7 On Your Side
New Jersey mover found guilty of bait and switch schemes
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Kicked out of the state and facing a multi-million dollar fine. That's what happened to a New Jersey moving company found guilty of destroying and holding customers possessions hostage in exchange for jacked up rates.
New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs has conducted stings to bust unlicensed movers that uncovered weapons, arrest warrants and wanted men.
But according to the department's director, no mover has been more egregious than Progressive Movers, found guilty by default judgment for a variety of predatory bait and switch schemes, including what employees allegedly told an young female client who balked after add on charges quadrupled her bill.
"The only way that we'll give you the $210 is if you sleep with me and the foreman," she said.
"The inference was that she could perform sexual acts for them and that just shows how despicable these guys were," said Eric Kanefsky, director of New Jersey's Division of Consumer Affairs.
Director Kanefsky says the owners of Progessive, which also operated as ABC Packing Supplies, had multiple aliases and changed the company name frequently to avoid getting caught, but their luck ran out.
"They're going to have $21 million in fines, penalties as a result of well over a thousand violations of state law," said Kanefsky.
He says the movers would advertise a low price, then charge thousands in bogus extras, like walking up steps or inflated travel time. When customers complained, they say the movers would simply drive off with their stuff.
"You better make sure you know who you're giving those possession to, and you better do your due diligence upfront," said Kanefsky.
Be alert that what you sign is a "binding" estimate, a written agreement made in advance with your mover that clearly describes all services provided, guaranteeing the total cost of the move.
A "non binding" estimate cost can balloon based on the actual weight of your shipment or additional services, like packing.
Make sure the moving company comes to your home to itemize contents and get 3 written estimates for comparison.
We attempted to get in touch with Progressive Movers and ABC Packing Supplies, but no luck.
State investigators say they've packed up and moved on without a trace and failed to show up at their own hearing.
Remember, always hire a licensed and insured mover.
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