Current Alerts - May 17, 2022 Update
WE ARE THE ONE! The Canadian Association of Movers is the only official national trade association representing moving and storage companies in Canada. We urge you to #KnowYourMover and do your research before hiring a moving company.
- Moving Scams
- Recent Alerts
- Move Me Again/Roadway Movers/Moonstar Van Lines/Greenway Moving/O Canada Movers/Safe Bound Movers/All Over Canada Van Line/East Coast Star Van Lines
- Consumers Facing Delays
- Moving Fraud
- Verify the Mover's Credentials
- Brand Misrepresentation
- Other Alerts
- More Reading
ALERT: Moving Scams
Moving scams - what you need to know
Moving scams are on the rise in Canada and seniors are being targeted. Nancy Irvine, President of the Canadian Association of Movers talks with Toronto lawyer Rocco Scocco about the anatomy of the rise of these scams, how he got involved and is taking on these unlawful companies and what help is now available for victims as a result of his dogged determination. Here's a three-part interview, total length is 34.21 minutes.
- Part 1 – How the Scam Works
- Part 2 – How to Protect Yourself
- Part 3 – The Rise of the “Gas Station Bandit”
Seniors targeted in growing number of 'devastating' scams
Global News, March 25, 2022 - Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) and RCMP warn seniors of various scams that are targeted toward older Canadians - of which only 30% are being reported.
“This was the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life, literally, and it was a really costly mistake,” says Kathleen Finlay, who hired a moving company that advertised specifically for seniors to move all of their family’s belongings. After being satisfied with the initial estimated cost the company provided her, Finlay said she was severely overcharged and had her items held hostage.
CBC Marketplace episode on Moving Scams!
CBC TVs Marketplace aired a story on moving scams on Friday, March 4th (and again on April 22nd) on CBC TV and CBC Gem. The episode featured Toronto lawyer Rocco Scocco (who has been instrumental at getting media and legal attention for moving scams) as well as CAM President Nancy Irvine. There are three different heartbreaking situations that CAM was asked to comment on. Marketplace is in its 49th season and has done two previous shows on moving scams in 2015 (watch video) and 2017 (watch video). These shows have been viewed over 12 million times combined.
ALERT: Recent Media
*new* Better Business Bureau warns of moving scams. The Better Business Bureau is telling people to be aware of moving scams in this short news clip from the Newfoundland Herald (May 5, 2022). And here's more from the BBB and CAM: Global News Canadians warned to be aware of fly-by-night moving companies (May 10, 2022). Here's a warning for Airdronians (May 17, 2022).
April 26, 2022 - Stuck in California, this McGill student paid movers to ship his stuff home. 2 years later, it's still missing
Shippers, ASAP Moving and Transport and Canpar Express, say they can't find any trace of Randy Li's 21 boxes that contained thousands of dollars worth of valuable goods, even though each box had a unique tracking code. Here's the CBC Montreal News report.
April 21, 2022 - Disappointed Winnipeggers urge caution when hiring a moving company
Eight customers of Buff Moving and Storage say they scheduled the company to help them move, paid a deposit but received no services. Read the CBC News report here.
April 14, 2022 - Toronto resident feels scammed after paying nearly $1,000 to movers
A Toronto resident feels defrauded after her moving bill doubled during the moving process. The moving company, WeePack Movers, says the final invoice can sometimes be higher depending on the time and number of items involved. Police have been investigating a moving scam where a customer's belongings are held hostage in order to extort money. Check out the CityNews report here.
*update* March 3, 2022 - 'Lost the good memories': Calgary couple details 'horrible' experience with moving company
Understand your moving protection before you move!
December 17, 2021 - A couple who moved to Calgary from Regina in the summer lost everything after a Canada’s Leading Van Lines (CLVL) truck carrying their belongings caught fire during transport. The couple claims the insurance company, Claimspro, was not cooperative and ultimately told them the moving company’s insurance wouldn’t cover the damage and loss and that they should file with their home insurance provider and still pay for their move upfront - even though the service didn't happen. Read the CTV Calgary report here. Read the updated Nation World News article here.
December 6, 2021 - Toronto police issue warning of online moving scam
The Toronto Police Service has issued a warning over an online moving scam after multiple victims came forward reporting being asked to pay hundreds of dollars more. Check out the CityNews report here.
October 8, 2021 - Police would like to warn the public about concerns related to the hiring of companies to move you between properties.
Since September 2021, there were five incidents in the Ajax/Pickering area in which police were called to a dispute between members of the public and employees of moving companies. In each instance, the citizen reported entering into a contact with a predetermined and written quoted price to complete the move of their possessions between properties. After their possessions were loaded on the moving truck the employees demanding additional funds to complete the move. The demand came with the threat to unload the truck where it was. In one case the citizen refused to pay the additional amount and their possessions were unloaded onto the parking lot of a gas station.
Consumers must always be vigilant when entering into a contract (may it be verbal or written). Ensure you fully understand the meaning of the contract wording and determine the true cost before signing. Moving residences is stressful enough.
The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services provides consumer protection tips and file complainants at https://www.ontario.ca/page/hiring-mover
ALERT: Move Me Again/Roadway Movers/Moonstar Van Lines/Greenway Moving/O Canada Movers/Safe Bound Movers/All Over Canada Van Line/East Coast Star Van Lines
CAM has received many complaints about Move Me Again / Roadway Movers and Moonstar Van Lines / Greenway Moving as well as O Canada Movers and Safe Bound Movers. All of these companies appear to operate from the same parent company. On June 8, 2021, CAM received a complaint about All Over Canada Van Line said to also be operating as East Coast Star Van Lines. The complainant advised CAM that these two companies have the same ownership as Move Me Again. As always, we strongly suggest you research your mover before hiring them.
June 18, 2021 - Another decision has been rendered by the Ontario Superior Court against MOVE ME AGAIN TRANSPORTATION INC., SAFE BOUND MOVING AND STORAGE INC. and CEMAL OZTURK. The customers received a quote for a two-part move and between-move storage from Safe Bound Moving and Storage Inc. The quote was based on 10,000 lbs of household goods, for about $5000. The customers paid a deposit of $400 and provided an inventory. The mover confirmed that the quote remained unchanged and assured that the first shipment was under 4,000 lbs. After loading the truck for the first move, the movers advised the customers that both moves were overweight and demanded an additional $700. The movers would not leave unless $300 was paid to the mover’s personal email address. $400 was to be paid on the day of the second move. The movers also had the customer sign/initial a piece of paper that included weights for the two parts of the move, telling the customer that everything would be covered off by the additional $700. The customer was also told that, because of COVID-19, he’d have to get a copy of the document and the inventory from head office. The customers repeatedly asked for a copies of the documents and an invoice for the additional $700 charges. Because they couldn’t get the requested information, the customers hired a lawyer who indicated that, if Safe Bound did not provide it, they would “infer that Safe Bound Moving no longer intends to fully honor the agreements, in which case the agreements will be rescinded”. Safe Bound provided an invoice for $4,880.75, which included a separate storage charge $632.80. The customers were only credited with a payment of $200. Because the terms of the contract had “dramatically increased”, the customers decided to rescind their agreement with Safe Bound, under the Consumer Protection Act. Safe Bound claimed that their quotations state that the cost was subject to change. They also said that the driver of the moving truck explained the options for charges based on flat fee or scaled weight to the customer before they signed. The flat fee initially quoted was for 9,000 lbs, but it was then lowered to 8,000 lbs. The customers agreed to the flat rate option and signed/initialled the contract which was with Move Me Again Transportation Inc. (MMA), since they were acting as a subcontractor for Safe Bound. The Superior Court found that the customers were required to pay $2200 for part one of the move and for storage, less $500 for prior payments and $1000 in costs, for a net amount owing of $700. In the decision, the Court stated that “the MMA Moving Contract is not a binding agreement between the parties; it was signed after the goods had been taken from the house and loaded onto the truck and without the plaintiffs having any real opportunity to review the contract and compare it to the terms in the Quotation.” Read the decision.
June 1, 2021 - In a new milestone, the Ontario Superior Court has endorsed a judgement that will take scammers who ignore estimates to the task. This was a typical scam. In this case, Move Me Again gave a lowball quote, approximately $3,700. The customer agreed to the price and paid a deposit. Once the shipment was loaded, the customer was rushed through signing the paperwork, which included a line that they agree to pay a flat fee on 15,000 lbs. Move Me Again quickly left with their goods and were not to be seen again until the new charge of $9,677.25 was paid. The Superior Court ruled that Move Me Again was in contravention of the contract with the customer and would therefore only receive $1,850 for partial transportation of the shipment. Also, Move Me Again must allow the customers to claim their possessions. As the court concluded ‘If suppliers do still carelessly or recklessly throw out low-ball and unreliable quotes, then they may well be held to them, pursuant to the relevant Act.’ Read the decision.
December 4, 2020 - Global News: "Ontario family who relocated to New Brunswick warns others about moving company concerns" A couple who recently moved to Moncton is speaking out after being saddled with a $15,000 bill. The couple says initial estimates were for less than half of that, and now they want to warn others. They hired Greenway Moving and Storage Inc.
November 27, 2020 update - Ottawa Citizen: "After five weeks, Gatineau woman will finally get her belongings back" A court has issued an interim order to the company, Move Me Again Transportation, to return the victims belongings. As Nancy Irvine, president of the Canadian Association of Movers says, “an unsuspecting customer can be extorted for thousands of dollars more than the original quote, have their things hidden with no recourse but to pay the ransom fee.”
November 27, 2020 - Ottawa Citizen: Adam: Consumers, be careful – a few unreliable moving companies could pull the rug out from under you. Beware what company you hire next time you are contemplating a move. Often, what you see at first glance is not what you get.
November 19, 2020 - Ottawa Citizen: Adam: 'I really feel like I am being held hostage.' Woman says she can't get her belongings back from moving company. The tactic is simple: a company gives a customer a low, attractive quote, but when the movers show up, they raise the fee dramatically, demand payment or seize the furniture. “We have dozens and dozens of complaints about this outfit and their shameful business practices,” CAM president Nancy Irvine said in an email."
October 27, 2020 - The CBC issued this story out of Hamilton: Hamilton woman is in 'pure shock' after $3,600 moving bill. The Better Business Bureau say they have 'lots of concerns' about Moonstar Van Lines. "I can confirm that Moonstar, Move Me Again, and Greenway Moving are not Canadian Association of Movers members, and never will be, as they are the antithesis of what a Certified Professional Mover should be," says CAM president Nancy Irvine.
September 11, 2020 - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns that consumers have complained that Move Me Again substantially increased costs from initial quotes that led them to enter into a contract. According to the BBB:
- "BBB files indicate a pattern of complaints concerning billing increases, delayed deliveries and customer service issues. Consumers have advised our office that the cost of their move increased substantially from the initial quotes that lead them to enter into a contract. When consumers request an explanation or reduction, they are advised that their items will not be delivered until full payment is remitted. Additionally, consumers have also advised that their items are not delivered on time, and the company does not compensate or advise when their belongings will be returned. On May 5th 2020, BBB sent a letter to notify the business of its concerns and requested that they work towards correcting the underlying reason for the complaints."
- "Move Me Again advised BBB that consumers were not comprehensively reviewing the terms and conditions of their moving contracts and correspondences with Move Me Again and this has caused the pattern of complaints, claiming no wrongdoing on their part. However, when BBB requested to review the contracts and emails that Move Me Again sends to their consumers we did not receive a response. Subsequent follow ups have been unsuccessful."
There have been newspaper articles about various situations this summer involving Move Me Again. Consumers have been using words to describe their relationship with this company as 'extortion':
- The Guardian (PE) "P.E.I. residents complain about hiked costs of moving company" P.E.I. residents spoke to The Guardian about bad experiences they've had with Move Me Again Transportation.
- Here's a secondary story on the situation: "Charlottetown woman chasing moving company for possessions, money" (September 9, 2020).
August 7, 2020 - CAM has received many complaints about Moonstar Vanlines aka Greenway Moving regarding unethical business practices.
Regarding Greenway, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is investigating:
- "BBB files indicate a pattern of complaints concerning billing increases, delayed deliveries and customer service issues. Consumers have advised our office that the cost of their move increased substantially from the initial quotes that lead them to enter into a contract. When consumers request an explanation or reduction, they are advised that their items will not be delivered until full payment is remitted. Additionally, consumers have also advised that their items are not delivered on time, and the company does not compensate or advise when their belongings will be returned. On August 6th 2020, BBB sent a letter to notify the business of its concerns and requested that they work towards correcting the underlying reason for the complaints. BBB did not receive a response."
There's been media coverage on these companies:
- August 7, 2020 - Global News "Go through all the last minute documentation" Toronto couple warn" Toronto couple's possessions get held hostage as they get scammed with a bill that was 605% over the estimated contract.
ALERT: Consumers are facing delays and additional costs
Lockdowns, travel restrictions, mandatory isolation requirements, flooding, and labour demands are causing delivery schedule changes (mostly delays), as well as unexpected temporary storage requirements - all of these can result in additional costs and changes in plans that consumers will have to bear, possibly without any notice. CAM recommends that you keep an open dialogue with your mover throughout your relocation, and to get any anticipated changes to your costs in writing so you have a clear understanding of the impact of any federal, provincial or local restriction being imposed.
Also, moving scams in Canada are on the rise as unscrupulous operators take advantage of consumers when they are vulnerable and stressed over their move. They take advantage of COVID by saying that they can't come and look at your move because they aren't allowed in your home. That simply isn't true - there are many options to verifying how much you are moving. The result can be unbearable painful for you - doubling or tripling your price (because the shipment was much larger than they expected), holding your items hostage until you pay exorbitant fees, massive damage to your items that will not be repaired or replaced, and unfortunately, theft. We encourage you to do research on the moving company you are choosing by contacting CAM (Find a Mover) to get a selection of movers in your area that have been vetted and are considered certified professional movers. You can read more about moving scams in our consumer alert section of the website.
November 17, 2021 - BC floods and mudslides will cause delays (and potential increased costs) in moving. Torrential rain that set off flooding and mudslides in Southern British Columbia have closed highways, trapped people in vehicles and forced the evacuation of some communities. Large sections of highways and railway tracks near Vancouver have been damaged or destroyed, essentially cutting many areas off from the rest of Canada.
November 1, 2021 *update* - While the supply chain is stabilizing as COVID restrictions loosen worldwide allowing for greater flow of traffic and an increase in workers, consumers should continue to anticipate delays and increased costs on certain items and services as a result of the global supply chain challenges. CAM urges you to get your quote in writing and keep communication lines open with your mover so you are aware of what is happening with your move.
July 22, 2021 *update* While all below is still applies as we improve our vaccination rate and weave in and out of restrictions, the moving industry is under tremendous pressure this moving season with unprecedented demand, challenges with accessing moving materials (due to supply chain delays) and, like every industry in the world, labour shortages. You may not be able to book a credible moving company on a specific date. CAM recommends that you book your mover early and remain in contact with your chosen moving company on a regular basis so you can be apprised of any changes to your moving plan.
ALERT: Moving Fraud
The moving industry in Canada has been unregulated since the mid-1980s and scam artists, disguised as legitimate moving companies, are taking advantage of people, especially students, new Canadians and seniors. It is believed that fewer than 10% of victims report fraud to the BBB, Consumer Protection or law enforcement.
If you are a consumer considering a move, do careful and extensive research to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate mover. After all, you are allowing someone you don’t know to drive away with almost everything you own. While the vast majority of movers care about reputation and customer service, not all do. Check out movers in advance with the BBB and find out if they are a member of the Canadian Association of Movers. If they aren’t on CAM’s member list, send an email to admin[at]mover.net or call CAM at 1-866-860-0065 to find out if CAM has any complaints against them.
Read about the many tricks deceptive movers use.
ALERT: Verify the Mover's Credentials
CAM strongly urges consumers to do their due diligence before hiring a mover, as they would before purchasing any other major service. It's not like buying a pair of shoes. You are entrusting your entire lifelong belongings to someone you likely don't know.
To help avoid moving problems, CAM recommends that you contact the Better Business Bureau or the Canadian Association of Movers member directory to confirm that your mover is a trusted and reliable company.
You can also check the Ontario Government's Consumer Beware List: Ontario Ministry of Government & Consumer Services.
Here's a joint CAM/BBB press release as a caution to consumers, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis: Make the Right Move During the Pandemic (April 15, 2020).
Protect Yourself From Rogue Movers
Infographic courtesy of Cassidy's Transport and Storage (Ottawa, ON)
ALERT: Brand Misrepresentation
Fraudulent Use of CAM Logo and/or Implied Relationship with CAM
The following companies have implied a relationship with the Canadian Association of Movers, either by displaying the CAM/ACD logo on their websites or by suggesting that they are CAM members or CAM-certified. These companies are NOT CAM members and we recommend that you carefully check their claims. Always verify the mover's credentials before hiring them.
- *new* By Design Commercial Moving Solutions Inc.(Ontario)
- A number of companies in the Montreal area are fraudulently displaying the CAM logo on their websites and are NOT CAM members. Here are 2 of them: Montreal Movers Group and West Island Movers.
- Niagara Moving & Storage Inc. (Niagara Falls, Ontario)
- Ali Movers (Toronto, ON)
Rogue operations often use reputable company brand names in their online listings and ads. Consumers are being led to believe they've hired a professional brand name moving company but another company shows up on moving day, when the consumer has no choice but to proceed with the transaction. The experience usually ends up with the consumer's goods being held hostage for more money, delivery delays, and losses or damage to treasured possessions.
Always verify a mover's stated affiliations before you hire them.
Read CAM's press release Canadian Association of Movers Warns Public about Brand Hijackings (PDF 24Jan2017). Here's an article out of the United States about this same problem (January 12, 2018).
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a professional moving and storage company operating in Canada from Alberta to Nova Scotia with the exception of the province of Quebec. They are members in good standing with CAM. There are organizations that are piggy-backing on the solid reputation of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Always verify the credentials of your mover before hiring them.
- Two Guys and a Truck operating in Edmonton, AB is falsely using the image of a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® truck in their promotion. Two Guys and a Truck is not the same company as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® which is a reputable CAM member. (April 30, 2021)
- Apollo Moving operating out of Mississauga ON, is claiming to be a subcontractor of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® never subcontract out their work and remind their customers and potential customers to check with your representative if you suspect something odd or are confused about the "mover" who is at your doorstep. (July 3, 2020)
- CAM has been advised by a number or unsuspecting consumers that they inadvertently contracted with TWO MEN AND A MOVING TRUCK due to the similarity in names. This company is not associated with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® nor are they a member of the Canadian Association of Movers.
- Two Men Trucks Moving Company – Toronto, ON is not TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® which is a reputable CAM member. Please see the attached PDF.
- The images and logos of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and other companies in the Halifax area have been hijacked by Smart Moves (aka Smart Movers & Packers) in their ads on Kijiji. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a reputable CAM member and has no relationship with this other company.
- A local organization in the Hamilton/Halton, ON area is representing themselves as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® which is a reputable CAM member. Always verify the credentials of your mover before hiring them.
- An organization operating in the Toronto area is using the name of the reputable mover TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. The company in this ad is NOT CAM member TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.
- Another organization operating in the Toronto area is using an adaptation of the name of the reputable mover TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. The company in this image is NOT CAM member TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.
Phillips Family Moving & Delivery (Deer Park, NY) is NOT a CAM member. However, they are using an old logo of CAM member Phillips Moving & Storage (Toronto, ON), as well as falsely displaying affiliation with North American Van Lines. Phillips Moving & Storage (Toronto, ON) is a reputable and professional company and a long-standing CAM member. Always verify the credentials of your mover before hiring them.
Universal Moving & Storage Inc. of 506 Turnbridge Road in Mississauga ON L5B 3M3 has been providing fraudulent insurance paperwork to their clients stating that they are currently insured by McLean Hallmark Insurance Group Ltd. (now known as NFP Canada). NFP Canada confirms that Universal Moving & Storage is NOT insured by them. Consumers are urged to carefully check this company’s claims.
ALERT: More Reading
April 27, 2021 - Winnipeg Free Press: New scam creates nightmares. CAM is seeing increased reports of illegitimate moving companies with shady practices. On national moving month this May, they and the Better Business Bureau want to help consumers stay safe as we kick off the busiest moving season of the year. One common scam involves companies low-balling customers with a price, only to jack it up once the customer’s belongings are already loaded.
April 9, 2021 - CAM Member Target of Fake Google Reviews: Nibia Movers, a reputable CAM member located in Calgary, AB, is being victimized by fake google reviews. Always check with the BBB and CAM to get accurate reputation information and to verify the credentials of your mover before hiring them.
March 26, 2021 - Identity Fraud: A local organization in the Bradford, ON area is representing themselves as Bradford Moving & Storage which is a reputable CAM member. Always verify the credentials of your mover before hiring them.
March 8, 2021 - CBC News: Sudbury police investigating complaint about alleged scam involving movers. The Canadian Association of Movers says the pandemic has created an opening for disreputable moving companies to profit and the Sudbury police say they are investigating a complaint of a moving company allegedly holding a customer's shipment hostage for higher payments than estimated.
March 4, 2021 - The Sudbury Star: Sudbury police warn of moving company scams. "Whether you are moving across town or across province, choosing a mover should not be taken lightly, police said. Finding a trusted and reliable mover is even more important, however, during the current COVID-19 pandemic."
January 11, 2021 - Listowel Banner: Fraudulent moving company rips woman off for $500, leaves her stranded in Listowel. This consumer got scammed for $500 by Triple Star Movers Inc. and had to sleep in her pickup truck while keeping an eye on all her belongings at the side of the road.
January 4, 2021 - CBC Nova Scotia: These customers were promised shipping containers. Now they're out thousands of dollars. The two companies identified in the article are Box Containers LLC and BigMax Containers.