According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an average of 37 million Americans move each year. The month of May kicks off the busiest moving season, and is recognized as National Moving Month. Your BBB offers tips to help you avoid moving scams the next time you pack up.
- Start your research by getting a list of BBB Accredited movers. Check out their BBB Business Reviews and find at least three you’d like to research further. You may consider asking your real estate agent for their input at this point as well, since they often deal with moving businesses.
- Interstate movers are required to be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number. Verify the license at protectyourmove.gov, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.
- Ask potential moving companies for references (and actually call them!).
- Visit the moving business’ office and inspect their moving trucks. How well are their trucks maintained? That might be a good sign of how well your possessions will be handled.
- Ask businesses about their background check process. Any business you can trust will perform complete background checks on all their employees, particularly those that will be handling your possessions and be around your family members for an extended period of time.
- Have each potential mover make an in-home estimate. It’s important they do a detailed walk-through to give you the most accurate estimate. An estimate over the phone will likely be a lowball number designed merely to draw you in. Look for an estimator to open cabinets and review the contents and ask detailed questions, such as whether you will be moving your food. This attention to detail is a sign of professionalism that will provide you with an accurate estimate, as moving businesses charge by weight. If a moving business claims to charge by the cubic foot, it is likely a scam.
- Once you have chosen a moving business, get a contract detailing all expenses and what is expected of the movers. Reputable businesses won’t demand cash payments or large deposits. Paying upfront takes away any control you have over when your things will show up. When creating a contract, ask about the claims process; even the most trustworthy business will drop something from time to time. Businesses you want to work with will have a solid internal claims process. If a business can’t provide you with a clear explanation of their claims process right away, consider finding a different moving business.
For additional information and advice you can trust, start with bbb.org