Moving Scams
4 Mar

Moving Scams

  • By: Doug MAUSHARDT
  • News
  • Comments Off on Moving Scams

Avoiding Moving Scams: A Comprehensive Guide

Determining rogue movers and brokers!

Moving can be a stressful time, and unfortunately, the moving industry is not immune to scams. Many people only move once in a while and may not be familiar with the complexities of the industry, making them vulnerable to being taken advantage of. To help you avoid falling victim to moving scams, here are some red flags to watch out for and tips to protect yourself.

Beware of Brokers

One common scam involves moving brokers who do not have their own trucks or moving staff. They bid on your move and then sell it to a trucker willing to do it at the quoted cost. A key red flag is a broker asking for a deposit, as reputable van lines do not require one for interstate moves.

Watch Out for Hidden Charges

Some moving companies may not disclose additional fees like packing, stairs, or shuttle fees upfront. These fees can significantly increase your total bill, and the company may hold your belongings until you pay them. Always ask about potential additional fees and get them in writing.

Get Multiple Estimates

Some companies may offer low estimates without knowing the details of your move, only to add hidden charges later. It’s recommended to get at least two or three in-home estimates before choosing a mover. Remember, the cheapest option is not always the best.

Verify Licensing and Insurance

Legitimate moving companies are licensed and insured. Verify this information before hiring a mover. You can check a mover’s license at

Read the Contract Carefully

Never sign a blank contract. Ensure that all fees, pickup and delivery dates, and a detailed inventory of your belongings are included in the contract. Don’t rely on verbal agreements; everything should be in writing.

Recognize Rogue Movers

Rogue movers often give low-ball estimates over the phone without inspecting your belongings. They may demand more money before unloading your possessions, holding them hostage until you pay. Look out for these signs of a rogue mover:

  • Refusal to inspect your goods before giving an estimate.
  • Demanding cash or a large deposit upfront.
  • Not providing you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” as required by federal regulations.
  • California movers providing local or intrastate moving will provide you with a booklet called, Important Information for Persons Moving Household Goods (within California).
  • Lack of a local address, license, or insurance information.
  • Answering the phone with a generic “movers” or “moving company” instead of a specific company name.
  • Poor office or warehouse conditions.
  • Arrival in a generic rental truck rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.

Avoid Moving Brokers

Moving brokers are not actual moving companies but sales teams that book your move and then subcontract it to a moving company. Be cautious when dealing with brokers, as you may not know if the moving companies they use are properly licensed and insured.


Moving scams are unfortunately common, but with vigilance and research, you can protect yourself from falling victim. Remember to always get everything in writing, verify a mover’s credentials, and be wary of unusually low estimates. McCarthy Transfer & Storage is a fully licensed and insured mover with over 92 years of experience, committed to providing stress-free moving experiences. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate. Call us today to schedule a FREE in-home estimate 1-800-896-2594.


You need to move long distance cross country. You have a place to live or at least know the city to which you will be moving and you are now ready to start looking for a mover. You get on-line do a search on Google or Yahoo and 100s of site are there. What now? How do you decide who to contact, which to choose? One of the first things you need to do is make sure you are dealing with a legitimate legal mover and not a broker.

If your move takes you across state lines we recommend that you go with a major van line. There are a lot of independent trucking companies out along with all those brokers but they cannot offer you what a major van line can. The internet is good for getting information and finding a local agent that can come to your home and provide you with an estimate.

A local moving company or move agent is a local mover that is authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company. An agent for a national out of state carrier can and will put everything in writing for you and have the ability to back it up.

A broker is a sales agent, that’s it. They can make promises but they often do not have the ability to back it up. A move broker arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. A broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo. They act as a booking agent.

Brokers are all over the net, they look good, they have web sites, and they have sales people answering the phone. Well, the moving industry is defiantly a place where the saying, you get what you pay for is true. You want to get the most bang for your buck but that doesn’t mean you should go with the cheapest estimate. So why not a broker if they can save you money?

What brokers don’t have are trucks, drivers, or insurance. If so many brokers are out there, why do we recommend that you stay away. They bid your move out the the lowest company they can find to move you, then they collect a deposit up front and tell you to pay the balance on delivery. The problem is delivery can be very erratic, maybe it comes on time, maybe it doesn’t and maybe the amount they told you to pay is correct. More than likely the amount will be raised on delivery.

Posted in: News

McCarthy Transfer & Storage © All Rights Reserved.2024