For the last couple of decades, the moving industry has suffered from a bad case of public relations blues, some of it earned, some of it not. Between horror stories shown on network TV, websites like Movingscam.com and this Newsweek article from last month, it’s no wonder truck rental companies are so popular. Is this reputation deserved, though? The facts say no.
The American Moving and Storage Association is the trade association for the moving industry, so yes, they are biased, but at the same time, it’s in their best interests to ensure that the companies represented by them are top notch. They responded to the blistering Newsweek article. Here’s some of the response:
“In response to the Dec. 9 article, “Why the Moving Industry Is Filled with Fraudsters and Scam Artists,” millions of Americans move every year and the vast majority of professional moves end with satisfied customers. While there are criminals in every industry, their actions should not be used to unfairly smear the nearly 200,000 Americans—ranging from small family-run businesses to national van lines—who work for the professional moving and storage industry.
This story bears no relation to the wildly inaccurate headline attached to it. Only a couple of victims and a couple of fraudsters or scam artists are referenced, with none of the moves taking place in the past four years. This is hardly evidence of an industry “filled with” this problem.
Let’s look at the facts. According to data from the National Consumer Complaint Database, there were 3,030 complaints nationwide about household goods moves in 2015, while there were 364 complaints about “hostage loads.” These are a tiny fraction of the 800,000 interstate moves estimated to occur annually by the U.S. Census.
This in no way disputes the fact that yes, there are scam moving companies and they make us all look bad, but most are unlicensed and most are companies that are only around for a year or two. It’s true, anyone can buy a truck and call themselves a mover, but real movers have to go through steps, like licensing, that helps ensure that they will obey the laws.
Of course, every moving company has unhappy customers. Trucks break down, delays happen, sometimes things get broken and occasionally, left on the truck, but most moving companies have honest intentions.
That being said, it’s always good to do your homework. Take a look at the sites above and make sure the companies you’re looking at are properly licensed and they have decent reputations. Yelp is also a big help. Protect yourself, but don’t feel that hiring movers is too risky. There are bad apples in every industry, but overall, the moving industry is pretty safe.