Ultimate Van Lines Holds Belongings Hostage

Dear Consumerist,

We hired Ultimate Van lines, based in Dallas, TX, in April 2008, to transport our furniture and other household property from Fortville, IN to Lake Forest, CA, with an estimated delivery time of 7-10 days after pickup. Pickup in Fortville, IN occurred on 4/29/08. They have still not delivered our property to us as of 5/24/08.

They have stonewalled us in our attempts to contact them (they did not answer their phone, or return phone or email messages the first week). They have offered multiple excuses as to why our items have not arrived. They will not divulge the location of our property so that we can go reclaim it. They seem to change the rules of our contract every time we call. They are not consistent in how they explain how their company works or why this delay has occurred. They claim not to receive faxes, emails and phone messages from us regarding payment of our final balance. We are concerned that our property has been stolen from us and that we may never see it again.

I have filed cases with the Better Business Bureau of Dallas and the National Consumer Complaint Database. The police in Lake Forest and Orange County do not seem to know who to refer me to. I faxed the FBI on Saturday in the hopes that they might help us. At least the FBI seems willing to review our case.

We have lost thousands of dollars worth of property; besides furniture, appliances, and clothing, we have lost memorabilia and some financial records.

What is more, my children (my daughter: 3 years old, and my son: 7 weeks old) are sleeping on the floor while they wait for their beds to arrive. We purchased cheap air mattresses in Wal-mart’s camping section. My son no longer has a crib, because Ultimate Van Lines never delivered it.

There is evidence that Ultimate Van Lines has perpetrated this scam before on the internet. Unfortunately it was only after we realized there was a problem that we located poor reviews of them online. Customers at ripoffreport.com, my3cents.com, and movingscam.com reported their property being held hostage and cash amounts extorted from them upon delivery.

Please help ensure that Ultimate Van Lines is not free to victimize other customers in the future. We’ve already paid thousands of dollars to relocate to California, and if we hire a lawyer to litigate our case, we will have to pay thousands more. We just want our things back.

I am appalled about all I’ve learned regarding moving companies and their scams since this happened to us. Those who perpetrate these crimes really seem to operate above the law. I’ve heard that the police are powerless to help when movers hold property hostage and extort money from their victims. I want to help put a stop to at least one company making money this way.

– Heather C.

And that’s why you want to check out a moving company’s reputation BEFORE you sign up with them.

How To Avoid Moving Scams
How To Find a Reputable Mover
Things To Know Before You Freight Ship
8 Tips From A Moving Company
Trouble With Your Movers? Call The Department Of Weights And Measures!

But that’s not going to help you out of your current predicament. You want to contact the California Public Utilities Commission, which has jurisdiction over moving companies in California.