When hiring help for your personally procured move you may come across companies that look like moving services, who offer all the things you’re looking for, but they are actually brokers, and complete scam artist. It is important to know how to recognize and then avoid moving brokers when you are planning your DITY move.
I’m no expert, but we’re doing our 5th full PPM with the Army this month, and I’ve learned a few things (mostly from making mistakes). I’d like to share what I know with you about moving brokers, in case it can help make your move easier!
How to Recognize Moving Brokers
Moving brokers take advantage of thousands of people a year. But they all operate similarly so they’re easy to spot.
They’ll ask for half the cost up front, as a “deposit.” Reputable companies don’t ask for money up front. They’ll prefer electronic funds transfer, not a credit card; that’s so the payment can’t be disputed later.
Their contract will have the words “broker” somewhere near the top; they’ll rush you through the contract so you don’t read that part.
They’ll be very aggressive with the hard sell approach probably.
They’ll only ask for vague details, they won’t do any kind of walk through of your home first, or ask for specific descriptions of your load.
They’ll be very accommodating; they’ll agree to any date you ask for and say they have no problems giving you exactly what you want.
They might text you repeatedly or have different people “in the office” contact you repeatedly. They won’t stop after you cancel or try to back out.
And, most tellingly, their rating on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website will be an F, or they’ll be “unaccredited.”
Avoid Moving Brokers
Never hire them, for anything. Avoid completely. They’ll claim their workers and trucks are great, but they don’t have any workers or trucks.
They will hire other companies to do the work, and those companies will not be good, and they’ll also be undersold for the job.
When they show up, if they even do, they’ll be rude and intimidating, and claim it’s more stuff than they were told, and they’ll immediately ask for double or threaten to leave you with no movers.
The broker won’t be reachable by phone.
Do not pay double.
Do not let them take your stuff.
Tell them to leave. Hard stop: just go, get out, sorry for your trouble.
Call the police if they keep demanding money and won’t leave. You’ll lose your deposit, but that’s all you’ll lose.
What if I think I’m already working with a moving broker?
If you think you’re being scammed by a moving broker back out of the arrangement as soon as possible. Look at the contract they rushed you through. One of the lines will say the very specific way to cancel to get your deposit refunded. You may be able to, but maybe not.
Do not let them take your stuff. If they do they’ll very likely hold it hostage, and you may not ever get it back.
Once the broker has sent someone to your home their job is done. You won’t be able to reach them. They’ve been known to avoid calls or scream at customers and hang up.
If you’re in too deep, and they have possession of your things and they’re not being professional or cooperating, contact your legal office. File a complaint with the BBB. You’re going to have to fight them.
Who should you hire for your DITY move?
If you want to hire a company to pack transport your household goods for your DITY move, there are reputable companies that will do a good job and make certain your household goods arrive to your next duty station. For some great tips on how to have a successful PPM, check out other Carolee’s DITY tips and packing timelines to help you out!
Carolee Armstrong, Guest Author
Carolee is an Army spouse and the mama of 3 boys and a girl.
Their family has persevered through 4 DITY moves and are in the midst of their 5th PPM this summer. Carolee is so helpful to share all she has learned through her experiences with the hopes that it helps your family during this crazy PCS season!
A great resource for your DITY move questions is the PCS Like A Pro – Your Smooth Move that has military spouses from all branches working together to navigate the chaos of PCS seasons.