Sheila Saar needed to find a mover and she liked two things about Access Canada Movers.
“They had a really impressive website, everything was really straightforward, they were the first to reply,” she told Global News from her new home in Oak Bay, N.B.
But the initial contentment with her choice of mover quickly turned to daily frustration.
“They have been very clear that they know the value of our possessions is high, and they have threatened to auction them … Access Canada Movers has been coercive, threatening and excessively rude in most if not all of our recorded telephone conversations,” she told Global News in an initial email asking for help.
Saar and her family recently moved from Fort Erie, Ont. She said the contents of what she wanted shipped included her husband’s tools.
“Saws and carpentry equipment, plus bicycles and two sets of winter tires,” she said, explaining that the contents could normally fit into his six-foot-by-12-foot trailer.
Saar said she accepted a quote from Access Canada Movers, a company which Global News has reported on before.
“The quote, including a $40 fee for the government weigh in, ending up being $1,040,” she said.
But after the goods had been retrieved the price went up sharply: to about $3,600 from $1,040. The items weren’t sent on to New Brunswick. The goods were being held in a facility in east Toronto until payment was made.
“Prices were escalating each time we talked to them,” she said.
Saar said she had not researched the company prior to the move. Once she began dealing with demands for more money, she did.
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“Everything we heard about this company was there was no guarantee that it would be delivered in one piece,” she said.
The Better Business Bureau shows 39 complaints against Access Canada Movers between September 2017 and August 2018. In the vast majority of cases, the BBB site lists the complaints as “unanswered”.
Concerned that her goods would not be delivered, Saar said she was prepared to return to Ontario, pay to have the items packed into her own moving truck, and return to New Brunswick.
She said she was willing to pay the company $2,468, as demanded, in order to secure their release.
But in days of calling, she said she was unable to get assurances that once she drove from the Maritimes, that Access Canada Movers would release the items without further cost.
A Toronto police sergeant, who arrived at the company’s offices after Global News paid a visit, intervened to assist Saar.
A company representative, who did not identify himself, opened the door to a Global News crew and asserted they had done nothing wrong.
A tweet to Global News from someone with the account @Kyrstalmichaels, appearing to work at the company, defended its business practices.
“We relocate several hundred families across Canada, hundreds of customers per month. We are transparent and trying to make money as any other business is,” the post read.
“We strongly suggest that you do not post falsified information to the general public or within. You are trying to affiliate our legitimate moving business with another company that preformed (sic) negligent practices,” it said.
Saar said she is planning to arrive in Toronto Sept. 7 to retrieve her belongings.
She said the experience has taught her about the importance of research when hiring a mover.
“There are people who are trying to hide who they are and take advantage who are not doing their due diligence,” Saar said.