The best way to avoid becoming a victim of a moving scam is to research the company BEFORE you hire them. The internet is a great tool but it should be used with caution; don't just select a mover for low rates. Bad companies can have professional looking websites and very convincing salespeople that will tell consumers anything just to get your move.
Once you sign, you may discover empty promises. Its smart to use the Internet to do research on movers, but not for prices because prices can change on moving day! Only accept a mover that will come to your home and give a realistic, written, in person estimate.
Here are some common themes from consumers that were scammed:
(1) The customer searched for movers on the Internet, provided a list of items to be moved, and took the lowest price.
(2) The mover said they did not need to go to the house and the customer did not properly investigate the company.
(3) On moving day, the movers arrive in a rental truck and/or the paperwork had a different mover's name. The movers assured the customer that they would do a good job, so the customer signed without reading or understanding.
(4) After the truck was loaded, the movers said the final price would be more than original estimate.
(5) The mover refused to unload the truck until all charges were paid; that's why you need to know the realistic cost to move before they load the truck since collecting before delivery is normal practice with movers, you must pay the charges to get the truck unloaded.
Once a bad company has your furniture, it's too late to protect yourself. Do your homework first! The police can't get involved because it is not a criminal offense, they can only make a report. You have to take them to court and you may lose if you signed any paperwork agreeing to their terms.
Resolve any questions before loading. Give the mover the opportunity to resolve any problem and get it in writing. If the mover that arrived is not the mover that you thought you hired, you may have been diverted to another move, Check before you sign anything because many movers have similar names!
If unable to resolve with the mover, you can file a complaint with the regulatory authorities or take them to court, but that won't resolve your problem on moving day, you will have to pay their moving charges and you may not get your money back.