The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) responded to an uptick in consumer complaints against the moving industry with a special compliance operation.

On April 1, 2022, the FMCSA announced the completion of a national investigation into household goods consumer complaints.

With a significant increase in the volume of household good (HHG) complaints, the FMCSA has concluded a national investigation of the Top 100 carriers identified in the National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCDB).  Between 2020 and 2021, complaints to FMCSA’s NCCDB increased from 4,340 to 8,295. The special operation was conducted between February 7th and February 28th, 2022 in 16 states and resulted in 586 consumer complaints being closed and enforcement action taken on 63% of the carriers investigated,” the agency said in a news release.

“FMCSA takes its responsibilities very seriously to help protect consumers who utilize the services of the moving industry,” the release stated.

The DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) shared several red flags to indicate Household Goods moving fraud:

  • The company’s Web site has no local address and no information about their FMCSA registration (DOT number or type of registration such as broker or carrier) or insurance.
  • When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving Company,” rather than the company’s name.
  • The company may have a generic email address which will not include the company’s name.
  • The moving company will claim that they have been in business for 20 years or longer, but lack an online presence. Check to see if online business review websites show reviews only for a short period of time.
  • The moving company may have others submit, or may submit their own glowing reviews on third-party rating websites to make their business appear reputable.
  • The mover does not offer or agree to an onsite inspection of your household goods, gives an estimate over the telephone or Internet — sight unseen, and does not provide you with either a “binding” or “non-binding” written estimate. These estimates will often sound too good to be true and they usually are.
  • The moving company’s sales representative will be pushy, often calling and emailing a potential customer multiple times a daymaking statements like: “This deal is only good for today so we need a deposit now to lock in the rate.”
  • The mover does not provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet movers are required by Federal regulations to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.
  • The moving company does not accept credit cards and requires payments to be made by either postal money orders, direct wire transfers, or cash. They may also demand a large deposit before the move. 
  • The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
  • On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company owned or marked fleet truck.
  • On moving day the moving truck driver or foreman will try to get you to sign blank documents before beginning to load your goods. Never sign blank forms and read what you sign.
  • If storage is needed after pick-up, the moving company will only provide a vague location as opposed to the exact address of their storage facility.
  • The moving company will make unsolicited calls and emails and will not provide adequate answers to your questi

The FMCSA developed the www.protectyourmove.gov website to educate consumers on their rights and responsibilities relating to contracting with a prospective moving company.  

Consumers who need to file a complaint against a company regulated by FMCSA, visit the NCCDB at https://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov.

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