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July 17, 2019

Moving scams to watch out for

Reviewed By: Diane Anderson, MBA SHRM-SCP SPHR, Director of Safety, Atlas Van Lines

  • Move Management
Watch out for these signs of moving scams.

With 40 million Americans moving at least once per year, according to USA Today, it's no surprise that there's a large industry devoted to supporting those efforts. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of scams that try to make people part from their hard-earned money without getting anything in return. Let's look at some common elements of moving scams and learn how to identify and avoid them.

The impossibly low quote

A moving company that offers a quote substantially below all the others you've received during the beginning of the moving process should be approached with caution. While circumstances such as customer volume and scheduling on the day of your move can lead to a business offering a low rate, be careful to recognize if something seems to good to be true. It could indicate the company isn't legitimate and co simply take a deposit and never show up on moving day. In other cases, they might be legitimate movers but offer an especially low level of service and professionalism, potentially exposing your belongings to damage or loss during the process.

Whether a traditional scam or a poorly managed company, an especially low quote can indicate some possible problems. Make sure to check out reviews from independent websites like the Better Business Bureau and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's National Consumer Complaint Database.

The bait and switch

A related scam to the impossibly low quote is the bait and switch, where a company offers a reasonable quote and seemingly professional service. However, they will then engage in a variety of nefarious activity, such as saying the estimate was inaccurate and charging significantly more - in essence holding your belongings hostage - or simply stealing your belongings. It's hard to gain any leverage in these situations, so the best way to deal with them is to not put yourself in them in the first place.

A concept image of a road sign with "scam" written on it.The warning signs of moving scams stand out if you know what to look for.

The lack of specific, unique information

Many moving companies that aren't on the up and up will use generic phrasing. They avoid providing a specific company name or contact information beyond the most basic phone number or email address. As the Better Business Bureau pointed out, if the phone is answered with a generic phrase like "movers," you should immediately feel suspicious. Similarly, if the company doesn't provide any information about key considerations like insurance and registration, you should be wary of using their services. A final red flag to keep in mind is the use of generic moving trucks. If your mover is otherwise reputable and trustworthy, this isn't necessarily a big deal, but it's a major concern when the company hasn't otherwise displayed those positive attributes.

Finding a trustworthy, dependable mover

Avoiding moving scams starts with finding trustworthy and dependable movers and packers. Atlas has a track record of professional service dating back to 1948, and all of our agents are happy to provide key information such as insurance details and FMCSA registration numbers when asked. To find out more, get in touch with your local agent!