Moving Scammers Price Gouge, Take Belongings Hostage and Destroy Goods

Most people hire a mover only a few times during their lives, so finding the right mover may be an unfamiliar process, leaving them prime targets for scammers.


List of deceptive moving tricks

The search for a mover usually begins on the Internet, where people are likely to encounter ads by dishonest movers, or “rogue operators” as they are called in the moving industry. The bad actor usually offers a free estimate over the phone or email with a low-ball offer. The website looks legitimate, usually with phony reviews from happy customers and a claim to have been in business for many years with well-trained employees. So-called independent mover review sites also may post fake positive write-ups for the moving scammer.


Fraudulent moving company representatives initially are friendly and helpful on the telephone. However, when problems arise later, company staff cannot be reached. After processing a down payment of hundreds to thousands of dollars, the dishonest moving company outsources the work to an operation that often hires temporary unskilled workers to load the customer’s belongings. Once the goods are on the truck, the driver claims that the actual amount of goods to be moved exceeds the initial estimate. They demand more money, and it is usually paid.


When the goods finally arrive at the new home, sometimes days or weeks after promised, the deceptive mover sometimes demands additional money, effectively holding the belongings hostage. If the additional money isn’t paid, the operators simply drive off without unloading or saying where they are taking the goods. Furthermore, some victims report that they then face demands of additional storage fees for the items held hostage. If you are a consumer considering an interstate move, do careful and extensive research to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate mover. After all, you are allowing someone you don’t know to drive away with almost everything you own. While the vast majority of movers care about reputation and customer service, not all do.


Source: Know Your Mover - BBB Study