Investigations Update - February 3, 2023 Update
REMEMBER - MOVING DAY SCAMS ARE FAR FROM OVER!
“They weren’t the only scammers and moving scams are still happening with new operations starting up every day,” says Nancy Irvine, President of the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM). Take a minute to read this article .
You can register a complaint about a moving company with CAM. We do not take complaints over the phone ... we must have them in writing. If the mover is a CAM member, we will try to facilitate a resolution. If the mover is not a CAM member, we're sorry but CAM will not get directly involved in the situation. Note: not every move that has a price differential from the estimate to the final bill constitutes fraud. Please read your moving contract, discuss your concerns and try and find a resolution with your mover first before contacting CAM or the police. If you want to report a Moving Company Fraud and your move occurred within the Toronto Region, please contact the Toronto Police non-emergency number of 416-808-2222. If your move occurred outside the Toronto Region, please contact your local police agency to file a report.
THANK YOU TO CAM'S SHIPMENT RESCUERS
INVESTIGATION 1 (Toronto Police 41 Division) - Move Me Again
Believed to be also known as:
|MOVE ME AGAIN TRANSPORTATION INC.||MOONSTAR VAN LINES INC|
|ALL YOU CAN MOVE||NEW VISION MOVERS|
|ALL OVER CANADA VAN LINES INC||ROADWAY MOVING & STORAGE|
|CANADIAN PRINCIPAL MOVERS||SAFEBOUND MOVING & STORAGE|
|EAST COAST STAR VAN LINES INC||O’CANADA MOVERS|
|GREENWAY MOVING AND STORAGE INC||12282569 CANADA INC|
|13448037 CANADA INC|
CAM has received many complaints about the above-named companies that appear to operate from the same parent company, Move Me Again. As always, we strongly suggest you research your mover before hiring them.
October 15, 2022 - Toronto Police announced new charges and an additional arrest in relationship with notorious moving scammers Move Me Again, and their many aliases. Three people (Ozturk, Celik and Jones) who have already been charged in connection with a scam involving moving companies are facing hundreds of additional charges, and a fourth person, Agatha Small, 55, of Toronto was arrested on October 14, 2022, in the case. Here’s CTV’s account of it.
June 24, 2022 - the Toronto Police arrested two Toronto men, Cemal Ozturk and Dogan Celik, in connection with a moving scam and allegedly operating “several budget moving companies under different names”, including many of the above-named companies and specifically 12282569 Canada Inc., O’Canada Movers, Roadway Moving and Storage Inc., SafeBound Moving and Storage Inc., Canadian Principal Movers, All You Can Move, Right on Track Moving, New Vision Moving and Greenway Moving.
INVESTIGATION 2 (Toronto Police 55 Division) - Dashen Smith
*new* February 3, 2023 - First mover in Canada charged under Consumer Protection Act - Dashen R. Smith, 42, of Ajax, Ontario, was charged by Toronto Police relating to a move that occurred on May 6, 2021. On February 3, 2023, he became the first mover in Canada to be charged under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act.
Smith was convicted of the following charges:
Consumer Protection Act, 2002, CPA 2002 - Unfair Practice - Renegotiate Price Undue Pressure, 1 charge on 2021-05-06, fined $2,000.00, restitution ordered $640.00, 1 convicted, 24 months probation
Consumer Protection Act, 2002, CPA 2002 - Unfair Practice - False Misleading, 1 charge on 2021-05-06, fined $2,000.00, 1 convicted
Consumer Protection Act, 2002, CPA 2002 - Direct Agr - Fail to Deliver Valid Contract, 1 charge on 2021-05-06, fined $2,000.00, 1 convicted
Smith is on probation for two years. This is the start of the parade of scammers through the doors of justice.
A timely reminder to hire a certified professional mover, have your shipment size and requirements verified by either a virtual or in-person appointment with the mover, and most importantly, get your moving quotes in writing before booking a mover.
July 1, 2022 - Toronto Police Service 55 Division: Dashen R. Smith, 42, of Ajax, Ontario, was arrested and charged by Toronto Police on July 1, 2022 relating to a move that occurred on May 6, 2021. They charged him with False Pretence Under $5000.00; Fraud Under $5000.00; Mischief Interfere with Property Under $5000.00; Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000.00. The company demanded about four times the original quote and refused to unload the customer's property until payment was made.
Investigation 3 - Chatham-Kent Police
October 12, 2022 - In a continuation of the joint moving fraud investigation led by 41 Division of the Toronto Police Service, Chatham-Kent Police announced that they were looking for additional victims of moving scams that have happened in their area prior to the October 24th court date of Cemal Ozturk, Dogan Celik, and Amethyst Jones all of Toronto and the subjects of the investigation by Toronto Police 41 Division. Here is the media release by CK Police.
July 4, 2022
- CTV News - Windsor: Police release list of suspected fraudulent company names in 'moving scam' Chatham-Kent police warned the public of a “moving scam” and how to not fall for it.
- Chatham-Kent Police Service: Fraud Alert – Moving Scam On May 13, 2022, and June 24, 2022, the Chatham-Kent Police Service received reports of two incidents of “moving scams.” In these incidents, individuals entered a contract with the moving company based out of Toronto, ON, and the agreement included a cost for the move. However, after the move had begun, the victims received communication from the company advising more money was required to complete the move or the belongings would not be delivered. The incidents relate to companies recently named by the Toronto Police. Victims in the C-K area are asked to contact the non-emergency number 519-352-1234.
June 29, 2022
- Toronto Sun: Woman arrested in alleged moving scam
- Toronto Police Service, 41 Division: Two men arrested in a moving scam, Woman now also wanted, Amethyst Jones, 27, arrested On Tuesday, June 28, 2022, Amethyst Jones, 27, of Toronto, turned herself in to police. She is charged with: 22 counts of False Pretense; 22 counts of Fraud Over $5,000; 22 counts of Mischief Over $5,000; 22 counts of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence. Police are in the process of sorting the victims' property for return to their owners.
June 28, 2022
- CityNews - Toronto: Calls for government action to crack down on moving scams grow amid Toronto bust
- Toronto Police Service, 41 Division: Two men arrested in a moving scam, Woman now also wanted, Amethyst Jones, 27, arrested.
- Canadian Association of Movers Warns of the Increase in Moving Scams “CAM has seen an increase in the number of incidents in which consumers are being victimized by rogue operations who call themselves movers,” says Nancy Irvine, President of the Canadian Association of Movers. “This trend has skyrocketed in the past few years, during the pandemic, with opportunistic, faceless scammers capitalizing on the new trend in which 90% of consumers go online to source their services,” she continues. Read the full press release below.
June 27, 2022
- Toronto Sun: Two men arrested, one woman sought for alleged moving scam Here's the story of one of the victims who made arrangements to move from Milton to Toronto in May. Be sure to watch the video in this story - it's a *must watch*.
- CBC Radio: Scam by moving companies busted by police (interview with Constable Chris Long - 10 minutes)
- CBC News: CBC Marketplace investigated these movers. Now police have arrested them Following an undercover investigation by CBC's Marketplace into a group of national moving companies accused of deceptive pricing, and the first airing of their exposé in March 2022, Toronto police have arrested the two key figures and charged them with a slew of criminal offences. The findings of the police investigation parallel what Marketplace producers heard from customers, including during a hidden-camera segment with one of the companies connected to the two men. Toronto police believe there are other customers who have been victims, and urge them to contact police as the investigation continues.
- Toronto Police news release: Two men arrested in a moving scam, Woman now also wanted, Amethyst Jones, 27 On Friday, June 24, 2022, officers from 41 Division executed search warrants in the Scarborough and arrested two men. As a result of this ongoing investigation, officers have identified another person believed to be involved in this scam. As part of this investigation, officers have recovered a substantial amount of personal items believed to be from victims. It will take some time to sort through them and return them to their owners. Victims can claim these items by contacting investigators at 416-808-4100.
June 24, 2022
- Global News: Toronto men charged in connection with moving scam: Toronto Police have arrested two Toronto men in connection with a moving scam. The two men, Cemal Ozturk and Dogan Celik, were allegedly operating “several budget moving companies under different names”, including 12282569 Canada Inc., O’Canada Movers, Roadway Moving and Storage Inc., SafeBound Moving and Storage Inc., Canadian Principal Movers, All You Can Move, Right on Track Moving, New Vision Moving and Greenway Moving. Police are asking other victims to contact Toronto Police at 41 Division. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers. CAM advises consumers to always do your research and verify the identity and reputation of the mover before you hire them.
- Toronto Police news release: Two men arrested in a moving scam, Cemal Ozturk, 30, Dogan Celik, 30 The Toronto Police Service advise of arrests made in relation to a moving scam. Ozturk and Celik, both of Toronto were charged with: four counts of False Pretense; four counts of Fraud Over $5,000; four counts of Mischief Over $5,000; four counts of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Conspiracy to Commit Indictable Offence. Investigators believe that there may be more victims and they are encouraged to contact police at 41 Division at 416-808-4100.
- Update of March 4 & April 22 - 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. Here's a link to this recent episode view the episode, as well as a link to a detailed article on the show and the scam that took place read the article.
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, with an interview with Cst Chris Long, here.
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 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.
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.”
- 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 Van Lines 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 was 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.