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Protect Yourself and Your Move

With heightened activity in Real Estate and everyone looking to make a move, it is no wonder that moving scams are also on the rise.


Protect Yourself and Your Move

With heightened activity in Real Estate and everyone looking to make a move, it is no wonder that moving scams are also on the rise.

Words matter — there are huge differences between ‘licensed’ and ‘unlicensed’ and ‘mover’ and ‘move broker’.

Licensed Movers are regulated by New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and are required to have insurance, a brick-and-mortar location, file their tariff for public record and a whole host of other requirements all intended to insure you are protected.

Unlicensed ‘movers’ are uninsured and are operating illegally in the State of New Jersey leaving you without protection or recourse should you have an issue. Operating or advertising as a Mover without a license in the State of NJ is a crime (Public Law 2019, C.2216). However, there is not enough enforcement to monitor ‘Movers’ operating illegally. It is up to the Consumer to do proper research, which is difficult to do when under the pressure of closing dates that now average under 30 days. Unlicensed ‘movers’ may also have been previously Licensed Movers who allowed their credentials to lapse, so it is important to check for current up to date credentials.

Move ‘brokers’ bid your move out to the lowest provider. ‘Brokers’ are not required to/or they do not necessarily vet or qualify the ‘companies’ they refer. ‘Brokers’ make their money by making a sale; they do not perform the work. ‘Brokers’ do not necessarily know anything about the move process or the logistics of navigating a move and cannot serve as guidance in the process. Once they have collected their fee (deposit) from you, they remove themselves from the process, and you are on your own to navigate the move. You as the Customer does not know in advance who the ‘Mover’ is that will be coming into your home or handling your goods — someone will show up on your moving day. As with unlicensed movers, you have no protection with a move broker and are leaving yourself in a very vulnerable position.

Here are indicators you are speaking with a move ‘broker’ or disreputable ‘mover’:

  • They quote a cost without having seen your items by using a visual inspection either in person or virtually.
  • They use confusing words or have too many conditions for moving in initial quotes.
  • They do not have a verifiable street address, and no license number on their website or paperwork.
  • They ask for cash and/or a large deposit before the move. Bad actors may ask for money to be wired or sent by a digital format such as PayPal or Venmo. Never provide a deposit in this format, you have no recourse to get your money refunded.
  • They have all 5-star reviews – even the best companies do not get right 100% of the time. Too many positive reviews can be an indication friends/employees have provided the reviews.

Tips for Ensuring You Have a Smooth Move

  • Plan your move in advance (6 weeks from target dates) so you have time to evaluate your options and decide based on overall value (company’s reputation; ask friends for referrals; quality experience).
  • Confirm that each mover you are considering carries commercial general liability insurance, automobile liability, cargo liability and workers’ compensation. Ask for Certificate of Insurance.
  • Check if the moving company you are considering is licensed by the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) by visiting https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/ or call them at 973-504-6442.
  • Get a written estimate from two or three movers and compare. The estimate should be based on an actual in-person or virtual inspection of your household goods. Estimates must include:
    • Name, telephone number, physical address, and NJ Public Movers License number. USDOT number if they are a Carrier taking you across state lines.
    • Date the contract or estimate was prepared and proposed date of the actual move.
    • Appropriate pickup and delivery address, name, and telephone numbers of the shipper.
    • Name, telephone number and physical address where the goods will be stored, if necessary.
    • Itemized breakdown and detailed description of inventory that your price is based on.
    • Breakdown of services (transportation/packing/storage if needed, etc.) and total of all costs and services provided.
    • Acceptable forms of payment available.
  • Check your homeowners or rental insurance policies for moving coverage. Ask if your goods are covered in transit for loss, fire, incidental damage. Most policies end at the front stoop or may not cover all circumstances. Get specifics and ask for reference pages in your policy regarding moving coverage.
  • Accidents happen, even with the best movers. Discuss valuation with your mover; know the difference between basic valuation protection at $1.00 per pound per article (intrastate moves) or $.60 per pound (interstate moves) and full value protection.  Licensed Movers usually offer an Option to add Full Replacement Protection through them rather than having to add insurance through a third party. If the ‘mover’ does not offer that, it is often a red flag they are uninsured themselves or do not have a good claims record.
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau, www.bbb.org and the New Jersey Warehouse & Movers Association (NJWMA) njmovers.com/732-341-3934 for issues or complaints.

If you feel you have been a victim of fraud, contact the following:

  • Intrastate Moves (within NJ):
    NJ DCA 1-973-504-6442
  • Interstate Moves (across state lines): Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Additional Trusted Resources:

Verify a Mover's License

Verify a mover’s license with the New Jersey Division of Consmer Affairs.