How to spot a fraudulent moving company

Hiring moversNovember 22, 2020

The process of relocation is much easier when you have professional helping hands on board. And, with so many companies that specialize in moving and storage Columbus Ohio for prices that are rather affordable, it would be only logical to hire a team that will ensure your move goes by smoothly and efficiently. However, not all companies have your best interest in mind like Zippy Shell does. Some are there to make a quick and easy buck on people who don’t know how to spot a fraudulent moving company. As you probably don’t want to have such an unpleasant experience, we have created this simple guide that will help you see all the red flags on time, and know whether the company is worthy of your time, money and attention.

Tips to help you spot a fraudulent moving company

Spotting moving scammers needs to be a part of your quest for a moving company. However, it is not a step you can list on your research checklist. It is by understanding all the red flags, and the way they show their features that you will be able to see something is fishy through the research of a certain company. So, if you are in need of Columbus Ohio storage units climate controlled features included, you will start by looking for companies that offer them, but pay attention to all the telltales that will show whether you can or cannot trust this business.

A woman sipping from her mug, doing some research on the Internet
It is not that hard to spot fraudulent movers just by internet research.

Look for the FMSCA license

There is a federal agency that tracks and regulates the trucking industry, making sure people like you are able to find a trustworthy moving company. It bears the name of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). It keeps tabs on the moving industry because relocation companies use trucks. Now, if a company is not properly licensed through the FMSCA, chances are great that it is a fraud.

The way you can check this is through the company’s USDOT (US Department of Transportation) number. In most cases, with most legitimate companies, it is listed somewhere on the company’s website. Most of them place it in fine print at the very bottom of the home page, while others keep it near the logo of their business, at the very top of their website. It should be clearly labeled as #USDOT or just DOT. Once you have found it, you can use it to search the FMCSA’s database for any information the agency has on that particular company. Now, the USDOT number will present you with a chart about that company. You need to ensure that the ”Operating Status” field says ”Authorized”. Finding this means that the company is licensed with the FMCSA and that it is not a scam. Keep in mind, however, that proper licensing does not guarantee a company’s quality of service or their fair prices.

A man looking at a laptop
A legitimate moving company will often provide all the info you need on their website.

Bonus tip

It can sometimes happen that the company has not placed its USDOT number on their website. This does not have to mean that the company is illegitimate, however. There is one thing you can do to check whether they have their license. Go to the FMCSA website, and check the company’s credibility by searching their name. You might get a number of companies with the same name, and that is when you turn to their address or phone number and see which profile fits the company you are considering.

Scammers have a tendency of charging customers more money than they agreed to

Reviews of a moving company are a great source of information, so long as you know what to look for. Overly biased comments are a definite sign that the company is not for you. If something seems too good to be true, take it as a rule of thumb that it probably is. On the other hand, if a company has too many negative comments, there is really no reason to give it many thoughts. It is the companies that have the majority of positive comments that you need to check out. Now, let us focus on those few negative comments. What do they say? Are there many of them that mention the company overcharging them? There are valid reasons for a company to raise your price. However, excessive increases and hidden fees have no justification other than being red flags of scammers.

The company will ask you to pay or sign a moving contract before it does an in-home estimate

A trustworthy moving company will not ask you to sign anything or pay them a dime until they do an in-home estimate. The latter takes place so that the company can accurately assess how much your shipment will weigh, and thus how much your relocation will cost. If a company skips this step and asks you for payment or signature immediately after you gen an instant moving quote, you should be alarmed, as it is likely a scam.

Two people going over some documents and contracts
Make sure not to sign anything until you know all the details of your relocation.

Keep in mind that plenty of moving companies will provide you with preliminary moving quotes online or over the phone. This is not to say that those companies are shady. However, you should know that these are ballpark estimates. They serve the purpose of giving you ideas of what your move is most likely to cost. The actual cost is likely to go up at least a little after an on-site inspection. So, after you receive an instant quote, a moving company will send an estimator to your home. He or she will then inspect everything you are moving. After the inspection is done, the estimator will provide you with an updated estimate. You can take that quote as the actual price of your move.

In this case, a great way to spot a fraudulent moving company is to witness it not doing the in-home estimate. They will ask you to sign a moving contract right away or pay them upfront for whatever price they quoted. Make sure to avoid sending your credit card info or signing any paperwork if a company does that to you.

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