Dealing with Movers Who Won’t Show Up — and Then Overcharge

(WSVN) - To put it bluntly, moving is no fun. A great mover can make it easier. A mover who wants more money and won’t deliver till you pay it can make it a nightmare. But there are things you can do, and it’s one reason we have Help Me Howard With Patrick Fraser.

When it comes to moving, Jeffrey and his family have become experts.

Jeffrey Parker: “In the last six years, we’ve lived probably between 12 and 13 states.”

And when you move 12 or 13 times, you learn a lot about moving companies.

Jeffrey Parker: “We know what’s acceptable with a moving company and what’s not acceptable.”

Jeffrey knew to get the binding estimate in writing — in this case, it was $1,636 — and he knew to pack everything himself to save money.

Jeffrey Parker: “Just got everything properly prepared for the move.”

On the day of the move from New Jersey to Broward County, the movers didn’t show up. Jeffrey had to get to South Florida, so his nephew stayed behind to meet with the movers … who did arrive a few days later.

Jeffrey Parker: “He told me, ‘They came and they picked up the belongings. I signed for it, everything was OK.'”

Well, everything was not OK.

Jeffrey Parker: “Approximately 31 telephone calls. I have not received my belongings.”

Thirty-one attempts to get the South Florida movers to deliver his furniture. Five times they scheduled a delivery at his house. Five times they didn’t show up.

Jeffrey Parker: “So I’ve had to miss a total of five days of work.”

Jeffrey then went to the movers’ office in Tamarac, where he got another surprise.

Jeffrey Parker: “So they pulled up in the computer and showed me, ‘Oh, this is your contract. You signed for this.’ I told him, ‘Absolutely no. I have never seen that contract before.'”

The contract was the one his nephew signed that showed a price of $2,444 dollars. The original contract Jeffrey signed was for $1,636.

He felt trapped.

Jeffrey Parker: “They’re just holding all of my belongings hostage.”

Jeffrey had to pay the higher price to get his furniture delivered. And in another bad sign, the movers would not accept a credit card, only cash.

Jeffrey Parker: “He said, ‘This is the way we’re going to do it,’ and he used profanity on several different instances.”

After so many good moves, Jeffrey had a bad one.

Jeffrey Parker: “I’m very upset, very upset.”

Well, Howard, is Jeffrey bound by the contract he signed, or the higher-priced one his nephew signed?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “He only has to pay the lower price from the contract he signed. The contract his nephew signed is not binding on him. Now, since this was a state-to-state move, the federal government requires the movers to go to forced mandatory arbitration to allow Jeffrey to try to get back the $800 extra he had to pay, or Jeffrey can take them to small claims court.”

We went to the moving company’s office. I could hear them inside, but I guess they couldn’t hear me knocking.

Later a company employee called us and said it appeared they had to return Jeffrey’s $800, but they have not done it yet. We will let you know if they do.

Howard Finkelstein: “Also check to see if the owner has shut down and reopened under different names. That’s a bad sign. Of course, you get a binding estimate in writing, and be careful of the low ball figure, because they’re going to get more money from you one way or the other.”

Jeffrey doesn’t think he will ever have an irritating move again, because hopefully he’ll never move again.

Jeffrey Parker: “We’re getting close to retirement age, so we don’t want to do the moving any longer.”

There are a lot of good movers, of course. Do a little research before you hire one, and if the mover wants cash instead of a credit card, that’s a red flag, because with a credit card, you can dispute the extra charges. If you pay with cash, it’s tougher to get your money back.

Need more tips on how to hire a mover and how to file a complaint? That info is at the end of this Help Me Howard story.

A bad move left you with a big problem? Don’t pack it in. Transport it to us. Hopefully we can unload a legal solution and wrap things up for you.

Link for state-to-state moves

Link for moves within Florida

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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