Beware Bad Moving Companies! How to Spot Trouble

moving company relocating coupleA shady moving guy won’t show up at your apartment wearing Groucho Marx glasses, twirling a fake mustache.  You’re going to have to do your research before choosing a moving company to get to your new apartment.  But then again, spotting a bad moving company is pretty easy if you know what to look for.  Moving company red flags can be obvious as long as you’re on the lookout.  Here is a moving checklist of six things sketchy movers could do to take advantage of you during your apartment move.

Remember, a bad moving company may…

1. Avoid an in-home estimate.  If the guy on the phone gives you a moving price up front without checking out your apartment to evaluate your belongings first, beware.

2. Ask for a big payment in advance.  It’s common in some situations (like a move in an urban area) to ask for some money up front as a deposit, but the total shouldn’t exceed around $200.  Movers shouldn’t normally ask for the majority of payment right away.

3. Not offer you a moving booklet.  “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” is a booklet that movers are required by Federal law to give customers who are moving between states.  If you are embarking on an inter-state apartment move and don’t receive the booklet, ask why.

4. Fail to identify itself properly.  This might include answering the business’s phone with something generic like “Hello, Movers!” rather than “Hello, Amanda’s Amiable Apartment Movers!”  You should also check out the company’s listed address and offices. If they are sketchy-looking or non-existent, think twice. Also, the moving truck they use should be clearly marked with the company logo as company-owned truck or fleet truck.  No unmarked rental trucks.

5. Not have the right licenses.  If the company has expired MC and DOT licenses (or worse, none at all) don’t trust them with your belongings.  Licenses should be displayed on their website.

6. Ask you to sign blank or incomplete documents.  These include service agreements, which should list your name, the addresses of your old apartment and your new one, the moving date, and the total cost of the move.  Signing a document before the price is filled in means that the company is at its leisure to up the price without telling you.  After all, they’ll say, you signed the agreement.

Have you had a bad experience with a moving company? What red flags did you see?  Let us know by finding on Twitter and Facebook and sharing your apartment moving stories and moving checklists.