The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Moving Fraud Task Force has shut down five household goods moving companies in Florida, South Carolina and Maryland for holding customer shipments hostage and failing to turn over records related to their investigations.
The five movers who lost their authority to operate:
- Allegiant Van Lines, Inc., USDOT No. 1712687, based in Davie, Fla.
- Northern Van Lines, Inc., USDOT No. 1147457, based in Cooper City, Fla.
- Northeastern Vanlines, Inc., USDOT No. 1212003, based in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
- United West Moving and Storage, Inc., USDOT No. 1827150, based in Anderson, S.C.
- Direct Movers, Inc., USDOT No. 1666092, based in Pikesville, Md.
FMCSA’s Moving Fraud Task Force began investigating Allegiant Van Lines in response to consumer complaints that the company illegally held customers’ possessions hostage. The company failed to respond to federal orders charging it with improperly holding hostage goods. The company has been suspended from operating for at least one year. In addition, it has been issued fines of over $88,000 for safety and commercial violations.
During the course of the investigation into Allegiant, FMCSA discovered the company’s owner also operated Northern Van Lines and Northeastern Vanlines and United West Moving and Storage.
Combined, more than 100 complaints have been filed against the three related companies in the National Consumer Complaint Database. They now face fines of over $31,000 total and have also been suspended from operating for at least one year.
Maryland-based Direct Movers was also shut down, and their DOT No. inactivated, for failing to comply with an FMCSA demand for records involving a shipment being held hostage.
In 2012, FMCSA established a Moving Fraud Task Force to investigate household goods moving companies with numerous complaints.
In July of this year, FMCSA announced that civil penalties of up to $56,000 had been levied against three Chicago-area moving companies as a result of an intensified investigation into Illinois movers.
More than 5,800 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA.
In 2012, FMCSA received more than 3,100 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,851 in 2011. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage, loss and damaged goods, delay of shipments, unauthorized movers, and deceptive practices such as unwarranted overcharges.