We received an estimate for a move of 7 miles from a 2 story Town House to a one story Ranch home within the city of Lakeland, FL. The estimate was for approximately $475, which was the same cost as it cost to move from Port Richey to Lakeland (approximately 70 miles - this is where we had moved from 2 years ago).
The movers arrived a day late, and when they did arrive they packed up everything on the truck. They followed us to our new residence, and only then did they inform us that the cost was now $2700, due to extra packing. They then forced us to call Western Union to wire the owner the money in Hallandale, FL. (According to the movers, the owner was then currently at the Western Union Office in Hallandale). Western Union refused to perform the transaction because they termed it "highly suspicious". They then forced us to sign a document charging our credit card $1200 under duress, as they were threatening to take our items to Hollywood, FL and then charge us for loading and unloading as well as storage. They broke several items, as the movers were young and very careless. They then charged us an additional $300 due to extra labor - this was due to the extra time it took to call Western Union and attempt to arrange payment. So a move that was originally quoted for $475 ended up costing $3100 - an increase of 600% over the original estimate.
We believe that this firm took advantage of us as we are both Senior Citizens and we had no alternative but to pay them the money. We feel that we were a victim of extortion as well as fraud.
We have had no success in dealing with the owner as he claims it was our responsibility to find out how much the charges would be, before we left from the original location - we feel that this is a ridiculous argument, as at no time did they mention an increase in price until we got to our new location.
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