• Report: #282407

Complaint Review: Champions Movers

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  • Submitted: Thu, November 01, 2007
  • Updated: Sun, June 07, 2009

  • Reported By:Walnut Creek California
Champions Movers
47000 Warm Spings Blvd. Suite 260 Fremont, California U.S.A.

Champions Movers Beware of Champions Movers Low-Balling Scam!! Fremont California

*Consumer Suggestion: AVOID SCAMMING COMPANIES - DO YOUR RESEARCH!

*UPDATE Employee: Champions Movers, Inc.

*Consumer Comment: This is tough

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I had the misfortune of hiring Champions Movers, Inc. to assist in my interstate move in June of 2007. Prior to the pick up date I received a quote in the amount of $1,070 - half of which was to be paid at the time of pick up, the other half upon arrival. However, once my things were loaded and locked on their truck, the 2 movers demanded $2,460 on the spot - well over the 110% rule allowed by law. Of course I refused citing the terms of the contract, but they threateningly stated that they didn't know what they would do with my things unless I paid and signed their "new" contract right then. A contract completely different that the one I had seen before. Afraid for my things and for my safety at that point, I signed and paid but then immediately put a stop payment on the check.

The next morning I drove to their office in Fremont to resolve the issue with the manager, BEN, only to find to my horror that the address did not exist. It was a strip mall with no matching suite number or P.O. Box. Alarmed, I immediately drove to their physical address (listed and licensed with the California Public Utility Commission): 453 Queens Lane, San Jose, CA 94539, and of course found that that address did not exist either. It turned out to be a PG&E meter. When I called asking for their location they flat out refused to tell me. At that point I notified them that I wanted to cancel the entire deal and offered them $500 to just tell me where my things were so I could pick them up and do the move myself. They again refused, and said I would still have to pay at least a couple thousand dollars.

Outraged, I began calling every consumer agency, government agency, and the media for assistance, only to be told that this was a "civil" matter and they couldn't (more like wouldn't) get involved. Since when is extortion merely a civil matter? Frustrated and not knowing who to be more mad at - the people that were supposed to help me and wouldn't, or the people that wronged me in the first place, I took it upon myself to research Champions more intently. I soon came to notice that many people on the internet claimed that Champions Movers was in fact the same company A.S.A.P Relocations (which has been blacklisted with over 98 complaints on the Better Business Bureau). They simply just changed their name so they could continue running their scams under the radar. Well I was able to obtain conclusive evidence that undeniably supports this.

Champions Movers continually claim that A.S.A.P Relocations just happens to be next door at 455 Queens Lane, but fiercely deny any affiliation. While I was checking into Champions non-existent address at 453 Queens Lane, I also looked into the property at 455 Queens Lane which sure enough did not belong to A.S.A.P Relocations either. The current CFO at that property provided me with a signed statement which states that he owns or leases the entire street from 437 to 455 Queens Lane and that Champions Movers had never existed there. Upon further investigation I found a listing in the 2007 Yellow Pages online with Champions Movers address listed at: 2295 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, CA 95131, which is the SAME ADDRESS listed on A.S.A.P Relocation's current website. Also, the truck that the movers came to pick up our things with had A.S.A.P Relocations written on it, and if you call Champions Movers answering machine you will get a recording that says A.S.A.P. Relocations. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together. Well I went to the Ringwood address and sure enough there was an unmarked office with storage pods in the back, which is where I am absolutely certain that Champions Movers/A.S.A.P Relocations holds hostage many of their clients belongings.

Since Champions Movers has a non-existing physical address which it is licensed under with the CPUC, as well a non-existing contact address in Fremont which is listed on their contracts, how are they able to legally operate? They do not have one legitimate address where they can be contacted other than the one they share with A.S.A.P Relocation on Ringwood Avenue. I along with many other people have been victimized by this company because they are allowed to simply change their name and continue running their scams.

I have had my things held hostage by Champions Movers since June, and over the course of that time their monetary demands only increased drastically (I believe the last was over $10,000). Of course I refused their outrageous demands and continually offered the original quoted price of $1,070 for the return of my things, but of course that wasn't enough for them... and they didn't even move my things! They are scam artists in the truest sense and are completely incapable of reasonable negotiation. They will do whatever it takes to get your money - extortion however, seems to be there method of choice.

I have since moved to a new state with nothing but my car and have had to start completely over. Now it is my mission to do whatever it takes to get the word out and make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else. I urge everyone out there to use your resources to help stop this company from ruining the lives of more innocent people. It truly is ultimately up to us as consumers to protect each other from these malicious crimes. So spread the word... DO NOT USE CHAMPIONS MOVERS!!

Holly
Walnut Creek, California
U.S.A.

Click here to read other Rip Off Report list of other Moving Companies

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/01/2007 03:30 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Champions-Movers/Fremont-California/Champions-Movers-Beware-of-Champions-Movers-Low-Balling-Scam-Fremont-California-282407. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Suggestion

AVOID SCAMMING COMPANIES - DO YOUR RESEARCH!

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (U.S.A.)

There are MANY "scamming" moving companies ALL OVER the United States, especially here in the Bay Area. It's unfortunate that such companies exist and are able to disguise themselves as professionals fooling MANY consumers. Some moving companies even take a reputable known-name moving company, and will manipulate the name to something very similar but slightly different - so consumers will think they are going with the reputable company when they are actually using a knock-off scamming company.

These moving companies are able to SCREW innocent consumers through "loop holes" in the system.. and are able to get away with it the majority of the time LEGALLY even though it is straight up WRONG and IMMORAL leaving the consumer unable to do much and left being the victim of a scam. Sadly, the moving company will still continue to prosper by ripping off other non-informed consumers. In today's environment of price competition, the current scamming will continue (and get worse).

There is nothing like having the stress of moving in the first place only then to be fucked in the ass by your moving company. Not only did you pay 10x the amount you expected and were initally told but more than likely your belongings damaged and sometimes sentimental items completely ruined or lost forever.

If you are ever planning on using a moving company, it's crucial that you are WELL INFORMED and that you do your RESEARCH in advance.

Currently moving companies are overseen by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT). At last count the FMCSA had only nine investigators to handle all of the thousands of complaints against moving companies each year. What does that mean for consumers? It means this:

* Most complaints against movers are overlooked and the consumer becomes a statistic while no action is ever taken against the moving company.

* When Congress dissolved the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1995, they also removed the authority from the FMCSA to step in on a consumer's behalf if they are taken advantage of by a moving company. In other words, they don't have the authority to help you even if they want to.

* If an investigation does occur, it takes months if not years for the FMCSA to, yes, get this... Fine the moving company.

* The scam moving companies get away with not paying the fines and if they did, the consumers don't see a dime of their money back. The money from the moving company's fines go to pay for highway improvements!

There are in fact laws governing moving companies, but the moving industry is unique in having special privileges and protections that no other industry could even imagine enjoying.

Useful Websites & Tips:

http://www.movingscam.com/

http://www.protectyourmove.gov/

http://www1.move.com/Move/Moving/Promover/MovingScams.asp

Always check the BBB, if they are not a member, that's a red flag - http://www.bbb.org/

Make sure the company is fully licensed & insured (note: even if the company is fully licensed and insured - they can still be a scamming company), have them fax a copy of the certificate of liabilty insurance (which by law, they are required to provide). Get their license numbers then check the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for any complaints filed. http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/transportation/movers.htm

Please note that these companies have answers ready for all questions pertaining to scams.. and it's sometimes very hard to distinguish between a reliable and a scamming company. They disguise themselves well, will tell you what you want to hear and will play the "good guy" role until they have you in a contractual bind and the money is in their hands.

One of my go to guides for ANY business: http://www.yelp.com
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Champions Movers, Inc.

AUTHOR: Champions Movers - (U.S.A.)

I am an employee of Champions Movers Inc. In regards to negative review(s) about Champions Movers online about our company, unfortunately, it contains many misconceptions and unjustified assumptions.

There are many speculations regarding Champions Movers and the alleged relationship to A.S.A.P. Relocations, Inc. Please note that there is no basis for this supposition - we are a separate company with a separate license, address, etc. I have no idea what caused this rumor in the first place, except that the two companies used to be located in the same neighborhood. I know of many McDonald's restaurants that are located in the same neighborhood as Burger King or Jack in the Box and no one confuses them... Sadly, it is true that there is a lot of scamming in the moving industry, but I don't think that it is a good reason to jump to conclusions.

Champions Movers operates a legitimate business, we do our best to make sure that every customer is happy and that all of their needs are met. We try our very hardest to insure on time arrival and on time delivery. We do not lie to our customers, and we are actually one of the very few companies in the business that makes sure to notify every client of every charge they might come across in their move.

We are not an "agent" or a "contractor". Our employees are our own - we do not hire day laborers. All of them are experienced movers and packers, who went through vigorous training prior to working in the field, so you can be confident that they will be able to maximize the time- and cost-efficiency, as well as the safety of any move.

Although it is true that we are a fairly new company, we are already quite experienced. Our company handles roughly 10 to 20 moves per day and over 99% of those customers are completely satisfied.

Most complaints are people who insist they were not told that packing supplies come at an additional cost. Our emails make a note of this in two locations, our representatives tell every customer this over the phone, and on the day of the move, before we start moving anything, the customer initials the contract next to a statement in bold that reads "PACKING MATERIALS ARE EXTRA" as well. After all this, it seems to me that it is unreasonable to claim that one was unaware that packing supplies would come at additional cost. There are also some of complaints regarding delivery, because people tend to hear what they want to hear - although they were informed that delivery would be within a time-frame window, they expected their shipment to arrive on the Earliest Date of Delivery specifically and complained that the delivery was late, when in fact it was not. As far as complaints go, every company has them. Besides breathing, complaining seems to be an innate quality in humans. In fact, I just got an email last Friday from a customer that said her move with us was the best moving experience she had ever had. Nonetheless, there are complaints, but we still continue to move people all around the country, and we still have handfuls and handfuls of satisfied customers.
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#3 Consumer Comment

This is tough

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

One of the things you want to do is get the DOT involved quickly. They are breaking several laws that would result in several thousand dollar fines to Champions/ASAP movers, the most serious of which is a hostage load. That one alone is a $10,000 fine. These guys generally do cubic foot moves - if they quoted you in cubic feet, there is another DOT regulation stating that if a mover increases the quote on a cubic foot move - the mover would be fined. They need to be involved and I would tell the company that the DOT will be involved and to buy some vasoline because they will make someone in jail a lovely wife. A mover in FL just got some jail time for a hostage load - probably one of his friends....

You're right the police and other law enforcement won't get involved because it is not a crminal matter and they view your situation as a contractual dispute, not a crime. Yes, I know - it is stupid, but there you go. Another option would be a site called moverescue dot com - they might be able to intercede on your behalf as well. When they decided not to give you your stuff until they got paid the higher price - they're screwed now.

One item of note: I don't know how valuable some of your stuff is, but expect it to be destroyed or ruined. These guys are not movers, they are scammers and con men. You didn't indicate where you found these clowns, but I suspect the internet...... That was bad - and you know it now. If you ever move again, never use a mover you find on the internet. An old-fashioned major mover would be your best bet if you ever do this again.

If your stuff was all IKEA or at least replacable, you might be able to turn this around on them and tell these guys to keep your stuff and auction it off - with your written permission and that they are now the owners of your stuff. LOL, they'll come back and ask you to take your stuff back for the $$$ because they'll never get near the money they expect from selling your stuff. Heck, it might not even pay for the storage they're paying to store your stuff. Keep a copy of the letter because I suspect they're going to skip town and the owner of the storage facility will try to stick you with the bill.

I personally would be laughing my ass off listening to them come back to you with, "please how about $2,000 - please!!"
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