Sheriff: Woman victimized by moving company

May 18, 2010 11:26:22 AM PDT
Officials have a warning for anyone planning to hire a mover, after a woman says she was the victim of fraud. On Saturday, deputies of the Fort Bend County Sheriff's office began an investigation of moving companies, Low Pro Movers and Trinity Moving, based out of Portland, Maine, for alleged deceptive trade practices.

According to the victim, she contacted Low Pro Movers advertised on Craig's List, to move her personal belongings from one apartment to another within the same apartment complex. Low Pro Movers quoted her a price of $80 for the first two hours, $40 for every additional hour and an additional cost of $20 for having to go down a set of stairs.

Officials say the movers wrapped and removed all the woman's belongings from the three bedroom apartment and loaded everything onto their truck. At that time they presented the victim with a bill from Trinity Moving for $7,684. She was reportedly told to pay the amount in full before the truck could be unloaded. When the victim disputed the cost, she was told if she did not pay the amount in full her property would be taken to the state of Maine for storage.

Detectives with the Fort Bend County Sheriff's office continue to investigate this incident of potential fraud and are also asking anyone who has been a victim of a similar incident to contact the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office at 281-341-4665.

Here are some tips for finding a trustworthy moving company:

  • Research the company thoroughly. Check the mover's credentials. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify at www.protectyourmove.gov. Also check the company's rating with your BBB; BBB maintains more than 17,000 reliability reports on movers across North America. Having at least a satisfactory BBB rating is one of seven screenings that AMSA relies on when authorizing its interstate mover members to display the ProMover logo, the sign of a quality, professional mover which has pledged to abide by the organization's Code of Ethics.
  • Get at least three in-home estimates. No legitimate mover will offer to give you a firm estimate on-line or over the phone. Also keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer which can cost you more in the end.
  • Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer with both the state you currently reside in and where you are moving to. Also enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or decides to hold your belongings hostage.
  • For more tips and information on how to choose a mover and plan your move check out American Moving & Storage Association's consumer website, www.moving.org; and the U.S. Department of Transportation's site, www.protectyourmove.gov. To research a mover or find your nearest Better Business Bureau, visit www.bbb.org.


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