How to Avoid Illegal Moving Companies

If you or a friend has ever been scammed by a moving company, you may be on your guard to prevent this from happening again. Illegal movers are slick, and their tricks are good enough to fool unsuspecting customers. As you browse around for a reputable moving company, keep these tips in mind to avoid accidentally hiring illegal movers.

Common Illegal Mover Scams

You might not be familiar with how a shady moving company pulls off scams. Here are some of the most famous tricks in the book:

  • Holding your belongings hostage: The mover gives you an enticing estimate, but once the truck is loaded, they refuse to transport or return your things unless you agree to an inflated price.
  • Tacking on extra charges: The mover adds clauses to your contract, claiming the estimate was just for loading the truck, not for packing or transportation.
  • Delivering your belongings late: If the mover has a licensing violation while crossing state lines, the truck may be impounded in transit with all your belongings on board! Delays can also happen if the mover combines your delivery with another customer’s.
  • Abandoning the moving truck: The worst illegal movers take your money and steal your belongings while you’re waiting for delivery. Then, they abandon the truck and go their merry way.

Tricks to Avoid Hiring Illegal Movers

The above scenarios sound appalling, but they can happen to you if you’re not careful. Here’s how to avoid illegal movers:

  • Request on-site estimates from at least three companies: Reputable movers offer free estimates so you can compare their rates with others. If you receive one quote that falls well below the rest, steer clear, as this is a sign of an illegal mover.
  • Look up the company address: Anyone can make a website and claim to be a mover. Conduct an internet search to make sure the address listed is legitimate.
  • Refuse to make a deposit: Trustworthy movers don’t require you to pay money upfront. If the company you hire asks you to, find someone else to work with.
  • Ask about the claims process: Before signing a contract, ask about making an insurance claim. This tells you whether the company is insured and gives you peace of mind if you need to utilize your coverage in the event of lost, stolen, or damaged belongings.
  • Never sign an incomplete contract: Read your contract thoroughly, looking for details about price, delivery guarantees, and the expectation of no added fees. Never sign if any information is missing.
  • Look for a lettered truck: Established companies have their own marked vehicles. If the mover arrives with a generic or rented truck, refuse to do business with them.
  • Don’t work with moving brokers: Some moving company websites are just brokers that send your information along to someone else. It’s much safer and easier to work directly with the mover.
  • Insist on a receipt: When possible, pay with a credit card or check for a built-in record of the transaction. If you must pay with cash, insist on a receipt so the mover can’t disappear with your belongings and claim you never made a payment.

Hire a Reliable Moving Company in DC, VA & MD

Georgetown Moving and Storage Company has all the credentials you expect from a reputable, award-winning moving company. We are licensed, bonded, insured, GSA-approved, and accredited by the BBB. Count on us for all the services you need, from packing and storage to moving locally or long distance.

To learn more, please contact Georgetown Moving and Storage Company at (703) 466-0575 and request your free moving estimate today!

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