Here are 9 Red Flags to Avoid When Hiring a Moving Company:
Nine red flags to watch out for when hiring a moving company. By being aware of these scams and warning signs, you can protect yourself and ensure a smooth and trustworthy moving experience. If you have already contracted services with a mover identified to participating in suspicious red flag activity, contact the USMPO to request an official audit.
1. Thousands of “Good Reviews”
Fake reviews can be rampant online. Even companies like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau have membership fees and agreements that can influence the transparency of the company reputation. Use trusted industry resources such as the USMPO and the FMCSA, which have it in their mission to optimize customer service and ethics within the industry. When looking up reviews, don’t just check the good ones. Read the negative ones as well to make a fair judgement.
2. Cash-Only Transactions
The USMPO always recommends using an escrow service, such as QCescrow.com or Escrow.com. All carriers certified by the USMPO are mandated to accept payment through escrow. Reputable movers should accept credit card payments to ensure that you have recourse if something goes wrong. When you put all your furniture on a truck, and make an upfront payment, you are left with zero leverage and at total mercy of the movers timing. Maintain control by keeping funds with an intermediary.
3. Claims that the Quote will Not Change
Honest movers understand that quotes can fluctuate based on the actual weight of your items or space occupied on the truck. Unless you are reserving a private truck, things can fluctuate. There are no guarantees, and you shouldn’t be getting fooled by that.
4. A Rushed Inventory Process
Your inventory is one of the most important parts of your move. Your price is contingent upon its accuracy. It is your responsibility to make sure it is correct. A reputable, local moving company should be able to perform an in-home walk-through to provide a written and signed estimate. That being said, most companies can also virtual walkthroughs that are designed to cut costs for both the shipper and the company, which work just as well as an in-home estimate.
5. Demands for a Large Down Payment
Be cautious if a company asks for a significantly higher down payment than the industry standard of around 10 to 20 percent. Moving companies certified through the USMPO have all agreed to accept payments through an escrow service which distributes funds through completion based milestones.
9. Suspiciously Low Bids
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure to check your official rate, and always get multiple quotes. The cost of gas, labor, and transportation is pretty standard across the board. There shouldn’t be a quote that is significantly cheaper than the others. Beware of bids that seem too good to be true or companies that refuse to provide written estimates. Rates have been standardized by the USMPO to protect consumers from low ball estimates and bait&switch sales tactics specifically designed to lure customers. Estimates and quotes that are lower than the standardized rate, always end up costing much more, plus an unwanted headache, on move day. Be smart and inform yourself on the true cost to move. The USMPO has made it easy for you.
Bonus: Failure to provide “Ready to Move” documents
Interstate movers are legally obligated to give you a copy of the federal brochure outlining your rights and responsibilities. Find them here.