Moving Tips

How to Avoid Moving Company Frauds

How to Avoid Moving Company Frauds

Planning a move soon? Exciting times, right? But amidst the thrill of a new place, the prospect of falling victim to a moving company scam can be mind numbing and even embarrassing.

Do not worry! In this guide we’ll talk about researching reputable moving companies to understanding the red flags of movers, we’ve got you covered so your move goes smoothly and scam-free.

1. Do Your Homework on Moving Companies

Before you hand over your precious belongings, take a moment to dig a bit deeper into the moving company you are considering. When you do your homework on moving companies it can give you clues and red flags towards if they are legitimate or not. Here’s a quick checklist to follow:

  • Check their info – Make sure the company is legally qualified to operate. Check if they have valid licenses and insurance by visiting official sites in your country, in the US it’s the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Australia it’s the Australian Business Register.
  • Read what people say: Use moving platforms like Find a Mover, Google Reviews, and even social media to find real experiences from real customers who can give you a good idea of what to expect.
  • Check their physical address: A legit moving company should have a verifiable address. Be wary of businesses that only provide a P.O. box or no address at all.
  • Get detailed estimates: Request written estimates and compare them. Be suspicious of any company offering an estimate that seems too good to be true, chances are, it might be a scam.

2. Get Different Prices

More than just checking the price tag, it’s about understanding what you’re getting into. When you’re moving, don’t settle for the first quote that comes your way. By getting different prices you can uncover clues as to which quotes are unrealistic.

  • Compare costs – It’s a good idea to get multiple estimates from different moving companies or vehicle shippers if you’re transporting your vehicle long distance. Vehicle Move compares lots of transporters whatever vehicle you need transportation for. This doesn’t just help you find a fair price but also gives you a sense of what the average company is offering. A low cost, could signal a red flag.
  • Compare the services – When comparing quotes, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Look at what’s included: packing services, loading and unloading, travel time, and any additional fees. Be cautious of any estimates that are exceptionally low – they might add hidden costs later.
  • In-person visits: Be cautious of companies that give quotes without seeing your belongings. Or only communicate through email and text. A physical visit or phone call can prevent nasty surprises later.

3. Watch out For Warning Signs

Fly by night companies have red flags, you just need to be able to spot them. Red flags can save you from a world of trouble.

  • Big upfront payments – If they ask for a hefty amount before the move, step back and ask why. Legit companies usually don’t do this and are comfortable with a small deposit to secure the booking.
  • Unmarked trucks – Professional movers use branded trucks. An unmarked truck doesn’t mean the moving business isn’t legitimate, it simply means they may not have been around for long.
  • Clear contracts – Everything should be in black and white. Is there a logo on the contract with the accurate contact information. Vague terms and hidden charges? Can be a red flag.

4. Check Their Details

Dig deeper to find out who you’re really dealing with. Just like doing your homework on the moving company, look more into how the company is run and if the presence is there.

  • Real address – Verify their address. Go visit if you can. Fly-by-night operators often don’t have a real office. Public records sites can also help. For instance, in USA you can run a business search.
  • Check for complaints – In addition to reading reviews, check for any formal complaints filed against the company with organizations like Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce.
  • Company history – Find out who own’s the company. Look into their business history. Longevity and a clean record are good indicators of reliability.

5. Ask Important Questions

Get nosy and ask qualifying questions before you enter an agreement, fraud companies may not be able to answer questions or avoid answering questions directly:

  • Will they handle the move themselves or subcontract it? You need to know who’s touching your belongings.
  • What kind of training do their movers receive? This is important because well-trained movers will look after your belongings and provide a better moving experience.
  • How experienced are the movers? Experienced movers are more likely to reduce the risk of damage during the move.
  • Can they provide references or reviews from past customers? This is important because it helps verify their credibility and the quality of their work.
  • What time can I expect the delivery? It’s important because so you can plan the arrival.
  • What are the hidden costs? Understanding these is crucial to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure accurate budgeting.

Ask about their insurance policies.

    • What does it cover?
    • What is the claims process if something gets damaged?
    • Are there any additional costs for higher coverage?
    • Do they offer full value protection or only basic liability coverage?

6. Know What You’re Signing

Reading the fine print might not be glamorous, but it’s crucial. Before signing any agreement with a moving company, make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions. Some times a shady company can modify the agreement to what you have agreed on.

  • Accurate exact estimates: Check that the estimate given is accurate, a fixed price estimate helps avoid unexpected costs.
  • Read everything – Yes, that means every single line, even the ones in small print. Understand the company’s liability and your own responsibilities.
  • Ask for clarification – If there’s something that doesn’t make sense or seems ambiguous, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s better to clarify now than to deal with surprises later.
  • Inventory list – Ensure that the company provides a comprehensive list of what they’ll be moving. This ensures everything is accounted for and helps in the event you need to file a claim for lost or damaged items.
  • Know the moving day details – Check the date and time of your move listed on the contract is accurate. Confirm the pickup and delivery windows and any compensation associated with delays.
  • Payment terms – Understand the payment schedule. Know when deposits are due and final payments are to be made. Be wary of any large upfront payments. If they ask for any, ask for a reason to substantiate it.
  • Cancellation policy – Life happens; plans change. Know the company’s policy on cancellations, rescheduling, and the related fees. Moving companies that have ambiguous refund and cancellation fess may not be willing to offer them.

7. Keep an Eye on The Move

When the big day finally arrives, staying vigilant by actively participating in the moving process until your belongings reach your new home safely. Knowing where you belongings are at all times will give you piece of mind that it will arrive.

  • Monitor the packing – Be present as the movers pack your items. This allows you to oversee the handling of delicate or high-value items, ensuring they’re properly protected.
  • Track the truck – If the moving company offers a tracking service for the moving truck, make use of it. Otherwise use a third Not only does this give you peace of mind, but it also helps you stay informed about any unexpected delays on the road.
  • Stay in contact – Keep your phone handy and maintain open communication with the movers. This can help address any questions or issues that might arise during the move.
  • Inspect upon arrival – Once your belongings arrive at your new home, do a thorough inspection while the movers are still there. Check for any damage or missing items and make sure all large furniture pieces are placed in their desired spots before the movers leave.
  • Tip the movers – If the movers have done a good job, it’s a nice gesture to tip them. Showing appreciation for their hard work can also encourage them to go the extra mile in ensuring everything is as you’d like it.

8. Protect Your Valuables

Moving can be really hectic, and it’s important to make sure your special things are safe at all times to prevent opportunistic theft.

  • Keep them with you – For items like jewellery, important documents, and small electronics, it’s best to transport them yourself. Carry them in a secure, portable container that stays with you throughout the move.
  • Use a safe deposit box – If you’re worried about losing irreplaceable items during the move, consider storing them temporarily in a safe deposit box.
  • Document your valuables – Make a list of all high-value items and take photographs. This can serve as evidence if anything goes amiss and supports any insurance claims you may need to make.
  • Get special moving insurance – Standard moving insurance may not cover high-value items. Look into additional insurance options that provide full coverage for your valuables.
  • Label discreetly – If you’re packing valuable items within boxes, label them discreetly. Avoid drawing attention to the fact that they contain expensive or important items.
  • Secure packing – Use ample protective materials like bubble wrap, foam inserts, and sturdy boxes to pack your valuables.

9. Stay in Touch

Maintaining communication with your moving company is key to a smooth relocation. From the moment you book their services to the final delivery of your belongings, staying in touch ensures that any issues or changes can be promptly addressed and that the moving company has not disappeared after payment.

  • Contact details – Ensure you have all necessary contact details, including the office number and the driver’s phone number. This will help facilitate quick communication if any questions or problems arise during the move.
  • Updates and confirmations – Regularly check in with your moving company before moving day to confirm details like arrival times and any special instructions. This can help avoid any last-minute surprises.
  • Follow up on delivery – Once your items are on the way, keep in touch with the moving company to track delivery status. If there are any delays, knowing in advance can help you adapt your plans accordingly.
  • Emergency contact – Have a point person at the moving company for any last-minute issues.

10. Be There on Moving Day

Your presence can ward off potential problems. You may not be able to oversee everything but your presence makes a difference.

  • Watch the process – Be present while they load and unload your items to ensure everything is handled with care. This keeps things transparent and allows you to address any concerns on the spot. Being involved can also help you keep track of your belongings and ensure nothing gets misplaced.
  • Do a final check – Do a final thorough sweep of the entire house to ensure that nothing has been forgotten or left behind. This includes checking all rooms, closets, cabinets, and even those easy-to-miss spots to make sure everything is accounted for.

11. Check Everything at Delivery

Your stuff made it to the new place, but the job isn’t over yet. Fly by night companies may try to keep certain valuable items.

  • Does it match the list: Carefully compare the items received with the inventory list to ensure everything has arrived as expected. Double-check each item to make sure you have it.
  • Inspect your items: Carefully examine all items for any damages or defects before signing off. Make sure to thoroughly check for any scratches, dents, or other issues. Your signature is your final approval, signifying that you have received the items in good condition.

12. Report Problems Fast

If things go sideways, act swiftly and report the company.

  • Make a complaint: If you encounter any issues during your move, promptly report them to the moving company and, if necessary, to the relevant authorities, such as consumer protection agencies, to ensure the matter is addressed and resolved efficiently.
  • Get legal help: If you suspect fraud or have experienced a significant financial loss, it is crucial to consult a lawyer immediately. A legal professional can guide you through the necessary steps to protect your rights and potentially recover your losses.


Moving to a new home can be exciting and stressful, and the last thing you need is to fall victim to a fraud moving company. By following this handy guide, you can protect yourself and avoid the risk of using a illegitimate moving company.

Start by doing thorough research on potential moving companies, getting multiple quotes, and watching for any warning signs. Make sure to ask important questions and understand every detail in your contract. On moving day, stay involved and keep an eye on your belongings.

Protect your valuables and maintain open communication with the movers. Upon delivery, carefully check your items and report any problems immediately.

By taking these practical steps, you can confidently navigate the moving process and enjoy your new home without the stress of potential fraud. Stay safe and move right!

Connor West
Connor West, an alumnus of therUniversity of Texas with a degree in Organizational Behavior, has actively contributed to our platform since 2020. His career commenced in logistics management, where he developed a keen understanding of efficient systems and effective planning. His articles, often added with personal anecdotes from his extensive travel experiences, have helped countless readers easily navigate complex situations. In his free time, Connor is an enthusiastic rock climber, a hobby that complements his focus on strategic thinking and problem-solving.

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