Don’t allow moving scams to ruin your next relocation. While most moving companies in the U.S. are trustworthy businesses, a few bad examples still remain. You can read a lot of their victims’ cautionary tales online. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there’s been a significant number of complaints filed against movers lately. Most of which is due to “fraudulent activities of rogue movers.” That’s why Golan’s Moving and Storage are here to help you recognize legitimate movers and avoid any misfortunes during your upcoming move.
If you’re going to stretch your moving budget to hire professionals, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re able to recognize legitimate movers. After all, moving day can be stressful enough without entrusting your precious belongings to the wrong people. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to investigate the credibility of a moving company before you even pick up the phone. Here’s how to recognize legitimate movers who you can trust with your stuff.
Is the moving company properly licensed and insured?
Before hiring a moving company, it’s important to make sure they are properly licensed and insured. Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you. Every local Chicago moving company in our large network of professional movers is required to be licensed and insured.
It’s important to remember that while interstate movers are required to register with the Federal government and are part of the U.S. DOT system, local movers are only regulated by the state. And that is something to focus on when trying to recognize legitimate movers locally. Because each state has a different set of licensing regulations. So you should check out your state’s requirements to ensure that your local mover is legitimate.
According to the FMCSA, law states that interstate movers have to provide two types of liability options:
- Full Value Protection and
- Released Value.
The FMCSA defines these options as noted below.
- Full Value Protection: “your mover is liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment…This is the more comprehensive plan available for the protection of your belongings.” The cost of Full Value Protection varies by the mover.
- Released Value Protection: “The most economical protection available is Released Value since it has no additional charge. However, the protection is minimal. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article.”
You can read more about the specifics of both options on the FMCSA website. In addition to offering you liability options, your mover must have their own insurance as well. Moving companies should be able to provide you with proof of insurance upon request.
How to recognize legitimate movers: do they have complaints?
As we like to say: “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” If you start noticing multiple complaints from customers, trust them! This is a huge red flag when you need to recognize legitimate movers. You can check for official complaints that people file with the FMCSA.
If you have an upcoming interstate relocation, you should also check the FMCSA website.
- Or contact them directly for more information on any official complaints. Every interstate moving company should have a U.S. DOT number. As an addition to this system, clients can now enter the moving company’s number into the FMCSA’s search engine, which they can find under the “Search Movers & Complaint History” website tab. This search tool will recognize legitimate movers and reveal long-distance movers Chicago complaint history (or hopefully, lack thereof).
- We also recommend checking the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if there are complaints against both intrastate and interstate moving companies. The BBB is a non-profit organization that helps people recognize legitimate movers they can trust. If a mover has passed by the BBB with flying colors, it means they have met the industry’s accreditation standards.
How to recognize legitimate movers: check out their moving reviews?
When it comes to choosing a trustworthy moving company, checking reviews online is a good place to start. Many online directories include customer reviews for a large number of moving companies nationwide. For your convenience, our reviews database can help you recognize legitimate movers because it includes: the moving company’s U.S. DOT number, specific moving services, fleet size, Better Business Bureau rating, any official complaints with the FMCSA, and if the moving company has any association with the American Moving & Storage Association.
When it comes to successfully recognizing legitimate movers, why not ask your neighbors, friends, and family for recommendations. Ask about their personal experiences with different moving companies. You can even visit Nextdoor.com which is a social network for your neighborhood community and ask even the neighbors you don’t know suggestions.
Did the mover estimate your things before giving you a price?
If you don’t get an in-person estimate, you could end up with a bill that far exceeds an adequate estimate. If a moving company offers to give you a quote over the phone or internet or based on your own testimony of your household goods, stop right there! It’s one of the main signs which will help you recognize legitimate movers, or scams, in this case. To ensure you get the best deal, we recommend you to compare at least three quotes from various moving companies.
After a proper inspection, the movers should send you their estimate (with all the additional possible charges) in writing. This process makes sure you are not left with no unwelcome surprise costs for later. If any of the quotes are surprisingly more or less expensive than other moving company estimates, this is also a bad sign.
How to recognize legitimate movers: Are they professional?
Besides the basic requirements of licenses and insurance, consumers need to check some other things when hiring a moving company. Use common sense and be on the lookout for all the signs whether or not the movers are true professionals. Do they own a real office and a proper business email address? Is this moving company part of a reputable van line family? Are they always in uniforms? Do they have professional moving trucks? Have they given you an official Bill of Lading? Sometimes just the estimate being too good to be true is a sure sign.