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NJ Sting Operation Uncovers Almost 30 Unlicensed Moving Companies

Unregistered movers aren’t just a safety threat, they’ve been known to hold customers’ worldly goods hostage — or simply disappear with everything they’ve been entrusted with

Moving is a major headache, and the last thing anyone wants is to get taken for a ride by an unlicensed moving company. Thanks to “Operation Mother’s Attic,” an undercover sting conducted by the state attorney general’s office and Division of Consumer Affairs, there are 29 fewer moving companies for New Jersey residents to worry about.

The sting operation worked like this: The moving companies were given an address in Montville. But when they showed up, rather than being greeted by a suburban couple, they were met by consumer affairs, the New Jersey State Police, U.S. Department of Transportation, Morris County Sherriff’s Office and local police. The key questions were whether the movers were registered with the state as required by law, whether the vehicles that they were using were safe, and whether the vehicles were registered and the drivers had licenses. In one case, law enforcement found an outstanding arrest warrant.

According to acting Consumer Affairs Director Paul Rodriguez, the division gets more than a hundred complaints a year. One of the most common scams involve so-called hostage loads, which is when fraudulent movers refuse to deliver a customer’s worldly goods until they’re paid another $1,000 or $5,000 above the agreed-upon price.

In some cases, unlicensed movers simply disappear with their customers’ rugs, furniture, lamps, and items that have high sentimental value.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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