Selecting local movers can be tough. After all, there are quite a few of us out there, and not all moving companies provide quality services. In fact, some of them are downright unscrupulous. To ensure that you pick the best possible moving company, check out our list of common moving company scams.
1. The Name Change Scam
Shakespeare wrote that a “rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and when a bad moving company changes its name, it still smells just as rotten. Moving companies with a bunch of bad reviews often will change their name to avoid bad press, such as horrible Yelp reviews or poor ratings by the Better Business Bureau.
When you call up local movers, be aware of how they answer the phone. If they simply say something like, “movers” or use a different name from the one you have, this is a sign that something isn’t right. You also can ask the customer service representative that answers the phone if their company as any DBAs.
A DBA means “Doing Business As,” and it indicates that the company is using a fictitious name. This isn’t always a bad sign. Sometimes a company might have a DBA for a perfectly legitimate reason. For instance, perhaps they were unable to secure a specific website address. Maybe the company is called Smith Moving Services, but there is already a website for SmithMovingServices.com. Perhaps they might use the website address LocalNevadaMovers.com or SmithMovingNevada.com or something else and will be known by both names.
If a company seems to have many DBAs, though, this typically is a bad sign. If they refuse to tell you any of their DBAs, this is also a bad sign. It definitely could indicate that they are trying to hide from some bad reviews and complaints.
2. The Basic Facts Are A Mystery
Legitimate local movers will have no problem giving you their license and insurance information. Our information is even listed on our trucks and on our website. We literally have nothing to hide.
If a moving company representative won’t provide you with this licensing and insurance information, it’s a bad sign and you definitely should find another company. There are plenty of other local moving companies, so don’t settle for someone who might not have proper licensing and insurance.
3. The Cheap Rate Gimmick
You might see local movers advertise extremely cheap rates, but that often isn’t the whole picture. Many less-than-legit moving companies will entice clients with supposedly low rates. Then, on moving day, you are hit with a bunch of extra charges that you weren’t expecting.
We’ve even heard nightmare stories about moving companies holding goods on their trucks and refusing to release the items. Obviously, you want your stuff, so probably will pay whatever it costs to get your property, but it’s scary to think that there are companies out there that do this regularly.
4. The Mysterious Moving Company
This one tends to go along with the last issue. Some local movers will just ask a couple of questions over the phone, give you a low-ball estimate and you never actually meet with a company representative.
While a moving company can provide you with a general quote over the phone or via the internet, unless a company rep actually physically visits your home, you really won’t get a solid quote. So don’t fall for movers who say they don’t need to meet with you. It is essential that we visit and take a look around to truly gauge the scope of the move.
For instance, imagine two similar three-bedroom homes. Both are about the same size, but the number of contents could be drastically different. One house might have minimal furnishings and perhaps few appliances that need to be moved while the other might have a piano, washer and dryer, fridge and several expensive TVs that need to be packed carefully. One home might have only one or two stairs, while the other might have many stairs. All of this can change the cost of your move.
Additionally, the company representative should ask questions about the dwelling where you are moving. How many stairs are at the new home? How far away is the new home? These are just a few questions that should be asked in order to come up with a true cost estimate.
5. The Huge Deposit Scam
It’s not uncommon for local movers to ask for 50% upfront before the actual day of the move. However, you should never pay this big of a deposit. Some companies don’t ask for a deposit and some do, but in general, for a local move, it should never be more than 20% of the total moving cost. Be sure to pay for this deposit with a credit card. It is never wise to pay this with cash.
6. No Contract = No Trust
A legitimate moving company has no problem putting everything about your move down in writing. We provide our clients with what is known as a Bill of Lading. This is a contract between us and our client and it basically describes the scope and cost of the entire moving process.
Not only does this document protect you when it comes time to pay the final cost, it also protects the moving company. Be sure to read over your Bill of Lading carefully to ensure that you understand all of the total costs and fees associated with your move. If a moving company won’t provide you with a Bill of Lading, this is a huge red flag! Movers are required by law to provide this document, so if they won’t abide by the law, you definitely should not hire them.
7. The Insurance Scam
Some less-than-honest movers will tell you, “sure, your move is totally insured.” This is only partially correct. Local and long-distance moves may be covered by what is known as Released Value insurance. There is no charge for this type of insurance, but it covers virtually nothing.
Literally, it means the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. So, if you have a 50-pound television and it is broken during the move, the mover only has to compensate you with $30 for a TV that might have cost you $800 or more.
At Move 4 Less, we do, of course, offer this Released Value insurance option, but we also offer Full-Value Protection. This obviously is an additional cost, but with this type of coverage, we will repair the item, replace it with a similar item or provide you with a cash settlement for the cost of repair or the current market replacement value.
You also have the option to pay for third-party insurance. Many of our clients will opt for our Released Value insurance and then go out and obtain separate liability insurance from a third-party insurance company. When you opt for this and an item is broken, we still pay the 60 per pound per article cost, and rest of loss will be recoverable through the insurance company up to the amount of insurance you purchased.
When selecting local movers, it’s always smart to ask for recommendations from friends, neighbors, family and perhaps local real estate agencies. Read reviews, as well, and check out the Better Business Bureau ratings. We also highly recommend that you select a business with at least 8-10 years of experience.
At Move 4 Less, we’ve been helping Las Vegas-area residents with local and long-distance moves for more than 20 years, and we have a 97% referral rate. If you need local movers, we can provide you with affordable, high-quality moving services and you won’t have to worry about any of the common moving scams we’ve listed above.