Avoiding Illegal Movers: 4 Truths About Dishonest Moving Companies
Sometimes we can’t hold ourselves back from jumping on a deal that’s too good to be true. Many times, however, these bargains are just that: Too good to be true. We spend our money thinking that we’ve made out like bandits, only to later find out that we’ve become a victim of an elaborate scam.
In the moving industry, there are some illegitimate “movers” that prey on good, honest consumers. They normally have a respectable-looking website that they use to bait their victims. From there, they only provide estimates over the phone or by email and offer shockingly low quotes to trick people into doing business with them. They then come to the home of the consumer, load their items in a truck, drive off, and never show up at the destination with their goods.
Pretty terrifying, isn’t it? The good news is, falling for these schemes is easily avoidable with a little research. As with any service, it’s always wise to read up on the companies in question so you know their background and the quality of their work. Without an expert knowledge of the moving industry, though, it’s hard to know where to begin. That’s why we’ve put together a few truths about dishonest moving companies so you know exactly what to look for.
1: They’re Not Licensed
If a moving company is unlicensed, that means they are not monitored or regulated by the government. This is a huge red flag because if they decide to steal your belongings and run off with your money, you won’t be able to turn to the government for help. They’ll have no information on the mover that stole from you, so they won’t be able to provide much support, making it difficult for you to get your money and possessions back.
2: Pricing That’s Absurdly Low
There are good reasons why moving costs as much as it does. Between paying the expert drivers and movers, keeping the trucks fueled and serviced, paying property taxes for warehouse space, and a multitude of other costs, owning a moving company tends to be a bit pricey. That’s why extremely low pricing should raise a few eyebrows. It’s impossible for a moving company to be sustainable if they’re quoting a long-distance, five-bedroom house move at under $1,000.
3: They Don’t Offer Proper Insurance
No matter what, you should always ask a moving company about their insurance options. If a mover doesn’t carry proper insurance, there is a good chance that it’s not legitimate. Some may try to save face by showing off a flimsy certificate of insurance. If you run into this, make sure you check in with the supposed insurance provider to get more information on the coverage. The last thing you’ll want is to lose a disputed claim over items of yours that were broken in transit.
4: They Don’t Have a Physical Location
If a moving company doesn’t have a verified physical location, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re not legitimate. If they happen to run off with your goods on moving day, they can easily shut down their website and turn off their phone numbers, leaving you with no means of contacting them. Running a moving company takes space—a lot of it. Think about it: There needs to be a place to keep the trucks, equipment, supplies and other crucial elements to running a moving business. If you can’t find a physical location, it’s in your best interest to avoid hiring the company.
Another crucial element to look at is if the moving company belongs to any industry organizations. For instance, if it is a ProMover certified by the American Moving & Storage Association, there is absolutely no chance that it is illegitimate. The American Moving & Storage Association only accepts licensed, reputable moving companies and holds them to high standards. Find a quality mover in your area at Moving.org!
Ricky T. Christ is the president of O’Brien’s Moving and Storage, an Eastern Pennsylvania moving company founded in 1928. O’Brien’s has since grown into a 50-plus truck operation with three locations in two states. As an agent for Allied Van Lines and a certified ProMover, O’Brien’s strives to extend its courteous and dependable service to customers across the globe.