing the interstate transportation of household goods, says you can avoid disaster if you avoid movers that display these signs:

  • The mover or broker doesn’t perform an on-site inspection of your household items and gives an estimate over the telephone or online — sight unseen. 

  • The mover or broker does not provide a written estimate or says they will determine the cost after loading.

  • The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.

  • The mover asks you to sign blank documents.

  • The mover or broker doesn’t provide you with a copy of the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet and a copy of FMCSA’s Ready to Move brochure, which movers are required by federal regulations to supply to their customers.

  • The company’s website has no local address and no information about their registration or insurance.

  • The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.

  • On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.

  • The mover claims that you have more belongings than estimated. 

Choosing a reputable mover

Consumers have a better chance of avoiding a moving scam if they research various movers before picking one. The ConsumerAffairs Research Team has done a lot of the preliminary work for you.

The team analyzed 80 moving companies that between them, have over 15,000 verified customer reviews. From that field, ConsumerAffairs selected the seven best.

Colonial Van Lines was picked as best overall, with a 4.3-Star rating, based on more than 2,500 reviews. You can see the rest of the finalists here

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