December 27, 2018
Civil Complaints Filed Against Six Florida Moving Companies for Deceptive Practices
On December 26 and 27, 2018, the Florida Attorney General’s Office filed civil complaints against seven individuals and six companies—a total of 19 household goods companies or their affiliated entities—for deceptive moving practices. The complaints were filed in the U.S. District Court, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and the State Circuit Court of the Seventeenth Judicial District Circuit, Broward County, Florida.
The complaints allege the moving companies deliberately loaded people’s belongings onto a truck, raised prices and forced customers to pay before releasing the items. The moving companies, located in Broward and Dade counties, allegedly used false or deceptive advertising to induce consumers to purchase moving services. The companies claimed the services would be performed by highly trained professional or expert movers. However, untrained laborers regularly performed the moves, often causing damage to, destroying, or stealing the consumers’ property. Many consumers allegedly received low-price, purportedly binding estimates from the companies.
The Attorney General’s Office, acting as deputized Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, filed four separate complaints in Federal court alleging violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, as well as both Federal and State statutes regulating moving services. Charged were Finest Movers, Inc., and its principal Charles Ohana; Full Service Van Lines, and principals Maxx J. Socher and Grace Metzger; Ocean Moving & Storage Corp. and its principal, Itai Carmel; and U.S. Moving Services Inc.(formerly Safeway Moving and Storage) and its principal, Yehoshua Vakin. Two additional complaints were filed in State court against All USA Van Lines Inc. and its principal Ohad E. Guzi, and Upline Moving & Storage Inc. (formerly #1 Van Lines Inc.) and its principal Daneshia L. Augustin. The companies were accused of engaging in ransom moving schemes.
DOT-OIG is conducting this investigation with the Florida Attorney General’s Office, FMCSA, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Broward County Sherriff’s Office, Delray Beach and Miramar Police Departments, and Delray Beach Office of Seniors vs. Crime, Inc.
Note: Civil complaints are only accusations by the Government, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.