Phoenix - Dozens of southern Arizona residents have complained to us about moving companies. The most common complaint: Their estimate was low-balled so the company would get their business. Then, once the mover had their stuff on its truck, the bill doubled, or tripled, even quadrupled.
One of those customers is Karen Barbera. She told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “My original estimate was $15,000 to $17,000, and the final portion of just the moving was over $34,000."
Attorney General Mark Brnovich supports a proposed law that would tighten the noose on crooked movers. Brnovich says, “What we want to do is prevent unscrupulous moving companies from holding goods that they may have transported, hostage.”
Brnovich is referring to House Bill 2145, which would no longer allow movers to refuse to deliver customer's items during a billing dispute. If they do, the customer could call police to get their stuff delivered.
Brnovich said, “And unless you agree to pay some exorbitant amount of money, they won't give you your property back. And we all know that's wrong.”
The bill would also make moving companies accurately disclose all fees, charges and rates, and how much its insurance will cover if items are lost or damaged. In other words, no more vague contracts or ridiculous low-ball estimates.
As we reported last October, the A.G. won a Consumer Fraud suit against a Tucson moving company, 3 Gorillas Moving and Storage, after the judge found the company, "Engaged in deceptive practices." 3 Gorillas was ordered to pay almost $16,000 to seven customers, plus an $18,000 fine to the state.
I have heard through news reports like yours and through other consumer reports, this has been going on for years.
State Representative Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) proposed the bill.
Weninger told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, “We're not going to dictate how they do business, but we're not going to just let them steal from people, either. And it's amazing when I talk to people and they say, 'That happened to my grandma, that happened to my brother. It's happening to a lot of people.”
“Movers have a bad reputation sometimes”, says Erin Vincent, who with her husband John own a Tucson-based
moving company that has an excellent reputation. "Delivery Doctors" also has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. They say they welcome the proposed bill.
Erin Vincent said of the proposed bill, “I support that a hundred percent. I believe in being fully transparent prior to providing moving services for our customers”
Brnovich adds, “We should all be on the side of protecting consumers and going after crooks, cheats and fraudsters.”
The bill is scheduled to be discussed next week in the House Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Weninger. We'll keep you posted as it winds its way through the legislature. Weninger and the attorney general expect it to pass. If it does, it would take effect 90 days after it's signed by the governor.
As the attorney general told us, “Legitimate movers have nothing to worry about."
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