Moving can be a stressful experience, especially if you don't know how to check if a moving company is licensed and insured. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you're working with a reputable moving company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all moving companies to register with a USDOT number. This number can be used to verify the company's credentials and make sure they are authorized to move your belongings.
If you can't find any mention of the company online, it's best to avoid them as it could be a sign of a potential moving scam. On the day of the move, make sure the truck that arrives displays the logos and names of the moving company. If not, it's best to ask for proof of identification and uniforms before allowing them to handle your belongings. The FMCSA also requires all moving companies to provide a free quote for their services.
It's always recommended to work with a certified moving company, so make sure to confirm their credentials by visiting the DOT website and selecting “search for carriers”. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau and other online directories for reviews and ratings. In the past, reputable moving companies never asked for payment in advance. However, due to modern consumer needs, this practice has become more common when moving within the same city or abroad.
To protect customers from disreputable companies, many will request a deposit before handling any of their belongings. According to the U. S. Department of State, nearly 35 million Americans move every year.
Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in complaints against moving companies over the past decade. The best way to protect yourself is by being an informed consumer who does their homework every step of the way. Here are some of the most common types of moving scams and red flags to watch out for:
- Holding shipments hostage: A good estimator will take into account your household items' volume and weight, not just specific items. If an estimator takes a quick tour of your house without opening cabinets or taking note of what you're planning to move, it's likely they'll be wrong.
- Unauthorized removals: Accredited moving companies will never require cash or major deposits before you move.
- Deceptive practices: Some companies may try to scam you by constantly doing business under new names. Make sure they have a local address and information about licensing and insurance.
If they didn't offer you one, choose another moving company. If you pack your own belongings, the moving company is generally not responsible for any damage that occurs during transit. However, if you let them pack your items up, you'll be paying excessive prices for boxes and other packaging materials. When it comes time to pay, use a credit card as it will help you combat any fraudulent activity. Additionally, make sure all charges are listed on your contract before signing it. Finally, keep in mind that if you live in a two-story house or are moving to one, or if you're moving to or from an apartment on the tenth floor or have a narrow street where a moving van won't fit, expect additional charges.