NEW YORK — On Tuesday, the New York State Department’s Division of Consumer Protection announced the release of a comprehensive guide that provides consumers with important tips for avoiding scams from moving and storage companies.

The moving process can be stressful, especially in New York. Unfortunately, scammers use these situations to defraud consumers of thousands of dollars.

The guide was introduced to help New Yorkers navigate housing scams, which continue to be a growing risk to consumers.

“Engaging a moving or storage company and entrusting them with your belongings is an important decision that requires a great deal of research and thought,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodríguez. “A business may look like a trusted online business, but in reality they may be professional scammers looking to steal your goods or your hard-earned money. The best protection against these scams is to be informed, and following our advice can go a long way in preventing things from going wrong when moving or storing your belongings.

There are many things to consider when looking for a moving and storage company. Hiring the right company can go a long way in protecting your belongings, your money, and your peace of mind.

Here are some tips to help minimize the risk of being scammed.


  • Pay attention to bait and change sales practices. This deceptive practice involves providing a misleading initial quote and then making last-minute changes to the agreed-upon quotes. Beware of companies that offer instant quotes instead of collecting detailed information to provide an accurate estimate. When you receive a firm quote, you cannot be required to pay more than this amount, unless you have subsequently requested additional services.
  • Be aware of deceptive marketing practices. Deceptive marketing practices include late deliveries without prior notification, delivery of damaged items, missing items, taking items hostage until consumers provide additional sums of money, or breach of one of your contractual obligations. Avoid dealing with a company that engages in these practices by doing general research online and learning your rights as described below.
  • Please review all terms and conditions before downloading. Before the mover has moved any of your items onto the truck, meet with the company representative at your home to review the physical terms of the contract, especially the cost and delivery terms.
  • Do some general research online. Confirm that the mover is an honest, reputable company with a physical address, detailed contact information, and is highly rated by others in consumer reviews. Consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Consumer Complaint Database or the Better Business Bureauwhich has a searchable database of consumer reviews.
  • Hire licensed or registered moving companies. Before hiring a moving company, confirm that it is a government-regulated entity.
    • Moving to New York State (NYS): all moving companies must be licensed in New York. The New York State Department of Transportation licenses moving companies statewide. To ensure your mover has a valid license to operate in New York State, please contact the New York State Department of Transportation at 518-457-6512 or email nymoving or, for more information, visit https://www. When verifying a mover, include their exact name and, if applicable, NYDOT number.
    • Get out of state: Make sure the moving company is federally insured and registered. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) registers companies that meet legal and safety requirements for transportation between New York and other states. You can find out if an interstate mover is registered through the FMCSA’s mover registration search feature.
  • Get multiple quotes. Plan to get estimates from at least three companies. Please do not rely on estimates provided over the phone or by email without further consultation on the number of items to be moved. Moving companies should collect detailed information on how many items you need to move.
  • Watch out for hidden or extra charges. Beware of requests for large prepayments or full prepayments.
  • Never sign a blank or incomplete quote. Unscrupulous movers can use your blank or incomplete quote to change the terms of your move, including the cost, without your knowledge or consent.
  • Get quotes and contracts in writing. Moving companies must provide several documents before, during, and after your move with information about services requested, cost estimates, and other agreements between you and the mover. Be sure to understand which terms in these documents are estimates, which may change in the future, and which terms are contractual agreements. Scammers may try to dissuade you from signing written contracts if items are lost or stolen for some reason.
  • Create an inventory of your possessions. Make a photographic record and keep a written inventory of all your items.
  • Know your rights. Insist that the mover provide you with an information brochure from the New York State Department of Transportation that outlines your rights as a mover. For interstate moves, the company must share FMCSA guidelines, which include specific details for interstate moves. Please read these guides carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities during the moving process.
  • Learn more about hiring moving companies. Visit the FMCSA Protect Your Move website for more resources on interstate moves. Check the New York State Department of Transportation website for more information on hiring moving companies in New York.
  • Try to resolve any disputes. If you have a dispute with an interstate mover, file a complaint with the FMCSA in its National Consumer Complaint Database. If the move took place entirely within New York State, first notify the company in writing as soon as possible. If you are unable to resolve the issue with the company and the dispute involves loss or damage to your property, file a complaint with DCP. For all other moving disputes, file a complaint with the New York State Department of Transportation.


  • Pay attention to the price. Unscrupulous storage facilities often entice customers to lease storage units by advertising a price, then raising those prices shortly after a lease is signed. Read the fine print and look for details in promotional offers.
  • Carefully review written agreements. Under New York State law, storage facilities are required to describe details regarding the security of stored items and associated costs. These details include:
    • where the occupant’s personal property will be stored;
    • the monthly cost of the unit, including additional charges; And
    • the responsibility of the establishment in the event of a problem.
  • It is important to pay attention to details regarding liability for your property, the amount of the notice of rent increase and the terms under which you are considered in default.
  • Visually inspect storage facilities. Check the security of any self-storage area. Confirm if the facility has a functioning surveillance system and good security. Confirm that advertised air-conditioned or temperature-controlled facilities operate as advertised. Confirm the quality and cleanliness of the unit before renting it. Make sure doors and locks work. Also make sure there are no entry points for rodents and that there are no personal belongings or debris.
  • Know your rights. If you are late with payment, a storage facility may sell your goods to cover the costs. However, before doing so, they must give you the opportunity to pay the outstanding balance by providing notice detailing an itemized statement of the amount owed, a description of the property, the time and place of the sale and the demand for payment. .
  • If the occupant is incapacitated or deceased, a trusted person should contact the warehouse to find out what steps can be taken to preserve the occupant’s property.
  • Exceptions for the military. Storage facilities cannot sell assets of active duty members for non-payment. Service members have ninety days after completing their service to pay for and collect the items.

“When it comes to moving and managing your belongings, it’s imperative to hire a company you can trust,” said State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “One thing consumers can do before hiring a moving company is to verify that the New York State Department of Transportation has given the company a license to operate.”

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