Thumbtack is an utterly irresponsible and reprehensible company that provides no information and takes zero responsibility for their contractors. It should be illegal for them to connect customers to short and long distance movers. Recently, the FBI charged 12 people for moving scams where these criminals will either a). take your stuff hostage and demand more and more money to return your stuff or b). steal your stuff and then auction them off. There are in between outcomes where your stuff will likely be broken by illegitimate movers who will also severely overcharge you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps a database of movers who are registered and insured with the Federal government. In addition, a U.S. DOT number is required by FMCSA for interstate moves. This is the BASIC minimum step to check for the legitimacy of a purported mover. Otherwise movers who don't meet this basic minimum requirement: a) may not be insured and therefore you may be mislead into believing the insurability of your goods b) may actually NOT be legal to carry out interstate moves and c) are NOT subject to any regulation because you can't file a complaint against them with the FMCSA.
Think about online websites that connect customers to service providers. When you sign up on eBay, you are given hints to how to purchase safely and how to sell safely. Thumbtack provides NO guidance on identifying legitimate moving companies. This is because their business model SUPPORTS predators who prey on unsuspecting or ill advised consumers. Businesses have to pay a fee to see your request and that's how Thumbtack gets paid. They're largely accepting of scammers and shady contractors because they get money, take no responsibility for your pain and loss when in fact, they should be legally liable for not doing background checks on contractors.
I was contacted by a shady person, likely a moving "broker" who gave me a quote for moving interstate. I was asked to pay an upfront 20% deposit (a sign of shady business practices) which I did through PayPal. The moving company name this broker masquerades under is the same name as a legitimate company in another state, which is not unusual as moving companies often do long distance interstate moves. Their phone # also matched the area code of the legitimate moving company (Flag 1 for misdirection).
I then googled the name of the actual moving company, who has a similar name to yet another legitimate transport company (Flag 2 for misdirection). It wasn't until I felt a sense of uncertainty that I looked further and realized that this was one of those shady illegal moving companies that hire a local penske/generic truck, bang up your stuff and possibly hold your items hostage and/or force you to pay "storage fees". They CLAIMED to accept credit card payment, but switched to PayPal or Venmo (Flag 3). I was able to resolve the issue through several calls to PayPal but I had to escalate the issue as they did not believe me and thought I was backing out of a moving contract. I later did some research and it turns out the invoice was illegal because they charged by volume instead of weight (google binding vs. non binding contracts and the legality of quoting by volume vs. weight) so had PayPal not stopped the transaction I could have sought back my deposit by other means.
I contacted Thumbtack and sent them PROOF with screenshots. The moving company has ALSO been reviewed under Yelp with complaints that Thumbtack referred them. This is 99% Thumbtack's responsibility and yet they don't care. This individual is still on Thumbtack with fake 100% positive reviews. There have been other reviewers stating that these scammers just change to another name on Thumbtack even if action forces them to close down one account. In the end Thumbtack proposed a solution to connect me to this shady individual summarizing that I was "not comfortable pursuing services." This is highly misleading and has NOTHING TO DO with personal feelings or being comfortable. There were CLEAR signs and proof their contractor was shady and illegal. Not only that, it is dangerous to clearly disclose to a shady individual, "your customer is uncomfortable doing business with you." Who knows if these individuals will retaliate or get revenge, GIVEN that my original and new moving addresses were given to them. I advise anyone considering moving to NOT use Thumbtack and instead use OFFICIAL and FEDERAL government licensed companies and most of all, do research. Thumbtack doesn't care if you lose your valuable belongings, get terrorized by scammers or lose money. They will keep a band of thieves if it serves them their dinner on a silver platter at the expense of your WHOLE LIFE.
Product or Service Mentioned: Moving Service.
Reason of review: Hiring scammers.
Preferred solution: Do background checks on your contractors, list their US DOT number.
I didn't like: Contracts are scammers, No background checks conducted, No guidance on hiring a long distance mover.