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Sam, Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27011
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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My moving company is attempting to charge me $15,800

Customer Question

My moving company is attempting to charge me $15,800 for a move that they estimated would cost me $10,000. What course of action should I take? The are suggesting that the scope of the work changed when in actuality, the scope of the work was less.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regardBut I need to know more1 You have a contract?2 What are the terms of the contract? Does it specify and minimum and maximum amount charged and does it say what those will be based on?3 - What state is the moving company in?4 - Do they have your property at this time? 5 - How has the job description changed and how does that measure up with the terms of the contract?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1. Yes I do have a contract, but it is a non-binding contract.2. There is no minimum and maximum amount specified in the contract. It is technically based in time and materials. The manager for this move surveyed our home on two occasions. By that I mean that he had two opportunities to see the amount of furniture and other items that needed to be moved. In addition, after the moving companies last assessment visit, we had a moving sale at which we sold $2000 in items. In addition, we sold the existing washer and dryer to the buyer of our old home - items that the moving company was factoring in to their estimate that they ultimately did not have to move.3. The moving co is in NJ4. They have items that we have in storage with them.5. The job description changed because we had to leave some of our stuff on a trailer for 3 nights. However, I we knew that cost and that is being factored in to that $10000 number.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.So what is the Moving Company saying the additional $5,800 is for?I understand how these contracts work. And so if the $10,000 was inclusive of the items that you sold, you are correct that the amount should be reduced and not enhanced. I am not sure what you mean the contract is not enforceable. If they have breached the contract, then it is going to be up to you to file a lawsuit to have it enforced. I suggest, if you cannot negotiate with them on the dollar amount owed, you will need to sue them in small claims court - but you would need to first pay what they are demanding.The other option would be to file a Complaint with the NJ Attorney General Consumer Protection Division because the contract was fraudulent and/or deceptive. You can file that complaint. The AG will not represent you, but will investigate for fraud and if determined there is fraud, the office will offer a mediation to get it straightened out.The problem is, if there is no minimum or maximum, then they can charge what they want. But they need to substantiate it.I suggest you can write them a letter and tell them that you agreed on the $10,000 and that many of the large items included in that price were sold before the move and so not even included. And that you are not going to pay the additional $5800 but you will take this to the NJ Attorney General because you feel they are being deceptive and acting fraudulently.That should be mailed Certified with a Return Receipt Requested.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Many times such a letter referring to the AG's office for investigation will make a company re evaluate and begin to negotiate with the customer.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
I suggest you can also file for a Writ of Replevin and you can read the NJ law on how to do that at this LINK
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
And so if you go to the clerk of the Circuit/Superior Court in the county where the moving company is located, they should be able to provide you with the documents to do that.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Please note that I can only provide information for what you ask. In that regard, if you have other questions or need clarification, please let me know here. Otherwise, I would appreciate a Positive Rating as that is how I get credit for my time.​Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My problem is that the number that they quoted us was just an estimate. With moving companies, there are binding contracts and non-binding. Binding contracts require the moving company to stick to the price that they quote you. The reason that people typically avoid binding contracts is because moving companies will typically quote a higher rate with binding contracts. With non-binding, the rate that they quote is just an estimate.The problem that i have with the company is two fold - 1. They had two opportunities to look at the amount of stuff that I had in order to make an assessment as to much the move would cost. 2. We sold stuff after their last visit, so there were less items to move than what they estimated. Either one of two things must be true...Either they are extremely bad at estimating job costs, or they saw this as an opportunity to take advantage of someone and attempted to extract money under the guise of "more work and labor needed than originally anticipated".
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
Thank youI suggest you can do any or all of the options I provided. If you want to take it to court to get your property, then I suggest you file the Writ of Replevin.
Expert:  Sam replied 2 years ago.
And you can also file the complaint with the NJ Attorney General. I suggest that you contact the movers and tell them if they are not going to negotiate reasonably these are the steps you will be taking.