Is it safe to hire movers from Craigslist?
Peruse the online classifieds, a.k.a. Craigslist, and you’re bound to find all types of items and services available to you in your neck of the woods.
The convenience of this virtual marketplace, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is certainly appealing. And, you’ll likely find posts featuring a “guy with a truck” or other movers promising cheap price tags if you search there for assistance for your next relocation.
While it may be the case that you can find some sweet deals on other household items and furnishings on Craigslist, you may want to give it a second thought before booking movers who advertise on the site. There are some potential risks involved.
Knowing what to look out for when reviewing movers-for-hire will ensure you make an informed decision before shelling out your hard-earned cash to get help schlepping your stuff to your new place.
What’s the risk of hiring movers from sites like Craigslist?
Shopping for what appears to be low-cost movers from the comfort of your sofa can be a real selling point. Or maybe you’re in a hurry to get moving and several online posts boast moving speeds with little notice and no delay. You might also be happy to support your neighbors who are making a living off of services posted on the site. In any case, being wary of the risks involved in working with these movers is key to avoiding buyer’s remorse when it comes to moving services.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when it comes to movers on Craigslist:
- It’s hard to know who you’re dealing with: Anyone may post an ad on Craigslist. For mover posts in particular, it may not be clear if they have the proper licenses, insurance, and registration required of reputable professionals. Further, it may be difficult to know how experienced they are at moving, particularly with specialty or fragile items. Those posting could really be your neighbors down the street with a nice truck or van hoping to make a quick buck on the weekends. It’s also possible that they may not have other special equipment that most movers use to safely and successfully move your items. This could lead to injury and damage to your stuff.
- Lack of consumer protections: Craigslist does not certify anyone who posts on the site and they do not guarantee any transactions (though some posters may falsely indicate as such on their ads). If you are subject to or involved in any kind of fraud, you are liable for any risk or damages, per their Terms of Service.
What to check when hiring Craigslist movers?
Researching your movers before you sign on the dotted line or hand over any cash is always wise. Because of the anonymity of those who post their services on these types of sites, it can be challenging to find reputable information.
That said, it’s still worth it to check into the following to inform your decision about whether to hire Craigslist movers:
- Are they insured? All professional movers must be insured to cover the cost of damage or loss to your belongings in transit. Relatedly, they must offer you two different types of liability coverage, Released value and Full value protection.
- Are they registered with the DOT? Professional interstate movers must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the US Department of Transportation). You can search on the FMCSA website to ensure that the people you hope to work with are indeed registered.
- Do they have positive reviews? Looking up the company on the Better Business Bureau site can be a great start. There, you can search for any reviews or complaints that others have filled with the Bureau. You can also search for customer reviews on platforms like Yelp, Google, and other review sites.
- Does their website (not just what’s posted on their Craigslist ad) give you more information? Reputable movers who take their business seriously will have all of the information above reflected in their online presence.
These are just a few typical factors you’ll want to check into to identify a reliable mover.
That said, if you aren’t coming up with much in your search about your Craigslist movers, or you come up with some negative reviews or information, that is probably a sign you ought to look elsewhere for reliable movers.
How to avoid being scammed by movers from Craigslist?
To avoid a scam, you’ll also want to make sure that you:
- Deal with people from Craigslist posts that you can meet in-person. You may be in touch initially through phone calls or messaging, but ensuring that you can do business in person is key to avoiding scams across the board on these types of sites.
- Don’t send money in advance. Reputable moving companies won’t ask you for this, such as sharing financial information or wiring funds, ahead of time. It’s a classic sign of a scam on Craigslist.
- Get a written estimate. Having your moving estimate in writing will help you understand how all the services and supplies add up to the total estimated cost. If you get quoted a price without getting it in writing, it may not be one you can trust. Additionally, be wary of too-good-to-be-true low prices and review them with caution. You could be surprised with fees and charges down the line that you weren’t expecting.
- Have a plan B. If you make the choice to work with a mover from Craigslist, it may be good to know what you might do if they aren’t as reliable as you thought or if plans fall through.
What to do if Craigslist movers aren’t for you?
You don’t have to write off the online marketplaces completely. If you still want to use Craigslist or other similar sites to help you with your move, it could be a great place to make some cash selling items you no longer need (or don’t want to move with you) or find some new furniture or items from people in your neighborhood once you get where you’re going.
The good news, though, is that you now know what kind of information you need to choose a trustworthy professional moving company for your next move — even if it isn’t one off of Craigslist.
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