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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2019 > Beware of Scams When Moving

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Beware of Scams When Moving

Moving can be a fun and exciting time, but beware of scams when choosing a moving service. Some con artists pretend to be movers, even giving quotes and accepting deposits, but never show up for the job.

Other scammers may quote a price based on the weight of what is being moved, but when it comes time for the move and the items are loaded, the company informs you that the belongings weigh more than the estimate. The scammer then says that additional weight will cost significantly more to move.

A third variation of the moving scam occurs when everything seems to be smooth sailing but your items don’t show up at your new house. The belongings are either lost forever or are held hostage until you pay an additional fee.

Before hiring a mover, consumers should research companies through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and the Better Business Bureau. Be sure to know how long the moving company has been in business, look for reviews from prior customers and ask for proof that the company is licensed and insured. The PUCO has important information about consumers’ rights when hiring movers. For consumers moving across state lines, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates interstate moving companies.

Also, look for some red flags of a moving scam:
  • Watch out if the company doesn’t list an address or provide information about its registration or insurance coverage. Also, beware of companies that do not give a company name when they answer your phone call or that use rented trucks instead of their own vehicles – those may be signs that the movers are not in business for the long haul.
  • Look out for companies that require a large down payment or payment in full before they provide the moving service. Do not pay cash before services are completed.
  • Be sure to get a written contract from the moving company, and read the terms and conditions and any fine print before committing to the service. Be sure the written contract spells out the dates your goods will be picked up and delivered, as well as how the rate is calculated.
  • Inventory all your items being moved and the number of boxes being transported to your new home or apartment. Look for movers that provide full-value protection insurance in case items are lost or damaged. Also, find out what your existing homeowner’s policy will cover.
If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.