3 of the Worst Moving Scams You Should Beware of

A man is holding cardboard moving boxes

Over ten million Americans are relocating each year. To make all of these relocations possible, a huge industry operates 24/7. But while people entrust their lifelong belongings to the moving companies, they risk being ripped off for their money if they sign up with an unreputable and unreliable mover.

Protect yourself against losing money and sanity – here are 3 of the worst scams that are most common in the moving industry as claimed by LongDistanceMoving.com.

Moving scam #1: broker vs. mover

Before you sign up with any moving company, you must carefully check if it is really a moving company or a household good broker. Otherwise, it can cost you a tremendous amount of money.

An easy way to do this is to check the company’s USDOT number via this website: http://www.safersys.org/CompanySnapshot.aspx.

If the company is a broker, you will see its Entity type as “Broker”. Additionally, it will have zero power units and drivers.

On the contrary, if the company is a real mover, its Entity type is “Carrier”. Fields indicating power units and drivers will contain some numbers. 

P.S. Another trick to finding out whether the company is a broker or real mover is insurance (use the same website to check this out). Brokers hold “Bond” insurance-type while movers hold “Cargo” insurance type.

The reason you have to avoid brokers is that they are not real movers. They simply accept your order and deposit, then hire a moving company to handle your order. Should any problems arise, you will be redirected from one company to another. Your broker will say they can’t help you because they are not movers. The movers will refuse to help you because the order was accepted by the broker.

You can imagine what will ensue. Always sign up with a moving company, not a broker.

Moving scam #2: messing up cubic feet

A typical scenario used in this scam looks like this. Someone from the moving company will reach out to you (typically over the phone) and ask if you’d like to get a free and instant cost estimate. Most people would love to, so the salesman will ask you to give him/her a list of your inventory.

Naturally, you are not going to list every single item you want to take with to your new place. So the salesman offers you to calculate the cost based on the average numbers they know from their experience. For example, a 2-bedroom apartment will account for 300 cubic feet, he says, and this will cost you just $1,200 since 200 cubic feet cost $4.

That is cheap so most people are hooked. However, the reality is that a 2-bedroom apartment is usually at least 600 to 800 cubic feet. This means the customers will encounter an unpleasant surprise on the moving day when the movers will charge them lots more.

The bottom line? Always remember that a professional moving company will send someone to your place to check everything and make a cost estimate. Without an on-site inspection, it’s impossible to evaluate costs accurately.

Moving scam #3: weighing belongings

Remember this golden rule: you should always overlook the weighing process. If you doubt the results, you have a lawful right guaranteed to you by the Department of Transportation to demand to re-weigh your belongings.

One of the most common ways moving companies drive up weight are:

  • adding load on the scale when the customer is not present with them;
  • you may know the weighing process works the following way: first, the empty truck is weighed, then it is loaded with your stuff and weighed again. The difference indicates the real weight of your possessions. The common trick is to weigh an empty truck using an empty diesel tank but filling it with fuel when weighing a full truck. This adds up another 400 pounds.


Remember about these scams next time you consider hiring a moving company and commit yourself to overlooking the entire process even if it’s not always the most exciting undertaking. 

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