While most moving companies are reputable businesses that do quality work, some companies use fraudulent practices. They may:
- Demand cash upfront before the move
- Avoid giving you a written estimate
- Ask you to sign a blank contract in advance
- Only have one cell phone number as a contact and no local physical address
- Show up to your house with a rental truck with no company logo on it
- Give you a quote over the phone without any onsite inspection of your goods
- Give you a low price and change the estimate substantially at your destination
- Hold your belongings hostage until you pay more money
Report moving scams
- If you have a dispute with a moving company and you can’t resolve it, you can pursue arbitration or legal action.
- If you have been the victim of moving fraud and the move was across state lines, learn how to file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- If you have a complaint involving an intrastate move (a move within the boundaries of a state), contact your state or local regulatory authority.
- File a report using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker.
How to protect yourself
Get tools from Protect Your Move to help you protect yourself against moving fraud. And keep these tips in mind to avoid moving scams:
- Get a company representative to come to your home for a realistic estimate of the move.
- Get a written estimate from several movers. In general, estimates are based on time, number of movers needed, who does the packing, and number of rooms to be moved.
- Verify that the company is insured in case your goods are damaged during the move.
- Ask for the company’s U.S. Department of Transportation DOT number and use the FMCSA database to check if the company is registered.
- Reach out to your local, county, or state consumer affairs agency or state attorney general to see if there is a complaint record.
- Don’t accept an estimate over the phone.
- Don’t sign a blank contract.
- Don’t pay for the move in advance or in cash.
- Don’t let movers start packing your goods into the truck without reviewing the contract and estimate again before the move starts.
Get tips and resources about moving to another country:
- Overseas moving estimates are based in part on how much space (cubic volume) your household goods occupy in a shipping container.
- Learn about any customs and import regulations of the country you are relocating to by contacting the embassy or consulate of the country.
- Before selecting a mover, check to be sure the company has a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) number, which all legitimate international movers will have.
- You can file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS).