Moving Scams

Moving Scams: Confronting Ongoing Consumer Hardships Amidst Token Federal Crackdowns

In early 2023, a groundbreaking investigation by Newsweek catapulted the rampant issue of moving scams into the public eye and caught the attention of federal authorities. Spurred into action, the U.S. government, in a highly publicized move, launched Operation Protect Your Move. This initiative, complete with a well-designed website offering resources for consumers, promised a rigorous crackdown on the unscrupulous players in the moving industry. 

However, beneath the surface of this seemingly robust response lies a stark reality. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limited their efforts to a mere three-week enforcement sweep in just 16 states. FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson said, ‘FMCSA takes very seriously its responsibility to help protect consumers when moving their household goods across state lines.’ The FEDs took this ‘very seriously’ and committed only 3 weeks of resources across less than 1/3rd of United States. Quickly dubbing their efforts a success and concluded. This brief campaign barely scratched the surface of a deep-rooted and widespread problem that they have helped to perpetuate due to their lax regulations. 

Earlier this year, FMCSA launched Operation: Protect Your Move in response to the significant uptick in complaints of movers holding household goods hostage and extoring exorbitant additional charges from consumers. As part of the agency’s three-week enforcement sweep to curtail household goods moving scams, dozens of highly trained agency personnel conducted more than 100 investigations across 16 states. This targeted work resulted in over 60 enforcement actions that may lead to the revocation of operating authority for some movers and brokers.

“FMCSA takes very seriously its responsibility to help protect consumers when moving their household goods across state lines,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson. “We’ve made great progress in identifying scam movers and brokers, but we can’t do this alone. We must work with partners across federal and state government to make the greatest impact.” 

The FMCSA’s announcement, as detailed in their news release (, paints a picture of decisive action, but in truth, it represents a mere token gesture in the face of a national crisis. This article delves into the inadequacy of these federal efforts, highlighting the disparity between the promise of comprehensive action and the reality of a limited and cursory approach to a rampant and destructive issue plaguing American consumers.

The Moving Scam Problem

In recent years, the moving industry has become a fertile ground for a variety of scams, leaving countless Americans grappling with financial losses and emotional distress. These scams, ranging from price gouging and bait-and-switch tactics to outright fraud, have seen a worrying increase. Reports and studies, including an extensive investigation by Newsweek, have shed light on these unethical practices, revealing a disturbing trend of companies exploiting the trust of unsuspecting customers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) alone recorded a dramatic rise in complaints, more than doubling between 2015 and 2022 from 3,030 to 7,647, highlighting the growing severity of this issue.

Amidst this troubling landscape, a beacon of hope and innovation has emerged in the form of Agoyu, an initiative spearheaded by ARC Relocation. Recognized as a leader in employee relocation, ARC Relocation has leveraged its extensive experience and insights into the industry’s pitfalls to create Agoyu. This platform stands out as a unique solution, offering comprehensive protection and resources to consumers at no cost. Agoyu’s approach combines advanced technology with industry best practices, addressing key challenges such as lack of price transparency, questionable business practices, and the need for reliable mover verification.

AGOYU Cutting Edge AI Tech Could Solve Moving Scams

Agoyu employs cutting-edge AI algorithms to provide accurate cost estimates, countering the traditional, less reliable methods that often lead to inflated prices or unexpected charges. The platform prioritizes ‘bound/not to exceed’ quotes, educating users on the risks of non-binding estimates and ensuring transparency throughout the moving process. Furthermore, Agoyu implements a rigorous vetting process for movers, featuring detailed profiles that include their years in business, accreditations, and direct links to their US DOT and FMCSA licenses. This level of transparency empowers customers to make informed decisions, significantly reducing the risk of falling prey to moving scams.

In an industry rife with deception and malpractice, Agoyu emerges as a crucial tool for consumers, embodying the principles of integrity, transparency, and consumer protection. As the moving industry confronts these challenges, Agoyu’s innovative approach offers a promising path towards a more trustworthy and reliable moving experience for all.

Agoyu Uses AI to Calculate Exact Mover Pricing:

The Problem of Moving Scams

The moving industry, integral to American life, faces a growing and troubling issue: the prevalence of moving scams. These scams, which exploit consumers during what is often an already stressful transition, are becoming increasingly sophisticated and widespread. The key issues at the heart of these scams include a lack of price transparency, bait and switch tactics, and questions surrounding the legitimacy and reliability of moving companies.

Lack of Price Transparency

A major concern for consumers is the lack of clear, upfront pricing in moving quotes. This problem was highlighted in a New York Times article, which detailed instances where customers were lured with attractive initial estimates only to face significantly higher charges later. This lack of transparency not only misleads consumers but also makes it difficult to compare and choose trustworthy service providers effectively.

Bait and Switch Tactics and Holding Goods Ransom

Another common and particularly distressing tactic is the ‘bait and switch’ approach, coupled with holding goods ransom. Consumers are often quoted a low price initially. However, once their belongings are loaded onto trucks, the price is drastically increased, and their items are effectively held hostage until the inflated charges are paid. This unscrupulous practice leaves customers in a vulnerable position, both financially and emotionally, as they face unexpected and often exorbitant fees to reclaim their possessions.

Legitimacy and Reliability of Moving Companies

The legitimacy and reliability of moving companies have come under scrutiny, as reported in a Newsweek article. With a rise in fraudulent companies and those operating under repeated accusations, the challenge for consumers to identify credible and trustworthy movers has intensified. This issue is exacerbated by the ease with which companies with poor track records can rebrand or relaunch, escaping past negative reviews and complaints.

Agoyu Provides Each Mover’s Profile:

Agoyu Mover Profiles

Studies Highlighting the Prevalence of Scams

Supporting these concerns, a comprehensive study by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) revealed that scams are rampant in the moving industry, especially for interstate moves. On average, BBB receives about 13,000 complaints and negative reviews about movers each year, with many describing fraudulent practices such as excessive overcharging, delayed deliveries, and delivering damaged goods. The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also reported receiving 4,780 complaints in 2019 alone, with 57% involving overcharging.

These alarming trends underscore the urgent need for greater oversight, consumer education, and industry reform to protect individuals and families during their moving experiences. As we delve deeper into the intricacies of these scams and their impact on consumers, it becomes clear that a multi-faceted approach is required to address these challenges effectively.

Impact and Scale of Moving Scams

The prevalence and financial toll of moving scams in the United States are alarming, with various studies shedding light on a problem that affects thousands of individuals and families each year. These scams not only cause significant financial losses but also lead to stress and upheaval during what is already a challenging life event.

The Growing Menace

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) Study:
    • The BBB annually receives approximately 13,000 complaints and negative reviews about moving companies.
    • The majority of these complaints describe fraudulent practices, including overcharging, delayed deliveries, holding items for additional fees, and delivering damaged goods.
    • A staggering 57% of the complaints to the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2019 involved overcharging.
    • In 2020 they released a comprehensive study titled ‘Know Your Mover
  • HireAHelper Moving Scams Data Study 2023:
    • The first five months of 2023 saw a 12% increase in scam reports to the BBB’s Scam Tracker compared to the same period in the previous year.
    • The average loss due to moving scams in the U.S. was reported at $836, which is 7% higher than the previous year.
    • The total estimated financial impact of moving scams is around $2.2 million per year, considering that only about 10% of fraud incidents are reported.
  • HireAHelper 2021 Study:
    • In 2020, 230 moving scams were reported, marking a 91% increase from the previous year.
    • The financial impact of these scams was estimated to be around $2 million in 2020.
  • Survey:
    • Roughly 40% of people who moved in the last two years felt they were scammed by their moving company.
    • Common scam tactics included last-minute price hikes, lost deposits, and holding goods for more money.

Infographic credit to  BBB Know Your Mover Brochure

The Human Cost

Beyond the financial impact, it’s crucial to acknowledge the emotional and psychological toll these scams take on individuals and families. Moving scams often leave people feeling vulnerable, violated, and distrustful, turning a significant life event into a traumatic experience. Personal stories and testimonials can be included alongside the data to illustrate this human cost.

The data and stories paint a clear picture: moving scams are a significant and growing problem in the United States, affecting thousands of people both financially and emotionally. This underscores the need for greater awareness, stricter regulations, and innovative solutions like those offered by Agoyu to protect consumers and ensure a safe and transparent moving process.

Legislative and Regulatory Responses

The increasing prevalence of moving company scams in the United States has prompted legislative and regulatory responses at both federal and state levels. These responses aim to enhance oversight, establish stricter regulations, and provide consumers with resources to safeguard against fraudulent activities in the moving industry.

Key Congressional and Government Figures

  • Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
    • Contact:
    • Role: Actively involved in addressing moving scams and consumer protection issues.
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
    • Contact: Email via Contact Form
    • Role: Oversees the Department of Transportation, which includes the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency responsible for regulating moving companies.

Recent Legislative Actions and Proposals

  • Operation Protect Your Move: A nationwide crackdown led by the U.S. Department of Transportation, targeting moving company scams. This initiative follows an extensive investigation by Newsweek and other media outlets into the rising issue of moving scams.
  • FMCSA Enforcement Enhancement: The FMCSA has been actively deploying investigators to target highly complained-about movers, addressing consumer complaints that have more than doubled from 2015 to 2022.
  • Legislative Proposals: Discussions for new legislation are underway to close enforcement gaps that were identified following a 2019 administrative law judge decision, which limited the FMCSA’s authority to assess penalties for violations by moving companies. This action requires Congressional intervention.

Government Resources for Consumers

  • FMCSA Mover Search: A critical tool for consumers to verify the registration and complaint history of interstate moving companies. Accessible at FMCSA Search Tool.
  • New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection Guide: Offers comprehensive tips on avoiding moving and storage company scams, particularly beneficial for consumers in New York. The guide is available at NY Consumer Protection Moving Guide.

State-Level Actions

  • States like New York have taken independent initiatives to protect their residents from moving scams. The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection, for example, has released educational materials and guidelines to assist consumers in identifying and avoiding fraudulent moving companies.

The legislative and regulatory responses to moving scams signify a concerted effort to protect consumers and ensure fair practices in the moving industry. By staying informed of these actions and utilizing available resources, consumers can better navigate the challenges posed by unscrupulous moving companies. As these efforts continue to evolve, it is crucial for individuals planning a move to remain vigilant and informed.

Consumer Education and Awareness

Tips for Consumers to Avoid Moving Scams:

  • Beware of Bait and Switch Tactics: Be vigilant of moving companies that provide an initially low quote, only to increase it significantly at the time of delivery. Avoid companies that offer instant quotes without detailed information for an accurate estimate.
  • Check for Deceptive Business Practices: Late deliveries, delivering damaged items, missing items, holding items hostage for additional fees, or failure to fulfill contractual obligations are red flags. Conduct thorough online research to ensure the company is reputable.
  • Verify Licensing and Registration: Ensure the moving company is licensed and registered. For moves within New York State, verify the company’s license with the NYS Department of Transportation. For interstate moves, check the mover’s registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Get Multiple Estimates: Obtain estimates from at least three different companies. Ensure these estimates are based on a detailed inventory of items to be moved.
  • Read and Understand All Documents: Carefully review all estimates and contracts before signing. Understand the difference between binding and non-binding estimates to avoid unexpected charges.
  • Create an Inventory of Belongings: Document and keep a record of all items being moved. This can be vital in case of loss or damage.
  • Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your rights as a shipper. Insist on receiving a Summary of Information booklet from the mover, outlining these rights.

Red Flags to Watch Out For in Moving Companies:

  • Lack of Physical Address and Detailed Contact Information: Legitimate companies will have a physical address and transparent contact information.
  • Poor Customer Reviews: Check consumer reviews on reliable platforms like the Better Business Bureau or FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database.
  • Unusually Low Quotes: Extremely low quotes compared to other companies can be a sign of a scam.
  • Requests for Large Upfront Payments: Be cautious of companies asking for substantial deposits or full payments in advance.
  • Incomplete or Blank Contracts: Never sign a blank or incomplete contract as it can be altered without your consent.

Agoyu’s Innovative Solutions: Revolutionizing the Moving Industry

In a landscape riddled with scams and fraudulent practices, Agoyu emerges as a beacon of hope and innovation, addressing the pervasive issues in the moving industry with advanced technological solutions and a commitment to transparency and reliability.

AI-Powered Cost Estimation

At the heart of Agoyu’s revolutionary approach is its cutting-edge AI algorithm, designed to deliver accurate cost estimations for moving services. This system goes beyond traditional methods by leveraging data from movers’ published price tariffs, as required by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for interstate moves. It utilizes advanced video AI technology for precise inventory assessment, ensuring that the weight and volume of items are accurately gauged. This approach counters the industry’s prevalent issue of opaque and often misleading in-person estimates, offering consumers a clear and trustworthy cost evaluation.

Emphasis on ‘Bound/Not to Exceed’ Quotes

Agoyu places a significant emphasis on ‘bound/not to exceed’ quotes, educating users about the risks associated with non-binding estimates. This feature is a critical tool in combating the common ‘bait and switch’ tactic, where companies quote a low initial price and drastically increase it upon delivery. By providing ‘bound’ quotes, Agoyu ensures that the final price cannot exceed the initial estimate unless additional services are requested by the customer. This transparency protects consumers from unexpected cost escalations and fosters trust in the moving process.

Rigorous Vetting of Movers

Understanding the importance of reliability and legitimacy in moving services, Agoyu implements a thorough vetting process for movers listed on its platform. This process includes in-depth checks of movers’ backgrounds, offering detailed profiles for each company. These profiles feature essential information such as years in business, industry memberships, accreditations, and direct links to their US DOT and FMCSA licenses. This level of detail empowers customers to make informed decisions based on a mover’s track record, credibility, and compliance with regulatory standards.

(Add a second video of the AI scanner in action)

Interactive Demonstration: AI Scanner in Action

To showcase the efficiency and accuracy of its AI technology, Agoyu provides an interactive demonstration video of its AI scanner in action. This video illustrates the scanner meticulously analyzing a room, identifying objects, and accurately assessing the volume and potential weight of the contents. This visual demonstration not only highlights the technological prowess of Agoyu’s solutions but also provides tangible proof of the system’s effectiveness in real-world scenarios, further instilling confidence in consumers.

Through these innovative solutions, Agoyu is not only addressing the current problems plaguing the moving industry but is also paving the way for a future where moving services are transparent, reliable, and consumer-focused.

Towards a Future of Trust and Transparency in Moving Services

In the face of the escalating crisis of moving scams, vigilance and informed decision-making stand as our most potent defenses. The harrowing stories and data unearthed by Newsweek and other investigative reports paint a troubling picture of an industry besieged by fraudulent practices. From deceptive pricing schemes to outright theft, these scams not only cost consumers millions but also erode trust in a vital service sector.

The vision for a scam-free moving industry is not just an idealistic dream; it’s a necessary goal for safeguarding consumer interests and restoring integrity to the moving industry. Here, Agoyu emerges not merely as a solution but as a beacon of hope. Rooted in the extensive experience and insights of ARC Relocation, Agoyu harnesses cutting-edge technology and a deep understanding of the industry’s pitfalls to offer a shield against these scams. With its AI-driven accuracy in cost estimation, commitment to price transparency, and rigorous vetting of movers, Agoyu is pioneering a path towards a more transparent and reliable moving experience.

As consumers, our role in this transformation cannot be overstated. We must educate ourselves on the risks, learn to identify red flags, and utilize resources like Agoyu to make informed choices. The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection, alongside the efforts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other regulatory bodies, provides crucial guidance and oversight. Yet, it is the collective awareness and action of consumers that will ultimately turn the tide against these scams.

The involvement of lawmakers and regulators is equally pivotal. The call to action for congressmen, senators, and heads of government departments overseeing moving companies is clear: to close the enforcement gaps, enhance regulatory frameworks, and ensure that companies engaging in fraudulent activities face stringent consequences. Their commitment to these efforts will significantly bolster consumer protection and industry standards.

In conclusion, the journey to a scam-free moving industry is both challenging and essential. It requires the concerted efforts of consumers, technology solutions like Agoyu, industry stakeholders, and government bodies. Together, with vigilance, innovation, and a shared commitment to fairness and transparency, we can reshape the moving industry into a space of trust and reliability. Agoyu stands at the forefront of this change, leading the way with solutions that empower consumers and champion industry best practices.

Links to Further Reading and Investigative Reports

The article will provide an extensive list of resources for further reading and in-depth investigations into moving scams:

By incorporating these multimedia and interactive elements, the article aims to engage readers more deeply with the subject, offering a comprehensive understanding of moving scams, their impact, and the ongoing efforts to combat them.

How Can I Help: Social Media Engagement

As we delve deeper into the troubling world of moving scams, a critical component of our fight against these deceptive practices is community involvement and awareness. In today’s digital age, one of the most effective ways to spread the word and gather collective voices is through social media. We invite and encourage you, our readers, to actively participate in this campaign by sharing your personal experiences, insights, or any encounters related to moving scams.

To make this collective effort impactful, we suggest using the dedicated hashtag #MoveSafeWithAgoyu. Whether you’ve been a victim, know someone who has, or simply want to share advice and tips for safe moving, your stories are invaluable. By using this hashtag, you not only contribute to a growing body of shared experiences but also help in warning others about potential scams.

If you’ve encountered a moving scam, whether it involved unexpected price hikes, lost deposits, or your belongings being held for more money, your story can be a powerful tool to prevent others from falling into similar traps. Even if your experience was positive, sharing what went right can be just as informative. What were the red flags you avoided? How did you ensure your moving company was legitimate? Your insights can offer a blueprint for others to follow.

In addition to sharing your stories, you can also help spread the word by engaging with posts under this hashtag. Like, comment, and share these posts to increase their visibility. Each interaction not only broadens the reach of these important messages but also strengthens the community of informed and vigilant movers.

Journalists looking to cover this issue can find a wealth of real-life stories and experiences under this hashtag. These firsthand accounts can serve as powerful testimonies and data points for investigative pieces, human-interest stories, or informative articles on moving scams.

Moreover, tagging relevant officials and organizations in your posts can amplify the urgency of this issue. Consider mentioning or tagging the heads of oversight departments, such as the Secretary of Transportation or members of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well as consumer protection agencies and local representatives.

In summary, your voice matters. By sharing your experiences with #MoveSafeWithAgoyu, you’re not just telling your story; you’re actively participating in a larger movement to bring transparency and fairness to the moving industry. Let’s use the power of social media to create a well-informed community, deter scammers, and advocate for a safer moving experience for everyone.

References and Further Reading

Newsweek Investigation on Moving Company Scams

  • “U.S. Officials Announce Nationwide Crackdown on Moving Company Scams Operation Protect Your Move,” by Matt Clark, April 07, 2023.
  • This investigation by Newsweek led to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s crackdown on moving scams, revealing the extent of the issue with companies holding customers’ goods hostage for additional fees.
  • Source: Newsweek.

Newsweek Report on Government Response to Moving Scams

  • “Feds Accused of Issuing ‘Licenses to Steal’ as Moving Company Scams Rise,” by Valerie Bauman and Matt Clark, February 10, 2023.
  • This report discusses the Department of Transportation’s challenges in addressing moving scams, including the practice of “reincarnation” by scam companies.
  • Source: Newsweek.

BBB Study on Moving Scams

New York Department of State’s Guide on Avoiding Moving Scams

  • A guide released by the New York Department of State offering tips to navigate moving and storage company scams, as advised by Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez and State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.
  • This resource provides practical advice for hiring trustworthy moving companies and protecting oneself against common fraudulent practices in the moving industry.
  • Source: New York Department of State.

FMCSA Articles on Moving Scams

  • Various articles and news releases by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) detailing their efforts to combat moving scams, including the 2023 enforcement sweep in 16 states and the launch of Operation Protect Your Move.
  • These articles provide insights into the federal government’s strategies and actions to address the widespread issue of moving scams.
  • Source: FMCSA and related FMCSA publications.

These sources provide comprehensive insights into the problems of moving scams, government responses, and preventive measures, making them essential references for anyone looking to understand and address this widespread issue.

Bill Mulholland

Bill Mulholland is the owner of ARC Relocation, a company that relocates thousands of employees annually, to every state in the United States, and more than 90 foreign countries, for organizations like DHL,, GNC, and the U.S. Government. Bill also owns a real estate brokerage and title company in Virginia.