I am here, back in Tucson but not yet in my home. I’ve been here staying with a friend since the 17th of July as I have unfortunately found myself victim of a moving company holding my belongings hostage.
I am writing this blog to let people know there are things that can be done and agencies that can help get your belongings back from unscrupulous moving companies.
I had signed a binding estimate with a local New Jersey Moving Company as the quote came in thousands of dollars less than the nationally known moving companies. By law, a moving company cannot charge anymore than the quoted amount on a binding estimate and only 10% more on a non-binding estimate.
My quoted amount for the move on a signed binding estimate was $6,630. But after the crew packed my items, I was told that I had more than double the estimated cubic feet agreed to so the price increased to $14,000. My items were moved to their storage facility allegedly awaiting a larger van for the move.
After several days of attempting to contact the company to contest the price increase and find a date of delivery, I was finally able to speak with someone but nothing was accomplished, the person was extremely rude and talked loudly over me every time I tried to speak. I was finally told they would get in touch with me with an estimated date for delivery, I’m still waiting for that contact.
I was in the middle of dealing with the sale of my previous home and mentioned the increase in price of the move to my real estate attorney. She sent me a link to instructions for dealing with such an event.
I followed every step outlined on the site, I filed police reports, complaints with State agencies, I contacted MoveRescue which is a group of attorneys to help with legal advice. But the agency that helped the most and very quickly was the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).
Within 15 minutes of filing my on-line complaint, I received an email asking me for documentation of the events along with copies of my estimate with the moving company. Within a few hours, the FMSCA sent a notice to the moving company telling them they were in violation of federal guidelines and if they did not revert the pricing back to that of the binding estimate they would be fined $10,000 for each occurrence they have on file with the FMSCA (there must be many), imprisoned for 2-3 years and the company will lose its license. They were given one business day to respond to the FMSCA and to notify them when my belongings will be shipped.
Needless to say they responded and will honor the original estimated price. My belongings will be shipped on the 1st of August. I do not know what condition they will arrive in or when I can expect delivery, but at this point I can only wait to see.
I must confess I did not perform due diligence but will do so in the future. I advise everybody how important doing so is. Had I read reviews on only the BBB site, I would have realized the company I chose did not have any positive reviews. I have since read reviews on Yelp and Google and find the same to be true there as well. I will be adding my review to all the sites.