The Notice of Violation issued to each public mover carries a civil penalty of $2,500 for violations of the Public Movers & Warehousemen Licensing Act, N.J.S.A. 45:14D-1 et seq. and the Regulations Governing Public Movers and Warehousemen, N.J.A.C. 13:44D-1 et seq. The public movers have the opportunity to become licensed with the Division within 30 days and have the civil penalties reduced by 50%.
The Division conducted the undercover sting in November 2015, with the moving companies responding to a moving job at a location in Pequannock Township, Morris County. Agencies assisting with the operation included the New Jersey State Police Mobile Safety Freight Unit; Pequannock Township Police Department; Morris County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Unit; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Mobile Safety Freight Unit of the New Jersey State Police found 95 violations during mechanical inspections of the moving vans and trucks, with one truck impounded. Five individuals were arrested on outstanding warrants.
“Consumers entrust movers with their possessions, and as this investigation shows, there are moving companies out there that are undeserving of this trust,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “We’re giving these companies an opportunity to come into compliance with our laws or else cease operations.”
“Consumers need to do their homework before hiring a moving company in order to avoid fraud,” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “Consumers should beware of low-ball pricing and always make sure the moving company is licensed by the State.”
State law requires all intrastate movers (those performing residential moves that both begin and end in New Jersey) to be licensed by the Division of Consumer Affairs. These movers must also protect consumers’ goods by maintaining cargo liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage insurance. They must register each moving vehicle they use in New Jersey, and keep the vehicles properly marked and insured, in compliance with State regulations. Movers also must provide consumers with a written estimate of the costs of the move. There are approximately 300 licensed intrastate movers in New Jersey.
The companies issued a Notice of Violation are as follows:
The moving companies were found through advertising on internet postings and online message boards.
Advice for Consumers:
Before hiring a mover, review the tips available from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. They include the following:
Investigators Murat Botas, Vincent Buonanno, Oscar Mejia, Barby Menna, Ray Yee and Luis Zuniga of the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection, conducted this investigation.
Deputy Attorneys General Erin M. Greene and Russell M. Smith, Jr. of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in this matter.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint online at the Division’s website, www.njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.