There’s no shortage of businesses offering to move your household goods from one place to another, but pick the wrong company and you could find yourself in big trouble.
“I had no power, none whatsoever,” said Pat Piazza, who hired a company called GTA Toronto Moving to relocate the contents of his son’s one-bedroom apartment within the city.
Piazza says he initially was quoted a charge of $45 an hour by the moving company and he agreed. But when the truck showed up on moving day, he says he was told the cost would be $45 an hour for each of the two movers on site. In addition, he says he was charged insurance, taxes and other unexpected fees not discussed on the phone when he made the booking.
“I had to go to the bank twice,” said Piazza, who says the movers contacted him again en route to the drop-off destination and demanded another $75 cash. “They wouldn’t unload my son’s furniture unless I gave them another $75.”
In all, the cost of the move came to almost $900, at least 50 per cent more than what was originally promised.
GTA Toronto Moving didn’t respond to a request for an interview when contacted by Global News. But a company mover named Sean, who showed up at a Don Mills location for a possible move, was asked by a reporter about the company’s billing practices.
“It’s like a cash-grab to get the consumer maybe,” said Sean, when asked why the price of the move on the phone is different from what is quoted on site.
“We don’t rip people off,” said Sean. “If I’m in a really good mood I do it for cheap.”
Other consumers also complained to Global News about the company’s tactics.
“I was a victim of this as well,” said Rebecca Kayum, who found GTA Toronto Moving on Kijiji but came to regret her decision.
Kayum says the company agreed to an hourly fee of $40 for a three or four hour move that included a couch, queen size bed, dresser, five bags and 20 boxes. She says it was estimated the cost of the move would be $200.
But when the movers arrived on New Year’s Day, all didn’t go as expected.
“First, the truck came speeding on our street, kids were out,” she said. “Second, they were over an hour late and still charged me for that.”
Kayum says she paid the $200 fee in cash and was never told about additional costs until later.
After her goods were picked up, Kayum says she was presented an invoice for another $919.23.
Kayum says when she called the company’s office to protest the extra billing she was told, “You got to pay your bill, you got to pay your bill.”
Eventually, Kayum and her husband paid the movers, who left many of the articles outside the house.
Reputable moving companies frequently send a representative in advance to a location to draw up a written inventory of goods in order to prepare an official estimate.
Pat Piazza, who says he wanted to warn other consumers about companies like GTA Toronto Moving, says research is key when choosing a mover.
“If you’re looking for a mover, make sure you’re asking a lot of questions–make sure you ask for the contract before they arrive.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.