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Moving homes? Do your research before selecting a moving company, BBB warns

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 6:45 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 8, 2021 at 7:29 PM HST
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WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new report from the Better Business Bureau reveals hundreds of complaints against moving companies.

“Right now, people are moving. The pandemic has really caused a shift as people relocate because now people can work from home,” said Roseann Freitas, BBB’s PR and Communications Manager.

Freitas said complaints about moving companies are up and have increased annually since 2019.

A report from 2017 to 2020 shows the bureau has received more than 1,400 complaints filed against roughly 1,700 companies in the Great West Pacific region. That area includes Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, as well as parts of Colorado and Wyoming.

“Some of the reports we have gotten involve companies who increase the price once it’s being delivered. So, they have all your goods, and they won’t off load and give it to you unless you pay more money,” Freitas said. “Also, people have talked about never getting their stuff back. It’s just being held hostage effectively, for ransom until they pay more money.”

Walt Fraser Jr. knows this firsthand.

He and his wife moved from California to Waipahu in 2018. To help with the move, he hired Hawaii Moving and Storage and thought he got a good deal because he is a disabled veteran.

“Charged me $850 or something like that for picking the items up,” Fraser said.

When they got to Hawaii, Fraser got an email from them.

“‘We’re sorry, we’re having financial hardships, can you come get your stuff immediately?’ And both my wife and I were in shock,” said Fraser.

Fraser had to hire another moving company to retrieve his belongings for him.

“It has cost me so far over $10,000,” he said. “Maybe that’s not a lot of money to a lot of people, but right now in my pocketbook and being semi-retired at 71. I’ll be 72 this month, that’s a lot of money.”

The company is not accredited. It has as a “F” rating with the BBB and dozens of complaints.

The phone number for Hawaii Moving and Storage no longer works, and the website is gone.

“I don’t know if I can do anything legal. I don’t know. But I don’t want other people following into the same trap I came under,” Fraser said.

Freitas encourages movers to do their research before paying a company.

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