By Ben Simmoneau
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is easier than ever today to open up a moving company with the help of websites like Craigslist. In the last decade, complaints against unlicensed movers have skyrocketed in Pennsylvania. One woman who spoke with the I-Team found it pays to be very careful or you could end up with big problems.
Anthony Furman told the I-Team, “Bad publicity sometimes turns into good publicity.”
Either way, Furman of Lenora’s Moving Company is about to get a lot of publicity.
“Are you the owner of Lenora’s Moving?” I-Team reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.
“Yes, I am,” said Furman.
Lenora’s in North Philadelphia is the subject of numerous complaints online. Andrew Goode, regional vice president for the Better Business Bureau, said, “Lenora’s has an ‘F’ rating with the Better Business Bureau.”
Tracey Bratton says her move with Lenora’s last August from Willow Grove to Philadelphia was a nightmare: “It was just very hard, and it’s been very hard.”
Bratton cried as she told us, “I have things that… I’m getting upset…. my birth mom gave me that were broken, and she passed away in 2007.”
She says the movers damaged furniture. When Bratton complained, she says one began intentionally dropping boxes, loaded with personal treasures, “waist high, dropping them outside my front door,” Bratton said.
And the I-Team found Lenora’s shouldn’t have been moving Bratton at all, because the move was in-state, and Lenora’s does not have a license for that.
If a moving company is licensed to do business within Pennsylvania, they should have a Public Utility Commission number on their truck. We didn’t see one on a truck. They do have a federal Department of Transportation number for interstate moves, but there is no PUC number.
“Can you tell us what it is?” the I-Team asked Furman.
“Not offhand, no,” Furman said.
“Can you look it up?” we asked.
“You can call my lawyer. He’ll give it to you,” said Furman. We called his lawyer but didn’t hear back.
Furman continued, “When you first start a company, you don’t automatically say, ‘Okay, I’m opening up, I have all the licenses.’ You gradually get each license.”
“But you have to have a license to move people in Pennsylvania,” said the I-Team’s Simmoneau.
“No… yeah, within Pennsylvania,” said Furman.
“Exactly,” said Simmoneau.
Then Furman told us any move Lenora’s does within Pennsylvania is an accident.
“We try to get our estimators not to do those moves,” said Furman.
“You try to get your estimators not to do those moves?” asked the I-Team. “Or you don’t do those moves?”
Furman responded, “The fact, is the guys… if the estimator does that job and the guys don’t know geographics and they go to do the move, it’s like, “Aw, come on.'”
Tracey Bratton filed a claim for thousands, but Lenora’s said she was only entitled to $78. Still, she hasn’t seen any money.
We alerted the Public Utility Commission and it could fine Lenora’s for working without a license.
Make sure any mover you hire is properly licensed.
To check on the status of a Pennsylvania-to-Pennsylvania mover, check the PA Public Utility Commission website under Household Goods Movers.
Pennsylvania Moving & Storage Associates is the trade association for PA movers.
American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) is the national trade association for the professional moving industry.
Check a mover at the Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org