Advice for Avoiding Moving Scams

May 30, 2013

Every year, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina receives complaints from consumers who have fallen prey to dishonest and sometimes unlicensed moving companies. Following a few simple tips when looking for a mover will go a long way toward protecting yourself from being victimized by scam artists this moving season.

Locally, BBB received nearly 50 complaints against movers in the past year. Complaints to BBB about movers are primarily about damaged or lost goods, and final prices in excess of original estimates.

“Researching any company before doing business with them is a great habit to get into and checking a mover’s credentials is critical,” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “Last year alone, consumers relied on our BBB more than 18,000 times for finding a trustworthy mover.”

BBB and the American Moving & Storage Association offer the following advice for finding a trustworthy moving company:

    • Research the company with the help of:
      Always check out the company first at

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  The North Carolina Utilities Commission. The NCUC regulates intrastate moving within North Carolina. Your move cost will be determined by rates issued by the Utilities Commission.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  All interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify at

    • Get at least three in-home estimates.
      Most legitimate movers will not offer to give you a firm estimate online or over the phone. Also, 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 both the state where you currently reside and the one where you are moving.
    • Consider getting full value protection.
      Investing in full 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. It is important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost, for example, of a flat panel TV if damaged in transit. The cost of full value protection must be included in the initial estimate you receive for an interstate move. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.

For additional information or to view the Business Review of a moving company in your area, visit