When choosing a mover there are many things to take into consideration especially during a pandemic. But many times people will choose a mover simply based on cost without researching them and inadvertently choose a rogue mover who ends up costing them much more in the end. Rogue movers are on the rise.
Rogue movers that prey on people who need to move their belongings have become even more prevalent during the pandemic due to an increase in moves and shortage of labor and drivers. In addition, movers were faced with having to add a variety of safety protocols that slowed up the moving process and reduced the amount of moves they could manage. At the same time the real estate market was breaking records creating more demand for local, and long distance moves. As a result of the demand, rogue movers became even more prevalent in the market.
What is a rogue mover?
Rogue movers typically give you a low estimate over the phone or internet without ever visiting your home or seeing your household goods you want moved. Then after they’ve picked up your goods, they hold them hostage and force you to pay more —often times much more than you had agreed to pay — if you want your possessions back. They demand the money is paid up front before they will deliver your belongings. You also have a very high chance of stolen or damaged property because these companies are not experienced, certified, or trained properly. Add to that the unlikelihood of them following CDC health safety guidelines.
How can you spot a rogue mover?
There are many signs to look for to avoid working with a rogue mover. Here are 8 signs that this may be a rogue mover:
- They don’t do an in-home or virtual survey (as was described in our previous article ‘How to Ensure a Safe Household Goods Move During a Pandemic’.) No mover is capable of giving you an accurate quote on what it would cost to move you without surveying your home and belongings either in person or virtually.
- They don’t have a physical address or phone number on their website.
- They don’t provide you with a contract. Before your moving day, you should sign a contract with the moving company that includes the price of the move, schedule, and what happens if your belongings are broken or lost. These contracts are very important for your protection. If a moving company does not send you a contract beforehand or sends you an incomplete contract that does not cover everything, you should cancel the move and look for another company.
- The company name on the paperwork is different from the company name that you contracted with.
- They demand cash or a large payment before the move. Reputable movers will never ask you for cash up front and don’t require payment until the move is complete
- They don’t have their MC number and/or USDOT number displayed on their website. All commercial vehicles must be registered with the FMSCA and have these numbers. You can look up the MC and USDOT numbers on the FMSCA website. If the MC number you look up does not match with the moving company, or if they don’t have a number displayed at all, they are a rogue mover.
- They don’t have any company reviews and very little web presence.
- No one answers the phone when you call. All reputable movers have someone answering the phone during standard business hours.
While rogue movers are on the rise, you can ensure you work together with a reputable moving company by simply doing some research. Before you consider requesting an estimate from a mover, be sure to research their company’s website and customer reviews, and make sure their MC/USDOT numbers are displayed. If they provide you with a professional estimate ask to have a copy of their contract for review too. The best way to avoid rogue movers is to do your research and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.