Cheap Movers and Moving Companies: How to Tell If It’s Too Good to Be True

"There's no such thing as a free lunch" as the saying goes. If you've found some extremely cheap movers, don't be blinded by that low price, because one way or another, you'll be paying. Whether it's extra fees, unprofessional movers or just plain robbery, here are some red flags that tell you if that cheap mover is too good to be true.

Red Flag #1: Phone Quotes:
If a company gives you a moving quote over the phone, you should immediately be suspicious. In general, professional movers will come and visit your home to conduct an accurate estimate. Cheap movers may just give you a low price to bait you, and then later give you a higher price. It's better to get a high, but accurate price, than a low price but can be changed later on, when you're near your move out date and have no choice but to pay up.

Red Flag #2: Asking for A Deposit or Advance:
Many places and companies ask for a deposit - caterers, hotels, photographers, but movers are not of these business. Professional movers will only ask for the payment upon delivery, and no deposit is required. After all, is a customer decided not to pay, they would have their things as leverage, and in extreme cases, be able to put the stuff on auction to recoup their losses. Be suspicious if cheap movers ask for a deposit. You'll have less control over your move and you may end up burned in the end.

Red Flag #3: Recent Name Change:
One way unscrupulous moving companies get around Internet searches and the Better Business Bureau by changing their name or operating under several names. Do your homework and make sure you're dealing with a real moving company - they should have a physical office and they should answer the phone with the name of the company. As for references and make sure you call them to make sure you're dealing with a real moving company.

Red Flag #4: Verbal Agreements:
Sure, that salesperson or agent for cheap movers may seem like a nice person, but if he or she refuses to give you a written moving quote or a signed agreement, you should probably back away. A written moving quote and contract will ensure that you have proof and a recourse in case something goes wrong. You'll have hard evidence of what was promised, and the moving company will have the burden of proving why they strayed away from your agreement. A verbal agreement can lead to many abuses by your cheap movers, such as tacking on extra fees, or open the doors to a bait-and-switch moving scam where you're promised one price and then later given a higher price.

Red Flag #5: No Office or Poorly Maintained Equipment:
Ask to visit your long distance moving company's office. If they try to tell you that it's not a good time or that they don't have any offices at all, then beware. Not having a place of business may cast some doubts on the business' legality. If you do go to their offices, ask to inspect some of the trucks. Check their equipment to see that they're in good working order and all employees know what they're doing. These are just some of the red flags to watch out for. Of course, the number one red flag should be an insanely low price from a cheap mover. Protect yourself from moving scams and hire only professional and licensed movers.