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Moving Scam Jul 28, 2022

Scam Type

Moving Scam

Business Name Used

Small Move Movers

Date Reported

Jul 28, 2022

Victim Postal Code

33132

Total Dollars Lost

$1,631.00

Scam Description

We hired two movers from the above stated company, and in our primary correspondence with the company received an initial quote for $546 for the total moving job (equating to $99/hr for 3 hours of moving labor + $99/hr for 1 hour of travel time + $75 flat fee for elevator usage + $75 COI for our old apartment = $546), including furniture wrapping + assembling/disassembling if needed. We agreed to this original price and secured the company with a $150 initial deposit, after being told that we would pay the remaining $396 after our furniture had been unloaded in the new apartment. They specifically stated that price fluctuation would have been caused only if the duration of the move exceeded the 3 hours, with us being billed per 15 minute intervals (i.e. 15 more min = additional $24.75). On the day of the move, the two movers arrived 1 hour late, and unprofessionally, smelling of marijuana, and exhibiting physical signs of being under the influence such as having slow reactivity and bloodshot eyes. At this time, we were shown for the first time a printed contract that the mover held, and he would summarize each section without giving us any time to read it thoroughly. We never received our own copy of the contract. After 3 hours of packing and loading the truck at the pickup location, we arrived at the drop-off building, only to discover that the truck they selected was too tall to enter the unloading area. The truck selection was at the discretion of the company, however at the time we reserved the movers, we provided the company a detailed list of the items they would be carrying. The company themselves selected a truck that was much larger than necessary for our items (90% of the truck was still empty after loading). The height of the truck delayed the movers unloading process as they had to park the truck away from the unloading area. Prior to the movers unloading our items, they provided us with the final invoice of the service, equating to $2276 ($1730 more than the original quote), and refused to unload our items unless we paid this amount in cash immediately. The invoice breakdown was literally as follows: • Labor time 5.5h: $519.75 (as we state above, the movers physical condition and the incorrect truck selection made this much longer) • “Shrink warp”: $750 (wrapping was supposed to be included, but only at the time of the invoice we were informed that blanket wrap was included but plastic wrap was not. They never showed up with blankets, they independently and with no consent decided to use plastic wrap. The contract did not state the additional cost of the latter. The amount charged for wrapping appears arbitrary) • “buly item”: $150 (we assume this meant bulky, however we were not provided with any size or weight parameters defining which of our items would be considered bulky. Additionally, they did not weigh or measure our items, so this fee also appears to be arbitrary) 1. Intrastate fuel and mileage: $399 (we are uncertain as to why this fee was included as the pick-up address (1010 SW 2nd Avenue, 33130 Miami, FL) and the drop-off address (698 NE 1st Avenue, 33132, Miami, FL) are only 1.6 miles apart. • Mileage: $60 • OD fee: $150 (We don’t know what this fee is) • Elevator: $75 • COI: $75 We did not possess this amount of money in cash at the time, however we had no choice but to pay the invoice in order to get our furniture unloaded and kept in our possession. We attempted to complete the payment using Zelle. After the transaction initiated, Bank of America notified us that the account to which we initiated the money transfer was “detected suspicious that may be possible fraud or scam”. The movers spoke to their boss who then insisted we immediately call the bank and authorize this transaction. We complied reluctantly, out of the fear of our furniture being taken away from us. After the payment was processed, the movers proceeded to unload the furniture.