Moving scams are, unfortunately, commonplace in the United States. Every month, it seems like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shuts down more moving carriers that exploit vulnerable consumers as they need to move. Nearly 9,000 complaints regarding moving companies were filed with the Better Business Bureau in 2010.
Fortunately, the FMCSA’s mission is to ensure you find the right mover for the job, giving you the tools you need to verify the moving companies on your shortlist. Remember that verification is a process, and it’s essential to do your homework before hiring a moving company to put their hands all over your precious home items.
What You’ll Need
If you want to be referred to a trust moving company, then stay off the Internet. Call a local Realtor and ask for a recommendation. The vast majority of moving scams start with consumers looking for deals on the Internet.
Start with a phone call to the moving company. You want to get as much information for verification as you can. Ask the sales representative for the US DOT and MC license numbers. Get as much additional information as you can—the full company name and any other business names the company operates under, all contact info including website and email addresses, and three references. Call the references and ask about their moving experience.
Where to Verify
As you verify your moving company, use four handy references: the Better Business Bureau, the Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline of the FMCSA, your home state’s consumer affairs department, and the FMCSA’s Licensing and Public Insurance verification web page. Utilize these resources to get a good sense of the moving company that’s pursuing your business.
The Better Business Bureau will be the least complete record of bad business dealings. However, if the BBB has a complaint on file, you have a right to know about it. The FMCSA will, in addition, let you know if a moving company has any complaints registered. Their phone number is 1-888-368-7238. Your state’s consumer affairs office will help you with key info as well, letting you know if there are any red flags against the moving company you’re looking at.
Finally, you want to verify the moving company’s license and insurance. Do that at the following link:
Punch in the DOT Number, MC Number, complete business name, and any DBA listings you may have. It will give you a complete verification of the business’s relationship with the Department of Transportation. If this site says the company is not out of service, is authorized for hire, and authorized to carry household goods, then you’re likely looking at a reputable carrier. Ensure the carrier is authorized for Interstate moves if you’re moving out of state.