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Moving Scams and Rogue Movers in California

How to Avoid Moving Scams and Rogue Movers
avoiding Moving scams

Moving to a new area is exciting.

It’s a chance to do something different in life.

But with those feelings of change can come people trying to take advantage of your situation.

For the last five years, more than 40 million people have packed up their items and moved to a new home.

But there is a lot of stress in moving. How do you find the right company to hire to help you make your local or long distance move?

Each year the Better Business Bureau receives 13,000 complaints about moving companies that range from their experience to how dishonest the movers have been, even ones who come up with a different cost.

So you have done your research and hired the best Southern California mover. Now it’s time to start packing up your life.

Here are a few things to look for to make sure you have picked the right mover that will make your life stress free:


When searching for a moving company there is one thing you should keep in mind. Movers who are reputable do not demand cash. Most movers will let you pay upon delivery. When you do pay, make sure to use a credit card to fight fraudulent movers.


If you don’t do your research, there is a chance you can get scammed by a moving company.

Forbes Advisor at is one source to use when researching moving companies as they rate the top ones in the United States. They look at everything from upfront pricing and availability to ratings for the mover.

There are places that will try to make their reviews look good, so be careful at what sites you are looking at.


Movers should insist on an on-site inspection of your home for an estimate.

Getting an accurate quote is the first step in not getting scammed. There are many places that will slip a low offer to you.

If a deal is too good to be true, it is.

Most people don’t estimate how many things they have that need to be moved. And how much those things weigh. So getting a real quote is key.

Moving quotes are not only based on mileage but on the weight of the shipment.

Things to look for in a deal:

  • Make sure the mover is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  • Make sure the moving company has a physical business location.
  • Make sure to get an accurate quote and the dates of the move.


Of the 4,780 complaints the FMCSA received in 2019, 57% of them involved overcharging.

But it is believed that only about 10% of these scams are ever reported.

People also can find their items held hostage. When the mover goes to take the items to your new home, they suddenly try to charge you more.

People who believe they are getting scammed can contact the FMCSA or for help, according to the BBB website.

Another thing to look for is movers vs brokers.

A moving broker is a company that arranges the transportation of your items by hiring people to move them. Brokers are sales people who look to sell your move to companies.

And the broker does not take responsibility for your move.

Make sure to avoid this by hiring a moving company yourself you can trust.

Use the FMSCA mover site to find your mover.

Here are a few tips to avoid scams:

  • If you are packing your own items a mover often isn’t responsible for any damage that occurs. If you have them pack the items there may be an additional charge.
  • Get everything in writing. This is the most important step to making sure you don’t get scammed.
  • A common scam is to get your items moving and then charge you thousands more to get them back.
  • Read the entire contract and do not skip the small print.
  • Make sure everything is on an inventory when it leaves your home.
  • Do not give cash up front.
  • When someone gives you a quote make sure they come to your home.



Another moving scam to avoid is insurance. In general, the mover is responsible for damage that occurs during transportation.

There are two levels of protection to look at.

Full Value Protection: This is the most expensive option but your items will be insured.

Waiver of Full Replacement: This is a cheap route to go, but the mover may only pay 60 cents per pound.



Your mover has the responsibility to make sure all your items arrive safely at your new home for the agreed upon costs.

You have some responsibility.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Read all moving documents.
  • Notify your mover if something has changed.
  • Make payment agreed upon.
  • Be available for delivery and pickup.
  • Promptly file damage claims if needed.




The key to any successful move is to do your research and not get scammed. Hire a reputable and trusted mover—Southern Cal Moving & Storage. Give us a call at 951-520-8800 for your free moving estimate.

Are you dealing with pests at your new home? Here’s a helpful guide on how to get rid of any unwanted critters from our friends at Folkestad Moving Services.



How to avoid moving company scams?

The best way to avoid moving company scams is to vet every company you consider using. Ask your friends and family for references and make sure they are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Click here to search the database for registered movers.




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