Man with box over his head

Moving Scams & How to Avoid Them

If you are planning on hiring a professional Southern California moving company to transport your personal belongings, it is important to hire moving experts that you can trust. Before you sign any contracts, take the necessary steps to ensure that you won’t be scammed during your relocation. Moving scams are all too common and can саuѕе a great deal of trouble, stress, and heartache for innocent people, families, and businesses who are just trying to move.

What happens with moving scams? A rogue mover may give you a low price over the phone, ask for a deposit, and then ask for double or triple the price after your property is loaded on the truck. They may demand payment, essentially holding your possessions hostage until you pay the new price.

Spotting Moving Scams: Watch for These Red Flags

You can take a few steps to check that a moving company is legitimate. Below, we have put together a list of tips on how to avoid moving scams.

Asking for Payment Before the Move: If movers ask for full payment before the move, it could be a scam. Some “moving companies” will pack up people's homes after taking their money and abandon it in a storage facility or the side of the road. It's not worth dealing with companies that want your money upfront.

Bad Reviews That Have the Same Complaint: A great way to know if a moving company is reliable is by reading reviews from people that have used their services before. Checking online reviews is a great way to see if a moving company has great customer service and if they are dependable. If the majority of their reviews are bad (and bad for the same reason), stay away. For extra security, check their complaint record with the Better Business Bureau.

The Business Has a Home Address or No Address Listed: If the company does not display their address online or will not tell you over the phone, something might be wrong. Legitimate movers will have a real address. It is vital to look up a company’s address to make sure that the location is legitimate. If a company doesn’t have a legitimate business address, they might not be reliable.

They Answer the Phone with Generic “Movers”: If they do not state their full company name when you call, this could be a sign that they have several websites with different names in order to get more business and avoid liability.

Over-the-Phone Estimates: If a moving company refuses to do an in-home estimate, they're not being honest with you. The only way to get an accurate quote is by doing an on-site estimate. If they ask for your signature without a thorough look at your home, they might be low-balling you only to increase their price once you've committed to them. For international movers, expect them to ask for a thorough inventory of your home. Note: depending on current COVID-19 restrictions and concerns, in-home estimates may not be possible. If this is the case, a video chat and detailed inventory can help a moving company give you an accurate estimate. At AQMS, our final price is based on the total weight of your belongings, you can always rest assured that you only pay for what we’ve moved.

No Interstate Moving License: A moving company needs a federal license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) if they are making an interstate move. If they don't have a license, they're not a legitimate interstate mover.

No Insurance: All moving companies should be insured, just in case your personal belongings are damaged or missing. It is vital to ensure that they have insurance in case something was to occur to your personal belongings. If they don't offer to insure your belongings or your contract is vague, don't give them your business. Good contracts include hard figures about the worth, weight, and space of your belongings.

No Written Paperwork Before Your Move: Moving companies must present a Tariff (basically a menu of services and pricing) and an Arbitration program form to their customers. This is legally required before the company even starts to move a single item. If you as the movers and they do not have these items or say you don’t need anything in writing, beware. They could be part of an illegitimate operation.

The Trucks Arrive with No Name or a Different Name: Moving companies should have their own trucks with their names printed on them as well as a USDOT number (this is basically their business license). They are legally required to have this number visible on all their trucks.

What You Can Do

If you believe that you’ve been the victim of a moving scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If you are dealing with a situation where you feel that you are in danger or unsafe, however, you should call 911 for emergency help. The FMCSA complaint tool is meant to report instances of moving fraud so they can be investigated.

Choose a Southern CA Moving Company You Can Trust

At Affordable Quality Moving and Storage, we know it can be tricky to find the right movers and to check if a moving company is legitimate. Avoiding moving scams is the most important thing you can do to protect your belongings and peace of mind. As trusted movers who have been serving Santa Clarita and the surrounding areas since 1996, we are fully licensed, insured, BBB accredited, and have countless reviews from satisfied customers. We provide free in-home estimates and are always transparent about pricing, scheduling, and every aspect of your move. From packing and unpacking to transportation to storage, you can count on our Southern California movers to handle your move with professionalism and care.

For a reliable and trustworthy moving company, contact AQMS today at (661) 622-2636. We provide free on-site estimates for a dependable move in your neighborhood and between coasts!