Whether you’re moving across the street in San Francisco or across the entire Bay Area, or planning to move from Los Angeles to San Jose, avoiding moving scams should be a top priority when hiring a professional moving company. Otherwise, you could end up losing your time, energy and money if you hire ‘cheap movers.’ Fortunately, it is quite easy to spot shady movers if you put some effort into this.
Cheap movers tend to catch customers in their nets with their too-good-to-be-true price estimates. They may also lack a proper license, insurance policies and so on. Let’s start with the moving company research tutorial. Hopefully, our tips will help you to find a reputable moving company in California. So before hiring movers watch out for these 9 red flags.
1. The company does not have a website
We live in the 21st century and we don’t believe that a licensed moving company would not have at least a presentable one-page website.
2. The lack of information on the website
A licensed California moving company must post the following information on their website:
- a true physical address
- license information (T license or MTR license)
- a phone number
3. Verify the license and insurance information online
- go to cpuc.ca.gov/tmis
- choose carrier type – ‘Moving Company (MTR or HHG or T)
- choose carrier ID – for example, 191707 (Got2Move)
And see the results!
4. The moving reviews are too bad or too good to be true
Any reputable moving company will have a few bad reviews here and there. It is simply impossible in the moving industry to make sure that 100% of clients are happy. So while the occasional bad review is to be expected, a big number of negative reviews is hard to ignore. On the other hand, be careful if you see almost 100% of online reviews to be all five stars. It is better to hire a 4-star moving company that has been in business for 10 years rather than one fresh and green with a 5-star Yelp rating.
5. They give you a too-good-to-be-true estimate
If you get a very ‘good’ price over the phone do the following:
- ask if you can get the price or rates via email
- ask if there are any hidden charges or potential fees of any kind
- specifically ask if the company charges for tape, shrink-wrap, the use of stairs or elevator. If so, run away! While it is legal to charge for stairs and long-carry for the moves exceeding 100 miles, it is totally ILLEGAL to charge for stairs and long-carry on local moves under 100 miles
6. They charge for every little thing on a local move
They have low rates but charge for every little thing which they say you will not need most likely. Such companies make money from creating a need in those little things and forcing you to pay for them on a moving day. By the way, why it is illegal to charge for stairs, elevator, and long-carry distance (more than 75 feet from a truck to a home/office) on a local move, it is legal during a long-distance move (more than 100 miles between pickup and delivery.)
7. They don’t offer FULL VALUE PROTECTION
Most moving companies will tell you that they are ‘licensed and insured.’ Don’t get misled! A licensed and insured moving company in California does not mean that your belongings will be 100% covered during the move. Basically, if a company refuses to provide full value protection and say that they offer only a ‘basic coverage’ or ‘basic insurance’ which is $0.60 (sixty cents) per pound per item, we recommend to move forward and call another company.
8. They only offer non-binding estimates for long-distance moves
If the moving company only offers non-binding estimates, as opposed to binding or binding not-to-exceed estimates, you should run. This may be a sign that the mover intends to rip you off. A non-binding estimate is a quote based on the estimated weight of your belongings. However, your final price will change depending on the actual weight of your things. This makes it easy for movers to give you a low-ball estimate at the beginning, only to serve you an unexpectedly high bill at the end. Instead, hire a moving company that offers either a binding estimate or a binding not-to-exceed estimate – both of which ensure the cost of your move will not end up exceeding the original cost estimate. Got2Move offers flat rates for every long-distance move!
9. They demand to be paid upfront or push for a sale with a large deposit
If the moving company demands any sort of upfront payment, whether it be a large deposit or the entire estimated amount, this is a sign that the movers can be fraudulent. Movers should be paid after the goods have been shipped to their destination.
We encourage you to choose at least 3 reputable moving companies to collect quotes from. We hope that Got2Move will be one of those companies. We will try our best to earn your business. Got2Move is local and long-distance moving company serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego!