Senate investigates household goods carriers and move brokersBy Eric Anders • Dec 20th, 2011 • Category: Consumer Help, Consumer Protection, FMCSA, Hostage Load, MovingScams
On Monday, Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that his Committee is conducting an investigation into the practice of moving companies holding household goods “hostage” to extract additional money from individuals and families mid-way through their moves.
According the committee press release, “thousands of consumers have complained in recent years about moving companies refusing to complete delivery until they pay exorbitant fees that were not part of the original estimates.”
“Consumers are telling us that ‘hostage’ scams are widespread and giving a bad name to the moving companies that try to act honestly,” Rockefeller said. “For this reason, we need to know just how bad this problem is and try once and for all to bring it to an end. When you hire a moving company you should not worry that your bed, couch and children’s possessions could end up stuck in a truck someplace while a moving company negotiates a higher payment.”
As part of the committee's investigation, Rockefeller asked two moving companies and two household goods move brokers licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with information about their business practices and why they have generated a significant number of consumer complaints related to “hostage” load scams.
Letters asking for very specific, detailed information regarding each company's sales and marketing programs, operational enforcement and compliance to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations explanation were sent to the owners and principles of Best Price Moving and Storage, Inc. (USDOT# 693651 ; MC# 321559), Nationwide Relocation Services (MC# 381766), Budget Van Lines (MC# 512534), and Able Moving, Inc (USDOT# 1418141; MC# 536623).
Despite the inference in its name, Budget Van Lines, like Nationwide Relocation Services, is a licensed household goods and property move broker. During the last three years, both brokerage companies have sued the owner and moderators at MovingSCAM, a popular online consumer-oriented complaint forum where dissatisfied customers post comments about the poor quality of service they received during their interstate moves.
The Commerce Committee began its inquiry into “hostage” scams in October, 2011 when Chairman Rockefeller wrote FMCSA Administrator Ann Ferro asking her office to provide the number of consumer complaints the agency has received in recent years, documents related to FMCSA’s tracking of the problem, and current FMCSA resources devoted to combating hostage household goods load situations.
According the committee press release, the information provided by FMCSA showed that thousands of consumers have complained to the agency about this practice in recent years. “Hostage” scams, according to the committee, remain a significant threat for individuals and families undertaking interstate moves.
Related U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Files:
Letter to Best Price Moving and Storage, Inc. – Letter to Mr. Adani 12.19.11.pdf (1.1 MBs)
Letter to Nationwide Relocation Services – Letter to Mr. DiSorbo 12.19.11.pdf (1.2 MBs)
Letter to Budget Van Lines – Letter to Mr. Katz 12.19.11.pdf (1.1 MBs)
Letter to Able Moving, Inc. – Letter to Mr. Mondell 12.19.11.pdf (1.1 MBs)
Letter to FMCSA – Letter to Administrator Ferro 10.3.11.pdf (1.0 MBs)
Senate relies on industry pros to rout rogue movers – RELO Roundtable
Feds crack down on more rogue movers and brokers – RELO Roundtable
Another move broker, Budget Van Lines, sues MovingScam – RELO Roundtable
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