PUBLIC SAFETY: State authorities have fined 26 unlicensed moving companies that they said violated state laws $2,500 each, following a sting operation.
In addition, two of the companies — one of them from Wayne — face additional civil penalties of $25,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which participated in the state-led sting.
The fined companies from Bergen County:
- Plantwurx aka Van & a Man, of Fort Lee
- D&D Moving & Delivery, aka NNJ Moving Help, of Palisades Park
- M4U Inc., d/b/a Moving For You, of Ridgefield
- Morristown Moving Services, LLC d/b/a of Waldwick
- E.J. Mayer Transportation Systems, Inc., d/b/a EJ Mayer Moving, of Westwood
- 2 Men and a Truck, of Garfield (which also faces the $25,000 federal fine)
Two moving company employees were arrested by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers for outstanding warrants.
State Police also condemned one moving company’s truck for dangerous safety violations, including severely worn tires and oil leaks.
Despite a state requirement that moving companies keep their vehicles properly registered and insured, seven unlicensed moving companies were found using rental trucks or trailers from U-Haul, Budget, or other rental companies.
Eight of the unlicensed movers had listings on Craigslist. Five had listings on Angie’s List. Nine used their own websites.
The rest were listed in online third-party moving websites or other Internet venues.
All of it proves that “an attractive online listing does not mean a company is licensed or reputable,” NJ Division of Consumer Affairs Director Eric Kanefsky said.
During “Operation Mother’s Attic,” investigators led by the DCA posed as consumers looking to make an ordinary household move and booking appointments with suspected unlicensed movers who solicited business online, Acting State Attorney General John J. Hoffman said this morning.
The investigators sent each of the moving crews to a self-storage facility in Ledgewood — where they were confronted by state detectives, the transportation compliance unit of the New Jersey State Police and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“By its very nature, the moving industry touches the lives of consumer when they are vulnerable and when they must rely on strangers to transport their valued possessions,” Hoffman said. “These situations create the potential for abuse.”
In fact, he said, the investigation began after the DCA received 89 formal complaints about moving companies in 2013.
In the interest of ensuring a level playing field, the state has entered into a partneship with the U.S. Department of Transportation in a partnership that allows it to enforce federal interstate transportation laws.
Nearly 300 moving companies in New Jersey are properly licensed with the DCA move belongings from point to point within New Jersey, he said.
The licenses require them to protect consumer goods by maintaining cargo liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage insurance.
Licensed companies also must maintain a bona fide business address in New Jersey. They must register each moving vehicle they use in the state, and keep the vehicles insured and in compliance with inspection requirements.
Movers also must provide consumers with a written estimate of the cost of the move.
If you’re not sure about a mover, or need more information, contact the DCA at 800-242-5846 to verify the license status of any mover you consider hiring. Ask whether consumer complaints have been filed against the mover.
Be sure to obtain a written estimate from the mover you select. The cost can be estimated on an hourly rate, by weight and miles traveled, or by cubic measurement.
Never pack jewelry, money, or valuable documents with your goods to be moved. The mover is not responsible for items of extraordinary value.
Check your goods as they are being delivered. If any are lost or damaged, notify the mover immediately. A damage claim can be filed up to 90 days after the move date.
Unless you purchase additional coverage, the mover is required to compensate you only up to 60 cents per pound, per article, for damages.
The other fined comopanies:
· A Few Good Guys With a Truck, of East Orange
· Active Moving, Inc., aka Manhattan Movers, aka Best Movers, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
· Alessi Moving, Inc., d/b/a Alessi Moving & Storage, of Stockholm
· Always Moving Services, Inc., aka NYC Affordable Moving, of East Orange
· Blue Star Moving & Storage, LLC, of Paterson
· Cardinal Moving, Inc., of Wayne
· Cheap as Heck Movers, LLC, of East Orange
· Deliveries Made Correct Enterprise, LLC, aka Budget Movers, of East Orange
· Elite Movers, of Paterson
· George’s Moving & Trucking Co., Inc. aka George’s & Son’s Moving, of Rockaway
· Good Life Moving Services, of Orange
· Jaco Movers, LLC, of Middlesex
· Jesus Loves Moving, LLC, of Newark
· Just In Time Moving and Storage, Inc., of Kenilworth
· Lakewood Movers, LLC, of Lakewood
· Metro Movers, LLC, of Jersey City
· Moving Help, aka A1 Movers, of Parsippany
· Practical Movers, Inc., aka South Jersey Movers, Inc., of Philadelphia, P.A.
· Shamrock Moving & Storage, Inc., of Galloway
· TLC Movers, LLC, of Marlboro
Supervising Investigator Murat Botas and Investigators Vincent Buonanno and Oscar Mejia, of the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, conducted the investigation.
Deputy Attorney Natalie Serock and Deputy Attorney General Lorraine Rak, Chief of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section, represented the state.