Hit the Road, Jack! Avoiding a Mover’s Rip Off

All too many times we hear about homeowners being ripped off by a moving company. More often than not, they did not research enough about said company. Whether it’s poorly trained staff, unreliable quotes, or damaged goods, a bad moving experience can happen to anyone. It is important to keep yourself prepared and know what some of the telltale signs are that you’re about to get ripped off.

First thing’s first: check your mover’s license. If your move is intrastate, the laws within each state vary. Make sure you know them and verify that your movers abide those laws. If your move is between states, your movers MUST be registered with U.S. DOT. Are you unsure about their licensure? Ask to see their registration. Should they not provide it, they may not have it, in which case, you should check out a different company.

Estimates are another sticky area that customers will often get trapped with; here lies the issue of phone quotes. Feel free to accept a phone quote from a moving company, but never let that be your only quote. It is not uncommon for a company to offer a quote over the phone without evaluating your belongings or the size of the job. Without physical examination, an accurate estimate simply cannot be given. Taking a phone quote also presents the issue of being overcharged post-move. When this happens, there’s little to nothing you can do, other than pay the new asking price (which will be much higher than their initial estimate).

Fortunately, living in the internet-age, such a thing exists as “online reviews.” Customer review sites have quickly become top-priority in regards to researching ideal companies. These sites are perfect for seeing raw, honest responses and reactions to your potential movers. Some important sites to read through are Relocation, Moving Company Reviews, Angie’s List, and Better Business Bureau. Many of these sites have an overall star rating (typically 1 to 5); if that rating is below 3, move along. Otherwise, take care to read some of the comments, both positive and negative. Some things to watch out for are 5 star ratings with no comment, or a very imprecise comment, low ratings (less than 3), or the infamous phrase, “If I could give them zero stars, I would.” Each of these things should be enough to send you running; never subject yourself to business with a company with extremely negative reviews.

All in all, you can never be too safe when it comes to contracting a moving company. Keep in mind: you should never have to compromise in order to have a good moving experience. Do your research (here) and know your rights as a customer; don’t be afraid to have a company validate themselves. Always remember, you have the resources to work with a reputable company, so don’t get caught in a scam. Never base your move solely on a quote over the phone, always check the online reviews, and always make sure a company has the proper licensure for your move.