Action 9 investigates mover accused of holding furniture hostage

Updated:

ORLANDO,Fla. - A woman who just moved to Winter Park is sleeping on the floor in an empty apartment. She claims a moving company is holding her furniture hostage after it more than tripled her bill.

Kimberly Smith points to her scarce closet, “This is the suitcase and the bag I brought with me.” What she brought on the plane is all that she has in her one bedroom apartment. Everything else, including chairs is stored at an unknown location by the moving company. “They are holding my furniture hostage,” said Smith.

She says in New York, she hired Reliable Transportation One online and got an $1,100 estimate. But after loading, the company said her bill now totaled more than $4,000. “I thought that was a joke, I just couldn't believe it.” Smith had already paid $700 up front.

According to Smith the movers showed up at the front door unannounced and unless she paid $3,500 now, they would drive off. She took a picture, showing the movers in an unmarked rental truck. She's been told her belongings are in local storage until she pays. “I would like to see it, I would like to make sure it's there,” said Smith.

Todd Ulrich called the mover's New York office where the owner blamed Smith for not listing all her items, and said the price was fully disclosed the day of the move.

A warning for any moving customer, getting online or phone estimates are not binding. “Upfront make sure you had the mover properly surveyed and had the mover out to your home for a binding estimate,” said BBB President Holly Salmons.

After Kimberly Smith called us, the movers did drop the balance owed to $2,100.                  

“I mean the whole thing has been a debacle,” said Smith.

Last week Action 9’s Todd Ulrich contacted the US transportation department that regulates interstate moves about Smith’s complaint. Afterwards, the agency told her not to pay, until it reviews the case.

Make sure the mover sends someone to the house, documents what's included, and gives you a binding estimate, before moving day.

Link to federal moving charges regulations: http://bit.ly/2p1w9Lw