5 Tips to Avoid Unreputable Moving Companies
5 Tips to Avoid a Moving Companies that are not reputable
Unfortunately for reputable Orange County moving companies – and the people who hire less-than-reputable ones – moving scams exist. In fact, with the internet, they’re easier than ever for scammers to pull off. These days, you don’t need a legitimate center of operations to look like a business. You just need a website.
And a legitimate-looking website can fool many shopping for real moving services. Don’t be fooled! Instead, use these 5 tips to avoid getting scammed when shopping for a moving company in Orange County:
- 1.Check out the operating license.
First and foremost, any legitimate moving company will operate with a license from the US Department of Transportation and a Motor Carrier number. Typically, you can find this information on the homepage of a company’s website, often at the bottom of the page.
Don’t just assume that the company is legitimate because there’s a license number on the website, though. Open up another browser tab, and head to www.fmcsa.dot.gov. There, you can put the company’s operating name or license number into a search bar. Pull up the company’s information to ensure they’re operating under a current license. (And check out things like safety stats while you’re at it!)
- 2.Check out the address.
Verifying a company’s license is just the first step. Companies with legitimate license numbers can still be sketchy. The next step is to verify the company’s brick-and-mortar address. Now, many moving companies will operate moves across a broad swathe of the country or state. But a legitimate Orange County moving company will have a physical address where its offices and garages are.
Again, you should be able to find this information on a company’s website. You can then type the address into Google Maps to ensure that it is, in fact, an actual address.
- 3.Check references.
Before you hire a company, check out its references online. Look at sites like Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Or call the company to ask for references that you can call. Many companies will provide these, and they can give you more information than brief website testimonials.
If a company’s website includes the Better Business Bureau or American Moving and Storage Association logos, call or check online with these organizations to see if the company has the right to use those logos. Anyone can snag some logos online with a bit of web savvy, after all.
- 4.Get in-home estimates.
Online moving cost calculators can be great. They can give you a ballpark idea of how much your move might cost. But they are not the only place you should go to figure out a price for your move.
Instead, you really want to get in-home estimates from expert estimators who know how to check out your personal goods. Companies who won’t come to your home to offer an in-person estimate should be crossed off the list immediately. Any legitimate Orange County moving company will offer in-person estimates as part of their general best practices.
Along these lines, legitimate moving companies will also offer some sort of guarantee when it comes to pricing. One common scam for semi-reputable companies is to quote you a price, only to jack that price up by hundreds or even thousands of dollars after the move. They can basically hold your stuff hostage until you pay up. The best Orange County movers will offer a guaranteed price – or one guaranteed up to a certain amount – written into the contract language.
- 5.Don’t put a large deposit down.
For the most part, professional moving companies won’t ask for a deposit – especially not a large one. Companies asking for a big deposit to reserve your moving date are likely going to cut and run with the money you give them. If you’re asked to give the company a deposit that’s more than nominal, be wary. This is likely a scam.
For the most part, to reserve a date for your move, you’ll just have to sign a contract. When you do this, your moving company should be able to guarantee that they’ll be there when they say they will. Legitimate companies don’t look for a big deposit to make this happen for their customers.
The bottom line here is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. This goes with everything in life, for the most part. But people tend to forget it when it comes to moving, since they do this so rarely. So use common sense and good judgment, and you’ll be fine when it comes to hiring a company for your move.
So as you’re shopping around for a moving company in Orange County, use common sense. Take the time to vet each company you check out online – especially when they weren’t recommended directly by a friend or family member. A few extra steps and some caution can save you from losing lots of money – and even your household goods! – to a moving scam.