Cross country move - have I been scammed?
September 22, 2021 12:06 PM   Subscribe

It's been almost three months, and the moving company I hired still has not delivered my stuff. What recourse do I have, if any?

The company I thought I was hiring subcontracted the move twice to other companies. No one is taking responsibility. The contract I signed says that in the event of a dispute, I can go to arbitration after the bill is paid in full. I've paid 2/3 of the bill, with the final installment due upon delivery - and I can't get an ETA on delivery.

When I can actually reach someone in customer service, they say the owner of the company doing the move will contact me, and then they hang up. Needless to say, no one has ever been in touch with me.

There's nothing inherently valuable, but it's all of my personal effects and clothes - stuff with sentimental value.

This is kind of the last straw in a really shitty year, and I'm already sorely regretting all the research I didn't do prior, but what [if anything] can I do now? I can provide more details if you think they would help.

Thank you.
posted by Space Kitty to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Contact the Secretary of State and Attorney General of both states - one of those offices in each state should have a team that handles consumer issues.

These scams are not uncommon and they should have a SOP for dealing with them.
posted by lunasol at 12:21 PM on September 22, 2021 [13 favorites]

This is something that can sometimes be solved by publicity -- can you contact the consumer affairs reporter at your local newspaper and/or TV station(s)? If any of these companies are big enough (like maybe the 1st company) you can try shaming them on social media too. See if that provokes a response.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

I would argue your bill is paid in full. The remaining 1/3 is not yet owed.
posted by Lady Li at 12:45 PM on September 22, 2021 [9 favorites]

Yes, you have been scammed. I would suggest calling the Secretary of State and Attorney General as someone else suggested.

I know it's too late for you now, but for anyone else that is reading always go with a large national company, especially for interstate moves.
posted by WizKid at 1:02 PM on September 22, 2021 [7 favorites]

Ugh, I’ve been there and it sucks. It is indeed a scam, I was lucky enough to realize before they picked up my stuff but still mourn the $700 I essentially gave away.

The good news is, based on most of what I researched, your stuff probably will eventually arrive. Whether or not it will be in good shape is another story, but it will probably get to you!

100% attorney general, Secretary of State, and file a police report for stolen goods. That last one seemed to get a lot of people their items back.

Movingscam.Com has a lot of resources and tips.

You have my unending sympathy—good luck!
posted by nancynickerson at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2021 [4 favorites]

My partner and I had a bad experience with a moving company this summer and we finally got our stuff AND some money back by leaving absolutely scathing reviews on every website I could. Leave them for every moving company that you know the name of who has been subcontracted on Google, Yelp and wherever else you can find.

Also, if it matters to you, watch out when these scam artists finally show up because most people I have heard from have had the movers refuse to wear masks while unloading. Movers need to be regulated. Such a scam industry.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Update:

Thank you so much for all your answers. I'm marking lunasol's best answer because they were the first to direct me to the Secretary of State and Attorney General's offices. Through them, I was ultimately put in touch with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and an investigator has been assigned to the case.

Keep your fingers crossed for a good outcome!
posted by Space Kitty at 1:28 PM on October 4, 2021

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