An Ontario family who hired a moving company to help them relocate to Moncton is speaking out, trying to warn others after saying they saw a significant increase in their cost estimate.
Lilia and James Boone now owe over $15,000 and have yet to receive their belongings.
The couple and their two kids moved to New Brunswick in July after seeking a more affordable cost of living compared to Ontario.
They hired Greenway Moving and Storage Inc. to get their possessions from their two-bedroom Mississauga apartment to the east coast.
The company presented Lilia with a contract.
“At the end of the moving, it was a long day; we were still dealing with the closing for our house and taking care of the two boys,” Lilia says in an interview.
“So the driver just tried to convince me to sign the paper, which is the flat rate for 21,000 pounds. He told me to believe that our stuff from two-bedroom apartment was more than 30,000 pounds.”
So, she signed it.
“They advised her it was in her best interest to sign a flat rate option,” says Lilia’s husband, James. “My wife signed that without them explaining to her what that meant. And later we found out we signed an agreement to pay more than double the weight of our belongings.”
That’s because after further reviewing their list of belongings, the couple suspects their possessions weighed no more than 10, 000 pounds.
If their estimate is accurate, based on that — and a $0.45-per-pound rate indicated on the contract, adding other fees and taxes — Lilia Boone says the cost should be about $6,000.
Instead, the first invoice the couple received was for $11,710.50. With storage fees added on since that time, the last invoice shows the couple owes $15,091.50.
The Boones say they are frustrated and believe they were misled to believe their belongings could have weighed so much.
The actual weight of their possessions is not known and Greenway Moving and Storage Inc. has confirmed to Global News it doesn’t weigh possessions after a customer signs for a flat rate, subsequently opting out of paying a scale fee.
But it’s not just about the money, Lilia says. It’s about the sentimental value of their possessions they’ve yet to receive.
“Because the moving industry is highly-unregulated, moving industries are actually one of the most complained about industries that we have at BBB,” says Kristin Matthews, a marketing & communications specialist with the Better Business Bureau.
After calling Greenway Moving and Storage Inc. Thursday, Global News received a call from someone named Ashley — who did not provide their last name or job title with the company — on Friday.
Saying they were speaking on behalf of the company, Ashley said Greenway has tried to negotiate with the Boones to no avail.
“They (Greenway) have made reductions and all kinds of proposals to try and resolve,” Ashley says in a phone interview.
The Boones say they will be pursuing legal action. First, a decision will need to be made on whether the case is heard in Moncton or Toronto.
Due to the threatened legal action, Ashley said the company can’t elaborate on “reductions and all kinds of proposals.”
Ashley says the couple can get their belongings if they pay the bill.
For its part, the Better Business Bureau says people need to be vigilant during stressful moves.
“According to BBB records, our files do indicate a pattern of complaints on this company,” Matthews says, resulting in an ‘F’ rating on the website.
“A lot of the complaints… they concern billing issues, delayed deliveries and customer service issues,” she says.
Matthews suggests reviewing contracts in full, do extensive research on companies, and check for licences and insurance from movers.
Lastly, it’s advised to get several quotes, but it is a “red flag” if one company has a significantly cheaper estimate compared to competitors.