It’s peak moving season! Between April and September, over half of all yearly moves occur. With so many people moving, the scammers are out in full force. It can be easy to fall prey to a moving scam, particularly if you’re a first-time mover or haven’t hired professional moving services before. Here are some tips to ensure you avoid scammers and have a good experience.
Reviews are a great place to start. Third-party websites, like Consumer Affairs, are a great way to find unbiased, verified reviews. Keep an eye out for consistent reviews stating that costs were higher or timelines were longer than initially quoted.
If you’re unable to find any reviews, that’s likely a sign that the company is fraudulent. Always err on the side of caution and choose a moving company that has an established reputation.
Are They Licensed?
Checking the licensing status of moving companies is another great way to ensure they are legitimate. All interstate movers must be licensed through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can search for any potential moving companies on their website and receive a full report on their registration status, complaint information, and safety information.
Quality movers may also be members of the American Trucking Association. Individuals looking to move can check the membership status of moving companies and search for member companies in their area on the ATA website.
This technique will also help you determine if the organization is insured. Being insured adds not only an extra level of legitimacy to the company but also protects you from potential issues. If you’re already in contact with a moving company and they’re hesitant to share information regarding their insurance policy, that may be a sign that you should look elsewhere.
How Do They Charge?
The only way a moving company should be determining price estimates is by the weight of the items you’re moving. It is illegal for a company to charge customers for a move based on volume or cubic foot. Beware of any company stating that they determine costs by any way other than weight; they are almost certainly a scam.
Time to Pay
A price estimate is just that – an estimate. Any moving company claiming that the estimate is set in stone or asking that you pay based on the quote rather than the actual move is potentially not trustworthy. Quotes are subject to change and the company won’t know the details affecting cost, namely, the actual weight of your move, until moving day.
While these quotes normally can’t be exact until after the move is complete, they shouldn’t be far off from the final cost. Scammers may lure you in with a low quote but then ask for significantly more money when the time comes to deliver your goods. Some organizations may even hold your items “hostage” and demand that you pay the new, higher price before they’ll return your goods.
A professional moving company will take steps to ensure you receive the most accurate quote possible, including in-house or virtual estimates that help avoid any hidden costs.
Check Their History
Scammers often change their business names to avoid detection by consumers and authorities. If you can see that a company has repeatedly changed its name, be sure to avoid them. Social media can be a really helpful tool for this. If their social pages have reviews referencing a company with a different name – particularly if the reviews are negative – it’s a tell-tale sign that the organization is attempting to hide previous coverage.
A Known Name
Opting to use a moving company with a great reputation is the safest option. Well-known organizations, or smaller companies that are backed by those organizations, not only offer a legitimate and valid option, but they also have policies and plans in place if something were to go wrong.
ABOUT HAZELWOOD ALLIED
Established in Santa Barbara in 1918, Hazelwood Allied is a full service relocation company providing national relocation and international moves for residential and commercial clients. Known as “The Careful Movers,” Hazelwood Allied is a Santa Barbara moving company with a strong track record for thorough and careful approaches to residential moves and commercial moves. Follow the Facebook page for exclusive offers and moving tips. Call 800-541-5958 for a free moving estimate.