How to spot moving scams

Moving takes a lot of time, energy and money. It’s not cheap and requires your full attention. And all of that makes it a fertile ground for scams. From moving companies holding your belongings hostage to suddenly raising the prices. So, to avoid that, you have to be able to spot moving scams. And successfully avoid them. Hopefully, there are many ways to tell if the moving company is legit and honest. And here are some of the signs that point to a scam.

How common are moving scams?

While the vast majority of moving companies are honest and trustworthy, there are still some that try to skirt the law. Or downright scam you. Especially if you are moving on short notice. Moving scams don’t occur that often, but when they do they can be costly. Both in the financial and emotional sense. There were over 4,000 moving complaints filed in 2017, and damages average at around $8,000. So, of course, you will want to do your part in protecting yourself against such an event. 

computer with graphic about Moving Scams
Moving scams are something that you probably have already seen

Can you protect yourself against moving scams?

Even though they are well thought out and not that easy to spot, you can still notice them in time. There are many things that you can do to protect yourself. And successfully avoid the loss to your time, nerves and budget. And the first part of doing is to spot moving scams before they occur. To be able to notice the signs that your movers might be trying to do something dishonest

What are the signs of a moving scam?

There are many signs that can point to moving scams. Not all of them are easy to notice. And it’s important to note that not all of them are a sure way to know that you are being scammed. Just because you found an affordable moving company in LA doesn’t mean that they are doing anything wrong. It might just mean that you’ve found the good guys who are running a discount. So, make sure you properly check and make sure that you are correct. 

question marsk
What are in your opinion most common moving scam signs?

Hand-shake contract

This one is a sure sign that something is wrong. No reputable moving company would do their business relying on hand-shake contacts. If you don’t have it in writing it’s like it didn’t happen. First of all, it’s illegal. And second, you are not at all protected in case something goes wrong. In these kinds of situations, something usually does. And that’s the changing the terms of the contact while holding your belongings. 

So, whenever you are hiring movers, make sure that there is a contact. And when you get it to make sure you read it. Because the next sign of moving scams is shady contacts.

Shady contracts and moving scams

Just because a moving company gives you a contract to sign that doesn’t mean that everything is fine. It’s important to read the entire contract before signing it. Especially if you have an expensive move, like long-distance relocation. That way you will be able to predict if the moving company will try to raise the prices.

Before signing the contract, read it carefully

Many shady moving companies try to skirt the law with shady contracts. They usually only protect themselves and leave much room for interpretation. A contact can allow the moving company to charge you more or push the delivery date for any number of reasons. So, make sure to read the fine print and protect yourself.

Low prices can sometimes be pointing to a moving scam

First of all, just because the prices are low, that doesn’t mean that it’s a scam. That said, many moving scams start off at a very low price. In general, if anything is too good to be true it usually is. And it’s the same with the moving companies. 

Scammers often offer a very low estimate to entice you to hire them. And then, when they load your belongings they start raising the price. At that point, they already have your belongings. And you are left with little choice and have to comply. 

To protect yourself from such moving scams make sure to read the entire contract carefully. And to see if there are any ways in which your movers can scam you. 

Volume pricing

Volume pricing is when a moving company offers you prices based on how much space your belongings take in a truck. And not based on weight. That might be fine for quick local moves. But there’s a big difference between local and long-distance relocation. And when moving across state lines they are required by law to at least have a volume conversion rate.

Phone bids

Serious moving companies will not give you a bid over the phone. Especially without having a look at your belongings. Reputable moving companies will often offer a free moving estimate. But to give you a precise bid, they will send someone to physically inspect your belongings. And only when you decide on which services you will be using you will be able to determine a more precise price. 

moving scams - phone in hand
If someone offers you the exact price over the phone – don’t buy it!

So, if someone offers you an exact price over the phone you can be sure that something isn’t right. And it’s a red flag that you should take serious notice to


While there are many ways in which you can be a victim of moving scams by movers, there are also many ways to protect yourself. So, when looking for movers be vigilant. And pay attention to small details. Make sure to read the contract before you sign it. And to ask your movers about anything that seems odd to you. They should at least be able to explain it in detail. Always work only with licensed movers and check their past reviews and references. That way you can be sure that you and your belongings are protected. And that your relocation will be done successfully and stress-free.

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