NEWARK – Over this past year, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has been investigating unlicensed movers who were allegedly targeting Asian and Latino communities in New Jersey, often through foreign language newspapers. As part of this initiative, the Division is announcing the issuance of Notices of Violation to eight different moving companies. Each of these companies is being cited because it solicited customers or performed moving services in New Jersey, without being licensed by the Division of Consumer Affairs, as required by law.
The unlicensed moving companies cited by the Division targeted either predominantly Korean-speaking or Spanish-speaking communities, largely focusing on consumers who spoke little, if any, English. All eight of these cited companies have been assessed civil penalties, with the option to challenge these penalties or seek licensure.
“Moving from one residence to another can be a stressful and expensive experience, and can be even more difficult for those who do not speak English well,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “These consumers are largely unaware that these unlicensed companies are in violation of the law and are avoiding requirements designed to protect consumers from fraud and deceit.”
“It is unacceptable for unlicensed moving companies to target those who do not speak English as their primary language.” said Steve Lee, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. “The Division of Consumer Affairs will do everything it can to stop unlicensed and illegally operating moving companies from taking advantage of these consumers.”
The eight companies issued Notices of Violation were identified either through internet postings or newspaper advertisements in which moving services were advertised exclusively in Spanish or Korean. For example, the advertisement for one unlicensed mover, Valverde’s Moving, advertised mover’s services in “El Cambio,” a Spanish-language publication that is circulated in New Jersey, despite the fact that Valverde’s Moving is not licensed as a public mover in the State. The eight companies who were issued Notices of Violations are as follows, with the owner and/or company official as noted:
Each Notice of Violation requires that the company pay a civil penalty of $2,500. The civil penalty can be reduced to $1,250 if the company submits an application to the Division for a Public Mover’s license within 15 days.
Investigator Vincent Buonanno in the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.
Advice for Consumers:
Before hiring a mover, review the tips available from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. They include:
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.