BBB Advice for Avoiding a Moving Scam

March 20, 2012

Following a few simple rules when selecting a mover will go a long way toward protecting yourself from being victimized by scams this moving season. Better Business Bureau and American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) recommend doing your homework before selecting a mover.

BBB encourages consumers to know their rights and be aware of red flags of moving scams. Every year BBB and AMSA receive thousands of complaints from consumers who have fallen prey to dishonest and often unlicensed moving companies. In a too-frequent, worst-case scenario, the moving company holds the customer's belongings “hostage” and demands potentially thousands of dollars to unload the van.

Checking a mover's credentials is critical and easy to do. Know your rights and know your options, but more importantly do your homework before turning your precious belongings over to a mover.

BBB and AMSA offer the following checklist for finding a trustworthy moving company:

Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations may vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number that can be verified on FMCSA’s website, Also check the company's rating with your BBB, which maintains more than 17,000 Business Reviews on movers across North America.

Get at least three written in-home estimates.
Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end.

Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer with either FMCSA for interstate moves or the state in which you reside for moves within that state. Also, enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.

Consider getting full value protection.
Investing in full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate a headache after your move. It’s important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound may still not cover the replacement cost, for many valuable times, such as a flat panel TV, if damaged in transit.

For more consumer news you can trust and to check out a mover near you, visit and AMSA’s