By Ben Simmoneau
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Cracking down on bad movers – companies that damage your furniture or try to overcharge you. It happens more often than you think.
Authorities in Pennsylvania are taking action against them, and the I-Team went along for an undercover sting.
The movers thought they were showing up for a routine job, but ended up getting busted for operating without a license. You need a license for residential moves within Pennsylvania. Without one, the consequences are fines and citations from the Public Utility Commission. Turns out, illegal moving operations are a big problem.
Lori Olson found out the hard way. She thought a quote she got from Lenora’s Moving Company was a steal. Instead, she says, Lenora’s damaged her 110-year-old bedroom set, which belonged to her great-grandparents. She says they also tried to triple her estimate and says movers held her furniture hostage until she paid up.
“They’re horrible to people,” said Lori Olson of her experience with Lenora’s Moving Company. “They shouldn’t be allowed to do what they’re doing. They are not proper business. They are not good business.”
Anthony Furman owns Lenora’s Moving. The I-Team first met Furman back in February while investigating another complaint about damaged family treasures and furniture. We found Furman wasn’t licensed for residential moves in Pennsylvania then, and he still isn’t. But when he sat down with us, with a lawyer at his side, he promised he wasn’t operating illegally.
“Under no circumstances does Lenora’s, with Lenora’s trucks, Lenora’s movers, operate within Pennsylvania?” asked I-Team reporter Ben Simmoneau.
“Not by our standards. No,” Furman replied.
“Lenora’s moving and storage company along with Mr. Furman operates clearly within the law,” said Lewis Hannah, Furman’s attorney.
Really? Guess who showed up at that undercover bust, and who the state says is still operating illegally? Lenora’s.
We tried repeatedly to contact Anthony Furman after the sting but could not find him. Lenora’s was issued a citation, but Furman’s lawyer says he’s not aware of it. The company could be fined, and if they’re caught again, there could be an arrest.
If you’re hiring a mover in Pennsylvania, the Public Utility Commission has a list of state-licensed companies. You can access that here: http://www.puc.pa.gov/transport/motor/pdf/HHG_Operators.pdf