Your client is moving, which means they will soon have to juggle an assortment of labor-intensive tasks like packing, loading, and driving everything hours away. Hiring a team of professional movers could make their relocation journey so much more streamlined and stress-free.
But here’s the truth – relocation services aren’t cheap. Plus, with so many companies promising the world and beyond, it can be hard to differentiate the real deal from scammers.
This article shows you how to keep families safe from moving company scams because no one should be at risk of having thousands of hard-earned dollars embezzled from their accounts.
Moving Company Frauds: 6 Red Flags of a Shady Company
- The company doesn’t offer FMCSA-related info: FMCSA is the U.S. Department of Transportation’s division aiming to mitigate fraud and malpractice among moving firms. First, you should ensure that the firm is registered with FMCSA. Their database is available here. Second, FMCSA has several critical documents, such as the Moving Fraud Prevention Checklist and Red Flags of Moving Fraud. A professional moving provider should have these documents easily accessible for the clients, either in a brochure format or on their website. If they don’t, then that’s a huge red flag you don’t want to overlook.
- The company has no physical premise: The firm you are considering hiring, should have a physical workplace at the address mentioned on their website. It’s best if you visit them to check out the workplace and its condition. You want to make sure the office is well kept, the crew is professional and respectful, and the vehicles are clean and branded. If the business only has a phone number on their website or a phony address with no brick-and-mortar office, it’s best to look for another option.
- The company lacks a local address: If there’s no local address, or if the business is present in a different state but is providing services where you live, be wary because you may be dealing with a fraud or a broker. Moving brokers don’t provide moving services themselves. They’re third-party affiliates who will link you with a legit provider while earning a commission on referral. But they can be costly. So, it’s safest and most economical to work directly with a relocation firm that operates in your area.
- The company requires an upfront deposit: An upstanding relocation business’ primary focus is to ensure they listen to your needs and deliver on their promises. Payment comes after. If they do ask for a deposit, it won’t be more than 20%. Paying everything upfront leaves you with zero control over when you’ll see your belongings. Besides, the company might pocket your cash and disappear. When the time comes to pay, we highly recommend making the payment with a credit card to prevent any fraud.
- The company claims everything is covered: If your moving provider states that their insurance will cover absolutely everything, be wary. They are likely saying that to get your business. Most protection starts at 60 cents per pound. This means, when you file a claim for a damaged item, they will reimburse you that amount for the total weight of that item. This amount may be different from the actual price of the item.
How to Protect Your Clients From Moving Company Scams
We recommend getting your clients to read the resources put forth by FMCSA. The two most important ones being Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and Ready to Move. These will empower your clients with critical information about how they can safeguard themselves when things go wrong.
Also, ask them to compare the customer reviews of multiple firms. Looking at the star rating isn’t enough since that can’t be manipulated. Read the actual experiences shared by previous customers.
Lastly, never sign a blank or partial contract. If a quote seems too good to be true, be skeptical. They might drive up the final quote by adding prices when you least expect.
Knowing how to avoid moving company scams can help safeguard your client’s hard-earned funds and belongings from being stolen or damaged. By being mindful of the tips above, plus a little bit of advanced research, your client will be able to find a reliable and professional firm that will come through on the big day.