Moving

Unlicensed shifting firms are reportedly scamming residents leaving California

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buy gabapentin online without dr approval San Francisco residents packing up and leaving was an important story through 2020.

The combination of numerous unprecedented factors collided in the spring, creating a historic shift in the city: the astronomical cost of living, the pandemic lure of remote working, and the closings of many places that made San Francisco so great. An August report from Zillow confirmed the SF exodus is real.

Then came the summer forest fires that devastated the state. The result has been an increase in people fleeing not only the Bay Area but California as well.

One industry that is booming as a result is the moving business, and when businesses are booming, opportunists and scammers move in.

A new report from The Guardian shows that the California industry is now riddled with problems ranging from price gouging to stolen property to unlicensed, uninsured moving companies taking advantage of record demand.

Operating a moving company in California requires a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration license, which is acquired by filing an application, passing a test, a background check, and paying a $ 500 application fee. Unlicensed moving companies that offer low prices on Craigslist and other classified websites leave customers with lost, damaged, and stolen items hooked with moving companies that are unlicensed, let alone liability insurance.

It is also reported that customers have “taken hostage” of their belongings by fraudulent operators.

The Washington Post reported that scammers target people across the country by demanding more cash upfront, putting the loaded, normally unmarked truck on the street, and then calling the customer to get another payment for their goods to be returned to demand.

A recent report by the Better Business Bureau found that nine out of 33 refugees currently wanted for moving fraud are in and around San Jose. The report found that scammers frequently change their name, business name, and location to circumvent the law.

Even in the legitimate part of the industry, Californians lack rental vehicles and sky high prices compared to other parts of the country. U-Haul, the car rental company with the largest fleet in the US, bases its rates on demand and the imbalance between locations. A quick look at Tuesday’s online pricing reveals that a 10-foot truck rental from Boise to San Francisco costs $ 257 but costs $ 1,603 the opposite way, more than six times that.

The low prices offered by unlicensed moving companies make it difficult for legitimate companies too.

Chris Mayer of the family business Macy’s Movers in Hayward told The Guardian that it had been a stressful year. “It’s terrible. Customers call us crying,” said Mayer. “They’re scared. There are moving helpers who did not show up. There are moving companies that won’t call you back. You can’t even find U-Haul trucks. I’ve never experienced such a great panic in my life. “

Move.org lists the biggest red flags that could mean a moving company is cheating on you, including pricing in cubic feet to weight and having customers sign a contract before doing a home appraisal.

The full Guardian story can be found here.

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