BALTIMORE, Md. - More people are saying they are the victims of a moving company with a poor record of service.
Public Moving Services, LLC has more than 70 complaints through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, and 20 plus complaints with the North Carolina Office of the Attorney General.
Lexi Hull of Arnold, Md., said she’s been waiting nearly two months for her belongings. They were picked up by Public Moving Services, LLC movers on July 28 in San Diego with an estimated delivery date in Maryland around August 4. Hull hasn't been able to get an answer on where her family’s stuff is being stored or when they'll get their items back.
“It did not occur to me that I was going to arrive here, and eight weeks later have no items,” said Hull.
She did some research on the company but didn’t immediately see the red flags.
“We're really concerned at this point that we've just lost our things. What's more concerning is that until we prove our items are either lost or stolen, we can't do anything,” Hull said.
ABC2 was also contacted by a disabled veteran in Florida who was given a quote of $16,000 but then on moving day the price went to nearly $20,000. Another woman in Philadelphia paid the company $12,000 and said it’s been two months, and she still hasn't seen her stuff.
Outside of Public Moving Services, there are other nightmare moving stories, including moving companies that hold items hostage.
“Meaning, I quoted you this price for the move but we're going to up it to release your goods,” said Angie Barnett, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Greater Maryland.
In Maryland, this practice is illegal but only applies to moves within the state.
If you're moving across state borders, the FMCSA is the oversight agency. And if you're a victim of moving fraud, the first thing you'll need to do is file a complaint with them.
Next, you’re advised to file a police report in the state where the theft or incident occurred. Also, notify the state attorney general in the state you moved from, the state you moved to, and the state where the business is located.
Most importantly, research the company's BBB rating, check that they have a U.S. Department of Transportation license, search reviews online, and be observant.
“When they show up, do they have professional moving vehicles that are name-branded? Is the name on their shirts, their business cards, their contracts?,” said Barnett.
The extra legwork is worth the additional protection.
“When you're moving to a new place you want to feel established, and you want to feel settled and I think even for my kids, it was important to have my things and we don't have that. It's made this transition really hard on them,” said Hull.
FMCSA provides a moving checklist along with detailed information on vetting moving companies on ProtectYourMove.gov. The checklist includes 20 plus tasks for consumers to better ensure they’re protected from moving fraud. To access the checklist, click here.
FMCSA is currently investigating Public Moving Services, LLC. The company recently changed its name to Your Moving Company, LLC.
The North Carolina Office of the Attorney General is also investigating the company. Their listed address is in Charlotte, NC. According to a spokeswoman, the Office sent a Civil Investigative Demand. The company was required to comply with that demand by September 25. They did not. The Office is continuing to investigate and has spoken with other members of law enforcement and shared information.
Movingscam.com also provides consumers with advice on finding a reputable moving company.
If you have a matter for Mallory, she wants to hear from you. You can email her at Mallory@wmar.com.