SMA Highlights the Red Flags of Using Rogue Movers 

SMA Contact: Julie Hagen 

AUSTIN— May is National Moving Month and the Southwest Movers Association (SMA) emphasizes the importance of using a licensed mover. With rogue movers on the rise, consumers need to be aware of potential scams or fraud by operators who are interested in taking your money and your belongings - not moving you into your new home. Illegal or rogue ‘movers’ operate without proper licensing, insurance, training, equipment, packing materials or adherence to regulations.   

SMA advises consumers to be on the lookout for these warning signs when selecting a mover: 

1. Lack of Licensing and Insurance: Legitimate movers in Texas are required to have a USDOT number and a certificate number from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) for intrastate moving.  This means the mover carries adequate insurance coverage and has their rates and charges filed and posted with TxDMV. Illegal operators may lack these credentials or provide falsified documents. 

2. Unprofessional Behavior: Be wary of movers who display unprofessional behavior, such as refusing to provide written estimates, demanding large deposits upfront, or avoiding written contracts. Professional movers prioritize transparency and clear communication with their clients. Movers are required to give you a signed contract and a pamphlet entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move in Texas,” before the move begins. 

3. No Physical Address or Company Name: Illegal ‘movers’ often operate under multiple names or aliases and may not have a physical address or legitimate business location. Verify the company's address and contact information before contracting their services.  You can verify their legitimacy by going online to the TxDMV website. Licensed Texas movers also will have their rates and charges posted on the TxDMV website.  

4. Unmarked Trucks or Equipment:  A mover is required to display their business name and TxDMV certificate of registration number on both sides of the moving vehicle. 

5. Inconsistent Pricing or Hidden Fees: Be cautious of movers who provide significantly lower estimates than other estimates you’ve received or spring unexpected fees on you during the moving process. Read the contract carefully; ask questions.  Understand what you are agreeing to and what the mover has agreed to do. Transparency and upfront pricing are hallmarks of reputable movers. 

6. Refusal to Provide References or Reviews: Legitimate movers are usually happy to provide references or direct you to online reviews from satisfied customers. If a moving company is reluctant to share this information, it could be a red flag. 

7. Pressure Tactics or Aggressive Sales Tactics: Beware of movers who use high-pressure tactics to coerce you into making quick decisions or signing contracts without fully understanding the terms. Professional movers respect your autonomy and provide ample time for you to make informed choices. 

During National Moving Month and beyond, SMA and TxDMV are committed to empowering consumers and promoting integrity within the moving industry. Visit SMA’s Consumer Resources guide online for more moving tips.