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How Can You Tell If A Moving Company Is Legitimate?

Although most moving companies in the U.S. are trustworthy, there remain a few bad apples along with cautionary accounts of the victims. A growing number of complaints have been filed against movers in recent months, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), many of which are due to “fraudulent tactics… of rogue movers.”

If you are going to pay for a mover, it is your job to ensure that the moving company is legitimate. After all, moving day is stressful enough without having to commit your valuable possessions to the wrong people. Fortunately, there are numerous methods for determining a moving company’s credibility before you even pick up the phone. Here’s how you tell if a mover can be trusted with your belongings.

  • Is the moving company fully licensed and insured?

Before hiring a moving company, verify sure the company is fully licensed and insured. While interstate movers must register with the federal government and can be located in the U.S. DOT system, local movers are only regulated by the state. Every state has its own licensing standards, so you should familiarize yourself with your state’s laws to guarantee that your local mover is legitimate.

Interstate movers are obligated by law to provide two types of liability options, according to the FMCSA: Full Value Protection and Released Value. These possibilities are defined below by the FMCSA.

  • Full Value Protection: “Your mover is accountable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire cargo…This is the most complete package available for your items’ protection.” The cost of Full Value Protection varies depending on the mover.
  • Released Value Protection: “Because it is provided at no additional cost, Released Value is the most cost-effective protection available. However, the level of protection is minimal. The mover bears liable for no more than 60 cents per pound per acre under this option.

On the FMCSA website, you may learn more about the intricacies of both alternatives. Your mover must have their own insurance in addition to offering you liability choices. On request, moving company should be able to present you with proof of insurance.

  • Do they have any complaints?

“Where there is smoke, there is fire,” as my mother used to say. Take note if you notice a high volume of consumer complaints! This is frequently a red flag. If you’re planning an interstate move, you can also go directly to the FMCSA website for more information on any official complaints. Every interstate moving company needs to receive a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. As part of this system, consumers can now enter the moving company’s phone number into the FMCSA’s search engine, which can be found under the website heading “Search Movers & Complaint History.” This search tool exposes the complaint history of registered interstate movers (or hopefully, lack thereof).

We also recommend contacting the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to determine if there have been any complaints filed against intrastate and interstate moving businesses. The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization that assists people in locating trustworthy businesses. If a moving company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, it signifies that the movers have met the organization’s accreditation standards.

  • How are their reviews?

Checking reviews on’s Moving Business Directory is a wonderful place to start when looking for a reputable moving company. The directory provides customer reviews for over 600 movers around the country. For your convenience, our reviews include the following information: the moving company’s U.S. DOT number, specific moving services, fleet size, Better Business Bureau rating, any official complaints filed with the FMCSA, and whether the moving company is a member of the American Moving & Storage Association.

It’s also recommended to ask for referrals from your neighbors, friends, and relatives. Listen to what they have to say about their personal experiences with various moving companies. Check out Yelp and other review sites, but keep in mind that the internet is full of frauds and phony reviews.

  • Did the mover inspect your belongings before providing you with an estimate?

Before providing you with a price, moving firms should do either an in-person inspection or a video scan of your goods. Otherwise, you risk receiving a charge that much exceeds the initial estimate. If they provide you a quote over the phone or the internet based on your own inventory of home goods, run! This could be a warning sign of moving fraud. As a general rule, any company that gives you a firm price without assessing your items through video or in-person is probably not to be trusted. I recommend comparing at least three or four quotations from different moving firms to guarantee you get the best rate.

Following an assessment, the movers should provide you with a written estimate (together with any other potential charges) – leaving no unpleasant surprises for later. If the moving business’s quote is significantly more or lower than other moving company estimates, this should raise a red flag.

  • Are they qualified?

Aside from licenses and insurance, buyers should exercise common sense when hiring a moving business. Keep an eye out for whether the movers are actual professionals. Is there a physical office and a corporate email address? Is the moving firm affiliated with a respected van line? Are they dressed in uniforms and operating specialized moving trucks? Have you received an official Bill of Lading? Is it possible that the estimate is too wonderful to be true? Do they have a valid business license? Listen to your gut instincts if something doesn’t feel right.

About the Author

Michaela Smith is the marketing director at EMPIRE MOVERS NYC, a well-known residential and commercial moving company with over 15 years of experience on the market.


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Kaya Wittenburg

Blog Author and CEO

Kaya Wittenburg is the Founder and CEO of Sky Five Properties. Since the age of 10, real estate has been deeply ingrained into his thoughts. With world-class negotiation and deal-making skills, he brings a highly impactful presence into every transaction that he touches.

He is here to help you use real estate as a vehicle to develop your own personal empire and feel deeply satisfied along the way. If you have an interest in buying, selling or renting property in South Florida, contact Kaya today.

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