Customers Getting Refunds After Moving Company Accused of Holding Furniture Hostage – NBC Boston
Customers complained about a Billerica, Massachusetts-based moving company holding their furniture hostage and demanding more money for their services.
Now some of them are about to get their money back thanks to a legal ruling by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
The developments come after a 2016 report on Father & Son Moving & Storage’s business tactics by investigative reporter Ryan Kath, now with NBC10 Boston Investigators.
The Massachusetts attorney general sued father and son in 2013 over what they called the “bait and switch scheme”. Essentially, the company attracted customers with a low supply, but then raised the price of the move once the customers’ belongings were already on the truck.
A court order banned the company from continuing the practice. After the 2016 investigation report contained similar reports from customers, the AG office pursued a contempt case.
In June, a Suffolk County judge sentenced Father & Son to pay fines of $ 75,000, some of which are given as refunds to customers.
“This is one company that we will continue to monitor very closely,” Healey told NBC10 Boston Investigators. “If they continue to break the law, we’ll try to shut them down. But I hope the message was sent to them loud and clear.”
Rutland homeowner Allison Bechman said she received a tempting offer of about $ 750 for her one-bedroom move from Boston in 2016. However, the software test engineer said the number quickly changed when the workers showed up.
“At the very end they gave me a total that was about $ 1,000 more than what they quoted me,” she recalled. “I couldn’t do anything. I pretty much had to pay because they had my things.”
After sitting in the camp for a few months, the day had come when father and son could move Bechman’s belongings to their new place.
Bechman said it didn’t go smoothly. She showed NBC10 Boston photos of broken or damaged items, including lamps, electronics, and kitchen utensils. Some things were missing. It ended with other people’s things too.
To top it off, Bechman said before the workers had unloaded everything from the truck, they asked for more cash.
“They threatened to stop everything right there and just leave if I don’t agree,” said Bechman. “It felt like they were holding everything hostage and basically holding you hostage.”
In a statement emailed by Father & Son co-owner Keith Taylor, the company continued to deny the allegations, calling the AG’s recent enforcement a “campaign of harassment.”
Taylor said the moving company had a positive rating in the Better Business Bureau and had also received many positive reviews online.
Taylor told NBC10 Boston that Father & Son made a strategic decision not to fight the case because the legal costs of fighting the case threatened the company’s financial viability.
“The latest ruling is an inaccurate and misleading account of Father & Son and its current business practices,” wrote Taylor. “Father & Son provides first class service and a positive, moving experience to all customers and is committed to continuing this practice into the future.”
Bechman contacted the AG’s office after seeing the 2016 investigation report. She is now anticipating a $ 10,000 refund.
“I saw your revelation and took a double shot,” Bechman said to Kath. “I said, ‘You did exactly the same thing to me!’ They should have learned their lesson when they were first caught. “
Ryan Kath can be reached at [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.