Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

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smatwilly
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Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby smatwilly » Mon Dec 22, 2008 2:06 pm

NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT REGARDING - Household goods Movers Antitrust Litigation, Multidistrict Litigation 1865

If you directly purchased household goods moving services from any of the following entities at any time from March 19, 2003 through & including March 19, 2007, you may be a class member in In re: Household goods movers Antitrust Litigation 1865, a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of South Carolina: Allied Van Lines, American Moving & Storage Association, Inc, Atlas Van Lines Inc, Atlas World Group Inc, Bekins Van LInes Inc, Mayflower Transit LLC, North American Van Lines Inc, SIRVA, Inc, SIRVA Worldwide Inc, Unigroup Inc, United Van Lines LLC. Wheaton Van Lines, Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that the above-named Defendents were a group of moving companies that overcharged their customers by adding illegal fuel surcharges to their invoices. The suit also claims that the Defendents conspired to fix and maintain those fuel surcharges. If you are a member of the class, you may have valuable rights that will be affected by whether you act or do not act. You should reveiw the Settlement Notice as soon as possible as there are important deadlines that you must meet to take certain actions in connection with this proposed settlement. The deadline for filing an objection or excluding yourself from the class you will be bound by the settlement terms. For further info and a copy of the Settlement Notice, vist www.vanlinessettlement.com or call 800-809-3150.

boxxy
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Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby boxxy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 11:39 pm

Just received a postcard with this info today -- located in Northern California and one of the companies listed below moved me here from So. Cal. in 2005.

(Experienced no problems with that company whatsoever -- no increased bill, nothing.)


Checked out the site on the postcard and it appears genuine -- at least, based on my security software, it's not a virus, no phishing, etc.


It seems that $5 million has been set aside as settlement for a punitive action against several moving companies for using a fuel surcharge to overcharge customers.


To be eligible to collect a portion of the $5 million, you have to have hired one of the following companies for an inter-state move between March 19, 2003 to March 19, 2007:


American Moving and Storage Association, Inc.

SIRVA, Inc.

Atlas Van Lines, Inc.

SIRVA Worldwide, Inc.

Atlas World Group, Inc.

Unigroup, Inc.

Bekins Van Lines, Inc.

United Van Lines LLC

Mayflower Transit LLC

Wheaton Van Lines, Inc.

North American Van Lines Inc.


There are surely other eligibility requirements and provisions, I'm just summarizing the info here.


The full, actual settlement doc which can be found (in .pdf format) here:

http://vanlinessettlement.com/docs/Sett ... eement.pdf

(Hope it's cool to post this link here?)



The Reason I Post This Info: Boards like this saved me from getting scammed.

Long ago, I learned that these days one must ALWAYS Google "(whatever the company's name, or web link, or name of the bright shiny thing that just caught my eye)"+scam . . . or "+complaint" . . . or "+lawsuit" . . .

Thanks to doing that right before my move in 2005, I found links to message boards like this one that alerted me to scams involving moving companies which I never could have dreamed existed.

Boards like this enlightened me as to which moving companies to avoid and which had good track records. (I'm actually a little surprised the company that moved me is on this list -- they had a good rating and I had no problems with them.)


I found out how to protect myself thanks to people like YOU who posted your horror stories. You taught me how to keep from getting ripped off. THANK YOU.

I'm genuinely sorry so many people like those who post here have gotten scammed, and since I know that it's very slim "pay-back" indeed to say "you saved one person from going through the same trauma," instead I'll say: Hope you can get some money from this settlement !

Good luck and thanks for contributing to boards like this. THEY HELP!

MusicMom
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Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby MusicMom » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:56 pm

Let's see, $5,000. Split amongst all the customers of all the major van lines. Over a 4 year period.

Whatever will they each do with their 6 cents?
Last edited by MusicMom on Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ArchieWhite
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Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby ArchieWhite » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:32 am

I think it was 5 million, but chances are, when the lawyers are thru getting their fees, nobody will get much. Bad lawyers can make bad things happen, and good lawyers can make bad things happen.

Jim
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Location: Sunny Southern California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby Jim » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:32 pm

I have to agree. The only people this benefitted were the lawyers. The customers truly did not and the scam movers weren't even affected. It only proves how the legal system does little to nothing to stop scam movers - but prosecuting movers working within the system...I guess that must be OK...

:nono:

I noticed not all of major movers are listed here. I wonder what the deal is with those movers??
It's Sunny Somewhere In The World

bigmove
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Location: California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby bigmove » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:34 am

They are going to sue the moving industry for applying a surcharge that usually goes 100% to the drivers, and is a function of the price of fuel. They will try to convince the jury that movers stole from consumers, and how they are going to make them pay for this. At the same time, the crooked lawyers will be the only one's who ever tried to steal from anyone.

promover2
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Location: Tampa, Florida

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby promover2 » Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:37 am

This lawfirm is using a loophole in the Antitrust Laws that say companies cannot conspire together for the purpose of price fixing. Price fixing is an agreement (written or verbal) to charge the same price for the same service. Here, they are saying that the aforementioned van lines 'conspired' (via AMSA) to price fix the fuel surcharge attached to their move costs. As Bigmove accurately noted though, this surcharge which usually amounts to a small percentage of the total bill, goes to the hauler and never even covers the entire amount for fuel. However, because the companies all used the same source for determining the amount of the surcharge, the law says that they have committed price fixing. Most states and the Federal government have laws against price fixing. As you may expect, the antitrust laws allow for attorneys fees to be paid by the defendant if found guilty. So here, the plaintiffs will get a modest amount of money, but the lawyers will probably charge $250 to $500 per hour for their time. This is just another defect in the U.S. justice system.

Jim
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Location: Sunny Southern California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby Jim » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:26 pm

As you may expect, the antitrust laws allow for attorneys fees to be paid by the defendant if found guilty.



Not true in this case. You're going to love this. From Page 12 of the settlement agreement, it would appear the defendant's litigation fees will be paid out of the agreed upon settlement. In other words, the legal fees for both parties will be paid out of the settlement before a single dollar is paid to anyone defined as a member of the class. As near as I can figure, well more than one-half of the settlement will go to the lawyers, and I suspect the class will get about the $5,000 MM figured the entire class would get.

This is more of an insurance scam than anything else; this sort of thing would probably be covered under an E&O provision in the Commercial Liability policy of each carrier, or a seperate E&O policy. At most, the carrier is paying $250K, and insurance will take care of the rest.

I also think this is much more than just the fuel surcharge because the way the settlement agreement reads, it's almost as if they sued because of price fixing - beginning with the fact the companies all started working off of the same general tariff. If it were simply the fuel surcharge, it would be impossible to prove the defendants personally profited from something they received nothing from.

It would seem movers are hardly the only people here who scam.
It's Sunny Somewhere In The World

bigmove
Posts: 438
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Location: California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby bigmove » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:46 pm

I'm no lawyer, but as I see it the problem has already been solved. Movers were LEGALLY working off the same tarriff which was regulated through the Surface Transportation Board. This issue was resolved at the beggining of the year, and this is nothing but somebody trying to get rich or hurt someone else. This case has been closed for almost a year now. If the government was allowing them to work off the same tarriff, it would be logical to assume they could also use the same surcharge.

Whether you support what the surface transportation board did or not, it still happened and was legal. All that can be done (if both sides agree it was not right) is to change the system and move on.

BigLeeCalif
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Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Dec 27, 2008 1:55 pm

I find it a bit ironic, that the "alleged" fuel surcharge collusion calculation is based on the DOE weekly fuel index. Nobody complained when fuel was so cheap no surcharge was applied.

If the government was allowing them to work off the same tarriff, it would be logical to assume they could also use the same surcharge.


Imagine the scam movers. They probably change the fuel surcharge every time they fill their tanks, and base it on whatever they want.

It's not surprising that since everyone has to now file their own independent tariff, the same may apply to fuel... So much for consistency.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

bigmove
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Location: California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby bigmove » Sat Dec 27, 2008 2:56 pm

I don't consider the fuel surcharge price fixing, but a way to compensate for quick changes in the price of fuel. Since it all goes to the drivers, and the drivers pay for the fuel, I don't see what the problem is. With different tarriffs, you can't really fix the surcharges anyway. Somebody smarter and with more expertise than myself, needs to find a way to create a base rate for fuel with each tarriff, and make it respresent the actual increased cost. Free markets will determine if they did it correctly or not.

Rick
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Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby Rick » Sat Dec 27, 2008 3:16 pm

Removed
Last edited by Rick on Sun Nov 14, 2010 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bigmove
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Location: California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby bigmove » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:10 pm

If it is based on the actual increase in the price of fuel, who cares if it was me too'd. With the information I have, a fuel surcharge which represents the actual flucuation in the price of fuel, is necessary and should be legal.

BigLeeCalif
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Location: Escondido, California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:25 pm

I think the problem is that us movers know that the fuel surcharge goes to the hauler, but that isn't 100% accurate.

Drivers have come in looking for work, and one of the reasons they were unhappy with their previous van line/agent is that the driver would only get 90% of the fuel surcharge, and the rest was held by the agent.

To the consumer, they probably complained that the fuel surcharge was one thing when they signed the order for service, but the move took place a couple of months down the trail. With our van line, the fuel surcharge applied is the one effect at the time the shipment loaded. And since the sales person wouldn't know what the surcharge would be a couple of months in the future, naturally he/she couldn't accurately reflect that charge to the shipper.

I could see that during the summer those rates would have fluctuated a lot more than during a more stable period.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

bigmove
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:56 am
Location: California

Re: Anyone seen this yet??!! HUH?!

Postby bigmove » Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:26 pm

I have a hard time understanding the argument that anyone should get the surcharge other than the driver. Moving forward, I think companies need to carefully calculate the surcharge to represent the actual flucuation in the price of fuel, and give it to the driver.


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