The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shut down five household goods movers for holding loads hostage and failing to cooperate with investigators.
FMCSA’s Moving Fraud Task Force is “cracking down on movers that take advantage of unsuspecting customers,” says Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx.
The five movers who lost their authority to operate:
- Allegiant Van Lines, Inc., USDOT No. 1712687, based in Davie, Fla.;
- Northern Van Lines, Inc., USDOT No. 1147457, based in Cooper City, Fla.;
- Northeastern Vanlines, Inc., USDOT No. 1212003, based in Pembroke Pines, Fla.;
- United West Moving and Storage, Inc., USDOT No. 1827150, based in Anderson, S.C.; and
- Direct Movers, Inc., USDOT No. 1666092, based in Pikesville, Md.
FMCSA’s Moving Fraud Task Force began investigating Allegiant Van Lines, Inc. in response to consumer complaints that the company illegally held customers’ possessions hostage. The company failed to respond to federal orders charging it with improperly holding hostage goods. The company has been suspended from operating for at least one year. In addition, it has been issued fines of $88,000 for safety and commercial violations.
During the course of the investigation into Allegiant, FMCSA discovered the company’s owner also operated Northern Van Lines, Inc. and Northeastern Vanlines, Inc. of Florida, and United West Moving and Storage, Inc. of South Carolina. Combined, more than 100 complaints have been filed against the three related companies in the National Consumer Complaint Database. They now face fines of over $31,000 total and have also been suspended from operating for at least one year.
Maryland-based Direct Movers, Inc. was also shut down, and their DOT No. inactivated, for failing to comply with an FMCSA demand for records involving a shipment being held hostage.
“FMCSA investigators are using new tactics to protect people from the predatory companies looking for ways to exploit them,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “We encourage anyone planning a move to avoid becoming a victim by learning the red flags of moving fraud and researching any prospective mover’s complaint history on our website.”