How We Found the Best Moving Services for Seniors
37 Hours of Research
16 Moving Services Considered
42 Reviews Read
10 Companies Selected

Whether for retirement, downsizing, availability of quality senior health care, or moving close to family, relocating later in life has its fair share of unique challenges. When asked about the most stressful event in their lives, 45% of Americans claimed that moving is the most stressful – a more stressful event than getting a divorce. 

From the exhausting packing to heavy lifting to hours of driving, the moving experience can be incredibly demanding for older adults. If you have a loved one who plans to relocate soon, hiring a moving service is your best bet for peace of mind. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of moving services for seniors that can help your loved one make moving a less stressful experience.

With so many moving companies and storage services in the country, it’s difficult to find the best one for your needs. To help you or a senior loved one find the right moving company, we rounded up the best moving companies for seniors with key information about their services, features, service coverage, and more key details, with a focus on companies that offer the best moving experience and services for seniors.

How We Chose the Best Moving Services for Seniors

how we chose the best moving services for seniors

We reviewed 16 moving services across the country and narrowed our top picks based on the quality of the moving service, additional services, area of coverage, licensing and insurance, and reputation. We evaluated the final list of moving services for seniors using the following core metrics:

  • Quality Service Catered to Seniors: Aside from accommodating senior customers by offering discounts and insurance options, we looked for companies that can provide a reliable service with quality equipment, attention to detail, and excellent customer service.
  • Additional Services: We also considered add-on services while looking for the best moving company for seniors. Will they handle the packing/unpacking or furniture assembly or disassembly? Can they take special items like antiques, artworks, and wine collections? Do they offer an elevator fee or flight charge in case you’re moving to a high residential building? Whether or not you want to use these additional services, the more options, the better.
  • Area of Coverage: Does the company only cater to local moves? What about if you want to move across state lines? What if you’re moving out of the country? Knowing each company’s service coverage will help you shortlist your options for moving companies.
  • Licensed and Insured: For the optimal moving experience, it’s best to go for adequately licensed and insured companies. We only considered companies registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have a number assigned by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). Being a member of the American Mover and Storage Association is also a plus.
  • Online Reviews and Reputation: On top of service history and overall track record, we also check for customer reviews and feedback for each company. We also check their ratings from reputable third-party sites like Better Business Bureau (BBB).

The 10 Best Moving Services for Seniors

Moving Company

Service Level

States Availability

Moving Types

Packing Service

Storage Service

Senior Discounts / Financing

Contact Number

Full service

50 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes

Yes

15% discount

(877) 647-1336

Full service

50 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes

Yes

40% to 65% discount 

1-877-624-0912

Full service

42 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes 

Yes

Yes

(844) 311-6632

Full service

50 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes

Yes

Yes

(800) 689-8684

Full service

All states except Alaska

Local, long distance

Yes

No

No

1-800-227-0515

Full service

50 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes

Yes

Yes

(703) 215-4399

Full service

50 states

Long distance

Yes

Yes

5% discount

(844) 728-6899

Full service

50 states

Local, long distance, international

Yes

Yes

Yes

877-740-3040

Self service

50 states

Local, long distance

No

Yes

No

844-362-5303

Full service

48 states (not including Alaska and Hawaii)

Local, long distance

Yes

Yes

Yes

(888) 759-6000

International Van Lines

Best Overall Moving Service for Seniors

International Van Lines (IVL) is our top pick for the best overall moving company for seniors. It’s a full-service moving company, but it also offers partial or self-service options for local and interstate moves. As a full-service company, IVL will take care of all the backbreaking work, including packing, furniture disassembly/assembly, and moving heavy and specialty objects (i.e., a grand piano and antiques).

Also, IVL is one of the few companies that published how its pricing works, which is a significant trust signal. If you want more accurate pricing, you can request a free quote straight from IVL’s website. Aside from having a long history of serving seniors, IVL offers a 15% discount for senior customers, as explicitly stated on the website.

International Van Lines Overview

International Van Lines

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full, partial, and self-service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, and international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier and broker

Optional Services

Packing and loading, furniture disassembly/assembly, short and long-term storage, vehicle relocation, specialty items

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

$150 (3 movers)

Pros and Cons of International Van Lines

Pros:

  • 15% discount for senior customers
  • Offers full, partial, and self-service options
  • Wide range of optional moving services
  • Transparent and competitive pricing
  • Available in all states

Cons:

  • Mixed reviews from customers
  • Requires 25% deposit when booking via credit card

North American Van Lines

Best Customer Service

North American Van Lines (NAVL) is our pick for the best customer support. It stands out as one of the few companies that offer 24/7 customer care. Once you book your move with NAVL, it will assign a dedicated personal moving assistant to your account. The assistant will help customize your moving plan, provide a quote, and answer all questions you may have.

As a full-service company, NAVL provides many household moving services, including packing, fragile-only packing, loading and unloading, storage, and furniture assembly. Best of all, members of the Senior Citizens League can receive discounts of up to 40 to 65 percent.

North American Van Lines Overview

North American Van Lines

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, and international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier and broker

Optional Services

Full packing, loading and unloading, storage, packing assistance, furniture assembly, storage

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of North American Van Lines

Pros:

  • 27/7 customer service
  • Assigns a dedicated personal moving agent
  • Offers several insurance options
  • 40%-65% discounts via Senior Citizens League
  • Has an online library of moving-related tips, FAQs, and videos

Cons:

  • Not for movers with tight budgets
  • Available agents are limited depending on location

Solomon & Sons Relocation Services

Best Moving Staff

Solomon & Sons Relocation Services is an independent, family-owned business that has rapidly grown since 2014. This company is our pick for the best moving service that employs in-house staff rather than contractors. Besides its extensive experience helping senior movers, Solomon & Sons separates itself from the competition by employing an in-house staff of screened, trained, and licensed movers instead of hiring contractors for most of its operations. Plus, its service team is composed of movers that can speak Spanish, French, Hebrew, Russian, and more.

Solomon & Sons is a full-service company that offers a wide range of relocation services such as packing/unpacking, custom crating, vehicle shipping, furniture assembly/disassembly, and more – everything you need to relocate to a new home or facility.

Solomon & Sons Relocation Services Overview

Solomon & Sons Relocation Services

States Covered

42 states

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, and international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier and broker

Optional Services

Packing/unpacking, loading and unloading, storage, furniture assembly, vehicle shipping, custom crating

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of Solomon & Sons Relocation Services

Pros:

  • Employs in-house staff rather than contractors
  • A+ BBB rating
  • Largely positive customer reviews
  • Offers custom crating for specialty items like arts, antiques, china, etc.
  • Comprehensive vehicle shipping solutions

Cons:

  • Quotes via phone or online can be inaccurate and are not guaranteed
  • Only available in 42 states

Allied Van Lines

Best for Vehicle Shipping

Allied Van Lines is one of the biggest moving services in the country and our top pick for vehicle relocation services. Unlike other companies that use third-party auto shipping services, Allied provides this service directly using its own moving staff and trucks with GPS tracking. If you own many classic/antique cars, boats, and recreational vehicles (RVs), Allied Van Lines is a great choice to ship them safely. Bundling vehicle shipping with your moving package can save you a lot of money.

Allied handles local, interstate, cross-country, and international moves. It also offers full-service options, including packing/unpacking, loading/unloading, assembly/disassembly, and free 90-day storage for in-transit items.

Allied Van Lines Overview

Allied Van Lines

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, cross-country, and international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier and broker

Optional Services

Full packing, loading and unloading, storage, assembly/disassembly, vehicle shipping, custom crating, shuttle service

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of Allied Van Lines

Pros:

  • In-house auto shipping with GPS tracking
  • Free 90-day storage and available permanent long-term storage
  • Uses GPS tracking on all shipments
  • Good selection of insurance options
  • A+ BBB rating

Cons:

  • More expensive rates than competitors
  • The claims process can be difficult

Moves for Seniors

Best Senior-Specific Moving Service

Moves for Seniors is not just a moving company but a service-driven organization that exclusively caters to the senior community. It offers various service packages with personal touches, from labor-only (i.e., loading and unloading the moving vehicle) to full concierge-style services where a dedicated facilitator handles every detail of your relocation. For the senior facilitator package, you’ll have one manager in your originating city and one in your destination. In addition, Moves for Seniors can help with downsizing by sorting your belongings for organizing, charity, and disposal.

Another feature that makes Moves for Seniors stand out is its Legacy Services. If you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, insured partners will help pack treasured belongings and family heirlooms they left behind. Then, you can choose which items will be relocated, donated, sold via auction or yard sale, or properly discarded.

Moves for Seniors Overview

Moves for Seniors

States Covered

49 states (not including Alaska)

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance

Carrier or Broker

Broker

Optional Services

End-to-end move management, packing, loading/unloading, Legacy services, transition assistance, yard sales

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of Moves for Seniors

Pros:

  • Wide range of senior-specific services
  • Will assign a facilitator for full-service moves
  • Has locations in every state except Alaska
  • Assists with downsizing by selling or discarding unwanted items
  • Unique Legacy services

Cons:

  • Requires a contact number for quotes
  • Limited optional services (e.g., no vehicle shipping)

JK Moving Services

Best for Long-Distance Moves

JK Moving Services is an award-winning company that offers local, long-distance, and international moving services. Although JK Moving accommodates local moves, it’s only available for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C residents. The main selling point of JK Moving is its long-distance residential moves. JK Moving Services boasts a fleet of GPS-equipped trucks and a nationwide network of carriers to ensure a stress-free long-distance move. Plus, it offers climate-controlled storage facilities with 24/7 video surveillance if you require a temporary storage solution.

In addition, JK Moving lets you customize a moving package that best fits your needs and budget, whether partial or full-service. While it’s not the cheapest moving service out there, the available 0% financing should help offset the higher rates.

JK Moving Services Overview

JK Moving Services

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full, partial

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier

Optional Services

Packing, home protection, storage, loading/unloading, vehicle relocation

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of JK Moving Services

Pros:

  • Highly customizable service packages
  • GPS-enabled shipments
  • 0% financing available
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • User-friendly mobile app

Cons:

  • Local moves are only available for Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. residents.
  • High prices

Safeway Moving Systems

Best Pricing Policy

Safeway Moving Systems is a veteran-owned and well-established broker focusing on long-distance moves. Although it doesn’t have local and international service packages, Safeway’s long-distance moves are customizable with available add-ons like full packing, loading/unloading, piano transport, and furniture assembly/disassembly. However, what makes Safeway different is its heavily promoted binding quotes with no hidden or extra fees. But you have to keep in mind that it could take days and numerous back-and-forth with an agent to receive the final estimate.

Safeway also has a price match or beat policy. If you can get a written, binding quote from a reputable competitor (at least five years in the business) of Safeway, it will match or even beat the competitor’s price. Furthermore, Safeway has a Retirement Advocate program where seniors receive a 5% discount on their moves.

Safeway Moving Systems Overview

Safeway Moving Systems

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Long distance

Carrier or Broker

Broker

Optional Services

Packing, loading/unloading, piano transport, furniture assembly/disassembly, vehicle transport, long and short-term storage

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of Safeway Moving Systems

Pros:

  • Binding quotes without extra fees and hidden costs
  • Price match or beat policy
  • Free storage solutions
  • Positive customer reviews
  • 5% discount for seniors

Cons:

  • Long-distance moves only
  • Quotes may take a long time to complete

United Van Lines

Best Full-Service Package

United Van Lines is one of the nation’s largest moving companies with a full-service package that will ensure a stress-free relocation for seniors. Among the companies we reviewed, United Van Lines offers the most comprehensive full-service plans, including packing (full and partial), storage, debris cleanup, auto transport, tech installations, specialty items, and furniture placement. It also assigns a personal move coordinator to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Technology installations are convenient for seniors who may not be tech-savvy enough to set up a home computer or mount and configure a TV. United Van Lines handles local, long-distance, and international moves and has over 500 locations all over the country.

United Van Lines Overview

United Van Lines

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier and broker

Optional Services

Packing/unpacking, storage, debris/trash pickup, vehicle transport, technology installation

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of United Van Lines

Pros:

  • Comprehensive full-service packages
  • Full-service options come with additional valuation protection
  • Available technology installations
  • Online tracking and shipment updates
  • Offers a full range of insurance options

Cons:

  • Complaints about customer service since some services are brokered to third-party companies
  • More expensive than the competition

U-Pack

Best Budget-Friendly Option

Unlike most moving companies we evaluated, U-Pack is the only self-service company in this guide. Self-service means you’re responsible for loading/unloading your items to a trailer or container or paying a third party to get the job done. After receiving a quote and deciding on a delivery date, you can either get a space on a trailer or the more economical metal containers known as ReloCubes. You’ll have up to three days to load the trailer or container. Then, a driver will come to pick up your trailer or ReloCube and deliver it to your destination. Upon arrival, you’ll have another three days to unload your belongings.

U-Pack is a much less expensive alternative to full-service moving companies. It is especially ideal if you only have a few things to move or family members to help out with packing and loading/unloading. Furthermore, U-Pack charges by space occupied, so you only pay for the space you actually use within the container.

U-Pack Overview

U-Pack

States Covered

50 states

Service Level

Self-service

Moving Type

Long distance

Carrier or Broker

Broker

Optional Services

On-site storage, senior moving, packing supplies

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of U-Pack

Pros:

  • Nationwide availability
  • A less expensive alternative than full-service companies
  • Only pay for the space you use
  • Multiple container sizes available
  • Offers packing supplies at a cost

Cons:

  • Requires 100 or more miles, so local moves are out
  • Larger trailer container can be tough to park and load

American Van Lines

Best for Safe and Secure Storage

American Van Lines (AVL) is a full-service company with a lot going for it – local, long-distance, international moves, and full-service options. AVL promotes its flat pricing system, which lets you pay one flat fee, even with all-inclusive services. AVL also employs in-house service operators and movers, so you don’t have to deal with third parties. Cost-wise, you’ll know the exact price to expect and have more peace of mind during the relocation process.

AVL also has one of the best storage facilities out of all companies we reviewed. It offers climate-controlled storage units with 24/7 surveillance to ensure your belongings are safe and secure. Whether you’re looking for short or long-term storage, AVL is a solid choice.

American Van Lines Overview

American Van Lines

States Covered

48 states (all but Alaska and Hawaii)

Service Level

Full service

Moving Type

Local, long-distance, international

Carrier or Broker

Carrier

Optional Services

Auto shipping, custom crating, packing/unpacking, specialty items, piano transport, climate-controlled storage

Insurance options

Yes

General pricing per hour

Price available upon request

Pros and Cons of American Van Lines

Pros:

  • Climate-controlled storage units
  • Flat rate pricing and binding quotes
  • In-house service representatives and movers
  • Offers price matching
  • Certified in handling specialty items like fine arts, antiques, and piano

Cons:

  • No online quotes
  • Steep upfront deposits

How to Choose the Best Moving Service for Seniors

how to choose the best moving services for seniors

The most common complaints against moving companies include lost/stolen/damaged items, substandard service, and unexpected charges. To avoid these issues, you’ll want to vet your potential movers. To ensure you’re hiring a reliable moving service for seniors, consider these tips:

1. Check for Credentials

One of the best ways to avoid scam moving companies is to verify their credentials. You must ensure they have the proper license and certification to provide service. For starters, a moving company must have a number issued by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). This number acts as a license for commercial vehicles that haul cargo in interstate moves.

The USDOT number of a company should be published on its website and in advertisements. For example, International Van Lines has a USDOT# of 2293832, which is easily looked up on its website. In addition, also consider hiring movers registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and American Moving & Storage Association’s ProMover program.

We highly recommend using the FMCSA website to check the registration status of the company to the agency. It’s also an excellent resource for researching a moving company since it contains vital information such as USDOT number, principal office address, fleet size, complaint history, and more.

2. Get Several Pricing Quotes

Comparing quotes from multiple different companies can help you establish what a fair market price is for your move. A good rule of thumb is to request price estimates from at least three different companies, either online, over the phone, or in person. Most companies will survey your inventory of belongings to provide an accurate appraisal. Some will even visit your location for an in-person survey and provide on-site estimates.

Be wary of unusually low estimates or companies offering quotes without sending a representative to scope your inventory. Furthermore, look for companies that offer binding or guaranteed estimates to ensure you’re only paying for the initially quoted amount and not a dollar more.

3. Read Lots of Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are a great way to kickstart your research process. After all, if many customers have a positive experience with a particular company, there’s a good chance you’ll have a similar experience as well. See what people have to say about the company by searching the company name with terms like “reviews” and “complaints.” Trusted websites like Google, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) are excellent places to read reviews by actual customers.

Like all businesses, you’ll likely encounter negative reviews of the company. Don’t let that immediately dissuade you because it matters how the company responds to unfavorable feedback. The best companies will respond to negative reviews because they know it’s an excellent way to learn from the customers and establish goodwill. Also, note if the company has taken action to resolve the issue.

4. Consider the Customer Service Quality

A company’s customer service quality can make or break your moving experience. You’ll want to hire a senior moving company with customer support that you can quickly get in touch with. When choosing a prospective mover, ask how they will reach out, how often they will call, and what information they will provide with each update. It’s also vital that they maintain open lines of communication with movers, drivers, and other people involved with the move.

Some companies will make this easy for you by providing a dedicated moving agent or facilitator. This makes communication a lot more accessible since you’ll only have to deal with one person rather than a different call center agent each time.

5. Be Wary of These Red Flags

One of the worst things that can happen to a senior customer is to fall for scam movers or just downright dishonest companies. Scam companies will take your money without completing the move or hold your belongings hostage for double or triple the initial price. This highlights the importance of hiring a well-known and reputable moving company instead of a random listing on Craigslist.

Avoid companies that require cash payment or a large deposit upfront. In cases like high-volume areas or peak moving seasons, some larger companies will require a deposit to save the move date. However, cash payments and large deposits are one of the most significant telltale signs of a scam.

Another red flag to keep an eye on is if the company provides an unusually low quote. This is a common tactic to get you into a bait-and-switch moving scam where they’ll give you a seemingly attractive low initial quote but demand an excessive amount upon delivery.

Lastly, be very cautious of signing a blank or incomplete contract (sometimes called “order for service”). The contract should have clear language and contains essential information like agreed-upon costs, fees, liability coverages, etc. If some contract sections are left blank, don’t sign them!

Senior Moving Scams: What You Need to Know

You often hear seniors are vulnerable to scams. In fact, according to the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, older Americans lose $2.9 billion per year on financial scams. Unfortunately, the moving business is no stranger to widespread scams. Moving scammers typically target older customers since they’re likely vulnerable and wealthy. With the stress of the move, unsuspecting seniors are easily preyed upon by moving scams and fraud.

The best protection against moving scams is to become an informed consumer who does their due diligence. If you have elderly loved ones looking to move, you must take proactive steps to protect them from rogue operators looking to steal their hard-earned money.

Common Senior Moving Scams

senior moving scams

There are several types of moving scams, and they’re becoming increasingly more common and more sophisticated. Knowing these deceptive practices will allow you to spot red flags from a mile away and prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming a victim.

1. “Guesstimates” Over the Phone

Many moving companies can provide a rough estimate of your moving costs based on several factors. However, the most reputable companies will insist on an in-person inspection for accurate quotes. On top of mileage, movers need to verify critical information like the size of your apartment/home and shipment volume. Arriving at a precise quote takes a lot of back and forth between you and the moving agent.

If a mover gives you a quote over the phone and says an on-site inspection isn’t necessary, you’re likely dealing with a moving scam.

2. All Cash Payments or Large Deposits

Putting down a large cash payment or deposit up front puts you in danger of not seeing your money or belongings again. Some legitimate companies will ask for a small deposit before the move, which is relatively common during busier months (i.e., summer). Then, customers pay the remainder after delivery.

Typically, consumers should pay the agreed-upon amount on the contract after the company has successfully moved their belongings. Avoid paying in cash and use a debit/credit card, so you’ll have transaction records if you wish to file a complaint. Companies that require a large deposit should be crossed off your list immediately.

3. Frequent / Numerous Name Changes

Sometimes, all it takes to identify a scam company is to make a quick Google search of its name. Fraudulent and predatory moving companies will likely have bad to scathing reviews. As a result, many scam companies go through frequent name changes to get away from negative reviews. Check with places like the Better Business Bureau and consider it a huge red flag if you see a moving company that went through numerous name changes.

4. The Bait and Switch

Many senior scams and frauds exploit the urgency and stressful nature of relocating. With the bait and switch tactic, a moving company will reel you in with what appears to be great but often too-good-to-be-true quotes, and you end up hiring them – this is the bait.

The switch may come a few days before the move. The company will demand more money than initially quoted based on various, and likely bogus, fees and operation costs. With your whole life packed in moving boxes and you’ve already sold the house or your lease is up, you have no choice but to accept the new price and proceed with the move.

5. Hostaged Goods

This scam works very similarly to the bait and switch tactic. Rogue or scam movers will provide an attractive estimate of your move. The more sophisticated scammers usually give a reasonable estimate but still low enough to get unsuspecting victims on board. Similar to bait and switch, the moving company will ask for more money after the delivery. Sometimes, the overall price will double or even triple the original estimate.

If the customer refuses to accept the new charge, scam movers won’t release the shipment, essentially holding your belongings hostage. Only the most daring rogue movers will attempt this tactic and will have no problem driving away with your goods in tow if you refuse to pay.

6. Blank or Partial Contracts

Misleading contracts are often the foundation of moving scams. Fraudulent movers usually give you a blank or incomplete contract to sign, with many critical details conveniently left out so they can charge you more at the end of the move. A legitimate contract should have vital information such as estimated price, extra costs, and moving day information (pick-up time and estimated delivery date), among other things.

7. Fake Movers

Some scam movers have companies that simply don’t exist and will happily take your money without completing the move or outright stealing your belongings. While every business starts as a new company at one point, you should be wary of new ones with many red flags.

For instance, scam moving companies will often have a generic website with no address, no online reviews, no certifications – nothing to validate its legitimacy. In some cases, fake movers will use rental trucks without branding or U-Hauls.

Senior Moving Scam Warning Signs

Below are some of the most common warning signs that you’re dealing with a fake or scam moving company:

  • Not registered with the FMCSA: Search the FMCSA database for any potential mover. Companies registered with the FMCSA have details you can review, including complaints.
  • Full of negative reviews: As you research moving companies, read their customer reviews. A company with mostly negative reviews is a huge red flag.
  • Large payment upfront: Legitimate companies will only ask for a 20% or less deposit amount, which rarely happens. Typically, you only have to pay after delivery. If a company asks for a significant down payment before the move, it’s likely a scam.
  • Unusually cheap rates: Be suspicious of extremely affordable estimates that are too good to be true. In reality, moving is costly. Don’t fall for cheap rates because it’s only to get you on board, and they may charge you double by the end of the move.
  • No office or physical address: Check the prospective company’s website and look for information about its main office or address. Ensure it’s an actual address via Google Search, not just a vacant lot.
  • No in-person estimates: If a company claims an in-person inspection is unnecessary, they’re probably scammers. Moving prices go beyond the distance that needs to be traveled. Legitimate companies will insist on in-person inspection to provide accurate quotes.
  • Cash-only payments: Most companies will accept cash-only payments, along with credit and debit. It’s a huge warning sign if a moving company will only accept cash payments since they don’t leave a paper trail.

Tips to Protect Against Senior Moving Scams

Now that you know about scam tactics and rip-off maneuvers by shady moving companies, how can you protect yourself and your senior loved ones from becoming a victim? Below are some tips to ensure a successful, scam-free relocation:

Ask Your Family and Friends

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find a great mover. If you know a family member, friend, neighbor, or just about anyone you trust, who has moved recently, you can ask them for suggestions on moving companies. Ask them about their experiences with the moving company, their pricing, the quality of the services, and whether or not they can recommend the mover. In addition, you may also get in touch with your real estate agent since they generally have a network of reputable vendors, including movers.

Check for Licenses

The law mandates that all moving companies must have a license; in some states, local movers must also be licensed. Before transacting with any moving company, check if it’s registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) using this lookup tool. In addition, you may also check for the company’s registration and licenses using the U.S. Department of Transportation database.

Inquire for Federally Required Information

As per Federal Law, movers must provide a document called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” which is provided while you plan for your move. Find another mover if a company doesn’t offer you this document.

Insist on In-Person Estimates

A reputable company will always send a representative to survey your home and belongings to provide an accurate quote. Ask all prospective companies for an in-person inspection, which is not negotiable. This is also an excellent way to collect quotes from several companies so you can compare and negotiate prices—request a written or digital price quote, so it becomes binding.

Read the Contract Thoroughly

Read your agreement from top to bottom, including the fine print, and ensure it contains all vital information and is accurate. Don’t sign anything unless you’ve gone through the contract many times – double or triple-check if you have to. As mentioned earlier, never sign an incomplete or blank contract, even if it’s from a reputable company. If you have any questions or concerns, take it up with the moving company.

Avoid Cash-Only Payments and Large Deposits

Deposits higher than 20% and all-cash payments put you in a vulnerable position where you may not see your money again. Avoid companies that require cash-only payments or significant deposits. If possible, pay using a credit card since it’s insured, so you have protection in case something goes wrong.

Make an Inventory of Your Possessions

The best way to account for everything is by making a list of all your packed boxes and everything in them. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended you label and number all your moving boxes, so you’re not only keeping track of all your things but also making it easier to unpack later on.

Do’s and Don’ts of Senior Moving Scam Protection 

Do’s

Don’ts

Do research your prospective companies, and check with the FMCSA and USDOT for proper registration and licenses. 

Don’t hire the very first moving company you come across.

Do get referrals and recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, and real estate agents.

Don’t deal with companies that don't offer on-site estimates.

Do get at least three estimates from several companies so you can compare.

Don’t hire companies with too-good-to-be-true moving estimates.

Do read reviews and feedback from previous customers via third-party websites like BBB, Yelp, and Google.

Don’t contact a company without a legitimate-looking website and office address.

Do pay using credit cards so you can dispute charges.

Don’t accept large deposits and cash-only payments.

Do ask questions if there’s anything you don’t understand, and always clarify with the moving agent.

Don’t sign a blank or incomplete contract.

Do get everything in writing, especially the final estimate.

Don’t agree to last-minute changes in shipment prices.

Do mark and label all your boxes, and make a written master list of all your belongings.

Don’t proceed with the move if the company uses unmarked trucks or U-Hauls.

Do ask about the mover’s claims and insurance policies.

Don’t hire a company that can’t provide a federal document called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”

Steps to Take If You are a Victim of a Senior Moving Scam

Moving to a new home is already on its own, so the last thing you want is to become a victim of senior moving scams – but it happens. If you’ve fallen prey to fake or fraudulent movers, don’t panic. As a victim of shady moving companies, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights.

1. Review the Contract

Your first step is to confirm whether there was a misunderstanding. Review the contract thoroughly and check if there’s anything you missed. This is to ensure that the agreement didn’t include fraudulent activities you just experienced before filing a complaint.

2. Understand What Constitutes a Scam

Most commercial moves have been successful without issues. However, some minor inconveniences with your move may not constitute a scam and don’t warrant an official complaint or legal action. Before you file a complaint and contact the authorities, the following events don’t constitute a scam or fraud:

  • Minor damages to appliances, furniture, and other belongings
  • Minor loss of items (e.g., a box of supplements, an old shovel)
  • Delivery delays for a few days – you may file a claim for compensation, but delays are not considered a scam
  • Negligible increase in estimates – often due to miscalculations in the estimate

3. Call the Company

It pays to give the benefit of the doubt before you escalate to reporting to the authorities. Again, this might all be a misunderstanding. Call the company and file a complaint if you feel like you’ve been deceived or misled. A reputable company will always offer to resolve the issue and come to agreeable compromises. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a scam moving company, this step won’t help you.

4. File a Complaint With the Appropriate Agencies

There are several agencies where you can file complaints against moving-related scams.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): BBB is a non-profit organization committed to advancing marketplace trust for businesses in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. You can file a complaint here.
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): This organization regulates the trucking industry in the United States. Use the FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database to file a complaint.
  • Bureau of Consumer Protection: The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection is an agency that prevents deceptive and fraudulent business practices by collecting consumer complaints and conducting investigations. Report fraudulent moving practices here.
  • American Trucking Associations (ATA): The ATA is the largest national trade association that oversees the trucking industry, which includes all movers across the country. File a complaint via the ATA General Complaint form.

5. Report to Your Local Police Station

Although local law enforcement has limited reach for dealing with moving scams, filing a police report for any harassment or damages you’ve experienced is still a good idea. Depending on state laws, the police can help mediate if you want to recover your hostaged goods.

6. Share Your Experiences

Your bad experiences with a company can serve as a cautionary tale to other people. Therefore, consider sharing your story by leaving reviews on public-facing websites like Google and Yelp. Review platforms, including Consumer Affairs, TrustPilot, and BBB, are also great places to share your experiences.

Resources to Report Senior Moving Scams and Assist Victims

Below are some helpful websites for reporting moving scams and general resources for a successful senior relocation.

Resource

How Can It Help?

Contact Information

A sub-agency of the Department of Transportation, the FMCSA regulates the trucking, moving and storage industries, and handles interstate moving scams.

1-800-832-5660

A comprehensive guide on how to protect yourself from moving scams and fraud.

888-368-7238

State offices where you can file a complaint about any violation of consumer laws, including moving scams.

1-844-872-4681

Any complaints made in the BBB website will be forwarded to the company, and they’re expected to respond within 14 days.

1 (703) 276-0100

A comprehensive library of articles about professional moving, with tips on how to avoid scams.

A consumer advocacy group that provides resources to raise awareness about fraudulent moving practices.

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A collection of state level agencies for reporting intrastate moving scams and frauds.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long in advance should I contact movers?

If you’re already planning to move and have a date in mind, the best time to call a moving company is as soon as possible. Ideally, you’ll want to give at least eight weeks or two months to book a mover. This is especially true for summer moves since it’s peak moving season, and companies are extremely busy.

How much do senior moves cost?

The answer depends on the size of the move, your destination, and the services needed. In general, senior moves tend to be more expensive since they’ll likely require additional services like packing/unpacking, loading/unloading, furniture assembly, etc. The best way to know how much you’ll spend on moving is to request a free estimate. Most companies will have free online or over-the-phone estimates; some will even send a representative for on-site estimates.

When is the best time for seniors to move?

The best time for seniors to move is when they’re active, healthy, and independent. Relocating can be physically and mentally taxing, especially for seniors. Being in good health can make all the difference between a smooth and successful move and an exhausting, stressful one. Season-wise, summer is the best time to move because of favorable weather conditions. However, remember that moving companies get extremely busy during summer.

What is a senior move manager?

Many companies specialize in assisting seniors with moving, also referred to as senior move managers, senior move facilitators, or simply senior movers. They help older adults and their families to relocate to a new, often smaller, residence. They usually go beyond the basics of moving items and packing/unpacking by devising a customized plan for seniors. Senior move managers can provide services like developing an “age in place” plan, helping to downsize, cleaning, discarding unwanted items, and overseeing the moving process.

Are movers obligated to fulfill “guaranteed” quotes?

Movers are only obligated to fulfill quotes if the quote is binding. The written estimate should indicate whether the quoted prices are binding or non-binding. The “guaranteed” quotes over the phone or online are never binding unless the estimates are in writing. Moving companies are legally obligated to follow the estimates with written binding agreements. It’s also worth noting that movers are not required to provide a quote to the customer, so always ask for estimates in writing.