Two unlicensed moving companies from Rockland were snagged in a New Jersey undercover sting that cost them $2,500 each, authorities announced Monday.
Big Men in Trucks from Sloatsburg and Enterprise Van Lines from Congers each has the option of seeking mitigation or requesting an administrative hearing to contest the violation and civil penalty, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.
“The $2,500 civil penalty for unlicensed operation will be reduced to $1,250 for any mover that applies for licensure with the Division within 30 days of receiving the [Notice of Violation],” Grewal said.
Over the course of four days in April, investigators from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs posed as people planning to move from an upscale neighborhood in Montvale in what was dubbed “Operation Mother’s Attic,” the attorney general said.
“The investigators found various unlicensed moving companies advertising online and hired them for their ‘move’,” he said.
“The movers drove to Montville, expecting to find a luxury home full of items to load,” Grewal said, “and were instead met by a team of investigators, who issued them [Notices of Violation] for operating without licenses.
Also awaiting the movers were members of the State Police’s Mobile Safety Freight Unit, who conducted vehicle safety inspections on their trucks, and members of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), who checked for verification that out-of-state movers were registered with the FMCSA to engage in interstate operations.
The State Police’s Mobile Safety Freight Unit’s inspections found 29 motor vehicle violations, five of them serious enough to put the vehicles out of service.
Three drivers were prohibited from driving trucks away from the scene because of motor vehicle violations, including not having a valid driver’s license or not having a proper license.
Two people were placed under arrest for outstanding warrants, and one person was arrested for carrying a small amount of pot.
Altogether, 29 unlicensed moving companies were cited, authorities said. One of them -- Go To Moving & Storage of Staten Island – was caught in a similar sting two years ago. As a second-time offender, it was fined $5,000.
“An unlicensed moving company can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare,” Grewal said. “They’ve been known to hold truckloads of property hostage until the customer pays an extortionate fee.
“And these unlicensed movers often don’t carry adequate insurance, creating the risk that homeowners will be left high and dry if their property is seriously damaged during the move.”
State law requires all movers whose individual jobs both begin and end in New Jersey be licensed by the Division of Consumer Affairs.
They also must:
- Maintain insurance for cargo liability, workers' compensation insurance, and bodily injury and property damage;
- Provide the DCA with proof of vehicle registration and insurance coverage;
- Include the mover’s license number on the outside of the vehicle;
- Give customers a written estimate of the costs of the move.
Those besides the two cited in Rockland for operating without a license, Grewal said, are:
• ½ PRICE MOVERS, Staten Island;
• ALPHA MOVNG SERVICES , Highland Lakes, NJ;
• AFFORDABLE & ASSERTIVE MOVING & STORAGE, Pompton Lakes, NJ;
• AVELAR TRUCKING, Landing, NJ;
• BIN IT NJ, North Bergen, NJ;
• CENTURION MOVERS, Willow Grove, PA;
• CONSIDER IT DONE, Toms River, NJ;
• CRUZ MOVES, Cinnaminson, NJ;
• GDK LOGISTICS a/k/a GDK INTERNATIONAL, Fairfield, NJ;
• H & D TRANSPORTATION, Clifton, NJ;
• HELPING HANDS MOVING, Newark, NJ;
• I.D. NOBLE MOVERS a/k/a NOBLE ID MOVERS, Hackensack, NJ;
• IMPERIAL MOVING & STORAGE a/k/a LION’S DEN ENTERPRISES, a/k/a INSIGNIA MOVING, New York, NY;
• J & L MOVING, Hillside, NJ;
• LITE MOVING, Franklin Square, NJ;
• MOVING GOOD, Little Ferry, NJ;
• MOVING HERO, Rahway, NJ;
• OLD COUNTRY VAN LINES, East Newark, NJ;
• PRINCETON MOVERS a/k/a GREAT EASTERN MOVERS, Brooklyn;
• RENT A HELPING HAND, Pennington, NJ;
• MUNDANZAS, Dover, NJ;
• ROADWAY MOVING, Elizabeth, NJ;
• ROUND CITY MOVING, Garfield, NJ;
• ROSIE’S MASTER MOVERS, Cherry Hill, NJ;
• TB MOVING a/k/a TB MOVING & STORAGE, Brooklyn;
• WE MOVE YOU, Maywood, NJ;
Advice for Consumers:
Before hiring a mover, review the tips available from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. They include:
• Call authorities in your state to verify the license status of any mover you consider hiring, and to ask whether consumer complaints have been submitted against the mover;
• Obtain a written estimate from the mover you select. The cost can be estimated on an hourly rate, by weight and miles traveled, or by cubic measurement;
• Never pack jewelry, money, or valuable documents with your goods to be moved. The mover is not responsible for items of extraordinary value;
• Check your goods as they are being delivered. If any are lost or damaged, notify the mover immediately. A damage claim can be filed up to 90 days after the move date;
• Unless you purchase additional coverage, the mover is required to compensate you only up to $ per pound, per article, for damages.
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