Moving season is just around the corner and we are urging consumers to be aware of “rogue movers” who can hold your items hostage, demand ransoms and other extortion activities.
Below we've offered five tips on how to avoid this criminal activity by spotting common red flags of rogue movers.
“The unfortunate reality is many individuals fall into the traps of rogue movers every moving season,” said Tony Valentine, Regional Director Operations, North America, Executive, Crown Relocations. “The good news that by taking the proper steps when selecting a moving company, these situations can be prevented with some basic research and having an understanding of what to look out for.”
When selecting a moving company, Crown offers the following tips and advice:
1. Watch out for signs of a fly-by-night company:
- No website, no address, no information about the mover’s registration or insurance.
- Telephone lines answered by generic movers rather than a company name.
Moving companies that only provide an estimate over the phone.
- The mover doesn't offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or internet—sight-unseen. These estimates often sound too good-to-be-true.
- Doesn’t provide an inventory of your items.
2. Be wary of unusual requests:
- Movers that require large deposits or payment in full in advance.
- Extremely low rates. While a large down payment may be suspicious, rates that are too low may also be suspicious. Compare competitive estimates from several companies and be on the lookout for potential scams.
- Always remember if you fall into a situation where a company won’t return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay (contact BBB or local law enforcements).
3. Get everything in writing:
Confirm insurance coverage.
- The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance. Most moves are covered by weight, but many items may not be covered and or may require additional coverage.
- Obtain a written contract.
- Make sure all pickup and delivery dates are spelled out and understand how your rate was calculated.
- Understand the terms of insurance coverage and consider purchasing full value protection. If a company doesn’t offer this, be wary.
4. Research the mover’s accreditation:
Go to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website and find out if your potential mover has a Department of Transportation (DOT) number.
- This number ensures that the company is registered with the Department of Transportation.
- Only use companies with licensing. In the U.S., use this tool to check out interstate movers)
- Work with accredited moving companies. In the United States, work with companies that are affiliated with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and internationally, the International Association of Movers (IAM). Visit moving.org to view accreditated movers.
5. Top Three Red Flags
- Movers who demand cash or a large deposit before the move.
- Company websites that have no address and no information about a mover's registration or insurance.
- Movers who claim all of their items are covered by their insurance.
Valentine added that following these steps will help customers with peace of mind, knowing that they will not be put into a compromising rogue mover situation. “If something sounds too good to be true, it often times is. A little extra research can go a long way and help you avoid rogue movers.”