Aged woman calming down her husband worried about a moving scam.
Date Published
July 17, 2023

Moving to a new home or commercial space should be exciting. And while most moves are carried out by professionals, there are untrustworthy companies out there looking to take advantage of customers’ naivete. Don’t let that happen to you! Read through a few common moving scams, how to avoid them, and what to do if you’re a victim of one. 

How Do Moving Scams Work?

Here are just a few ways that moving company scams take advantage of customers.

1. Demanding a Large Deposit Upfront. 

If a moving company is demanding a large deposit prior to the job, watch out. Reputable moving companies only collect payments once the job is completed. If you pay in advance, you run the risk of an incomplete job or the company holding your possessions hostage. 

2. Advertising Under a False Name.

If a moving company is contending with a terrible BBB reputation, they’ll try to advertise to customers using a new name. When researching companies, scan for a local address as well as licensing and insurance information. Want to be extra sure? Call their phone number and see if they answer the phone with their business name. If they don’t, skip them. 

3. Tacking on Overblown Extra Fees Without Proper Disclosure. 

Some companies will offer you an initial quote and then, during the moving process, tack on extra fees that were never discussed. During the planning process, ask for a thorough estimate, including any fees, so you’re not surprised by overcharges when the bill arrives.

4. Presenting Customers With a Blank Contract. 

When you hire a moving company, you’re entering into a legally binding contract. Signing a blank document puts you at massive risk without the opportunity for legal representation to sort it out. Everything should be in writing. Read your contract carefully before signing it, keeping an eye that costs, fees, dates, and times are all included. 

What to Do When a Moving Company Steals Your Stuff

If a moving company has stolen your belongings or scammed you in another way, here are a couple of different things you can do: 

1. File a Complaint.

The first thing you want to do is file a direct complaint with the moving company in question. Hopefully, it’s been a misunderstanding and they’ll reach out promptly to address the issue.

2. Report the Issue to a Governmental Organization.
  • In-State Moves – State Agency: Every state has an agency specifically designed to handle moving complaints and scams. You can find the proper FMCSA agency here.
  • Intrastate Moves – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): This segment of the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulates parts of trucking, moving, and storing and is equipped to handle moving scams. File a complaint here.
  • All Moves – Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB protects your rights. You can file a complaint here.
3. Sue the Company.

If those options don’t work in your favor, you can take the moving company to small claims court. However, save this measure as a last resort since you may wind up paying legal fees.

Don’t Let the Window of Opportunity Pass You By

When your boxes arrive at your new space, unpack them promptly, making note of anything that’s damaged. After moving, you have nine months to report any issues to the moving company. 

Keep Your Eyes Peeled for These Common Moving Company Red Flags 

To avoid moving scams, do your due diligence and research the company before hiring them. During your research, here are a few red flags to avoid: 

  • An “F” rating on the Better Business Bureau. You can easily search for a company on the BBB website.
  • Requiring direct deposit or cash-only payments. 
  • Has unresolved customer complaints or – even more telling – no reviews at all.
  • Not getting a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move during the planning process. Giving this information to customers is a federal law. 

 

Family unpacking moving boxes in their new house, top view

AAA Movers is Your Trusted Moving Company

Don’t let an untrustworthy moving company ruin what should be an exciting chapter in your life. AAA Movers is known for its excellent customer reputation and AAA Advantage. Let us help get you to where you’re going without complication or worry. Request a free quote from our moving team!