Relocating to San Francisco: Spot the Rogue Mover

Scam Protection

San Francisco has a lot of people moving in to the area to fill high tech jobs from Palo Alto to media gulch in SOMA. We have heard some horror stories not only regarding the rents people have to pay, but also Moving company scams.

Rogue movers typically work like this:

Without ever visiting your home or seeing the goods you want moved, they give a low-ball estimate over the phone or Internet. Once your goods are on their truck, they demand more money before they'll deliver or unload them. They hold your goods hostage and force you to pay more, sometimes much more than you thought you had agreed to. If you refuse to pay then they will refuse to deliver your household belongings.

Your best defense is to recognize a rogue mover before they have your goods.

Red Flags

  • The mover doesn't offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or Internet sight - sight unseen. These estimates often sound too good-to-be-true. They usually are.
  • The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
  • The company's Web site has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.
  • The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
  • When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving Company," rather than the company's name.
  • Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
  • On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.

    Use these sources and check out your mover before you sign anything;

    1. Better Business Bureau's Web site
    2. Another good resource is the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.
    3., a user-generated site that maintains a "blacklist" of alleged scam moving companies.
    4. File a complaint with the Government.

Thanks for Reading

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