How to Avoid a Moving Nightmare - The Dangers of Unlicensed Movers
Moving, whether it be cross country or across the street, is a big commitment. It requires time, money, and research. You have to decide where to live, what to bring with you, when to move, and who to reach out to for moving help.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your move is to skip past the important research and decision-making process of hiring the right mover.
You can often find moving help from friends, family, and even ads on Craigslist, but a licensed moving company guarantees the quality, professionalism, and insurance that these other sources do not. In fact, there are moving scams and extortion situations you can avoid when working with a licensed moving company.
What a Licensed Moving Company Guarantees
One of the most beneficial aspects of hiring a licensed moving company is that you can confidently rely on them to safely transport your possessions. The right equipment, licenses, and insurance are guaranteed. It also provides more confidence in the legitimacy of the business. Hiring a licensed moving company could potentially mean avoiding a scam. Could you imagine hiring a company to move your possessions to later find out that each and every single item you own has been stolen? Or can you imagine your “steal of a deal” moving company simply not showing up on moving day?
A licensed, reputable moving company guarantees that the business is legitimate, and that your items will be legally protected.
For example, licensed moving companies are liable for any damages that occur during a move, up to $1 per pound per item. In addition, licensed moving businesses have a U.S. DOT registration, a license to operate commercial vehicles such as the large vans that are typically used to execute moves. If a move is completed within the State of NJ a mover must have a moving license issued from the state of NJ. That license number starts with PM (licensed to offer moving services) or PC (licensed to offer both moving and storage services). You can check if a mover is licensed to perform your NJ move by checking here https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/Search.aspx?facility=Y In the drop down select Public Movers & Warehouseman.
Licensed moving companies are also required to have cargo liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and proof of vehicle registration and insurance. The mover’s license number must even be displayed on their moving vehicle.
Overall, a licensed moving company provides added security that you can trust them with your move. You’ll avoid faulty equipment and sub-par experience, and if you do run into any issues, their license provides a sure-way to track them down and negotiate a satisfactory result.
Risks of Hiring Unlicensed Movers
It’s apparent that a licensed mover has the licenses and insurance necessary for a successful, safe move. However, you may still be tempted to hire an unlicensed mover — they’re often advertised at a cheaper price. Understandably, many movers assume they won’t need the extra insurances and certifications that come with hiring a licensed mover.
The risk here, though, is that unlicensed movers bring some inherent dangers:
- Unlicensed moving companies are not guaranteed to be legitimate. Unlicensed movers have been caught stealing entire truckloads of possessions, or holding belongings hostage until the owners pay an exorbitant fee.
- The moving staff is not guaranteed to be insured and are often inexperienced, sometimes resulting in the damage of possessions.
- It’s illegal. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has cracked down on unlicensed movers to prevent the associated nightmares they have come to be associated with.
Red Flags to Look out for When Searching for A Moving Company
- Negative reviews - Take a look at what other customers have said about the company. How many reviews are there? Are there consistently strong ratings, or are there glimpses into what could be a highly disappointing move for you and your family?
- No valid business license - Verify the company’s license on the Division of Consumer Affairs website database. It’s common for rouge movers to use fake license numbers and represent themselves as a legitimate company. Even if a moving company gives you a number, don’t take it for granted. Double check it easily in the database. This will save you from a potential moving disaster.
- No upfront contract or estimate - If the moving company you’re talking to will not provide you with an estimate or written contract, you should look elsewhere. A contract protects you and the moving company, and an estimate ensures that you won’t be caught off-guard by exorbitant rates. Everything should be in writing. An illegitimate company may postpone contract delivery or tell you that you can expect a contract on the day of the move. Do not work with the company if they use these tactics.
- Their prices are much lower than other moving companies - The price may be too good to be true. An unlicensed moving company may compensate their lack of licenses with a cheap rate, but this is usually a red flag to look out for. They may also lure you in with a low rate, and then increase the price before your belongings are delivered.
- The moving ad was listed on Craigslist or another similar platform - Established moving companies will rarely list their services on Craigslist. Instead, you can find reputable companies online by looking up “moving companies near me” on Google and checking reviews, websites, and more. Angie’s List is a trusted consumer site you can use to find a moving professional. Don’t forget to check out All Jersey Moving & Storage. We earned the prestigious Super Service Awards from Angie’s List and are licensed movers with decades of experience.
Perks of Hiring a Reputable Moving Company
Now that you know what red flags to look out for when hiring a moving company, here are some other benefits of hiring a reputable, licensed moving company like All Jersey Moving & Storage.
- The entire process should be smooth and trustworthy, one in which your needs are seamlessly met.
- You should receive a clear, specific, and protecting contract that secures, in writing, your financial transaction with the moving company.
- Peace of mind is yours, knowing that the company and its employees will not only protect your belongings, but also deliver them safely to your new home.
- A licensed moving company should bring on an entire team of trained and reliable moving professionals.
- In case of damage, a licensed moving company is liable for your items.
How to Minimize Risk for Your Move
In addition to hiring a licensed mover, there are some other things you can do to minimize risk during the moving process:
- Keep expensive items in your possession. Items such as documents, jewelry, or other priceless or highly valuable belongings should stay in your possession at all times. These items of extraordinary value are not considered to be the moving company’s responsibility. Instead, you should keep these things with you in a lockbox or in your car if you’re traveling across the country. Please note that as an exception, All Jersey Moving & Storage specializes in transporting fine art and antiques.
- Catalog important possessions. While packing your items up for the move, catalog your possessions, noting what room they were in and what box they were put in. When unpacking your belongings, you can then double check that everything arrived safely. If you notice damage or any other issues, be sure to notify your movers immediately. You have 90 days from your move-in date to report damages to your licensed moving company. An unlicensed moving company won’t offer this protection.
- Obtain extra coverage for your move. Moving companies must only compensate $1 per pound per item that was damaged. Additional coverage may protect items of high value that wouldn’t be properly covered under this rule. Review your possessions and consider if you’ll need this extra insurance.
Nightmares You’ll Avoid When Hiring Licensed Movers
We are often astonished at the news stories we read about unlicensed movers — from theft to extortion, we’ve seen families taken advantage of completely.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs recently conducted a sting on unlicensed movers. This is because they were receiving more than a hundred complaints each year from people who were being taken advantage of.
As mentioned earlier, some companies were holding possessions hostage. They would transport truckloads of possessions as agreed, but not deliver or hand them over to the family the items belonged to until they paid another $1,000 to $5,000.
Other risks the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs reported includes hazardous equipment, including moving vans that break down on the road.
NJTV News interviewed Acting Consumer Affairs Director Paul Rodriguez, who said, “Other things that we’ll see are, unfortunately, sometimes tragically, there are accidents with the moving vehicles themselves. If they’re unlicensed, they’re much less likely to have the adequate insurance. And if all of your goods are sadly destroyed and there’s not adequate insurance to pay for it, then you may never be able to get the money back. The other thing, unfortunately, that we’ll see is particularly with the unlicensed movers is they might just disappear with your goods — never see them again. If they’re licensed with us, we have their name, we have their address, we can go after them. Otherwise it can be a real challenge to find them.”
These moving scams are much more avoidable or manageable when working with a licensed moving company. Like Rodriguez said, a licensed company can be tracked down and worked with, even if they also attempt to act unethically.
A Licensed Moving Company You Can Trust
We know how daunting it is to be in charge of safely moving your belongings. Rest assured that there are reputable moving companies you can trust, such as All Jersey Moving & Storage.
We’ve been in business since 1992, helping families and businesses safely move their possessions. We’re licensed, insured, and take care of your move as if it was our own.
Here are some of the perks of using All Jersey Moving & Storage for your move:
- We have a trusted reputation and scores of reviews you can comb through, verifying our proven record of successful, satisfactory moves.
- We’ll give you a free, upfront moving quote, so you know what to expect before you’ve even packed.
- Speaking of packing, we offer partial and complete packing and unpacking services. If you’re too busy or worried about taking care of it all, we’ll do the packing and unpacking for you.
- Our staff, from our drivers to our moving professionals, are trained and experienced. Plus, they’re provided with top-of-the-line equipment that they can use to securely transfer your belongings.
- Top-rated, insured equipment that will protect your items.
- Free tips and tricks to help make your move a success, right here on our All Jersey Moving & Storage blog.
Moving doesn’t have to be a nightmare. One of the best things you can do for a successful move is hire the right professional moving company. Avoid impossible scams, awful extortion, and dishonest businesses in the moving industry. Trust All Jersey Moving & Storage to get the job done right.
We’ll relocate you and your family safely and on schedule with no hidden surprises. Recommended by Angie’s List and countless professionals and families, we’d be happy to help you with your move too.
Contact us today to see how we can help you, not only with peace of mind, but with a satisfactory move.