Top 11 moving scams and the way to prevent them

Top 11 moving scams and the way to prevent them

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 35 million Americans relocate annually. Luckily, most relocations occur smoothly; however, the quantity of grievances filed against moving companies has consistently risen in the last ten years. To safeguard yourself against moving scams in the moving industry, it is crucial to be an informed consumer who thoroughly researches every aspect of the process. Here's an overview of the prevalent types of moving scams, warning signs to be vigilant about, suggestions on self-protection, and guidelines for reporting an unscrupulous company. As a professional logistics company, DocShipper also provides moving services. Whether it's packing, local moving, or international moving, professional staff will provide you with timely service every step of the way.

Sorts of moving scams

As per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the primary grievances reported include instances of shipments being unlawfully withheld, loss, damage, or delays in delivering shipments, engagement with movers who don't have authorization and deceitful practices like excessive charges. Presented below are the 11 most prevalent scams in the industry, along with indicators to be aware of:

Moving estimated by eye

moving preparation, estimated price

If a moving company doesn't emphasize the importance of conducting an in-person assessment of household items, they are likely providing you with an estimate based solely on visual assumptions. Unfortunately, such estimates tend to be unrealistically favorable. Homeowners often underestimate the number of their possessions, and accurate estimators focus more on estimating the weight and overall bulk rather than individual items. For instance, the weight of a queen-size bed without a footboard or headboard differs significantly from one with an elaborate, heavy wooden frame. Moving costs are determined not only by the distance traveled, but also by the weight of your household items and the space they occupy in the moving truck.

The quick glance

An estimator who swiftly walks through your house without inspecting cabinets or inquiring about the specific items you intend to move will undoubtedly provide an inaccurate estimate. A competent estimator will engage you in a conversation, posing questions such as, "Will you take all the food in your pantry, or are you going to consume it prior to the move?" or" Are you organizing a yard sale to dispose of any items? If so, what are they? "

It is your responsibility to provide as much detail as possible, such as stating, "We will be purchasing a king-size bed to bring along, so please factor in that expense." Each year, numerous individuals fall victim to deceitful individuals who deliberately provide a low initial quote, only to withhold their belongings until they are paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars more, often in cash.

DocShipper Alert : When an estimator gives you a rough quote, be more careful because an experienced estimator takes the time to assess every detail. You should protect yourself while expressing your needs in detail. Choosing a reliable moving company is the best choice. DocShipper, as a company providing international and local moving services, contact us to get the best quote.

moving procedure, attention to moving scam Pre-deposit before moving services

Trustworthy moving companies will NOT request cash or substantial upfront payment before relocating your belongings. Typically, payment is made upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you relinquish control over the timing of when your possessions will be returned to you. When you do make a payment, utilize a credit card that offers protection against any fraudulent transactions.

The change of name of the moving company

Certain moving companies evade detection by organizations like the Better Business Bureau and similar fraud watchdogs by frequently operating under different names. It is essential to verify that the company has a physical address in the local area and provides information regarding its insurance and licensing. When contacting them, they should respond using the complete business name, rather than a generic term like "moving services" or something similar.

The mover forgot to present all the federal required information

Under federal regulations, moving companies are obligated to provide you with a booklet titled "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" during the initial stages of your moving process, not after you have already packed everything up. If you were not offered this booklet, it is advisable to select an alternative moving company.

Charges for packing servicespacking technique, packing list

The dilemma of moving is that if you personally pack your belongings, the moving company typically relinquishes responsibility for any damage incurred. On the other hand, if you opt for the mover to handle the packing, you'll end up paying inflated prices for boxes and packing materials, not to mention the additional costs of labor and time. If you choose the latter option, it is advisable to inquire about the Packers' experience. While most are cautious, some may simply toss items into boxes and seal them without much consideration for potential breakage or damage. In summary, it is generally more beneficial to either pack your belongings yourself or hire professional packers.

Additional charges for moving services bill of packaging, moving

Residing in a two-story house or planning to move into one? Be prepared for additional charges. Similarly, if you are moving to or from a 12th-floor apartment, expect the same. Does your neighborhood have narrow streets that cannot accommodate a standard moving van? Anticipate an extra fee for transferring your possessions to a small truck for delivery. To avoid being unexpectedly burdened with surprise fees or obvious overpricing, it is prudent to inquire about these potential charges in advance. 

DocShipper Advice : A good moving company will communicate with you all the details, even if they sometimes forget or deliberately avoid mentioning the additional costs in order to avoid moving scams, please ask the moving company boldly. DocShipper has more than 11 years of service experience. Our expertise and availability will facilitate the moving process for you. Fill out this form, and we will contact you as soon as possible.

The unfilled contract

Never agree to a contract without complete details, regardless of your fondness for the moving company. Insist on written documentation for every aspect, including the initial quote and any additional charges. Ensure that your contract encompasses the specified delivery and pickup dates.

Thoroughly review your contract, ensuring that all your possessions are explicitly mentioned. Do not settle for vague descriptions like "Office supplies" unless you personally witnessed the contents being limited to scissors and folders. If your laptop computer is not specifically listed on the inventory form you sign before the driver departs, do not anticipate finding it in the box upon arrival. Remember, you cannot file a claim for an item that is absent from the inventory list.

The assured quotation by the moving companymoving company, guaranteed quotation

Federal legislation mandates two types of moving contracts. A non-binding estimate ensures that the company can't demand payment exceeding 10 percent of the original estimate, to be paid within 30 days after delivery. Conversely, a binding estimate guarantees a fixed price for the entire move, including additional services. Should extra services be requested, for example unpacking, the supplementary fee must be paid within 30 days of delivery.

Don't assume an ironclad, binding, "not to exceed" contract without reading the fine print. Often, it specifies that the price will not exceed the agreed amount unless your belongings surpass the estimated weight. To ensure absolute certainty, insist on written confirmation that the final given price or have confidence in the accuracy of the weight estimation you were provided.

Different moving companies can provide estimates that vary by thousands of pounds, so in certain cases, opting for the higher estimate price might make you feel more secure. (Movers weigh their trucks when empty and then again when loaded with your items to determine the weight of your belongings.)

The moving company does not provide any explanations about the insurance

study the best quotation, moving services Every moving company is obligated to assume responsibility for the value of the goods they transport. However, there are two distinct levels of liability that apply, and it is important for you to understand the associated charges and the extent of protection provided by each level. The details regarding these two liability levels can be found below and in the "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" brochure, which your mover will furnish to you. It is crucial to carefully understand this information and follow the provided instructions to declare the value of your belongings. If your mover fails to provide the booklet, or if they are evasive or dismissive when it comes to specifying the liability level under which your belongings will be moved, these are definitely warning signs to consider.

Full (replacement) value protection

This plan offers the most extensive coverage for the protection of your goods. By default, unless you choose an alternative level of liability as described below, your belongings will be transported under your mover's full (replacement) value level of liability. In the event that any item is lost, damaged, or destroyed while under your mover's care, they will either:

  • Repair items to return them to the same condition as before they were damaged, or reimburse you for the repair costs.
  • Replace the item with a similar item of equal quality, or compensate you for the cost of replacement. Please note that an additional fee applies. To avoid this extra charge, it is necessary for you to choose the alternative level of liability explained below.

Under the alternative level of liability, movers are allowed to limit responsibility for damage or loss to very expensive items, unless you specifically declare these items on the documents of shipping. An item of extraordinary value refers to any item whose worth exceeds $100 per pound (e.g., silverware, jewelry, furs, china, antiques, computer software, and oriental rugs). It is important to request a thorough explanation of this limitation from your mover prior to your move. It is your responsibility to carefully review and understand this provision and make the necessary declaration.

The alternative liability option

 insurance policy, level of liability The most economical protection option for safeguarding your belongings is the released value plan, which values your items at 60 cents per pound per article. It is important to note that this choice provides only minimal coverage. Under this plan, the mover assumes liability for a maximum of 60 cents per pound for each item. In the event of damage or loss, claims are calculated based on the weight of the article multiplied by 60 cents. For example, if a 100-pound stereo component valued at $10,000 is lost or damaged, the mover's liability would be limited to $60.00 (100 pounds x 60¢).

Before accepting this arrangement, it is crucial to carefully evaluate its implications. This basic protection has no extra charge, you must sign a specific statement on the BL ( bill of landing ) to confirm your acceptance. If you decide not to use this alternative level of liability, your belongings will be transported under the full (replacement) value level of liability, and you will be subject to the associated valuation charge.

It is important to note that this additional insurance is not governed by federal law as valuation coverage, but rather falls under optional insurance regulated by state law. If you choose to use this separate coverage and encounter damage or loss for which the mover is responsible, their liability will be limited to a maximum of 60 cents per pound or per article. Any additional loss can be claimed from the insurance company, up to the coverage amount purchased.

Letting the opportunity pass without taking action

moving company, moving policyWhen the movers are unloading, consider enlisting the help of friends to inspect and carefully examine each box for any visible damage. It is advisable to open and go through the contents of each box. If you come across any apparent damage, it is best to make a note of the issue on the mover's copy of the bill of lading. By doing so, you provide a record of the problem. The mover is then required to acknowledge your claim within 30 days. Within 120 days of receiving the claim, they must either deny it or propose a settlement offer. Remember, having evidence of the condition before and after the move makes it more difficult for them to deny your claim, especially if they did not observe the damage before leaving your new residence.

DocShipper info : As a professional international moving company, we offer a wide range of options: moving, warehouse, freight, and pet moving services. In addition, we also offer customs clearance services. In order to save your time and money, contact our experts, and we will provide you with an exclusive solution that will save you time and effort.

The process of complaining about moving scams

Telephone customer service, solution for scamsIf you believe that you have been a victim of fraud perpetrated by a moving company, auto transporter, or moving broker, you have recourse to file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To initiate the process, you can utilize the FMCSA's online complaint tool or contact them at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238). Your complaint will be recorded in their database for the company in question. If the FMCSA decides to take action, they will contact you for additional documentation and information during the course of their investigation.

Additionally, you can reach out to your State Attorney General's office or a law enforcement agency in your state to report the situation. Another resource available to you is Move Rescue, a consumer advocacy group dedicated to assisting individuals whose belongings are being held, hostage. You can contact Move Rescue at 800-832-1773 for further guidance and support.

Advice on finding the most reliable moving companymoving company steps

Moving can be a challenging endeavor. Although the majority of moves proceed without any issues, there is a risk of encountering dishonest or "rogue" movers who may attempt to exploit you. To protect yourself from moving fraud, it is essential to be well-informed about your choices when selecting a moving company. By following these guidelines, you can find a trustworthy mover and minimize the likelihood of falling victim to a moving scam.

Request a written cost estimate.

Obtain multiple estimates from various moving companies and carefully compare them. It is crucial that these estimates are provided after a thorough in-person examination of your households, as we have previously mentioned.

DocShipper Advice : It is not difficult to find a moving company, the hardest part is to find a good one. It is important to find out all the details of the services and charges from the moving company and to compare several of them to choose the best one. DocShipper has the most transparent quotes and the best services. Contact us and our experts will get back to you as soon as possible.

Ensure the moving company is adequately insured and federally licensed

If you are planning an interstate move, it is mandatory for the moving company to have a U.S. DOT number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). However, regulations regarding domestic moves can differ. To ascertain the specific requirements for domestic moves, you can consult your state, county, or local consumer affairs agency, or reach out to your state attorney general for further information.

 internet, information search, compare

Investigate the moving company’s complaint history and reputation

To gather more information and make informed decisions, you have several options available. You can utilize the FMCSA database, which provides valuable insights. Additionally, reaching out to reputable organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection agencies can provide further guidance and assistance.

Pre-learning on your own about moving services

To ensure a smooth and secure move, it is essential to undertake a few key actions. Start by checking the moving company's references to gauge their reliability. Obtain multiple quotes from different companies to compare their offerings. It is also crucial to thoroughly read the "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet, as it contains valuable information regarding your recourse in the event of damaged or lost goods. Additionally, don't hesitate to ask the moving company pertinent questions. Inquire about their experience in the industry, their licensing status, the extent of their liability coverage, the specifics of the delivery and pickup process, and any other concerns or queries you may have. Being proactive and informed will help you make well-informed decisions throughout the moving process.


You should be aware of include allegations of fraud committed by dishonest movers, lessors, packers, and out-of-break delivery providers. It's important to keep in mind that moving companies are not immune from engaging in illegal or unethical behavior. Filing a complaint against them is not only beneficial for the protection of consumers, but can also help expedite their removal from the market. Once again, you're the best person to judge whether you feel comfortable with a particular moving company. If you are still unsure, try to gather as much information as possible about their business and review the information provided on this page. In the hope of preventing you from becoming a victim of moving scams, we wish you a smooth move. We advise you to use our moving services to guarantee a perfect move. Get in touch with us!

DocShipper Advise : We help you with the entire sourcing process so don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!

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