Little Rock Moving Blog - Tips, Tricks, and Insider Info
July 18, 2018

How to Avoid a Moving Scam

By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Moving - Planning a MoveMoving soon? You are not alone--last year over three million Americans crossed a state line to a new residence. A portion of those moves were across the country and others might have been across town, but each of those families had to uproot all of their possessions, load it onto a truck, and hope that it arrived without issue. If you're thinking about a move, there is no doubt you have been online to research moving companies and have gone down the road of horrific move anecdotes on review sites. How do you supervise your residential move so that you're not a victim of moving fraud, and that your things arrive at your new home in Little Rock safe and sound?

The first thing to do is to learn the jargon of the transportation industry. It's a lot easier to make sound decisions if you understand the language of the business and the different business models of moving companies. This glossary of terms, found on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, can assist you to familiarize yourself with Mover-speak so that when you hear words like auxiliary service, accessorial charge and released value, you’ll comprehend what they mean.

The FMCSA website is a good commencing point in general, as it also spells out the rules of the road, if you will, that motor carriers follow. Any moving company you are thinking about needs to be registered with the US Department of Transportation, and carry a Motor Carrier and DOT number. You can look for any issues lodged against a company from that website. The ones on Yelp and Reddit are more fascinating, but any problems filed with the DOT tend to have a higher level of legitimacy than issues that are likely the result of the customer just not paying attention.

In a perfect world, you would hire movers a couple of months prior to your move, and unhastily pack, supervise the family, and be 100% ready when the movers show up. Reality is not so simple, and that is what moving scammers count on when they're promising you the moon—you are busy and thinking about a hundred things, so they appeal to your sense of urgency—here is a ballpark estimate and a handshake and we'll handle the paperwork later. This is a surefire way to never see your furniture again, unless you want to buy it back off of Craigslist.

Instead, ask your realtor for a suggestion of a moving company. Or, if you know anyone who has moved recently, ask them who they used. National moving companies commonly have agents all over the country, so you can ask your cousin in Iowa who they used, even if you live in Vermont. Use the FMCSA website to look up movers registered for interstate moves, and Google them. Once you have narrowed it down to a couple choices, schedule a time to get written in-home estimates.

Make sure to look at the FMCSA publication, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move". When hiring a professional mover, it is a federal law that you are provided this 25-page pamphlet (or a link to it) that spells out your rights, protection, and industry regulations.

It is crucial that you recognize a dishonest mover BEFORE they have your belongings. Remember, not every mover has your best interest in mind. So, keep these RED FLAGS closeby as you are talking with your potential mover.

Be wary of movers who:

  • Charge a fee to provide an estimate.
  • Give you an estimate that sounds too good to be probably is!
  • Do not have written estimates or who say they will calculate your total after loading.
  • Ask you to sign blank documents.
  • Have no physical address on their website or paperwork.
  • Have a poor grade with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Do not have a Department of Transportation (DOT) license or the license is expired.
  • Do not have an Motor Carrier (MC) license or the license is expired.
  • Have a DOT or MC number that is less than 3 years old.

It's better to be safe than sorry. So, make sure and verify your moving company before they load your belongings onto their moving truck! Remember that if it seems too good to be true it probably is, and since you are trusting these people with what's effectively your life, do your homework and pick a reputable moving company, like A-1 Freeman Moving Group, who will take good care of you when you move to Little Rock.

The Mickelson Family
The Mickelson Family
Best. Move. Ever!
Very pleased with the overall respect and care the men gave to my possessions. Even mailing me very quickly the only thing lost in transit. Would recommend to anyone needing a long distant move.
Read more

Almost there...

Tell us a little more about yourself!
(all fields are required)