Moving Into Trouble When Leaving Town

Bogus moving companies looking for victims

By Bob Hansen
|  Friday, May 21, 2010  |  Updated 8:57 PM PDT
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Moving Into Trouble When Leaving Town

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Moving Into Trouble When Leaving Town

Franky Traslavina planned his move from San Diego to Arkansas for months. Everything was going fine until the moving company showed up.
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Franky Traslavina planned his move from San Diego to Arkansas for months. Everything was going fine until the moving company showed up. 

Earlier, Traslavina had found the company online and agreed to a moving charge of just under $1,000. After the movers filled their truck with his belongings, however, everything changed. The movers claimed Traslavina had more than they expected and that the $1,000 fee was now $12,000. He said he couldn't pay that, so they dropped the fee to $8,000.

"It's still not what they quoted me, so it's way to much money, " Traslavina said. "So at that point I was like, 'I'm not going to pay this. I don't want to deal with it. Just take my stuff off of the truck."

But the movers refused to do that, too. They told Traslavina that he would have to pay half of their fee, $4,000, to get his stuff back. 

"They weren't going to give it back to me unless I paid it then and there," Traslavina said.

Traslavina was frustrated and tired. In a weak moment, he paid the men the $4,000, and they unloaded his truck.

"He should have called the police," said San Diego Assistant City Attorney Tricia Pummill. 

Pummill points out that summer is a busy time for families who are moving across the state and the country. She said that it's a prime time for scam artists, too.

"You can't take this lightly," Pummill said. "This is an important thing -- all your belongs are on this truck. You want to make sure you know what you are doing."

Pummill said that consumers need to get a written estimate before they start their move. Verbal agreements or e-mails are not legal. Customers need to check to see if a company is licensed, and if they can, they should deal with local moving companies and visit their office. Finally, ask for references and check them out.

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