What Is A Craigslist Moving Scam?

August 27, 2011

There are three major moving scams out there. One of the most prevalent is the “Craigslist Mover Scam.”

So what is the Craigslist mover scam?

Simply it is when a “moving company” places a free ad on Craigslist saying that they will move you for a very low-ball price and they are not even a legal company, and ultimately you get scammed by having to pay a larger than expected prices for the move, or your stuff is damaged — or even stolen. And there is not a whole hell’ve a lot you can do about it.

In our day and age the internet is king. Gone are the days when we would go to the Yellowpages, or some other phone book, and look for companies and call around to see the right fit for you. You knew if they were in the Yellowpages then they were a legitimate company. Now everyone goes to the internet. And one of the biggest places people look to for services is Craigslist.

There are many good moving companies that advertise their services on Craigslist. This is not to scare you away from using this service. Indeed, it is only to inform you that Craigslist is a hotbed for rogue movers whose intention is to defraud you. There is a great article that informs you about the 10 very important moving company questions to ask.

So if you use Craigslist to find a moving company for your move I suggest that you look for these things:

  1. Do they have a website or blog?
  2. Are they in the Yellowpages?
  3. Are they in the BBB?
  4. If they are not an accredited BBB member, do they at least have a profile?
  5. Are they members of any formal clubs like Chamber of Commerce, etc?
  6. Do they have a DOT and MC numbers listed in their ads?
  7. When you call them, do they answer with their company name or just hello (or something like that?)
  8. Have you even heard of them before?
  9. Do they have low ball prices?

These are just some of the more important things to look for when searching on Craigslist for a moving company. If maybe one or two of these are omitted that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are scam, but if they are missing a majority or all of them then DO NOT USE THAT COMPANY!

Do they have a website or blog?

There is no excuse for any reputable company to not have a website or at least a blog. I know of a company that makes a FREE 5 page website that looks great and is very professional.

Are they in the Yellowpages?

Yes it is expensive to get listed in the Yellowpages physical book…very expensive. But the Yellowpages have free listings that can be posted on the internet. The listing are great and can even function like a mini website for the moving company. So there is no excuse to not be listed in the Yellowpages.

Are they in the BBB? If they are not an accredited BBB member, do they at least have a profile?

Personally I hate the BBB. All they are is money hungry extortionist. All BBBs are locally owned companies and they are NOT part of the government at all. But many people look to them for advice and guidence. Nothing wrong with that. While a moving company may not want to shell out $500 just to be a member, they can at least give a profile to the BBB for free. Just because a moving company is not a member doesn’t mean that a complaint will not be made against the moving company with them. So look to the BBB to see about complaints and, more importantly, how they were handled.

Are they members of formal clubs like the Chamber of Commerce, etc?

Again the smaller companies may not be able to afford some of these groups or even qualify with them for one reason or another. But there are plenty of recognized and formal organizations that a moving company can belong to that will give the moving company creditability. U-haul is one group that I know of that sponsors moving companies. Go to emove.com for your area and check out your proposed moving company if they have a profile. If they do have a profile then they may be rated. Check their rating. If they have three or more stars then they are probably a very good company.

Do they have a DOT or MC numbers in their advertising?

If they don’t it can just be an omission. If that is the case ask for it when you call. If they don’t have those two numbers, then they are frauds and are operating illegally. If you use a company that does not have these two numbers, or numbers like it for your state, then if something goes wrong with the move, there is not a whole lot you can do about it. If you sue, then they’ll just shut down and open up under another alias. Don’t don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If they do have those numbers then check them out. Governmental websites normally have a link you can go to to check this out for yourself. But if you have problems with that, leave a me a little note in the comments and I’ll send you the direct link.

When you call them, do they just answer hello or with a company name?

Uh Duh! How many times have you called a reputable local company that didn’t answer with their name? Can’t remember. I’ll tell you…Never! However, many Craigslist moving scams will answer their phones with only hello. If a “moving company” answers only with hello, hang up quick! This is a surefire indicator that the mover is a scam, or the very best a fly-by-night company. Of course if you are stupid enough…and you are stupid if you hire these guys…then you get everything that coming to you broken or stolen. Don’t blame the mover; only blame yourself.

Have you heard of the company before?

If you have heard of the company before, then it is likely that they have been in business a while. That doesn’t mean they are a good company. For example, many of the van line moving companies such as Bekins are franchised out.

But, if you have heard of them, there is a favorable chance that they are reputable. So this is a good yardstick to measure by.

Do they have low-ball prices?

Everyone loves a deal. But, in the moving business a deal is NOT a deal. If a moving company is low-balling by more than half of the other guys, then it is a good chance you are going to get screwed in the end. So if you run into a moving company that is low-balling…Run, run fast. Remember this adage: You get what you pay for.

I love to advertise in Craigslist.

But unfortunately so do the Craigslist mover scams.

So when surfing Craigslist, make sure you understand what I have written here and if you see too many red flags then be safe and don’t use that company.

Category: Craigslist Moving Scams