The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) is helping consumers fight back against rogue moving companies as many families complete their moves before the new school year begins. TxDMV urges Texans to protect themselves from hiring unscrupulous movers.
All Texas movers are required to be licensed with TxDMV. If you hire one that is not, you risk losing your
household goods. “Hiring an unlicensed moving company is like inviting a burglar into your house, showing him which of your possessions are the most valuable and watching him load them into a truck and drive away, perhaps never to be seen again,” said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster.
“Don’t make a move without us! The first thing you should do before hiring a mover is check with TxDMV.”
TxDMV offers these important tips on how to spot an unlicensed moving company:
• Don’t Make a Move Without Us: Check TxDMV’s Truck Stop database at www.TxDMV.gov online to
verify whether a company is properly licensed.
• Low Price Moves: What looks like a low-cost move may not turn out to be a smart move. Unlicensed
movers may advertise a very low cost for a move then increase the price once your items are loaded
onto their truck. Your items would be in their custody until you pay the higher price.
• Generic Contact Information: Unlicensed movers typically have no local business address, use cell
phones as their business phones or answer the phone with vague terms such as “Movers” or “Moving
Company.” Ask questions. Ask the mover to give you their TxDMV certificate number then verify that
number with TxDMV.
• Unmarked Trucks: Unlicensed movers will typically have no markings on their trucks or use rental
trucks. TxDMV requires all licensed movers to have their name, TxDMV certificate number and USDOT
number on both sides of their truck either permanently attached or with a magnetic sign.
• No Proposal/Contract Documents: Unlicensed movers may not provide you with a proposal or
contract document, or may rush you through a contract form and make you sign it before reading it. A
licensed mover will provide you with both a proposal and a contract document and will ask you to sign it
at different stages of the move. A licensed mover will not assess additional charges after the contract is
signed unless you both agree to the changes in writing. Please make sure you carefully review any
documents before you sign them.
• No “Rights and Responsibility” brochure provided: All licensed movers are required to provide you this document prior to loading your items.
“The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles does not tolerate unscrupulous moving companies ripping off
innocent Texans,” said Brewster. “Our goal is to protect Texas consumers and get crooked operators off the streets and out of business for good.”
In addition to having authority to issue administrative penalties or revoke a motor carrier’s license, TxDMV also can help consumers by verifying whether a mover is properly licensed, negotiating the release of undelivered goods, mediating disputes concerning damage claims and referring cases to law enforcement if criminal activity is suspected.
If you have already completed a move and believe the moving company did not follow the rules and
regulations, you should file a complaint at www.TxDMV.gov. Consumers should also contact law enforcement if a mover attempts to hold your items hostage for additional payment or threatens to drive away and keep your household goods.
In Fiscal Year 2017, there were more than 875 licensed moving companies in Texas. Of the 379 moving
company complaints received by TxDMV, 169 of them were for unlicensed movers.