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California cracks down on more illegal movers

By • Oct 23rd, 2011 • Category: *RELOCATION NEWS UPDATES*, Consumer Protection, MovingScams

moving scamsThe California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently took a number of enforcement actions during the third quarter of 2011 to protect consumers from moving companies operating illegally throughout the state.

The CPUC licenses and regulates companies that move household goods within California. Residents planning a local or intrastate relocation should verify that the moving companies they're considering are authorized by the CPUC by calling 800-877-8867, or visiting their website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.

Concerned California consumers can also verify a moving company's credentials online by checking HERE.

 

SAN FRANCISCO, October 19, 2011 – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its ongoing commitment to consumer protection, has recently taken a number of actions to protect consumers from illegally operating moving companies.
 
During the third quarter of 2011, CPUC staff took the following enforcement actions against moving companies for violations of the Public Utilities Code and CPUC rules and regulations, including Maximum Rate Tariff 4 (MAX 4), which contains maximum rates that carriers must observe as well as rules and regulations governing intrastate moves.
 

Administrative Citation

PLM Bay Area Movers, Inc. (MTR 190787) based in Redwood City was fined $1,500 for the following violations:
 
1. Advertised prior to issuance of its authority
2. Failed to provide the Important Notice document
3. Failed to provide the Important Information booklet
4. Deviated from packing material charges
5. Issued incomplete Combined Agreements
 

Phone Disconnect

In its ongoing efforts to clamp down on illegal moving companies, the CPUC had telephone service shut off to five moving companies operating in California without a household goods permit. These companies continue to advertise and hold themselves out to engage in the business of transporting used household goods, notwithstanding CPUC staff directives to immediately cease and desist unlawful acts and to obtain a household goods permit.
 
1. Antonio "Tony" Vidal dba Tony's Movers, Sunnyvale (Unlicensed) - This company advertised and offered moving services on its truck and on the Internet.  The advertisements listed one phone number. The company continued to advertise its unlawful operations resulting in CPUC staff obtaining a Finding of Probable Cause signed by a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the phone number advertised and used by carrier to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
 
2. Tianming Zhang doing business as Fasttran Moving Co., Fast Transportation, Fastlane Transportation and Fastlane Transportation, LLC, San Jose (Unlicensed) – This company advertised and offered household goods moving services on the Internet. The advertisements listed three phone numbers and one fax number. The company continued to advertise its unlawful operations resulting in CPUC staff obtaining a Finding of Probable Cause signed by a Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the four numbers advertised and used by the carrier to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
 
3. Kevin Patrick McInerney doing business as Make Your Move Moving Company, Sacramento (Unlicensed). Carrier advertised and offered household goods moving services on the Internet at his own website (makeyourmovemovingcompany.com), on Craigslist.org, and Yellow Book USA. The advertisements listed three phone numbers. Carrier continued to advertise its unlawful operations resulting in CPSD obtaining a Finding of Probable Cause signed by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gary E. Ransom. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the three telephone numbers advertised and used by carrier to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
 
4. Bradford "Brad" Eakes and Zach Symmes doing business as Two Hunks in a Truck, San Francisco (Unlicensed) – This company advertised and offered household goods moving services on the Internet. The advertisements listed two phone numbers. The company continued to advertise its unlawful operations resulting in CPUC staff obtaining a Finding of Probable Cause signed by a San Francisco County Superior Court Judge. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the two numbers advertised and used by the carrier to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
 
5. Donnie Vinson doing business as Vinson Moving Co., San Jose (Unlicensed) – This company advertised and offered household goods moving services on the Internet without authority. The advertisement listed one telephone number. The company continued to advertise its unlawful operations resulting in CPUC staff obtaining a Finding of Probable Cause signed by a Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge. The Finding orders disconnection of telephone service to the number advertised and used by the carrier to violate criminal laws in the State of California.
 

Criminal Filings

Following is an update on two criminal cases previously filed:
 
1. All American Student Movers, Santa Barbara (Unlicensed), Complaint #1354331 – Based on the reported submitted by CPUC staff, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office filed a misdemeanor complaint and charged carrier with three counts of operating as a household goods carrier without a permit (section 5133(a)](1)). Arraignment date was set for June 24, 2011, and was continued to July 11, 2011. Update: Defendant Gosnell pled no contest to one count of PUC 5133(a) (1) and one count of PC 415(2). Sentencing will be on February 6, 2012.
 
2. BGT Trans, Inc., a California corporation, doing business as Advanced Moving and Storage, and/or Advanced Moving Systems, and/or Bekins Moving and Storage, and/or Bekins Moving Systems, and/or Advanced Moving Company, and Hezia Dabahuli, its President, and Ashley R. Randall, its Agent for Service of Process, Sunnyvale (Unlicensed), Complaint # C1197052 - CPUC staff submitted a report requesting the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office to file a misdemeanor complaint against the company for operating and advertising without authority, failure to have evidence of public liability insurance and evidence of cargo insurance on file and in effect with the CPUC, failure to issue the "Important Notice About Your Move" document showing a Not To Exceed Price (5143 and Max 4, Items 130 and 465); providing online estimates without first conducting a visual inspection of the goods to be moved (Max 4, Item 108); charging in excess of the estimate (Max 4, Item 108 (2)(a)); failure to acknowledge and settle loss and damage claim (Max 4, Item 92); failure to provide the shipper with a completed Agreement for Moving Services and Freight Bill (Max 4, Items 128(2) and 132(1)); misrepresenting the scope of its services offered to the public (Max 4, Item 88);and misleading potential customers by using their website and vehicle as a device for false and misleading advertising (B&P Code section 17500). The Santa Clara District Attorney's office filed felony complaint against Eran Bar, owner of BGT, and Ruben Salas, sales person for BGT, charging them with 17 counts of conspiracy with others to commit a crime, a violation of Penal Code section 484-487(a) (Grand Theft). Both individuals were arrested. Bar was released on $150,000 bail and Salas is being held on a $1 million bail.  Update: A preliminary hearing was held at the Santa Clara Superior Court regarding charges filed against Salas on behalf of 29 victims. Salas was held to answer on 31 felony counts.
 

Official Notice

Three companies were issued Official Notice for advertising and operating without a permit.
 
Companies cited:
 
1. Green Moving Inc., Hayward (MTR 190842)
2. Robert Casares and Miguel Rodriguez dba College Movers, San Francisco (Unlicensed)
3. Thomas Joshua Flanagan dba Artist Moving, San Francisco (MTR 190820)
 

Cease and Desist Notice

Nineteen companies were issued cease and desist (C&D) notices for operating and advertising without a valid permit (unlicensed, revoked or denied).
Companies issued C&D:
 
1. Alex Soroka dba Pacific Rim Movers, Sherman Oaks & Van Nuys (Unlicensed)
2. All Pro Moving/PMC Movers, Inc., North Hills (Unlicensed)
3. Brian Newsom dba Riteway Moving Company, Oakland (Unlicensed)
4. Elmer Macian dba Peninsula Moving Services, Redwood City (Unlicensed)
5. Eric Weiss dba Movers for Less, Huntington Beach (Unlicensed)
6. Five Star Moving, Fresno (Unlicensed)
7. Flat Rate Transportation, San Diego (Unlicensed)
8. Green Moving Inc., Hayward (MTR 190842)
9. Jose Diaz dba Jose Diaz Hauling & Moving, Hayward (Unlicensed)
10. Juan G. Diaz-Hernandez dba Complete Moving Service Co., Aromas (Unlicensed)
11. Movers4Me, Los Angeles (Unlicensed)
12. Pedro Hermosillo dba Pedro the Mover, San Francisco (Unlicensed)
13. Pro Moving Express, San Jose (Unlicensed)
14. Stafford S. dba Sent Packing, Oakland (Unlicensed)
15. Tana Movers and Storage, Inc., Rohnert Park (MTR 190852)
16. Tianming Zhang dba Fasttran Moving, San Francisco (Unlicensed)
17. Tony Stevens dba T. Stevens Moving Services (Unlicensed)
18. Vadim Bayramov dba Hermes Movers, San Diego (Unlicensed)
19. Willie Graham dba Practical Movers, Inc./All Pro Moving, Northridge (Unlicensed)
 
For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

 

Related Articles:

California cracks down on rogue movers – RELO Roundtable

How to schedule a successful move … – RELO Roundtable

How to Find a Reputable Mover: A Professional Guide – RELO Roundtable

Moving? How to manage your lump sum relocation benefit – RELO Roundtable



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