Signs of a Bad Moving Company
March 7, 2016
About 16.5 million households – or 38.7 million Americans – move annually. But Americans need to carefully screen those who help them move to make sure all goes smoothly in relocating their belongings.
On the Move
U.S. News & World Report recently highlighted these three warning signs when choosing a moving company:
The price is significantly lower than competitors.
Don’t just go with the cheapest quote. You may want a deal, but carefully consider what’s behind that lower-priced quote from a moving company — that could be 20 to 30 percent lower than any other companies' offers. “While finding an affordable mover doesn’t mean you’re about to get scammed, if you feel like you’ve landed an unbelievable deal, it probably is unbelievable,” U.S. News & World Report notes. The quote may be lower, but some consumers later complain that prices mysteriously triple on moving day, items are stolen or missing, or they find lots of damage.
The required deposit is high.
Movers may ask for a deposit fee, but that fee shouldn’t be above 10 percent of the job cost, says T.J. Peterson, social media coordinator for Oz Moving and Storage, based in New York. Oz Moving and Storage, as comparison, charges a flat $50 deposit. "It's not unreasonable for a mover to ask for a deposit of $100 or $200 to cover their costs if you change your mind, but if a mover wants more upfront – like 25 percent of the cost of the move – don't pay it,” warns Nancy Conner in her book, Buying a Home: The Missing Manual.
There’s very little information about the company.
Finding a moving company in the Yellow Pages may give you some assurance that it must be legitimate since it's advertising there, but don’t assume by just an ad. To check if the company is reputable, ask for itsDepartment of Transportation numbers. "If a company cannot prove [it is] registered with the state and United States Department of Transportation, that's a warning sign," Peterson told U.S. News & World Report. Also, consumers should be leery of any company that doesn’t have any Better Business Bureau profile or no reviews.
"A few hiccups for any reputable company is not a warning sign,” Peterson says. “It is an inevitable side effect of being in business." But nothing about the company should be more of a warning sign.
Source: “3 Signs of a Bad Moving Company,” U.S. News & World Report (Feb. 26, 2016)
Updated: May 21, 2019