Second woman says she was overcharged on move

April 22, 2010 3:56:03 PM PDT
We have an update to a story we told you yesterday about how a $99 move turned into a charge of thousands of dollars for one Houston woman. It turns out, she is not alone. The company called 99 Dollar Movers advertises flat rates and no hidden fees, but those who have called the company say before their move is over, they are forced to pay thousands of dollars.

We told you about Selena Tristan who called 99 Dollar Movers recently. The company that actually showed up to move her stuff was AAA Best Rates Moving. After Tristan signed a contract and her furniture was loaded into a truck, she says the price changed.

Tristan said, "He handed me a contract for $4,441."

Now Courtney Harton is telling a similar story.

She said, "I called an ad that I saw online, $99 for three hours, $33 an hour for each additional hour."

Harton says when the movers loaded her furniture and arrived at her home, the $99 price was suddenly much more.

"Before they unloaded the truck, he came into the house and said, 'Here is what you owe,'" Harton recalled. "It was a little less than $4,000."

Just like Tristan, Harton called 99 Dollar Movers.

Harton said, "He said, 'Oh, we sold your contract. They can do whatever they want,' and hung up on me."

The firm that moved Tristan was AAA Best Rates Moving, owned by William Johnson from New York City. The firm that moved Harton was Johnson Movers, also owned by William Johnson, but the company is based out of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. We looked for both businesses in the Texas database for moving companies and found no registrations for either company.

Harton did manage to snap a few pictures of her movers. She says one shot shows a moving truck with no state registration number. That's a clear violation of state law, according the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

Roger Daniel, owner of 2 Men & a Truck, explained, "This is the Texas DOT number. This is what allows you to be regulated and operate in the state of Texas."

We asked, "Every truck has to have one of these?"

Daniel said, "Everyone has to have one."

Daniel owns 2 Men and a Truck and is member of the Greater Houston Movers Association. Daniel says consumers should use caution if do not see the registration number and cannot verify the company is licensed with the state.

So far we have heard of at least three people who were charged thousands of dollars for a move that they thought would only cost $99. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles could write citations of up to $15,000 for not being registered, but there are just 7 DMV officers statewide, including just one in Houston. Meanwhile local police are saying these actions are drawing their attention and local officers will start scrutinizing these trucks more closely if they are called to a home in the future.


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