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Ohio AG's office warns consumers of moving scams

The Better Business Bureau says more than 15,000 complaints were filed with moving companies throughout 2022.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Graduations, weddings and new jobs make this time of year very busy for moving, which is why May has been designated National Moving Month.

With the increase in relocations, comes a spike in moving-related scams. The Better Business Bureau says more than 15,000 complaints were filed with moving companies throughout 2022. The BBB of Central Ohio took in about 100 complaints.

“We always recommend that you get three estimates when you're looking at any type of situation like this,” said Judy Dollison, the president of the BBB of central Ohio. “Also, before you sign a contract, you always want to make sure that you understand the terms the limits of their coverage. And if you don't understand it, if you have any questions, ask the mover. If they can't answer that or won't answer that, that's a red flag.”

Here are three moving scams the BBB sees related to moving:

  • Getting an estimate and putting down a deposit and the company never shows up.
  • The company shows up and loads up all of your belongings and then changes the estimate.
  • You arrive at your new home or apartment, but the moving company holds your stuff hostage until you pay more.

“A couple of best practices that we recommend is when you are preparing to move, you want to make a list of all the items, all the contents that's going to be moving and label your boxes,” said Dollison. “That way if something doesn't show up, you have a record of that. Also, because the movers aren't necessarily liable for customer-packed boxes, you want to take photos of all your contents and then if something is moved is damaged in the move, you can have additional proof that you know it was something that due to the negligence of the mover.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office takes consumer complaints and will help guide Ohioans through the process if they are a victim, or identify a scam.

“The moving scams are big, they're hot and they can be very scary too,” said Melissa Smith, the assistant section chief of the consumer protection section at the Ohio Attorney General's Office. “Imagine showing up to your house with your goods and belongings, and essentially your entire life, not showing up with you. That's why it is so vitally important to do that research upfront.”

Smith says after finding a legitimate moving company, be sure to change your address for your bank accounts, carry your social security number or carry your passport with you and don’t pack important documents in the truck.

You can search reputable moving companies on the attorney general's or BBB’s website for complaints or inquiries.

The AG’s office has a different role when regulating Ohio businesses. Moving companies do not fall under their jurisdiction.

Smith says if the move is within Ohio, the Public Utilities Commission is the regulator. If the move happens between multiple states, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in charge.

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