‘Complete and utter lie’: Customers charged thousands more after Charlotte moving company’s estimate agreed upon
WBTV Investigates: Fly Movers has half-dozen complaints filed against them
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte moving company is quoting customers one price but then charging them thousands of dollars more despite promising the estimate was set in stone.
These allegations appear in more than a half-dozen complaints filed against the company with the North Carolina Attorney General.
Jordan Mitchell filed one of those complaints after he hired Fly Movers for a move from Atlanta to Matthews.
He said he received quotes from several companies before settling on Fly.
“We end up moving to storage first and they weren’t going to charge me for the move out of storage into our house,” Mitchell said.
That made the Fly Movers estimate tough to beat, but Mitchell said he wanted the cost to be based on weight, not cubic feet.
In the complaint he filed with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Mitchell said that was the agreement, until the last second.
“I noticed that he was basing it off of cubic feet and he was charging me about a third more than what had been initially quoted, and so I said, ‘well, that’s not right,’” Mitchell said. “My stuff was threatened to be dropped off in my front yard the night before closing because I wasn’t willing to pay a third more.”
WBTV found eight different complaints filed with the Attorney General, all instances where Fly Movers charged thousands more than the estimate.
“The total cost was going to be about $16,000 versus the $8,000,” customer Catherine Campbell said.
More: Customers file complaint
“They’re just way off. They just completely missed. They quoted us low on purpose to get us in,” customer Erik Dreff told WBTV.
What makes this more frustrating for these customers is that the estimate provided by Fly Movers was binding, which, according to federal regulations, “guarantees the total cost of the move.”
Some of these customers even said they sold many of their items after the original estimate.
“We actually had less boxes and less furniture because we sold a bunch of stuff,” Dreff said.
“So it was really impossible for me to think that it could be more than they estimated because they supposedly wanted to be very thorough with the estimate,” Campbell said.
Some of the customers also told WBTV that Fly Movers threatened to keep their property until the final cost was paid.
“I felt like it was my belongings were being held hostage. I thought I had no alternative,” Campbell said.
Many of the AG complaints also contained allegations of missing or damaged property. However, customers said that they have been unsuccessful in getting Fly Movers to reimburse them for the property.
Erik Dreff filed a claim against Fly Movers and with the insurance provider CSI. Transcripts and records provided by Dreff show that Dreff was granted a monetary award after his claims but he says Fly Movers has never paid it.
According to state and federal records Fly Movers goes by other names, including Interstate Moving Company LLC and Conan LLC.
All of them are managed by someone named Andrii Chornovol.
According to records obtained by WBTV, Chornovol ran two other moving companies in Florida before moving to Charlotte to start Fly Movers.
WBTV reached out to Chornovol and Fly Movers but did not receive a response to this story by the publication of this story.
“Everything that’s on their website that they’re advertising is a complete and utter lie,” customer Chad Reynolds said.
Are you getting ready to move?
Here are some tips that will help you find a quality moving company:
Before You Move
- Ask for recommendations from neighbors, friends and relatives
- Check with the Better Business Bureau regarding the mover
- Find out what the mover’s responsibilities are for damages that may occur to your belongings.
- Ask if the mover has a dispute settlement program.
- Obtain estimates from at least three movers, and compare cost and all other services to be provided by the mover.
- Check to determine whether the interstate mover is registered with FMCSA, and has a USDOT number.
- Find out how and when the pickup and delivery of your household goods will occur.
- Ask the mover how they can be contacted before the move, during the move, and after the move.
- Adequately insure your belongings.
Know your rights and responsibilities before selecting a mover
FMCSA’s regulations protect consumers who are moving interstate, and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers and the household goods carriers they hire.
Your primary responsibility is to select a reputable mover, ensure that you understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and understand the remedies that are available to you in case there is a problem. Before moving your household goods interstate, household goods carriers (movers) are required to give you the booklet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This booklet will help you understand the documents that a mover will ask you to sign, and explains your rights if your household goods are lost or damaged. Movers are also required to give you FMCSA’s Ready to Move brochure, which helps you prepare to move with confidence.
The mover will also provide you with additional written information describing its procedure for handling any questions and complaints, and a telephone number you can call to obtain additional information about your move.
Read more here.
Learn to spot the red flags of moving
- The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an onsite inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the telephone or online — sight unseen. These estimates often sound too good to be true. They usually are.
- The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
- The mover asks you to sign blank or incomplete documents.
- The mover does not provide a written estimate (can be binding or non-binding).
- The mover doesn’t provide you with a copy of the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet and a copy of FMCSA’s Ready to Move brochure, which movers are required by Federal regulations to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.
- The company’s website has no local address and no information about their registration or insurance.
- The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
- When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving company,” rather than the company’s name.
- Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
- The mover says they will determine the charges after loading.
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.
- The mover claims, “You’ve got more stuff than estimated!” Should this occur, be sure the mover provides a revised estimate that you both sign listing the additional items and/or services as well as a price that you both have agreed to and signed BEFORE they begin packing or loading. They should also provide you a copy of this new estimate.
Read more about the red flags
Make sure your mover is registered with FMCSA
Search the FMCSA database here. Also, check for insurance and complaint records.
Read and understand all information provided by the mover
The mover should provide you with the following basic written documents as part of your move:
Estimate: The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept verbal estimates.
Order for Service: The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.
Bill of Lading: The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the mover leaves the residence at origin.
Inventory List: The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded, and that you agree with its description of your household goods’ condition.
Do NOT sign blank or incomplete documents
Make sure you understand the liability you agree to
Your mover is liable for the value of the goods you ask them to transport. There are, however, different levels of liability. The level you choose will determine the type and amount of reimbursement you will receive if an item is lost or damaged.
Be aware of the various types of protection available and the charges for each option.
- Be present to answer questions and give directions to the movers.
- Stay until they finish.
- Accompany the movers as they inventory your household goods and resolve any questions regarding the condition of materials being moved.
- Carefully read the information on the estimate, order for service, bill of lading, inventory, and all other completed documents before you sign them.
- Keep the bill of lading until your goods are delivered, the charges are paid, and any claims are settled.
- Before the moving van leaves, take one final look throughout the house to make certain nothing has been left behind.
- Give the driver directions to your new home.
- Inform the driver and the moving company of where you can be reached during the move.
- Be present to answer any questions and give directions.
- Pay the driver, according to the term of your agreement, before your goods are unloaded.
- Supervise the unloading and unpacking of your goods.
- Note on the inventory list all boxes or other items that are damaged before you sign any documents.
If you need to dispute a moving company or file a complaint, visit this site from FMCSA.
If you have been deceived by a moving company, or just have a tip that you want WBTV to investigate, email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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