Moving can be a stressful experience, especially if you're not sure if the moving company you're dealing with is legitimate. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that the moving company you choose is licensed, insured, and certified. The first step in determining if a moving company is legit is to check their USDOT number. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all authorized moving companies to register a USDOT number.
This number can be used to verify the company's credentials and ensure that they are in compliance with FMCSA regulations. It's also important to check if the moving company is certified by the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). AMSA certification is a sign of quality and reliability, and it means that the company has met certain standards of excellence. Additionally, it's a good idea to check out the Better Business Bureau and other online directories for reviews and ratings of the company.
When you're looking for a moving company, it's important to be aware of the most common types of scams. One of the biggest red flags is an “estimator” who takes a quick tour of your house without opening the cabinets and taking note of exactly what you're planning to move in. A good estimator will ask questions about your belongings and calculate their volume and weight. Another warning sign is a moving company that doesn't insist on an on-site inspection of your household items.
Homeowners tend to have more belongings than they think they have, so it's important to get an accurate estimate before signing any contracts. It's also important to watch out for companies that require cash or large deposits before the move. Under federal law, moving companies are not allowed to demand payment before the move is completed. If you do pay in advance, use a credit card so you can dispute any fraudulent activity.
When choosing a moving company, make sure they have a local address and information about licensing and insurance. They should answer the phone with their full name, not just “moving services” or something more generic. Additionally, they should provide you with a brochure entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” while you're in the planning stages of the move. If you choose to let the moving company pack your belongings, make sure to ask about the experience of their packers. Most are careful, but some may just throw everything into a box without regard for whether anything breaks or bends. It's also important to be aware of any additional charges that may be incurred during the move.
If you're moving from or to an apartment on a high floor or if you live in a two-story house, you may be charged more. Additionally, if your street is too narrow for a moving van, there may be an additional fee for transferring your belongings to a smaller truck. Finally, make sure that all your belongings are listed on the contract before signing it. Don't settle for a box that's only inventoried as “office supplies” unless you've seen it packed with just notepads and paper clips. Additionally, make sure that any additional services (such as unpacking) are listed on the contract with their associated fees.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your move goes smoothly and that you don't fall victim to any scams or fraudulent activity.