How to Prevent Moving Fraud: A Moving Checklist for Consumers

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Moving to a new home? Check out our Moving Company Checklist below to make sure your transition is quick and easy.

Each year, about 40 million Americans move to a new home. For the vast majority of people that hire a moving company to help them make the transition, the move is a smooth one. Surprisingly, choosing a reliable moving company is often more affordable than moving on your own, especially if you’re moving out of state.

However, some moving fraud schemes prey on uninformed consumers in the market. The Better Business Bureau receives upwards of 9,000 complaints against movers each year. Last week, uShip VP Dean Xeros appeared on a HuffPost Live panel about home moving called The Big Movethat discussed the stress of the moving process and the potential for fraud.

Since launching uShip in 2004, we’ve been committed to making the marketplace for transport services more fair, transparent and affordable. Service provider profiles on uShip offer company-submitted data in addition to unedited feedback from past customers. Like eBay, each experience is tied to an individual transaction and can’t be edited by uShip or the provider, which contributes to each provider’s feedback score.

Moving Company Checklist for Consumers

Before Booking a Moving Company

  • Consider how you’re going to move, then determine which kind of service you need. White glove, full service movers are very different from freight-based carriers, in which you would be responsible for most of the labor at pick-up.
  • Realize that hiring a reliable, verified moving company is often cheaper and less stressful than trying to do it all yourself.
  • Make sure you have enough help at both pickup and delivery.
  • Pack properly, be organized and be prepared for your move.
  • Take photos and take inventory of all your belongings.

When Booking a Moving Company

  • Beware of “lowball” quotes from movers. If it’s too good to be true, it almost always is.
  • Ask about any additional fees that accompany your moving quote. Beware of exorbitant labor costs, mileage fees, and other unseen charges. Transparent companies should be clear about these fees from the outset. On uShip, however, movers are required to submit all-inclusive quotes.
  • Look for past feedback from previous customers online. uShip includes direct, unedited and transaction-tied feedback from customers directly on each carrier’s profile. Other resources include Yelp, moving associations, and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Verify the company’s cargo insurance and understand the difference between Full Value Protection and Limited Liability Protection coverage. The company should be able to refer you to every detail of their coverage and how you might file a claim if your belongings were damaged or in transit.
  • Check the moving company for federal/state registration and compliance. Any moving company that crosses state lines should be registered with the FMCSA. uShip includes this data on all carrier/moving company profiles, but if you need to search for a company not on uShip, use ProtectYourMove.gov. State requirements may vary, but you can check with regional moving associations.

After Choosing a Moving Company

  • Look for the bill of lading or other detailed inventory signed by both parties. This is a legal contract for transport of your belongings.
  • Request documentation that informs you of your rights as a moving customer. Your moving company should make this information available.
  • Ask for references. You can do this at any time.
  • Feel uncomfortable with the company you’ve chosen? It’s never too late to cancel. Even if you have to lose a deposit, it’s better than losing your belongings.
    • On uShip, we’re able to process refunds for most shipments immediately using uShip Payments, assuming you haven’t given out your payment code before delivery. (You should never, ever give out a uShip Payment code before delivery. The only exception is live animal shipments.)
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