The Most Common Moving Scams And How To Avoid Them

By: ROS Team April 30, 2021

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You are moving! There is a lot that goes into a relocation. The process can be overwhelming right from the start, from finding a new place to packing up the old one.  If you don’t know of a credible moving company, you could end up hiring a seedy moving company.  Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the most common moving company scams so you don’t end up being an easy target.

1) Cheap Quotes

A mover who gives you a quote without first looking at what you have to move should raise some red flags.  These quotes are often too good to refuse. But people often underestimate the amount of stuff they have and end up having to pay the difference when the calculated weight and mileage of the move end up being more than the estimate.

Shady moving companies often provide lower than normal quotes for service in order to lure customers. Once the customer pays their deposit, chances are the company representative will disappear. Or, if the company shows up for the move, they may demand additional money to complete the move. It’s always a good idea to get multiple price quotes from different moving companies.

Cheap Quotes

2) Large Advance Deposit Requirement

One of the most common scams a moving company will use is asking for a large advance deposit. The larger amount is usually justified by the claim that they offer a higher level of service, a better price, or a more convenient time frame. If you pay the company in advance, they will most likely disappear or provide poor service.

A good rule of thumb is to never pay more than 20% of the estimated total cost upfront. Also, try to pay using a credit card instead of cash, and make sure you keep a record of your transaction, either by way of a written contract or a receipt.

3) False Business Names

Some moving companies are able to keep scamming people because they routinely change their business names. Make sure the company you use has a local address and is properly registered. Request references, be it, former customers or community partners. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions.

4) Packing

One interesting practice of mover companies is that if you pack your belongings by yourself, the company will not be responsible for any damage. But if you give them the task, they take full responsibility.  However, they charge you separately for packing services. Although most companies take care of customers’ goods, some companies are more careless with your things if you pack them yourself.


5) Non-Disclosure of Additional Fees

Moving companies offer standards services as well as additional ones. They may have a fixed rate for standard services and charge extra for any additional services provided like disassembly/reassembly, loading, and unpacking.  If the moving rep doesn’t explain the reason for the additional fees, you may be getting scammed.

6) Indefinite Quotation Date

If the quote provided doesn’t expire, be leery of the possibility of a scam.  Almost all price quotes expire, regardless of the industry.

7) Obscure Insurance Information

Moving companies almost always insure the items they are moving. There is usually a fixed amount for which items are insured should they be damaged during the move.  But if the moving company includes premium insurance rates in your quotation, know that it can be a moving company scam. There should be a separate process for assessing insurance amounts, and it should only be considered if requested.

Read Also: Best Moving Companies in NYC

Major Takeaways for Avoiding Moving Company Scams

✔ Don’t hire a company that won’t provide a preliminary quote.
✔ Don’t compare companies solely based on their prices—consider years of operation as well as any additional services the company may offer. You should also be leery if a quote is too good to be true.
✔ Never pay more than 20% of the total moving price as a security deposit.
✔ Try not to pay in cash. Instead, use a credit card and get documentation for added protection.
✔ Never sign blank documents.
✔ Don’t allow a moving company to load your belongings if they initiate a price change before loading the moving truck.

Read Also: Most Common Rental Scams & How To Avoid Them