Guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies

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Moving to a new place can be both exciting and stressful. One of the crucial elements that can significantly influence your experience is the moving company you choose. While there are numerous reputable international moving companies worldwide movers out there, it is essential to be aware that fraudulent moving companies do exist. A guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies will arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to make an informed decision. Let’s explore your steps to find professional movers.

Do your research by checking out reviews

Always begin your quest for a reliable moving company with exhaustive research. Of course, give yourself enough time to examine various options. The internet serves as an invaluable resource for this, offering a plethora of platforms where you can check online reviews, ratings, and detailed feedback from previous customers. Websites like the Better Business Bureau are particularly useful, offering insights into international moving services and their standing in the industry. Also, they provide you with their customer service record and any complaints that may have been filed against them.

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There’s never too much research to do

Furthermore, social media platforms and dedicated forums can offer unfiltered opinions from past clients, providing a more nuanced picture. While a moving company with a large number of positive reviews and high ratings is generally a safer bet, it’s essential to approach your research with attention to detail. Even one or two negative reviews that cite scams, unexpected fees, or inadequate services should be taken seriously. These could be red flags indicating deeper issues with the company’s credibility or service quality. Therefore, don’t quickly go through the ratings. Make sure to read the reviews carefully, both good and bad, to make an informed decision.

Make sure to check out the licensing of the company

In the United States, it is a legal requirement for movers to possess a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number, serving as a federal identification and a mark of compliance with regulations. This number can be easily verified on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) official website, a government resource dedicated to promoting motor vehicle safety. Verifying the DOT number is an essential step in our guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies. A trustworthy and legitimate moving company will be a must when moving from USA to Europe or anywhere else. That’s why reputable companies readily provide this number upon request. On the other hand, if a company is hesitant or flat-out refuses to share this information, consider it a substantial red flag that raises questions about its legitimacy.

Big deposits are a huge red flag

Reputable moving companies usually stick to the industry standard of requiring payment upon the successful delivery of your belongings. This practice assures both parties that the transaction will be completed to mutual satisfaction. However, if a moving company asks for a significant upfront deposit before initiating the move, and especially if they insist that this payment be made in cash, you should consider this a major red flag. Demands for large, upfront payments differ from established industry norms and are often indicative of fraudulent activity or poor business practices. This kind of anomaly should make you question the company’s credibility and look for alternatives.

Check the location of the moving company

Visiting the moving company’s physical location is a good step in checking its legitimacy. Reputable moving companies typically have a professional office space and a fleet of branded trucks. These visual markers indicate a certain level of investment and commitment to the business. Sometimes, even the international moving crates can have a logo of the company. Adding an extra layer of legitimacy.

A fleet of moving trucks in a black and white picture
Make sure you actually see where the company is based

On the other hand, if a company operates exclusively online and lacks a physical address, or if it utilizes generic, unbranded rental trucks, these could be significant indicators of a potential scam. Checking out the physical location not only provides additional peace of mind but is also an essential recommendation in our guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies.

Get an estimate

Before finalizing your decision to engage a moving company, it’s crucial to obtain an estimate for the services you require. Approach with caution if you encounter a company that provides an estimate that is suspiciously low. Above all, the international moving quotes you get should be a fair estimate for both you and the company. A very low estimate is a red flag, as it’s a common tactic used by fraudulent movers to attract customers. Once they have your belongings, these scammers often hike up the prices considerably. To safeguard against this, it’s wise to get estimates from multiple companies, which allows for a more informed comparison. Ensure these estimates are conducted in person or through a detailed video survey. In this manner, you ensure the most accurate and reliable pricing possible.

A guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies includes checking insurance

In addition to the previously discussed factors, it’s vital to inquire about the moving company’s insurance policies and liability coverage. Should any of your belongings get lost or damaged during the move, understanding the extent and limitations of the company’s liability coverage could be invaluable. A reputable company will readily share information on their insurance policies, including what is covered and to what extent. Conversely, if a company is unwilling or unable to provide clear details about its insurance and liability coverage, consider this a significant red flag.

Have as much as you can in writing

A professional moving company should willingly offer a comprehensive written contract. In it, it should clearly outline all services to be provided, associated costs, and the responsibilities of both parties involved. This contract serves as a binding agreement that can protect you in case of disputes or unexpected issues. Additionally, ensure that the moving company creates a detailed inventory list of all items to be moved. This written inventory serves as a concrete record and is crucial for accountability. On top of that, it can also be an invaluable resource in resolving any disputes about lost or damaged items during the moving process. Here are some of the documents you can expect to have from a moving company, such as:

  • Bill of landing
  • Inventory sheet
  • Order of service
  • Statement of service
  • Document of rights and responsibilities
One person giving another person documents
A guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies will involve documents regarding the relocation

Transparent payments

Exercise caution with moving companies that only accept cash payments or are evasive about disclosing their rates and additional charges. Transparency in billing practices is a specific feature of reputable moving companies. Such companies will readily provide a detailed breakdown of all costs, including any potential extra fees for services like packing or storage, upon request. If a company is not forthright about its pricing structure, consider this a red flag and a reason to be skeptical of its overall business practices and legitimacy.

Hire experts you can trust

Choosing the right moving company can make your transition to a new home smooth and hassle-free. Keep this guide to avoid fraudulent moving companies handy as a valuable resource in helping you make the best choice. From searching FMCSA-licensed companies and avoiding large upfront deposits to checking physical locations, being vigilant and informed will serve you well in avoiding any unfortunate experiences. with an international move, there’s a lot at stake, so make sure you have everything analyzed.

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