Today, the FMCSA announced it has put the brakes on three Chicago-area household goods carriers by revoking or suspending the companies operating authority because of “serious violations of safety and commercial regulations.”
In addition to having their operating authority suspended or revoked, the companies face thousands in civil penalties.
In 2012, the FMCSA created a Moving Fraud Task Force shortly after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released a report that identified Chicago-area household goods moving companies that had received numerous consumer complaints, including holding customers’ shipments hostage until additional charges were paid. The FMCSA Task Force began investigating the companies listed in the Senate Committee’s report. That investigation led to the shut down of the following companies:
- Aurora, Ill.-based White Glove Relocation Services, Inc. (USDOT No. 2069670) was ordered shut down for safety violations. The company’s operating authority has also been suspended for holding customers’ shipments hostage. The company has been assessed civil penalties totaling $56,300 for commercial violations (holding shipments hostage, misleading advertising, billing clients excessive charges for moves) and $2,070 for safety violations (failing to implement a random drug and alcohol testing program, using a driver not medically qualified). The company is currently not allowed to operate in interstate commerce.
- Cicero, Ill.-based Able Moving, Inc. (does business as Father & Sons Moving Service) (USDOT No. 1418141) had its operating authority suspended for holding customers’ shipments hostage. The company has been assessed civil penalties totaling $20,000 for commercial violations (holding shipments hostage) and $2,000 for safety violations (failing to implement a random drug and alcohol testing program). The company is currently not allowed to operate in interstate commerce.
- Chicago-based Best Price Moving & Storage (USDOT No. 693651) was ordered shut down for safety violations. The company was allowed to resume operations after it fulfilled a corrective action plan. The company has been assessed civil penalties totaling $15,900 for commercial violations (billing clients excessive charges for moves, false documents purporting to release the carrier from liability) and $5,530 for safety violations (failure to maintain driver qualification files, failure to maintain drivers’ duty status records). The company has been assigned a federal safety rating of “Conditional” and FMCSA will monitor its safety compliance.
“Unscrupulous moving companies are on notice that any attempt to take advantage of customers will get them shut down, period,” said Senate Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV. “The practices we uncovered of Internet moving brokers and some moving companies were appalling – particularly in the way they exploited vulnerable consumers, who often had no way of fighting back once they got caught in a predatory scheme. Today FMCSA is proving once again that they’re willing to do what it takes to kick the worst actors out of the marketplace.”
“Moving is stressful enough without families having to worry whether or not their possessions will arrive safely,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The Department of Transportation is cracking down on dishonest movers and working hard to educate families on how to avoid them in the first place.”