Help Desk FAQ



How can I avoid trouble with an upcoming move?

Moving, whether to a different neighborhood, city or state, can be quite expensive and frustrating. Choose a reputable mover to avoid fraud. Always get a written estimate, service order, bill of lading, and an inventory list from your mover.

When moving from one state to another, federal law protects your move. The moving company must provide you with a copy of your rights and responsibilities before your move. It must also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), have a United States Department of Transportation (“USDOT”) number, and carry insurance. The website provides guidance on how to plan your move.

Most states have similar requirements. Check with your local consumer protection office to find out which government agency regulates movers.

One of the most serious moving problems involves “hostage” situations, where the mover holds the consumer’s belongings until the consumer agrees to pay an inflated fee, much higher than the original, low estimate. If the consumer refuses to pay, the mover drives away with the victim’s belongings. If you need assistance during a hostage situation, contact

Another scam involves payment of a large deposit upfront, but the mover does not show up on moving day.

If you have fallen victim to a moving scam, immediately report it to:

For guidance on finding a reputable moving company and recognizing common scam warning signs, visit and

Tips for choosing a reputable moving company include:

  • Contact at least three moving companies in your area that have been in business for at least 10 years;
  • Get as much information about the moving company as possible, including its license number and references;
  • Check the licenses on the FMCSA website;
  • Have the moving company come to your house to do an in-home estimate;
  • Do not sign blank paperwork; and
  • Call the FMCSA hotline (888-368-7238) for complaint history.

Some warning signs of a disreputable mover are:

  • Estimates without an inspection;
  • No local address, license or insurance;
  • Demand for payment upfront;
  • Unwillingness to put bids and quotes in writing; and
  • Generic rental truck without professional-looking signs or logos.



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