LEBANON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Their stuff was packed, loaded, but not delivered at the agreed-upon price. Women said moving companies took them for a ride.
Two local companies were hit with accusations Monday of their workers holding clients’ belongings hostage until they paid up extra money — or traded something better.
Darcy Gilson said moving into her home was a nightmare.
“It was degrading and it was demoralizing,” Gilson said.
Gilson said Progressive Movers, of Paterson, N.J., promised her a great deal. They first quoted her $425 for her move from Morristown, but then upped it to $895. Gilson said once they got to her new home in Lebanon the movers held her furniture for ransom, demanding more than $1,200 for packing supplies Gilson claimed the movers never used.
“I feel as if this is extortion. They’re not going to open the truck. They’re not going to let me get my things out,” Gilson told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez on Thursday night.
Gilson said she paid to free her belongings, only to find the movers caused more than $7,000 in damage to her valuables, including a grandfather clock and an antique mirror.
“You really need to be careful who you hire. The best price isn’t always the best move,” Gilson said.
It turns out Gilson was not the only victim. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is suing Progressive Movers and ABC Packing Services for duping 87 customers with the same bait-and-switch scam. A judge has now ordered both companies to temporarily shut down.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg talks to a scorned customer
Another alleged victim, who asked only to be identified as “Hillary,” told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg the movers offered to charge her less, if she had sex with them.
“They won’t do something for me unless I do something for them,” Hillary said.
Hillary said she was originally quoted $210 to move from Summit to Morristown. The companies were, again, Progressive Movers and Lodi-based ABC Packing Services, Sandberg reported.
However, with her stuff still on the truck, the 27-year-old said the movers demanded $1,100 cash, or they’d hold her belongings.
When she told them she did not have the money, Hillary told Sandberg the movers said if she slept with one of them and the foreman, she’d only have to pay the $210.
“It’s not only wrong in terms of ripping people off with money, but putting people in unsafe circumstance where I felt like my life could have been in danger,” she added.
Hillary paid the movers the extra cash, Sandberg reported.
A lawsuit has been filed by N.J. Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs against b0th moving companies.
“The State has no tolerance for unscrupulous movers who hold consumers’ property hostage as a form of extortion,” Chiesa said. “We are committed to cleaning up the marketplace to ensure a fair and safe environment for anyone seeking to hire a mover, and to protect the interests of the many movers who operate honestly and in compliance with the law.”
There will be a hearing on June 15 to see whether the businesses should remain shut down.
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.
Have you ever been the victim of a moving company scam? Let us know below.