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Common Moving Scams

Published by Chris Townsend


Consumer Beware: Common Moving Scams You Should Know

It’s no secret that the moving industry has its share of bad apples, which is why it’s important to understand some of the more common moving scams you may encounter while looking for a moving company. In this article, we’ll go over some of the fraudulent (or illegal) tactics that some companies employ to take advantage of unsuspecting customers, as well as what you can do about it if it happens to you.

A Suspiciously Low Estimate

One of the biggest red flags in the moving industry is a price quote that is suspiciously low. Typically, these cases end up in a customer agreeing to a low rate, only to have the price hiked up after their stuff has been loaded on the truck. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for less reputable companies to ask for an additional payment beyond what was agree upon in order to get your belongings delivered. The best way to combat this is to get moving estimates from several different companies. While the prices will vary somewhat, they should be roughly in the same price range. If you talk to three to five moving companies and get an estimate, it should be easy to spot the ones that don’t add up.

Request of A Large Deposit

Another common ruse used by unscrupulous movers is the request of a large up front deposit. To be clear, moving companies do sometimes request a small deposit to hold your moving date, truck rental, and labor request, but it should only be a small deposit. Any request for a deposit that is more than a very small portion of your total estimate should make you raise an eyebrow. Along the same lines, if a deposit is requested by wiring money or sending a cashier’s check, that should be a red flag too. Movers can and do charge a small deposit, but the emphasis is on the “small.”

Three Movers is a local, long distance, and international moving company with more than a decade of experience. We proudly offer FREE price quotes to all interested parties, regardless of the size or distance of the move. To get started with a FREE estimate today, contact us at (888) 202-0036 or use our online request form to get a quote right away! We require no payment or obligation for your FREE price quote!

No Physical Address Listed

This tip especially applies if you’re looking for a moving company online. Any legitimate moving company will obviously have a physical address with an office and possibly even storage units on the premises. If you poke around the website of a company you’re considering and you can’t find any address listed, that’s a sign that you should move on and look for other options. In many cases, the companies that do this are simply brokers without a true office location that sells your information to companies that actually do the work.

No Written Estimate Provided

Estimates for moving are often provided over the phone, but you should still receive a written estimate. In fact, it’s required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation that oversees and regulates the moving industry. Think of it this way: you’re entering into a contract with a moving company when you agree to work with them and the lack of a contract means you should look elsewhere for moving help.

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Moving Fraud Protection

This resource from the FMCSA covers the moving scams mentioned in this article, as well as others you need to be aware of. In general, it’s a good resource to take a look at just so that you’re familiar with the best practices when hiring movers.

Household Goods Moving Fraud

Another good resource to look over before talking to a moving company or getting a quote, this one also covers red flags to look out for, as well as what steps you can take if you have been defrauded by a moving company.

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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