While it is easy to look up ‘Oregon moving companies,’ not all results are reliable. With an informational website, it’s easy to choose a company without checking if they have an Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) license. However, that is a hasty decision that could jeopardize your belongings and well-being, as you are not well protected moving with an unlicensed mover.
With the rise of unlicensed movers, it was time for the government to step in. Recently, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), in collaboration with local law enforcement, took action against unauthorized moving companies, ensuring a safer and more regulated moving industry for everyone.
Safety Enforcement: What is Happening
According to their most recent news release, the ODOT collaborated with local law enforcement and invited unlicensed Oregon Moving Companies that were advertising to come to an event on Aug. 30, 2023, in Clackamas County. This event addressed the rising concern of illegal household goods moving companies and educated unlicensed companies on proper practices.
The main goals of this event were to protect customers first and foremost and educate the public on the importance of licensing. In addition, the ODOT wanted to support licensed moving companies by working to eliminate unauthorized competition, reinforce industry standards, and educate unlicensed companies on the licensing process.
As listed in the news release, several companies were found in violation and received citations. These companies did not only receive citations for the lack of ODOT licensing and authority but also for the lack of USDOT licenses, motor carrier licenses, medical certificates, and proper fire safety equipment.
Protect Yourself: Move with a Licensed Mover
If you’re considering hiring a moving company, your safety and the security of your possessions should be top of mind. Here are a few tips on how to research and vet your moving company to ensure a stress-free move:
- Know What To Look For: Always check if the company is certified by ODOT. A certified mover would have undergone background checks and would stick to an approved tariff of prices. According to state law, moving companies need an ODOT to advertise and complete moves in Oregon. They also need a USDOT license to advertise and complete long-distance moves, defined as moves that cross state lines.
- Verify Licensing: You can always look up your moving company on the FMCSA Database to verify their USDOT license. The ODOT offers the same service using their Household Goods Movers On this page, all movers listed have a certificate of authority for the transportation of household goods.
- Customer Reviews: Read reviews from a third-party website like Google Customer Reviews or Yelp to get to know your moving company. Make sure your moving company has a website that provides reviews that come from a third party, like Google, to ensure they are authentic and come directly from the customer.
- Insurance: All licensed moving companies should have worker’s comp and general liability insurance to protect all parties involved in moves.
- Van Lines: If a moving company is partnered with a well-known van line, such as Wheaton World Wide, Bekins Van Lines, or National Van Lines, you can rest assured that they have a USDOT license. All moving companies undergo rigorous background checks to become interstate van line agents. Once a moving company becomes an interstate van line agent, it can operate under the van line’s USDOT number.
Moving Brokers vs. Unlicensed Movers
Unlike unlicensed moving companies, moving brokers are not actual moving companies. Instead, they work with moving companies to find and bring them customers. However, as a customer, you end up paying more and sometimes being scammed.
Moving brokers are also unlicensed since they are not a physical moving company. How to identify a moving broker from an unlicensed mover:
- Address: They usually do not have a physical address. Though some unlicensed moving companies do not have an address, others do have a physical location. If a moving company doesn’t have a physical address listed, they are likely a broker.
- Local vs. Long-Distance: Many moving brokers only offer long-distance moves. Nearly all moving companies offer local moves as long as they are licensed. If your company only offers long-distance moves, be skeptical.
- No Free Estimates: Moving brokers rarely, if ever, complete on-site or comprehensive virtual estimates. If a company does not offer them at all or doesn’t offer on-site estimates as an option, those are red flags to avoid.
These are a few of the many tell-tale signs of moving brokers. Although you should avoid both unlicensed moving companies and moving brokers, it is important to know the difference, as you can use a previously unlicensed moving company after they are authorized with a legal license. To learn more about moving brokers, check out Wheaton’s Video on Rogue Movers.
Work with Moving Companies You Trust
The recent crackdown on unauthorized moving companies by ODOT and local law enforcement is a reminder of the importance of vigilance when entrusting companies with your valuables. As consumers, it’s crucial to be informed, vigilant, and proactive in ensuring the safety of ourselves and our belongings. Always opt for licensed movers; remember, a little research goes a long way.