If you’ve relocated far from home, then you know how tough the experience can be. Tough on the mind, body, emotions, and wallet. So you want to ensure the process is as stress-free and efficient as possible.

So one of the most important things you can do is hire a trustworthy moving company

Hiring the wrong company can send your stress through the roof! At best, your movers may arrive a few days later than you expected (very inconvenient). The worst-case scenario would be your getting scammed. Scams can look like a mover charging you way more than you originally agreed to, breaking your items without paying for their repair or replacement, illegally keeping your things hostage until you pay, or stealing from you.

Now let’s get into how to avoid scams so that you can have a great move!

1. Read Lots of Reviews

This is an obvious but important step. Still, we recommend looking at two or more review sites before you make a decision. Some good places to look would be Google Customer Reviews, Angie’s List, Yelp, and The Yellow Pages (online). 

A less obvious resource would be the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where you can read customer reviews and formal complaints and see your chosen company’s BBB rating. 

And beware, scammers can post fake reviews on their own websites!

2. Check Their License

Every moving company is required by law to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). And most states also require them to get a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. You should be able to easily find this number on your moving company’s website and then type it into the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records website to see if they’re legitimate. Again, your state may not require them to have a USDOT number, but most do.

3. They Should Perform An In-Home Inspection

One of the first steps a moving company will take to determine how much they’ll charge you is by asking you a series of questions over the phone. Specifically, they’ll ask you about the size and quantity of things you have in every room of your house. Your answers will help determine the size and weight of the truck, among other things. 

But later in the process, a legitimate moving company will come to your home and physically inspect your items. Keep in mind that they may adjust your over-the-phone estimate after this. If your moving company doesn’t do a physical inspection, that’s a red flag.

4. They Should Ask For Money At The Right Time

A good moving company will ask for payment only AFTER they’ve delivered your things. If they ask for money beforehand, you should find another company!

5. They Should Give You Good Contracts

No one would ever take a blank check, put their signature on it, then hand it to a stranger. If they did, the stranger could fill in whatever amount they wanted and financially ruin that person. So you shouldn’t ever sign a blank contract from a moving company. Like in the example about the check, they could fill in whatever amount they wanted to and overcharge you. 

Also, don’t sign a vague contract. If it doesn’t tell you exactly how much you’ll have to pay or lay out the particulars of what your insurance will cover, etc., avoid that mover.

6. They Should Give You Requisite Literature

Your chosen moving company or moving broker is required by law to give you a booklet titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This will help you understand the contract and/or contracts you’ll be asked to sign. As its name implies, it lays out your rights and responsibilities during the whole moving process. 

7. They Should Have Readily Available Contact Information

Avoid any mover that asks for your contact info but doesn’t give you the contact info of your driver. Also, avoid them if they don’t have a local address, email, or phone number on their website and social media.

8. What To Do If You Get Scammed

If you were to become a victim of a moving company scam, the United States Department of Transportation instructs you to get ahold of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Consumer Complaint Database online or call them. They also instruct you to contact the DOT’s Office of Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline. Another option is to file a complaint in a small claims court. And don’t neglect the powerful impact that leaving bad reviews or formal complaints on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Google Customer Reviews can have.

We hope this list will help you have a good experience as you look to relocate! And if you need a space to store your extra belongings at your new home, consider FreeUp Storage! We are a self-storage facility with units of all sizes, locations across the U.S., 24/7 surveillance, and gated access. To contact us, click here.