ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

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sicmixer
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:47 pm

ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby sicmixer » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:18 pm

Hi. My wife and I need help with a moving scam going on right now. We got an internet estimate from Star Van Lines in Encino, CA. They quoted us an estimate in cubic feet based on the informaton we gave them for an interstate move. On the order of service it said they would charge an additional $6 per cubic foot for additional space not in the estimate.

When moving day came, we asked the movers if they thought we would be over the estimated space amount. They said no. But when everything was loaded in the truck they said we were over by 300 cubic feet from the original estimate. The bill more than doubled. With not many options since our stuff was already on the truck we paid half of the bill.

While waiting for our things to arrive we did some research on this and other websites. We learned about our rights in the US code title 49. We wish we knew them beforehand.

Here is our dilemma. The movers will be here at our new residence tomorrow. Do we have the right not to pay the remaining balance at the time of delivery? The first half we paid already was more than 110% of the original estimate. How do we go about getting our stuff off the truck as we are threatening them with federal laws? Do we deal with the driver of the truck? We fear that if we contact the company before the truck arrives and tell them we won't pay the balance at time of delivery our thing won't show up.

Also, this company performed other violations including not giving us a complete bill of lading, not giving us a copy of DOT publication OCE 100 and not reestimating before goods were loaded.

Please, any advice on what to do tomorrow is greatly appreciated.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Scam in progress

Postby Diane » Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:31 pm

Hi - I'm sorry this is happening to you. This is the typical scam. How did Star get your contact information?

The first thing is that the movers may not in fact show up tomorrow. Judging from comments posted here, it would be quite unusual if they did show up. Not sure where you were moving from, but frequently these companies put people's goods in storage until they have enough loads to make it worthwhile to drive long distance.

Second, you are correct - don't announce in advance that you're not going to pay the balance. In point of fact, you are probably going to have to pay what they're asking for in order to get your goods back. It's true that there are laws on the books, but unfortunately there is hardly any enforcement of those laws.

Maybe other people posting here will have other ideas. Again, I'm very sorry about this.

farrah7031
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Tallahassee, FL

Re: Scam in progress

Postby farrah7031 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:36 pm

You also can contact Move Rescue at www.moverescue.com if they decide to hold your goods hostage.

Where did you move from/to?

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Scam in progress

Postby Diane » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:46 pm

Here's a thread where this company was discussed last July - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14146

It appears that they were using the name Star Van Line in their emails.

farrah7031
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Tallahassee, FL

Re: Scam in progress

Postby farrah7031 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:54 pm

They've only been in business for a year and they already have a lot of complaints and a C rating at the BBB:
http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Busin ... =100050209

dcapellman
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:04 pm
Location: Winchester, Virginia

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby dcapellman » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:13 am

On the day of your move, I am curious as to how the movers determined that you were 300 cubic feet over the original estimate. Did you receive an estimate itemizing how many boxes your move would take as well as listing furniture items? I suspect that this is how they initially estimated the amount of cubic feet your move would take.

I recently moved and the estimate I received listed the number and size of the boxes as well as the furniture (including the volume) for each room including the garage. Did your movers use an inventory when loading the truck? If an inventory was used, my suggestion to you is to write down on your inventory sheet the exact volume for each one of your household items (boxes and furniture). This may be your only proof for the volume you should be charged for.
Doug Capellman
dcapellman@comcast.net

Big Dog
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:24 pm
Location: Colorado Mountains

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby Big Dog » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:32 am

It simply amazes me that this shipper has found his rights & responsibilities AFTER selecting a mover & AFTER his goods have been loaded on the van. Why don't these shippers do their investigation BEFORE the job is started? Anyway, I would let the driver come to your residence & get set up to unload. He will then demand the balance to be paid before he opens the truck. I would block his truck in your driveway with another vehilce, & then call the local police. Do not give him the money until the police tell you to. I bet when the police show up the COD amount goes away. Drastic times demand drastic measures. 8)

consumer advocate
Posts: 1945
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:52 pm

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby consumer advocate » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:50 am

Sorry this is happening to you but don't get your hopes up. The police will usually tell you that it's a civil matter and refuse to get involved. Once a consumer has been scammed (whether he did his homework or not) he has no recourse.

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby MusicMom » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:51 am

Here's the major problem: Cubic Feet may ONLY be used as a measurement if the estimate is a BINDING one. Binding means the price cannot change at all, regardless of how far over the estimate your things go. If they have given you a CF estimate that is Non-Binding, they've made themselves liable for a huge fine.

Now here's the reality: The DOT will never get to them to fine them, and even if it does, they won't pay. When your goods arrive, which won't be tomorrow, you will most likely have to pay the amount they're asking for to get your goods. The amount that they're going to ask for is going to be roughly the actual cost of moving that any mover would ahve charged you, but they got your business by deceiving you with the low estimate.

I would suggest that you stand up for yourself and have cash on hand in the amount of the original estimate. Offer this to them without any explanation. When they demand more money, hand them the printout of the Rights & tresponsibilities showing Binding Estimates cannot be charged more. If they continue demanding, or make like they're going to leave, hand over the rest of the cash they want.

If you assert your rights by federal law to pay the amount on paper and they refuse, then at the very least they'll get a $10,000 fine for one day of holding your goods hostage.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby Diane » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:56 am

I believe that the only time calling the police has worked is when the driver had outstanding warrants and didn't want his background checked into. The driver himself is under the gun from his company to collect the inflated amount.

ArchieWhite
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Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby ArchieWhite » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:12 am

CA, it sounds like you are saying that the laws in place are useless, and the person being swindled should just give in? I hope I'm reading that wrong, I think its worth the try to, A. get help from www.moverescue.com or B. call the police. I think these cases have gotten a decent amount of publicity, and that police around the country are aware of this kind of crap, and would at least send somebody around to check, especially if the housewife is crying on the phone, etc, and the driver is a big burly non english speaking thug.

consumer advocate
Posts: 1945
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:52 pm

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby consumer advocate » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:42 am

Yes, I did not mean to imply that the police should not be called. I just didn't want sicmixer to get his/her hopes up. More often than not, the police take a hands-off approach. Moverescue has been helpful in many cases so they should be contacted as well.

ArchieWhite
Posts: 2942
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby ArchieWhite » Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:47 am

I realize the police will probably not be able to do anything, but if they will come around, make an appearance, at least the shipper won't be bullied too badly, hopefully. These creeps are willingly violating the law, and daring anybody to stop them......its unbelievable.

consumer advocate
Posts: 1945
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:52 pm

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby consumer advocate » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:12 am

We're in agreement there, Arch. :wink:

DoubleR
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:57 am
Location: Louisiana

Re: ALERT - avoid Star Van Lines (Encino, CA)

Postby DoubleR » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:19 am

From my experience with a scam (hold hostage of household goods) against my 86 year old mother and disabled sister, the local police considered it a civil matter. (I just happened to be at the delivery point when the truck arrived.) However, they went as far as they probably could go...checked the driver's licenses and IDs of the truck driver and helper, examined the truck carefully, etc. This really made them sweat. They convinced the driver to take a personal check from me. I think you can figure out what happened after the truck unloaded and left!
DoubleR


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