Action 9: Moving during a pandemic can be risky

VIDEO: Action 9: Moving during a pandemic can be risky

Some families have to move even during a pandemic and Action 9 found that’s when overwhelmed consumers might hire the wrong mover and that could be costly.

Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich tracked down the mover for answers and looked into moving mistakes you can't afford to make right now.

“I'm shaking. I'm telling you because I'm really so angry,” Thierry Housiau said.

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He said he felt violated.

The binding quote he received from Everest Van Lines, a mover he found on line, was nearly $2,200. But the final bill from Great Van Lines, which was the company sent to do the job, was nearly $9,000. He was told it had to be paid in cash.

Housiau called the company to dispute it.

“She said I have my own problems to deal with and I don't have to take your crap,” Housiau said he was told by a company representative.

His nightmare didn't end. When he refused to pay the extra charges, Housiau said his belongings were held hostage.

“They had all our clothing, everything, beds. We had the house keys and we couldn't sleep here,” Housiu said.

The family spent 10 days in a hotel. He said he paid another mover $2,500 to finish the job.

So, how much did the move from Apopka to Clermont really cost?

“The clothing, the hotel and everything. $14,000 to $15,000,” Housiau said.

“To move 26 miles?” Ulrich asked.

“Yes, 26 miles,” Housiau responded.

Action 9 found Everest Van Lines and Great Van Lines have a history of complaints with the Better Business Bureau and federal regulators.

It appears Housiau had signed up with a broker that sent another mover to do the job.

“It's unlikely that your move is going to be estimated correctly or accurately,” said BBB President Holly Salmons.

Salmons says online estimates and moving brokers can be risky during normal times but now even more so.

“During a move, that's a very high stress time for anyone, but add everything that is going on with COVID-19 and you have consumers who are just panic stricken,” Salmons said.

Both moving companies said it was not a broker arrangement. The companies claimed Housiau had signed a second contract that charged by the hour, and that he had far more to move than he had disclosed.

“Who would do that to a family in the middle of a crisis right now? You know,” Housiau said.

If you can’t delay a move, consumer experts recommend picking a well known company, ask for a binding estimate, and verify you can pay by credit card.