Senate Committee Wants Strong Action against Illegitimate Movers and Brokers

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee made up of U.S. Senators raised concerns about the role of online moving brokers as not making it clear to the consumers that they are nothing more than middlemen. In addition, the committee released a staff report on the role of unscrupulous brokers. The CEO and President of AMSA, Linda Bauer Darr called these businesses to be deceitful rogue groups that pose as legal movers and brokers in front of consumers.

The report, created after 1 year of investigation revealed that consumers are constantly puzzled by the methods used by brokers to source customers, provide estimates and arrange the moves. The report also noted that the ‘deposits’ asked from the customers are in fact their own fees and they usually offer “binding estimates” that can result in price fluctuation for customers based upon several factors.

The investigation by the committee especially paid attention to two carriers – Best Price Moving & Storage and Able Moving, and two brokers – Budget Van Lines and Nationwide Relocation Services. The unique thing is that these 4 players are nonmembers to the AMSA. According to Reana Kovalcik, a victim of this online trap and switch method, she received a quote of around $900 from a broker by the name of World Wide Van Lines for moving from Chicago to New York City.

However, she was stunned to find another mover, Able Moving showing up with a price tag of $2,000 for her move. Interestingly, the broker and the mover are not affiliated with the AMSA. According to Chairman of the Committee, Jay Rockefeller, the situation that Kovalcik had to face was nothing less than “extortion.” According to him, the companies promoting themselves on the internet as movers are causing harm to the consumers and the reputation of the moving industry where most of the movers work by the law and offer good services and fair prices to their customers.

The Chairman added that it is required to increase the efforts with regard to ending these frauds by different methods including implementation of tougher laws or educating the consumers. He further added that regulators and law enforcers need to be given more power to grab hold of these so called brokers and movers and stop their illegitimate business.