All moving companies are not created equal. I found this out the when moving from a rural community, where there were a lack of cross-country movers, to the opposite side of the continent. It cost me a lot of money and a great deal of heartache and determination. And in the end, if I had not been persistent, I would have lost all my possessions to a rogue moving company.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides a lot of essential information on your rights and expectations as a consumer. Some of the information they provide is a comprehensive list on how to spot a rogue mover. The list below is a summary of their tips. In addition, I'm including some of my own signs in order to provide a comprehensive guide on what to look for:
- The moving company provides you with an over-the-phone or Internet estimate and it's unusually low.
- The estimate is based on cubic feet not on weight. Estimates based on cubic feet, i.e., truck space, are not valid. Do not accept service from companies that offer this kind of estimate.
- The moving company never visit your home for an on-site inspection of your possessions.
- The moving company demands cash or a large deposit even before they move any items.
- The moving company does not provide you with a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, information movers are required by Federal regulations to give to their customers.
- The moving company's website does not provide contact information or information on licensing or insurance.
- The moving company tells you that all your goods are completely covered by their insurance.
- When you call the moving company, the telephone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving company," and the company name is never mentioned.
- The moving company's offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives instead of a company-owned and marked truck.
- Finally, you go to MovingScam.com and there are several postings on their message boards that complain about the potential mover. This is probably the best resource on the web for finding out about rogue movers. If you can't find anything posted against the company you're thinking of hiring, post your own message and ask. Someone will respond with their own experience. Take their advice or post your own.
- The moving company's name is extremely generic. In my case, the rogue company was called "AAA Moving Company". That should have been my first clue!
- When you ask the moving company where they are located, they give you a false address or will not provide you with an address.
- When you call the moving company, they seem very accommodating and will answer all your questions with "Yes, we can do that!".
- The moving company is difficult to get in touch with. When you call, you often get an answering machine that provides little information.
- When you check the moving company with the Better Business Bureau, the company has no records at all. Sometimes such a result means the company has not had any complaints; however, it can also mean that the company changes it's name so frequently that the new name is not registered at all. In fact, rogue movers change their name so often, it's difficult to trace their history.
And some of my tips: