The Bekins Blog

How to Protect Yourself from Rogue Movers

July 22, 2022 | Moving Guides & Tips

With the peak moving season in full swing, odds are you’ve been coming across a lot of ads or promotions for moving companies to help you out with your relocation this season. However, when researching moving companies, it can quickly get hard to spot which companies are legitimate, and which might not have the best intentions when it comes to your move.

Unfortunately, there has been a rise in rogue movers more than ever this year, and some of them can be pretty hard to spot if you don’t know what to look for. To properly protect yourself, your family, and your household items from rogue movers, let’s look into how they operate, how to spot rogue movers, and what to look for in a legitimate moving company so you can avoid moving scams.

What are Rogue Movers?

Before you can avoid or spot rogue movers, you’ll need to know what they are. Rogue movers are essentially moving scams, but with a little different process than your regular moving scams who just overcharge you or who don’t hire experienced crews.

Rogue movers are moving companies who give you very low quotes for your move that draw you in, and then once they’re already moving and are in possession of your things, they hold them hostage until you pay them a bunch of extra surprise fees that are often extremely expensive.

Rogue movers have a very specific way of operating that can help you identify them, however, if you’re aware of them and know what to look for. So how does a rogue moving company work?

  1. Watch Out for Very Low Moving Quotes
    Rogue movers begin their scam by quoting you a very low price over the phone for your move, saying that everything is included in the price they give you. They’ll probably say it’s based on an hourly rate for a van and a certain amount of people for your moving crew.
  2. On Moving Day
    Once you’ve booked with them and your moving day comes around, your rogue moving company will typically show up and start adding on fees for random things associated with your move, like heavy objects or stairs, which usually would be inquired about by a moving company ahead of time, or assessed during an in-person quote. Rogue moving companies will also usually use pressure to make you sign a contract with them come moving day that you probably won’t have time to read fully, or might pressure you into signing quickly so that you don’t read the whole thing. One of the biggest signs of a rogue moving company is asking for cash deposits, whether during your quote process or on moving day when it’s a bit too late to look for a new moving company.
  3. Keep Your Items Safe
    On moving day, if you object to the number of fees being piled on to your initial low quote or refuse a cash deposit, your movers will threaten to leave, which will leave you on your moving day, with a packed house full of time and a schedule to adhere to and no real other option than to trust them not to scam you anymore.If they then arrive at your new home with all of your things packed up into their truck and present you with an exorbitant final bill. This puts them in the position of being able to keep your things or hold them hostage until you pay their fees, or will threaten to dump your stuff all over the sidewalk or break your items.

Of course, nobody should ever be put into this situation, which is unpleasant and expensive at best and destructive and hard to come back from at its worst. Avoiding rogue moving companies and knowing how to spot them will allow you to avoid these terrible circumstances and keep your items safe.

How to Spot a Moving Scam

One of the best things you can do when preparing to book movers and researching different companies is to learn how to spot rogue movers or how to spot moving scams so that your items are protected and moved safely. So what are the warning signs that you might be dealing with rogue movers?

  • Suspiciously Low Quotes: As we noted before, a rogue moving company will provide you with a too-good-to-be-true moving quote that’s much lower than competitors, or just industry standards as a whole. They do this to draw you in before adding on exorbitant fees once it’s too late to back out.
  • Not Licensed: One of the biggest indicators of your potential moving company being a scam is that they’re not listed on the Better Business Bureau, and aren’t listed or aren’t licensed with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). This agency regulates the trucking industry, which includes moving companies. If they aren’t listed as licensed with this agency, they’re most likely a scam.
  • Not Offering In-Person Quotes: Moving scams like this will usually not want to give you an in-person quote to accurately assess how many items you have or the circumstances surrounding your relocation. They also won’t want to provide you with a quote in writing that will implicate them or give you evidence to bring against them.
  • Not Sending You a Contract: Rogue movers probably won’t provide you with a moving contract until the day of your move, once they’re already there. This lets them put you in a spot you can’t get out of without throwing off your entire moving process.
  • Unmarked Vehicles: If your movers show up with trucks that don’t have any marking associating them with a van line or moving company, and especially ones that don’t have ramps built-in or any moving equipment to speak of, you’re working with a rogue company. They’ll also probably handle your belongings unprofessionally or carelessly since they’re not actual professionals.

What to Look for in a Moving Company

Now that you know what you should be looking for to spot rogue movers or a moving scam, let’s discuss what to look for to make sure you’re working with a legitimate moving company.

  • Verify Their Licenses

Always verify a moving company’s license on the FMCSA website and make sure they’re a credible company. A moving company should always provide you with their FMCSA number, and will probably have it listed on their website so you can verify it.

  • Check Reviews

Always check a company’s third-party reviews from real people. If a company has a bunch of five-star reviews listed on their website, but none on any other site, it could be a sign of a moving scam. Make sure to not only look on places like Google Reviews, Yelp, and Angie’s List either – get recommendations from trusted family or friends as well.

Additionally, look up their standing on the Better Business Bureau’s website. Though they may list the logo on their website, they can easily just put that on there without being listed or in good standing with the Bureau.

  • Shop Around

Get multiple written quotes from several different moving companies to narrow down who has out-of-the-ordinary low pricing, and who seems too good to be true. Remember, the lowest price isn’t always the best!

  • Get an In-Person Estimate

If you’re able to, always get an in-person quote done from a moving company representative so that you get the most accurate estimate possible.

  • Look for a Physical Location

Another good indication that you’re working with a legitimate moving company is that they’ll have a brick-and-mortar location or headquarters that they operate out of. This will not only let you know that they’re legitimate but can also help you make sure that they’re a reputable area moving company.

Moving can be stressful under any circumstances, but can only be made worse when it comes to dealing with rogue movers or companies that don’t have your best interests in mind. Looking for the best moving company for your relocation? Look no further than Bekins. With tons of experience and positive moving experiences under our belts, we’ll provide you and your family with the best services at the best prices.

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