CONSUMER FRAUD CLAIMS AND MOVING COMPANIES

It is not uncommon that people make claims that a moving company has committed fraud or consumer fraud. These claims are usually in the context of improper or inaccurate estimates, improper or inappropriate moving practices, and improper or inappropriate billing practices.
As an example, one person might claim that they were quoted one price and were required to pay a different price upon delivery of their goods. There are specific Administrative Code sections applicable to moving companies in the State of New Jersey. However, these regulations would not be deemed the only avenue of potential standards against a moving company. The generalized New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and deceptive and inappropriate conduct contained under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud would also be applicable to moving companies. As an example, if a moving company were to make an affirmative misrepresentation of fact as to a specific quote and then were to hold goods for ransom if additional monies were not paid, this could potentially be deemed a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, inappropriate conduct and actionable conduct under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. What the ascertainable loss is, which is a requirement under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, would be an entirely different question.
Thus, when engaging a moving company, make sure that you get all representations in writing and also representations that this is a final and full quote. Many people have contacted my office while the moving companies are in possession of their goods and refusing to deliver the goods unless the consumer signs some additional documentation which indicates that additional charges are appropriate, additional card credit charges authorization are appropriate or a complete release from all liability is signed. Unless the moving company gets this documentation, generally they will not deliver the goods. This places the consumer in a very awkward and uncomfortable position, dealing with a moving company that is in possession of their entire inventory of household goods.
If a moving company were to damage goods as opposed to making affirmative misrepresentations of fact, this would be a completely separate claim. There are various limitations against moving companies pertaining to the destruction of goods and the transportation process. This is also known as the Carmack Amendment.
Nonetheless, moving companies are subject to the reaches of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the liberal construction of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act to benefit consumers who have been duped or lied to by moving companies.