Two Arizona-based moving companies are facing consumer-fraud lawsuits from the state’s Attorney General, Tom Horne.
The lawsuits allege that 3 Gorillas Moving and Storage LLC in Tuscon, and Allstars Movers and Storage Inc. in Phoenix, engaged in practices that were deceptive, misleading, and just plain false.
Both companies are charged with falsely representing the costs of their services, demanding payment when reaching a destination, and refusing to unload trucks unless customers paid up. Both companies also provided unfair claims processes for items that were lost or damaged.
The defendants in each lawsuit will have to pay restitution for customers if they are charged, in addition to fines of $10,000, per violation of the Consumer Fraud Act.
Allstars Movers go by several names, according to the Arizona attorney general’s office, including Allstar Moving and Storage, Inc., Allways Moving and Storage, Easymoveaz, Allstar Moving and Storage, Allstars Movers, Movers and a Truck, and The Moving and Storage Co.
This isn’t the first moving scam the state has experienced. In 2013, a Florence, AZ, moving company, Moving Network USA, tried to swindle upstate New York transplant Tammy Golden out of $3,000.
Before arriving in her new city, Golden was informed that her moving truck was over the weight limit and that she would have to pay the exorbitant charge to get her items back. Personal and corporate moves alike involve extensive planning and checklists, so home and business owners often find themselves unprepared for additional charges, especially those in the range that Golden was asked for.
Fearing the loss of her family heirlooms but not believing the phone call, she contacted the FBI and the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures to verify the claim.
Sure enough, Golden was informed of the scam. The driver of the truck was arrested and Golden was able to get her items back without paying a ransom for them.
Even as recently as June of this year, other Arizona customers have had their personal items withheld under bogus circumstances. Erna Pontillo of Gilbert, AZ, was told by her moving company that her items would be placed into storage if she wasn’t present to receive them, preventing her from starting a job in her new city.
Authorities from the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures warn consumers against hiring a random moving company over the internet. The department also cautions customers to beware of cheap deals that seem too good to be true.
Sean Marquez, acting director of Weights and Measures, told reporters, “I’d hate to be Captain Obvious — but if it’s too good to be true, it is, on a move. Trust me.”
Reputable movers should provide in-home estimates for items involved in the move, and they shouldn’t ask for a down payment or cash only. Per federal regulations, movers must also present their clients with a copy of a booklet titled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”
Individuals who may have encountered fraudulent movers are encouraged to contact the state’s Weights and Measures Department; they can also file complaints with the Better Business Bureau.