PHOENIX, AZ -- 'Tis the season for moving, whether it's across town or across the country. Every year about 36-million people move. Those kinds of numbers mean schemers have a lot of people to choose from.
Our news partners at KPNX know the moving schemes all too well. They worked with the state's Department of Weights and Measures to stop Mid Movers right before workers unloaded a woman's belongings.
"Oh gosh, this has been the worst experience I have ever had moving."
The woman had been waiting 5 weeks for her furniture to arrive. She was quoted $1,500 for her move from Indiana.
And now she's told - she'll have to pay double that - $3,000 because the movers claim she had more stuff than they expected. On top of that they flat out refused to pack her bed. She called police and they called Weights and Measures.
Mid Movers out of Illinois has been on the state's radar, accused of jacking up prices for customers and even holding furniture hostage until the higher price was paid. Weights and Measures wasn't about to let it happen to another customer.
'A lot of times people think it's a civil matter and don't call the police and the paperwork is civil - you have to fight that in court -- but the failure to release property is now a theft charge. It's a federal offense"
Investigators with the state agency weighed the cargo and it just didn't add up to $3,000 worth of moving charges so they held them to the original amount: $1500.
When we confronted the movers, this is what we got: "This is going to be on Youtube? It's going to get 1 million views right away, guaranteed!"
They joked about it - despite the fact that these movers didn't have a license plate - and their paperwork was a mess.
"I don't have nothing to talk to you about what about the paperwork? You can ask the officer everything, he approved it ..ask him."
We did ask Weights and Measures and they're going to turn their findings over to the feds to investigate Mid Movers. As for our victim she worked through a broker to hire this company, but she'll never do that again.
" I think we see things - bad things on the news and we never think it will happen. But if it was too good to be true, I guess. Lesson learned."
There are three questions you should ask and research before hiring a moving company:
Does the company have a physical address?It's really hard to track someone or some business down without it.
Is there licensing information? Check the state's corporation Commission website. Is the company a member of the Better Business Bureau or the American Moving and Storage Association?
Like any other major service you need to get estimates from 3 companies. They physically need to come to your house to do this. While they're there, ask about extra charges and check online reviews and get references from past customers.