How to avoid moving scams

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Robber taking couchMoving, in and of itself, is stressful enough. Add in the (very real) possibility of being taken for a ride, both literally and figuratively, by a rogue mover and it’s enough to drive even the sanest person to pull their hair out. But never fear! The pros at Moveline have some expert tips to help you avoid moving scams. Read on to stay scam-free.

First, your new best friend should become this website. It’s run by the US Department of Transportation and is the go-to spot for making sure everything about your move is on the up and up.

Second, one of Moveline’s resident experts, Susanna Walsh, has the skinny on the three things to look out for in order to avoid getting tangled up with the wrong kind of movers:

  1. Nothing up-front. If you’re ever asked for a deposit or to pay cash up-front, even if it’s small, hang up! Think of booking a move like reserving a hotel room: it’s cool if they take your credit card number and hold it, but charging anything before you actually show up to the hotel (or, in this case, any earlier than a day or two before moving day) doesn’t jive.

  2. Inventory is essential. If anyone gives you a quote without seeing your stuff, or at least doing a phone or online checklist inventory, that’s... just not possible. There are a ton of quirks to pricing which depend completely on the total of your specific stuff in either cubic feet or weight, especially when it comes to a long-distance move. If a company offers to give you a flat rate based on something like the size or type of place you live in, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a scam.

  3. Get the numbers. Every moving company is required to have either a Department of Transportation (DOT) or Motor Carrier (MC) number. If they say they don’t (and especially if you check them out and they actually don’t), then they’re not registered with the US government. If you do get a number, check it out here. Look at the Entity Type and Operating Status fields to make sure they’re listed as a carrier. Make sure there’s an X next to “Authorized for Hire” and alongside any other relevant line items, If the company says they can handle your interstate move but they aren’t marked as an interstate mover, for example, it means your move will definitely be contracted out to another company.

The bottom line: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re ever unsure, just call Moveline. Ask us all the questions you want -- we’ll never charge for a consultation. We can give you pointers on anything from how to move with a pet to how much ducks weigh, and offer tips for things like meeting your new neighbors along the way.

And by the way: if you do go with Moveline, we’ll take care of your inventory with our handy app.. Take a look and get moving now.