How many times have you heard of shady moving companies, who take advantage of consumers? They have been known not to show up on moving day and if and when they do, suddenly there are additional, unexpected enornmous costs associated with the move.
In some cases, movers will not “release” furniture and other personal effects from the moving truck, until these costs are paid – effectively holding your personal possessions “hostage” until these ransom demands are met.
Some fly-by-night moving companies will take downpayments and then disappear; leaving families in a vulnerable predicament.
All of that could come to an end soon, it the Province on Ontario provides the City of Toronto with the legal tools and authority to properly regulate the moving industry.
Toronto councillors have served notice they want to license household movers to protect consumers from ripoffs.
City council voted to ask the provincial government to permit the city to regulate the activities of movers.
The request comes after Toronto police earlier this month described cases of movers extorting cash from people and giving fake names and addresses.
“There’s a massive need to license movers because of the criminality involved,” Det. Kevin Hooper told council’s licensing and standards committee in mid-October.
“We poor customers don’t know the difference between a good mover and a bad mover because they’re all nice to you initially,” Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said after Tuesday’s council vote.
People shouldn’t have to risk being shaken down by unscrupulous operators, said De Baeremaeker, a member of the licensing committee that recommended regulating movers.
“You have a lot of stress when you’re moving,” he said. “The last thing you should have to worry about is somebody ripping you off. People have been ripped off for thousands of dollars.”
Toronto police last year conducted a three-month investigation, Project Overhaul, that led to convictions. A Star probe two years earlier found more than 30 people victimized by the same movers.
“This is not a petty crime, when all of your life’s belongings and wedding photos are locked in some guy’s van and he says it’s an extra $2,000,” De Baeremaeker said.
Often, the customer is caught in a bind because the mover has control of their belongings.
“People pay the money, they’re very upset, they’ve very angry but they’re powerless. This will give people a much better level of protection.”
De Baeremaker said he expects that if licensing moves forward, the city would publicize a list of licensed movers to help consumers.
“We’ll have a list of licensed people, you can get your quotes, see who gives you the best deal and hire them from the list. And don’t hire anyone who’s not on the list.”