Summer is the most popular time of year to move, and Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to help Floridians avoid scams during this busy moving season. A common moving scam involves companies agreeing to a price for service, loading a consumer’s personal belongings and then demanding more money before delivering the property. Sometimes this tactic involves charging additional fees supposedly based on the weight or volume of property moved or other factors not previously disclosed.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Moving can be a stressful experience. Scammers know this and exploit an already tense situation to coerce consumers into paying increased costs or fees just to get through the process or to have their possessions safely returned. Before moving, do your research and take steps to ensure you do not fall victim to disreputable household movers.”
To avoid common moving scams consumers should:
- Research moving companies thoroughly with the Better Business Bureau to determine if other consumers have filed complaints against a company;
- Check online for independent reviews separate from the moving company’s website, such as on Google or the Better Business Bureau;
- Make sure that the moving company is properly licensed with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration;
- Never sign any blank or incomplete documents presented by a moving company;
- Obtain estimates and quotes from several different moving companies in writing and make sure the estimates are binding;
- Determine whether the movers will perform the move alone or if the company will be subcontracting to another carrier; and
- Beware if movers show up in rental trucks and without uniformed personnel. These may be fly-by-night companies without appropriate licenses or insurance coverage.
Additional tips and resources can be found by visiting the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website here.
Since 2018, the Florida Attorney General’s Office has filed six court actions involving 14 moving companies following investigations into deceptive marketing practices, unlawfully misappropriating customers’ property and holding personal possessions hostage.
Anyone who is a victim of a moving scam should contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM. Complaints can also be filed with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the United States Department of Transportation.