Red Flags to Watch Out for When Choosing an Interstate Moving Company

June 5, 2024

When planning a move, choosing a reliable moving company is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition. However, not all moving companies operate with integrity. To avoid falling victim to moving scams, it’s important to be aware of the red flags. Here are the top red flags to watch out for when hiring an interstate moving company:

1. Lack of a Physical Address

One of the first red flags to look out for moving companies is the absence of a physical address. A reputable moving company should have a legitimate business address. If the company only provides a P.O. Box or is vague about their location, it’s best to steer clear.

2. No In-Home Estimates

A reliable moving company will offer to perform an in-home estimate to give you an accurate quote. If a company insists on providing a quote over the phone without seeing your belongings, this could be a sign of a scam.

3. Large Upfront Deposits

While some companies may require a small deposit to secure your moving date, be wary of those asking for large upfront deposits. Reputable movers typically collect payment upon delivery, not before.

4. No Written Estimates

Always get your estimate in writing. Verbal agreements are not binding and can lead to disputes later on. A legitimate moving company will provide a detailed written estimate that outlines all charges.

5. Lack of Proper Licensing

Make sure the moving company is properly licensed and insured. In the U.S., interstate movers must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have a USDOT number. You can check their registration status on the FMCSA website.

6. Poor Online Reviews

Check online reviews and ratings on websites like Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau. Consistently poor reviews and unresolved complaints are clear indicators to avoid that company.

7. Unmarked or Generic Vehicles

Professional moving companies have branded vehicles with their company logo. Be cautious of movers who show up in unmarked or generic rental trucks as this can be a sign of a fly-by-night operation.

8. Low-Ball Estimates

If a moving company offers a significantly lower estimate compared to others, it might be too good to be true. Low-ball estimates are often used to lure customers in, only to be followed by additional charges later.

9. Poor Communication

Pay attention to how the company communicates. Delayed responses, lack of professionalism, and vague answers are red flags. A reputable company will provide clear and timely communication.

10. No Contract or Incomplete Contract

Never hire a moving company without a signed contract. The contract should include all details of the move, including dates, services provided, and the cost. Incomplete or missing contracts are a major red flag.

11. Negative Feedback from Real-Life Contacts

Word-of-mouth is powerful. If friends, family, or colleagues have had negative experiences with a particular company, take their advice seriously. Personal experiences often reveal issues that online reviews may not cover.

12. Overly Aggressive Sales Tactics

High-pressure sales tactics and aggressive behavior from a company representative are clear warning signs. A trustworthy moving company will provide you with information and allow you to make your own decision without pressure.

13. Lack of Inventory Documentation

A professional moving company will take an inventory of all your belongings to provide an accurate estimate. If a company skips this step, it may indicate a lack of thoroughness or intent to inflate costs later.

14. No Moving Equipment

Reputable movers will come equipped with all the necessary tools and supplies for the job, such as dollies, blankets, and shrink wrap. If the movers show up without these essentials, it’s a red flag indicating a lack of professionalism.

15. Poor Customer Service

How a company treats its potential customers is telling. If you experience rude behavior, unreturned calls, or a general lack of helpfulness, consider it a red flag. Good customer service is a hallmark of a reputable moving company.

By keeping an eye out for these red flags, you can avoid the pitfalls of hiring a disreputable moving company and ensure a smoother, stress-free move. Remember to conduct thorough research, ask the right questions, and trust your instincts when choosing a moving company.

For more detailed advice and resources, be sure to visit our moving tips.