New Jersey’s acting attorney general and the Division of Consumer Affairs fined 26 unlicensed moving companies $2,500 each in an undercover sting operation, according to state officials.
“Operation Mother’s Attic” focused on moving companies that solicited intrastate moves—from point to point within New Jersey—without a state license, a violation of New Jersey law.
The 26 companies were cited by the state for these intrastate violations, two of those companies face additional civil penalties of $25,000 from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration because they allegedly performed interstate moves without proper licensing, and two moving company employees were arrested by immigrations and customs officers due to outstanding warrants.
“Horror stories about predatory movers are all too common,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “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.
“These situations create the potential for abuse. We are enforcing New Jersey’s licensing laws in order to protect consumers and, just as importantly, to ensure a level playing field for New Jersey’s many honest and licensed moving companies.”
The sting operation took place from Nov. 19 through 22, 2013, according to Hoffman’s office.
State Consumer Affairs investigators posed as consumers seeking to make an ordinary household move and booked appointments with suspected unlicensed movers who solicited work with online listings.
The unlicensed movers sent crews to a self-storage facility in Ledgewood, and unwittingly into the second phase of the sting, officials said. Upon arriving at the self-storage site, the unlicensed movers were confronted by investigators from Consumer Affairs and FMCSA, agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a transportation compliance unit of the New Jersey State Police.
Approximately 290 moving companies are currently licensed to perform intrastate moves in New Jersey, officials said. The Division of Consumer Affairs received 89 formal consumer complaints about moving companies in 2013.
“The goal of this undercover operation is to bring these moving companies into compliance with the law, or keep them out of our State – to protect New Jersey’s consumers, and to ensure a competitive playing field for New Jersey’s 290 duly licensed moving companies,” said Director of The Division of Consumer Affairs Eric Kanefsky. “In addition, we have become one of the first states to join with the U.S. Department of Transportation in a partnership that will enable the Division of Consumer Affairs to enforce federal laws pertaining to interstate movers.”
Under state law, all movers who operate intrastate must be licensed by consumer affairs. State-licensed movers must protect consumer goods by maintaining cargo liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage insurance, according to officials.
“Unscrupulous movers that attempt to evade consumer protection regulations are often as likely to disregard safety requirements that serve to protect everyone traveling on our highways and roads,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “We are pleased to be a partner with the state of New Jersey’s Attorney General’s Office to bring the weight of state and federal consequences upon rogue movers that run outside the rules of law.”
The companies who have been charged:
- 2 Men and a Truck, of Garfield
- 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
- D&D Moving & Delivery, aka NNJ Moving Help, of Palisades Park
- Deliveries Made Correct Enterprise, LLC, aka Budget Movers, of East Orange
- E.J. Mayer Transportation Systems, Inc., d/b/a EJ Mayer Moving, of Westwood
- 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
- M4U Inc., d/b/a Moving For You, of Ridgefield
- Metro Movers, LLC, of Jersey City
- Morristown Moving Services, LLC d/b/a M.M.S Delivery Service, aka MMS Moving Service, LLC, of Waldwick
- Moving Help, aka A1 Movers, of Parsippany
- Plantwurx aka Van & a Man, of Fort Lee
- Practical Movers, Inc., aka South Jersey Movers, Inc., of Philadelphia, P.A.
- Shamrock Moving & Storage, Inc., of Galloway
- TLC Movers, LLC, of Marlboro
Cardinal Moving and Shamrock Moving & Storage also face $25,000 federal civil penalties.
- Call the Division of Consumer Affairs 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.
- 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.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.