Do movers ever steal your stuff?

Although it doesn't happen often, moving companies can steal. Use our tips for packing and interacting with moving company professionals to avoid possible theft. The most common scam in the moving industry involves holding your belongings “hostage” for additional payment. Even though you've accepted a contract for a specific amount, the moving company requires hundreds or thousands more to deliver your item.

Approximately 1.6 million Americans hire interstate moving companies for household items each year. Unfortunately, 3000 cases of possible fraud involving moving companies are reported every year. Many of these cases involve criminals offering low estimates and then holding customers' possessions hostage in undisclosed warehouses, demanding thousands of dollars in additional payments, and threatening to auction them. MoveRescue is dedicated to ending this problem by ensuring that moving companies comply with federal consumer protection regulations.

This list of recommendations from the Illinois Movers and Stockists Association includes everything you need to know and do before hiring a moving company. Some moving companies look legitimate on the Internet, but they're actually professional fraudsters who don't complete the moves, steal belongings in the process, or overcharge for their services. Not only can investigators help you resolve your complaint about broken items or locate your things (or your carriers), but they can also work with law enforcement authorities to get those who move without a license, unethical, and illegal off the streets, just as they have done in New Jersey. If you're concerned that a packing or delivery team will steal items, you can contact your moving company and file a complaint about the missing item to open an investigation.

MoveRescue gave me the news that the FBI is investigating and that they have already raided a warehouse in Missouri. No, moving companies cannot keep your things if you have paid 100% of the estimated costs contained in your binding budget or 110% of the estimated costs in your non-binding budget. But what recourse do you really have when your carriers refuse to pay for damages, to replace missing items, or choose not to deliver your things unless you shell out another thousand dollars? For example, if you live in California, you can contact the Office of Home Goods and Services to file a complaint against a moving company. National Movers doesn't do anything to help you, and Smart Movers logistics isn't answering the phone.

In this case, the victim refused to pay her carriers what amounted to extortion, and the carriers left with their things. The easiest way to stop moving companies from stealing your stuff is to avoid the types of moving companies that would try to do it in the first place. However, if you believe that your carriers have acted illegally and are not taking responsibility, there are ways to fight back. When a moving company holds your items hostage or steals them outright, your insurance coverage can provide you with financial compensation.

You can also share your terrible experience with MoveRescue (an organization sponsored by United Van Lines and Mayflower) that can provide legal advice and advice to customers who face hostage scams or other situations of moving fraud.

Tammy Rosener
Tammy Rosener

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