6 Essential Steps To Protect Your Move From Illegal Movers
In the age of the Internet, protecting your move has become more important than ever! The ease of technology makes it easier to find and book movers, but can also expose you and your family to fraudulent companies, scammers, and fakes. These types of movers can promise discounts, excellent service, and responsibility, but become nightmares once you sign the contract.
Thoroughly researching prospective movers can save you time, headaches and, ultimately, money. When it comes time to load your precious valuables onto a moving truck, it’s critical to know who’s responsible for delivering them to your new home safely. Luckily, there are a ton of resources available to you to help you find licensed and legal moving companies. Use this post as a guide for vetting any prospective movers, and for protecting yourself before, during, and after your move:
1. Make sure you’re hiring a moving company, not a moving broker.
What’s the difference between the two? Moving brokers help you book a move by forwarding your details to moving companies they have stored in their database. Essentially, they work as your middlemen to connect you to as many different moving companies as possible. However, your moving company will have up-to-date information about rates, fees, expectations, etc. If you’re looking to work and communicate directly with a moving company, make sure that your company of choice presents itself as such – they should mention that they are a moving company somewhere on their websites and social media channels.
2. Check for a clearly displayed Texas Department of Motor Vehicle number on the company’s website, trucks, and invoice.
Within Texas, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle number (TxDMV#) confirms that the moving company is registered with the DMV and are following state laws. This is crucial because the state regulates much of the moving process, like how much you can be charged for insurance, how much and when to charge after the moving process is completed – and even how fast the trucks can travel on roads. A company that does not provide this information is less likely to be listed in the DMV database, and technically wouldn’t be certified as legal.
Not every moving truck you see on the road is legitimate! The DMV encourages patrons to report moving trucks without a visible or verifiable TxDMV#, so if you see one on the road or have a moving truck show up to your home without a number, notify the DMV immediately by calling 1-888-368-4689. If you do see a visible TxDMV#, verify that it is currently active by visiting the DMV’s official database. Again, report expired or revoked numbers to the DMV to control the number of illegal trucks on the road.
3. Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for unresolved complaints.
The Better Business Bureau was specifically created to address and resolve consumer complaints. It acts as a middleman to build trust between companies and consumers by keeping companies accountable for their actions. Unresolved complaints on a company’s BBB profile (or not having a profile at all!) is a huge red flag when researching a prospective mover.
Even if a company does have a verified BBB profile and no unresolved complaints, keep researching! Check their Yelp account and social media accounts. Customers will often use different mediums to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a service.
4. Make sure you receive a Rights and Responsibilities pamphlet from the company BEFORE you move.
Do you know your Rights and Responsibilities as a consumer? Even if you don’t, your moving company should, and they are required by law to dispense this information to you. This information is usually offered after a move is booked as part of normal paperwork or with a contract. If you don’t receive this paperwork at all, do not sign a contract and do not move forward with the company until you receive it.
Some of the rights and responsibilities afforded to you (as determined by the U.S. Department of Transportation) require movers to provide a written estimate, allow you to request that your valuables are weighed before you move (which is a pretty big deal, as it can determine the cost of your move in some cases), and can provide you with a company’s complaint history. Be sure to keep a copy of your rights and responsibilities and refer to it to determine suspicious behavior.
5. Never use Craigslist.
Craigslist can be used to solicit a variety of resources, but your moving company should not be one of them. Reputable moving companies will have a variety of marketing channels available to them (Yelp, social media, a legitimate website, telemarketing, print, etc) and will likely never need Craigslist to attract more customers. Craigslist’s anonymous feature also makes it difficult to vet companies you communicate with. Be sure to look for companies that have a website with a clear physical address, phone number, and email address.
6. Trust your gut!
Believe it or not, your gut is one of the best fraud catchers around. If something seems fishy, it probably is! Low rates and huge discounts may seem inviting at first, but beware of hidden fees! Always ask questions – legitimate companies should have no problem with explaining their rates and relating the value of their services.
Thanks for reading and Happy Moving!