How can I protect myself from moving company fraud?

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It can be a great milestone to move into a new house, but there are also some stressors. Many people are concerned about the safety of their belongings when they move. Moving fraud is a common problem, as not all moving firms are honest and ethical. How can you avoid falling victim to moving scams? Here are some important tips you should keep in mind.

1. Do a lot of research

Do your research before entrusting any of your possessions to a moving company. Use resources such as the USMPO Certified Carrier Directory in order to locate reputable movers with a track record of reliability. Read reviews and testimonials to determine the satisfaction level of previous customers.

2. Verify Credentials

All legitimate moving companies must be licensed and insured. You can verify the USDOT number (U.S. Department of Transportation’s) through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration SAFER system. Ask about insurance to make sure your possessions are covered in the event of a mishap during the move.

3. Write Everything Down

Never rely on verbal agreements. You should insist on a contract detailing the details of your move. This includes the services you will receive, the estimated costs, and the timeline for delivery. Before signing the contract, make sure you read it carefully and ask any questions regarding unclear or ambiguous terms.

4. Lowball estimates are not worth it

Be cautious if a moving company gives you a lower estimate than other companies. Moving companies that are unscrupulous will often offer lowball estimates to lure their customers, only to raise the price by hiding fees or holding onto their possessions until they pay more. Select a moving company who will provide a transparent and detailed estimate after an in-person or online inspection of your possessions.

5. Avoid cash-only transactions

Most reputable moving companies accept a variety of forms of payment including checks and credit cards. You should be wary of moving companies that insist on only accepting cash transactions. This could indicate a potential fraud. A traceable payment method adds an extra layer of accountability and security.

6. Be Vigilant during Moving Day

Be vigilant on the day of your move and ensure everything runs smoothly. Be alert to any unexpected or discrepancies in the terms agreed upon. Do not hesitate to raise any concerns you may have with the moving company if anything appears amiss.

7. Report Suspicious Activity

Report any fraudulent activity or problems you have with a moving firm to the authorities immediately. You can file a complaint at the Better Business Bureau or contact the consumer protection agency in your state.

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