Moving Scams

This guide will keep you informed to prevent you from becoming a victim of moving scams when hiring a moving company. Moving is a stressful, hard and long process, so it is best to stay informed! Unfortunately, thousands of people talk about how unsatisfactory and horrible their moving experiences truly were, and quite frankly this we believe this is unacceptable. CBC Marketplace did an excellent job investigating why so many customers were having subpar experiences with their moving companies. In this article, we will go over the CBC Marketplace investigation and talk about how you can avoid hiring companies that can lead to a moving nightmare.

CBC Marketplace Investigation

CBC Marketplace chose to discuss the issues present relating to the long-distance moving sector of the industry. The biggest issue identified was the price. It is understandable that sometimes the actual time taken on the move may differ slightly from the estimated time, or the actual weight may be slightly different than the estimated weight. This inevitably results in a higher – or lower cost for the client when it comes to paying the bill and can not be pinned as a moving scam. However, what CBC found was that clients were paying thousands of dollars extra on top of what was originally quoted for their moves! This price discrepancy is ridiculous and is thievery and is considered a moving scam.

The hold out

Jim Carney, one of the directors of the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) was rightfully upset. He therefore was justified saying that it gives the entire moving industry a bad reputation. The expectations of consumers when hiring a moving company are to alleviate their stress for the move. As well as committing to providing high quality moving services. In turn, when these criteria are not met, a customer will refuse to pay the last-minute surprise fees. The company will then decide to hold that customer’s possessions hostage. They will no release the belongings until the final invoice is paid in full. This, in fact, is one of the biggest moving company scams out there. If you find yourself in similar situation, it is best to:

  • Remain calm
  • Contact the office staff in regards to the issues at hand
    • these situations are usually handled more professionally with the office, as opposed to the movers
  • If the office staff is unable or unwilling to address your concerns, then:
    • Contact the authorities and let them know that your moving company has taken your possessions hostage 

How do these moving companies justify such paramount discrepancies between their quoted price and the final invoice amount? Cargo weight determines the price quoted for a long distance move. A very common moving scam occurs when a company uses a false weight for your cargo, and is very common and easy to fabricate. They may even go as far as creating a fake weight scale ticket to validate their claims as to the true weight of your belongings and is an even bigger moving scam. Furthermore, if a company is not fabricating the weight of your move, they may be using private scales which are also red flags.


The disadvantage of these scales as opposed to an industrial weigh scale is that there are no assurances that they are checked and maintained regularly for accuracy. Industrial weigh scales are government certified. They provide physical copies of the weight tickets that include the date, time and weight printed onto it. Therefore, if you are planning on a long distance move in the near future, to avoid moving scams, make sure you ask the company the following questions:

  • To weigh your belongings at an industrial weigh scale
  • Provide you with a copy of the weight ticket
    • Check for an accurate date and time
    • Check to make sure there is little difference in the estimated weight and scaled weight of your belongings
  • Witness a re-scale if something seems off

Moving Company Regulation

Like most consumers, the CBC journalists found their moving company after a quick online search. Starting up a moving company does not actually require a special license or permit. Companies already in operation do not have a set of standards they must abide by as well.

This lack of regulation provides ease for anyone to start a moving business of their own. All one needs is a truck, a phone number and a website and you are in business. No background checks, no police clearances, nothing. Causing customers to then placed place their trust in these companies and invite strangers to their homes. Would you allow a stranger to enter into the sacred place you cherish the most? Would you allow strangers to handle the valuable and personal items you’ve collected over your lifetime?

Results of non-regulation

The lack of regulatory framework in place for moving companies shapes an industry that is oversaturated with sub-par companies that:

  • Offer low quality moving services
  • Use cheap moving technologies
    • Efficiently and long moving times can, above all, be due to a lack of technology
  • Have low standards of customer service
  • Have a reputation for hidden costs and fees that are only discovered the day of your move

How to avoid Moving Company Scams

How can you, a consumer, avoid moving scams like these, and find those few that are trustworthy and offer high-quality customer service you desire? First of all, once you start looking to hire a moving company, certainly follow this list to lower the risk of being victim to moving scams.

  • The company has a license, insurance and offers WCB coverage
  • Read online reviews of the company
    • The more recent the review, the more accurate of a reflection it likely is of the company
    • Read reviews on multiple sites ex. google, BBB, yelp, Facebook
    • Read bad reviews and take note of how the moving company managed the reviews
    • The reviews don’t sound “too good to be true”
  • Company is transparent about pricing and policies
  • Check for local rankings of moving companies in your area such as the following: The Best Calgary


It is unfortunate that there are so many of sub-par companies present in the moving industry today, but the more informed you are, as a consumer, the less likely you will fall victim to one of these scams.

If you are still looking for a professional, reputable and trustworthy moving company, look no further, Sparta Movers is here to help! Our eager-to-help customer service team is waiting for your call. We have partners all over the country who can guarantee you with a positive moving experience! We offer detailed written quotations with no hidden fees, this is what you should expect and will be guaranteed by choosing us! Our mighty and courteous Spartans are ready to go, call us today at 403-402-7992 or fill out our Request a Quote Form!

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