The Big Move: How to Avoid Moving Fraud

Guest Contributor
January 28, 2013
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[ by Collin Bass, uShip ]

On Jan. 14, SpareFoot marketing manager Rachel Greenfield and uShip VP Dean Xeros appeared on a HuffPost Live segment called “The Big Move.” The piece offers some valuable advice for the moving process, along with a couple of horror stories that resulted from moving fraud. Watch the piece here.

The segment brings up an important point— thousands of cases of moving fraud occur every year in the US with companies found either online or offline. As with any marketplace for services, there’s really one simple strategy to prevent fraud: do your homework.

Online reviews, FMCSA registrations, regional moving associations, and the Better Business Bureau are excellent resources for finding information about moving companies before signing off. Sites like uShip make this transparency a bit easier by offering verified feedback from past customers, along with compliance data, insurance information, photos and more, directly on moving company profiles.

Top Ten Tips for Not Getting Screwed on Moving Day

1. Check your moving company for federal and state compliance. Any moving company that crosses state lines should be registered with the FMCSA, which logs all complaints and moving violations. State requirements vary, but you should check with regional moving associations.

2. Ask for references. Your moving company, no matter how large or small, should be able to offer you references from past clients.

3. Verify your movers’ insurance. Your movers should be able to tell or refer you to every detail of their cargo insurance, liability coverage, and how you would file a claim if your belongings were lost in transit.

4. Go with your gut. If you feel uncomfortable with a company at any time, back out. You are not obligated to part with your belongings. If you’re moving cross-country, you should have at least a couple of days at your disposal to make alternative moving plans, if necessary.

5. Look for a bill of lading on moving day. This is a legal contract for transport. Your movers should offer a pamphlet or sheet with information about your rights as a moving customer.

6. Prepare for your move well ahead of time by taking inventory of your home and taking pictures of your belongings. Be organized and pack.

7. Ask about additional fees accompanying a moving quote. Unprofessional companies may tack on exorbitant hourly fees for labor, mileage and other unseen costs. Reliable companies will be transparent about the cost of a move from the outset.

8. Beware of “lowball” quotes from movers. If it’s too good to be true, it almost always is.

9. Read moving fraud prevention checklists on You should also search the site for the name of your moving company, especially if they’re crossing state lines.

10. Google the name of the moving company, and any owners or salespeople. If there aren’t any organic results with reviews (uShip, Yelp, etc.), company associations or other relevant business information, that’s a definite red flag.


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The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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