DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver moving company has been indicted on charges of repeatedly ripping off customers. Prosecutor say the company would give people low quotes, then raise the prices dramatically after the trucks were loaded.
Four people were taken into custody at Federal Court on Thursday. They’re charged with violating 55 counts of Federal law. Each of the defendants could face dozens of years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
The company is called Movers USA. According to a Federal indictment, Movers USA offered “extremely low moving estimates”, took “possession of customer’s personal property”, and then “fraudulently inflating the price” and “withholding delivery” until the customers paid.
The moving company first used the name “A Golden Hand Moving and Storage Company” and has been on the radar of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for quite some time.
“We did meet with the company in 2010 because they had a pattern of complaints then, and they were not accredited with the BBB because of all the concerns we were having with them,” said Suzann Bacon, the Vice President of Operations for the Better Business Bureau.
CBS4 Consumer Investigator Jodi Brooks phoned one of the company’s customers in Mobile, Alabama. Ann Carson says that she was quoted a price of $3,000 for her move.
“When I got here I had to pay him $10,000 to get my furniture here,” Carson told CBS4.
The Federal indictment lists 32 victims. The victims indicate the company jacked up their price as much at 289% in one case, 351% in another, and another was forced to pay 570% more than they were quoted.
RELATED: Federal indictment of Movers USA
In March of 2011, the company notified the BBB that it had gone out of business, and it was now operating under the name Movers USA. The owner hoped to get BBB backing.
“He wanted to have our logo on his materials. We denied him accreditation because of the past issues with ‘A Golden Hand’, “ Bacon explained.
Records show that Movers USA is still operating, although the Federal indictment will likely bring the business to a halt.
When it comes to hiring moving companies, it’s important to do your homework. You can start with the BBB. Movers USA currently has 20 complaints listed on the BBB Web site. You should make sure the company comes to your home to give you an estimate, don’t accept estimates over the phone. Also you should have a complete and thorough contract with the company so that if there is a dispute later you can refer back to the contract for clarification.
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith