Red Flag: The Phone Estimate

Article posted by on July 27, 2017

By Jeff Walker

At, we’ve gone over this time and time again. It’s almost like beating a dead horse, but it’s one of the most fundamental mistakes that can be made in any move. Which is to get a phone estimate, rather than having a mover come to your house and see your household goods. Why is this critical to your move? What’s the benefit of getting an in-home estimate? How am I leaving myself vulnerable to a fraudulent moving company?

The set-up

Fraudulent moving companies look for some way to manipulate the laws in order to make it look like their scam is your fault, not theirs. There are certain protections built into the law that if consumers pass on their rights, they have lost an opportunity to protect themselves. The in-home estimate is one of those times.

Picture this, you’re ready to move and you’re calling around to moving companies trying to get estimates and setup times for them to come in and see what you have to move. Suddenly, you come across a company that says they don’t need to come to your house, they can get your inventory right over the phone. Great time saver, right? So you proceed to give them a list as you walk through your house of everything you can think of that will be going onto your truck, all the while your mover sounds like he’s taking notes on the other end. At the end of the call, he quotes you an unbelievable price and you know in your heart of hearts that you stumbled upon a real bargain!

The Sting

Now comes moving day and the truck shows up at your house. They were a couple of hours late, but now you’re under pressure and you really need to get this done. The packing team goes to work on your items while the driver begins to explain their pricing is in cubic feet and the price may go up or down “a bit” depending on how much space is taken up on the truck.

Finally, at the end of the day, your house is cleared and everything is on the truck. The driver approaches you and tells you that you have more items than you told us over the phone and now your price has quadrupled! They pull out telling you that you won’t take delivery until they have the money for their final price in their hands.

Protect Yourself

Having a company come in and provide you with an in-home estimate not only benefits them, it benefits you, in that it protects you from the opening play in a moving scam. In-home estimates provide you with a more accurate quote, and put the liability of the estimate on the mover and away from you. The burden of proof is on them. Fraudulent movers don’t want you to ask for an in-home estimate, and will often times tell the customer they don’t do in-home estimates. How can they run the scam if they’re liable for your inventory list? They can’t, and that is your first line of defense against fraudulent moving.