Consumer Protection warns About Moving Scams
There has been recent national action on scam movers ahead of the busy summer moving season. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced the launch of Operation Protect Your Move, a nationwide project aimed at cracking down on scam movers. FMCASA has deployed dozens of investigators throughout the country in an enforcement sweep to address a significant rise in complaints about movers holding household possessions hostage to exorbitant additional charges. This action will address complaints against moving companies and brokers alike who are not in compliance with federal safety and consumer regulations and statutes while they are transporting household goods. The Operation will cover both movers and brokers who purportedly connect consumers with local movers, but instead help facilitate fraud.
FMCSA is very diligent in its mission to help protect consumers when moving their household possessions from one state to another. FMCSA believes consumers should feel safe and confident in the company they hire to move their belongings.
The complaints frequently filed with FMCSA are alleging that moving companies are using fraudulent business practices and charging higher than normal fees, experiencing delays in receiving delivery of their household goods, or in some extreme cases, not receiving their possessions at all. FMCSA will formally document violations and has the authority to review and revoke the licenses of movers and brokers. Any case involving potential criminal misconduct may be referred to the U. S. Department of Justice for further investigation. FMCSA will work directly with consumers to help them through the process as well as helping them get their money and possessions back.
This Operation is the first of many efforts planned over the next few months to address these fraudulent companies of movers and brokers and in addition have ramped up the investigations and taken several actions to crack down on mover scams. They’ve doubled the number of investigators and are boosting partnerships with consumer protection and attorney general offices around the country.
If you’re wondering how prevalent moving scams are, the U.S. Department of Transportation gave an award to the Florida Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Division for its success in shutting down 19 fraudulent moving companies and securing approximately $27 million in fines and restitution.
Some of the fraudulent practices of the moving companies are:
- Providing a lower-than-normal estimate and then increasing the price on the day of the move.
- Establishing delivery dates with no intention to deliver your possessions within the established dates.
- Leading the consumer to believe that the moving company they are hiring will be performing the move and instead using a third-party service that has no affiliation to the company you hired.
- Using rented box trucks and hired day workers instead of the companies’ moving trucks and full-time employees.
- Misleading consumers about insurance coverage and claims process.
By going to the website provided, there are some helpful tips to use when planning to hire a moving company. Go to
www.protectyourmove.gov and you can download a moving checklist, videos showing you what red flags to watch for, and to confirm a mover or brokers registration with FMCSA. You can also view complaints against companies.
To file a complaint against a company regulated by FMCSA, visit the agency’s National Consumer Complaints Database (NCCDB) https://nccdd.fmcsa.dot.go
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