Scammed... don't know what to do

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beatbama85
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:03 pm

Scammed... don't know what to do

Postby beatbama85 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:36 am

So I, unfortunately, was scammed by Georgia Home Movers in the Atlanta area. I did my research ahead of time, so I thought, through Yelp. They had excellent reviews on there (and still do)... they're at like 5 stars on there. You'd think there is nothing shady at all about them based on that.

After requesting them through the Yelp app, I was emailed a quote from them as follows:

"My name is Kellye with Georgia Home Movers. Thanks for reaching out to us for your up and coming move. Our rates for two movers and our truck is $120 per hour, three movers and a truck is $160 per hour and four Movers and a truck is $200 per hour. We have no hidden fees, you pay by the hour. That includes moving pads, shrink wrap and dollies at no additional cost. We do have availability for the requested date. We estimate 2-4 hours for 2 movers. Feel free to give us a call at 404-536-4545 so I can get some more details about your move so I can give you a better estimate or if you would like to book it. Or I can also call you if you like just tell me when would work well for you. Thanks again, Kellye 404-536-4545 Info@georgiahomemovers.com"

I only had a few big items for them to move, basically just bedroom furniture and a few boxes, from my old apartment to my new one 5 miles up the road, so I was only looking for 2 movers for 2 hours. I knew it would be knocked out within the 2 hours easily as long as they didn't loaf too badly.

And this move was on a Saturday... I'll get to that later.

My request and reservation was made over the phone (first mistake I made)... At that point I was again simply given the hourly rate, and I requested 2 movers. I was told from the guy that if my move did not go over 2 hours, my grand total would only be $240, not a penny more. He told me that I had to make a one hour deposit up front in order to do the reservation, but that this charge would be credited back to my total when the move was done. So I complied (second mistake) and gave him my credit card information and he charged me the $120 for the initial hour deposit.

The movers came as scheduled that Saturday (actually 3 of them showed up but they told me that I wouldn't be charged extra), and they easily had everything done within the 2 hours... It took like an hour and a half. And the mover charged me $240 right before he walked off. I was under the assumption that I was paying for just $240 and that the $120 pending charge on my card for the initial deposit would go away. You know, just taking a guy for his word that my initial deposit would be credited back. So I just signed their little iPad with the $240 charge on it. But both I later saw that both the $240 and the $120 went through, so I was charged a total of $360 instead of $240 like I was quoted.

I called the company once I realized this little surprise from my online bank account, and requested that they refund me, but the guy simply told me that the minimum hourly charge for weekends (again, my move was on a Saturday) was 3 hours. So I was just charged for the minimum weekend hours. He told me that it was in the contract that I signed. And he refused to refund me.

I did sign paperwork as soon as they got there, but, like most people I'm sure, I didn't really read any of it and just immediately wrote my John Hancock right where the mover was pointing on the page.

In addition to that, they have a 3-hour minimum shown on their website for weekends. But I never even knew about the website, nor was told about the website, nor was told from the quote or over the phone about the weekend minimum.

So I'm absolutely furious that they got an extra $120 from me. I know that doesn't sound like much compared to some of the other scams, but I wasn't moving with a spouse/partner or anyone else, so this extra charge is 100% on me.

I've been debating which route to go from here, which is why I'm posting on here. I've thought about (A) disputing the credit card charge through my bank or (B) filing a small claims suit (which I would much rather avoid having to go through). Unfortunately, though, I signed that stupid paperwork, completely unaware of the weekend hourly minimum. I do have evidence of the quote from the email (as shown above), and I have two receipts emailed to me: the $120 receipt, which states 2 movers and a truck were requested, and the $240 receipt, which states that it took 2 hours. So I can defend myself with the receipts against the emailed quote, but I'm not sure if the paperwork I signed would still trump all that.

Any suggestions on what to do would tremendously be appreciated. Thanks for reading.

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Jeff.Walker
Posts: 1189
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:32 am
Location: Central IL

Re: Scammed... don't know what to do

Postby Jeff.Walker » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:24 pm

I'm sorry you weren't told the truth up front by your mover. Honestly, there isn't much you can do from here. If your contract specifies a minimum for weekends, then the contract does in fact precede anything else. You could take them to small claims court, but the cost would be more than you would get back if you won.


Did you get all of your belongings, and are they in decent shape?

beatbama85
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:03 pm

Re: Scammed... don't know what to do

Postby beatbama85 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:30 am

Thanks for the response. I agree. Sucks, but I realize I'm just going to have to chalk this one up as a learning experience. Thankfully it was a small move; I'll make sure to do more homework ahead of time before hiring any other movers.

Yeah, nothing was stolen, and everything is in good shape for the most part. A couple of items were slightly dinged up (corner of my TV stand and both corners of my bed headboard). This is frustrating since those are all new pieces of furniture, but the damages are very slight and not all that visible.

I'd read somewhere else that moving companies aren't allowed to charge more than 110% of the estimate, so I've wondered if that would give me a foot to stand on. But really, I just don't feel like taking the time and energy for $120. The principle though, more so than the money, is what's had me pissed off. But I digress.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Scammed... don't know what to do

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:04 am

I am not familiar with the moving laws in Georgia, but I would offer that I have a friend in the Atlanta area that can help you. Archie White is the owner of AC White Relocations. He has five branches in Georgia. You can email him at archiew@acwhite.com. I'm sure he is familiar with Georgia Home Movers, since his company has been in business since 1926. Tell him Elder Lee asked you to seek him out.

In California, what we would have called what that mover did to you is the old bait and switch. They told you one thing; and then flipped the script.

I have a handy phone app that I would recommend to anyone dealing with doing business via phone. It is called ACR [any call recorder], and is available on the Google play store, or the apple store. It automatically records outgoing and incoming phone calls the second the connection is made. It has saved me $5,000, where an insurance company said one thing, and forgot that I told them I was recording the call, so the had to honor the original agreement....The app is not illegal, and, as long as you tell them they are being recorded for accuracy, it will stand up in court. And, an added bonus is when people know you are recording them; two things happen... #1 They deal honestly. #2.. They hang up.. In that case, you didn't want to deal with them in the first place.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

beatbama85
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:03 pm

Re: Scammed... don't know what to do

Postby beatbama85 » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:57 am

Greatly appreciate the feedback. I'll try and reach out to that guy.

And really appreciate the suggested app. Didn't know about that. That would be a big help for future moves. I know from experience that a lot of them want to get you on the phone immediately, so they can "bait" you in like they did me. That'll be fine then. If they want to play that game, I'll tell them they're being recorded.

You're right. If they're reputable, they'll continue with conversation. If not, they'll hang up.

Thanks again for the feedback!


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