Florida Attorney General Shuts Down Nearly Two Dozen “Moving Company” Scams
On November 2nd, 2022, the Florida Office of Attorney General announced that its office has been recognized with an award for shutting down nearly two dozen moving company scams that were operating in the state. The award was granted by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), which has federal regulatory authority in these cases. Within this article, our Miami deceptive and unfair trade practices lawyer discusses the enforcement action taken by Florida regulators and explains your legal options if you believe that you were materially misled by a business.
Moving Companies in Florida Were Deceiving Customers, Huge Hidden Fees
The award from the federal government comes after the Florida Office of Attorney General made it a state priority to crack down on consumer violations committed by moving companies. In total, the Florida regulators took enforcement action against 19 different moving companies. Each case was different, though they generally share a key commonality: Moving companies were unlawfully hitting consumers with deceptive hidden fees. Here are three examples:
- All USA Van Lines, Inc. was fined more than $20 million by Florida officials. The company violated the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) by making material misrepresentations to customers. Most notably, the company intentionally made “lowball” estimates and then refused to give people their property back until they paid huge fees.
- U.S. Moving Services, Inc. was sanctioned for $78,000 and barred from operating in the state after officials determined that it advertised artificially low fees, before tacking on huge charges at the end. Customers were granted restitution based on Florida’s enforcement action against this company.
- Moving and Storage Accounting, Inc. was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in financial restitution and $700,000 in penalties after Florida regulators determined that the company misled consumers about its prices. Once again, the moving company used the fact that it already had customer property in its possession to extract more money from people.
These three examples and the other cases all involve Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) violations. The FDUTPA is a state consumer protection law that holds businesses liable for consumer losses caused by unlawfully deceptive or otherwise unfair practices. You can sue directly under the FDUTPA. In other words, if you are deceived by a moving company or any other type of business, you have the legal right to file an FDUTPA lawsuit to seek full compensation for the extent of your actual out-of-pocket financial losses.
Consult With Our South Florida FDUTPA Lawyer Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida deceptive trades practices attorney is a devoted advocate for clients. If you sustained damages due to a material misrepresentation by a business, we are prepared to help you take action under the FDUTPA. Contact us today for a confidential initial case review. From our legal offices in Miami, West Palm Beach, we represent consumers and businesses in FDUTPA claims throughout the entirety of Southeastern Florida.