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.