After reading the article on nationwide blacklisted movers, I discovered that although the name of my moving company was not listed another company by the name Schneider Van Lines in Sunrise Florida was on the list. The principal owner of my moving company is Michael Schneider located in Sunrise Florida.
Here are the details of my SCAM!
On August 23rd, I went on line and did a search for furniture movers on Yahoo, I was directed to their movers home page and in the top left corner was a website called movingcompanies.com. It was definitely a sponsor site. I went to their site and sent information regarding my move. I gave them the exact contents of my move and the locations I wanted to move to and from. A few days later, I received a bid from 3 companies (Focus Movers, Countrywide Van Lines and Shoreline Movers).
Shoreline and Countrywide bid $1500 and Focus bid $1150 for 230 cubic feet, which is what all three companies estimated that I was moving based on my inventory list.
Obviously, as the price was lower at Focus, I decided to go with them. The woman who took my order asked me for my credit card number to confirm the reservation. She also told me I could pay the first half on my credit card and cash on delivery. I asked her how long it would take to get my stuff. She told me 7-10 days.
My pickup was scheduled for Sept. 7th which I subsequently moved up to Sept. 4th. On Sept. 4th, I did not receive a call to let me know when the truck would be arriving, so left frantic messages at their office. Later that evening Michael Schneider ("the owner" aka Moshe Schneider) called me back and he informed me that the drivers were held up and could not be there until the next day. I was really upset, but I didn't have time to find a replacement company. The movers were now supposed to arrive around 5pm. I called Michael when they did not arrive and he called me frequently that evening to let me know where they were. They eventually arrived at around 8:30pm. I found out that they were all Russian and that one of the movers barely spoke English. I went down to see the truck and saw that it was a rented Budget van, which I thought was strange, but I just wanted to get my furniture on its way the Los Angeles.
They told me the reason they were late was because they took a highway that did not allow the height of their truck to get through so they had to find an alternate route (totally incompetent). It gets worse!!! So we proceed with the packing and it takes them until 4:30am to pack a one bedroom apartment with no couches, chairs, refrigerator or washer/dryer. I was beside myself. I was so tired by that point I just let it go. The process was going so slowly that at one point I was putting furniture on the truck. I kept telling them that I had to be finished by 4am because my landlord was going to show up for work.
It was so late by the time they finished that they had not packed the truck to give me the cubic feet of my contents. I was too tired to watch them pack the truck so they left to go pack it somewhere else. Before they left, I asked the movers for my inventory list which he gave me, but I forgot to ask him for all the other papers I had signed (really stupid).
A few days later, I had not heard from anyone regarding the delivery of my furniture. I called to get my final bill and delivery date. Michael called me back the next day and informed me that the weight of my furniture was way above the estimate and I owed $3700. I freaked out and told him that my bid was by the cubic ft., not weight and how could my stuff take up that much room on the truck as the furniture was exactly the inventory I had initially sent with a few less pieces. He just kept changing the subject.
I also complained about the incompetence of the movers, which he did not take kindly to as if he was personally offended. Kept saying "But you saw how carefully they handled your furniture...blah...blah...blah" I also asked him for a copy of my contract as the drivers had not given me copies as soon as possible (this is now Sept.10).
He just kept saying "how do you want to proceed" basically inferring that he would not deliver my furniture until I paid half of the new bill (which was now $3100 after converting to cubic feet)
I finally said OK with the caveat that I wanted to see how the truck had been packed on arrival. He then said to send him a cashiers check and I freaked out again as I had been told I could pay the first half on a credit card.
He then claimed that he had no credit card machines at his office and that I was mistaken. I reminded him that she had taken my credit card number to hold my reservation. He said that I would see nothing had been charged to my credit card that it was just on hold until they picked up the furniture. I asked him how he could charge the $250 deposit if he did not have a credit card machine. He just kept saying "How do you want to proceed"?
Finally, I overnighted a cashiers check made out to S.I.A.A., Inc. which I questioned as Focus Movers was the company I had contracted with. He told me S.I.A.A. was the parent company. I was getting nervous he was not going to deliver my stuff. I have the receipt from the post office and copies of the cashiers check and the confirmation that it was cashed on Sept. 13th.
He was then supposed to call me with a delivery date. After several days with no news, I started getting worried. I left messages for days with no response. Finally, the woman who had taken my order calls me back and tells me she is leaving the company, that she is sick of being in the dark. Now I am really nervous. I ask her if she knows where my furniture is...she says she has no idea. I ask her if I should take legal action...she says yes.
I call my brother-in-law who is a lawyer for the military and ask him to make a phone call to threaten legal action. This wakes Michael up, he calls me back right away and tells me my furniture will arrive on Friday, Sept. 20th. I am still upset because now he will have had my stuff for 3 weeks. I remind him that my furniture was supposed to arrive within 7-10 days after pickup. He just disregards me. I then ask him for a cell phone number as I can never reach anyone. He refuses. I ask him again for my contract and his license number. He gives me his mono courier number (437068). The receptionist Ivania, who initially called me from "accounting" and then later on was in the "dispatch" department finally gives me a number to "dispatch." I try and call the number. It is being checked for trouble.
Over the next few days, I try to reach Michael...he is always out of the office and will be back in an hour...of course, when I call back in hour, he is still not there and does not call me back.
I finally email the woman who took my order pleading her to give me some other number to contact Michael. She calls me back and gives me as much information as she can. It is then that I find out the 3 companies that gave me the bids are the same place. I also think back to the bidding process and recall that the call from Countrywide was from a woman named "Ingrid." Ingrid is supposedly Michael's wife/girlfriend. Apparently Michael owes a lot of people money. She gives me his cell phone number, but tells me she has tried it, but it has been disconnected.
On Thursday, September 19, I call I can't reach anyone at Focus so I call information and get the number for Countrywide and Shoreline. I call Countrywide and of course, Ivania "receptionist" answers. She is obviously surprised to hear from me. I leave messages for Michael saying that I am taking the day off work and I need to know when my furniture is being delivered. He says he'll call the drivers and call me back. He doesn't call me back, so I call again on Friday, this time on the number for Shoreline. I speak to Ivania who is actually sympathic, but can't help me as she doesn't know what is going, but she'll page Michael and call me back. She calls back a few hours later and says that Michael said there was a problem with the drivers and he'll call me on Monday...doesn't call me or tell me when my furniture will arrive...just that he'll call me on Monday. That was the last straw. I tell Ivania that I am going to take legal action and she should relay that to Michael.
I call the woman who had taken my order again and she tells me I should call the FBI as they have a fraudulent moving company division. I call the LA branch and an agent tells me that they don't take cases that have a fraud cost of under $50,000-$100,000, but tells me I should call the Sunrise police department. I inform him that I have called the police in Brooklyn and Sunrise and they both tell me it is a civil matter and they can't do anything. I decide to try the Sunrise police department again and I speak to a sympathetic officer. She tells me that she does not have jurisdiction as it is a civil matter, but she'll go down there and check it out.
Michael finds out about my threat to involve the FBI and the police and is really freaking out. My brother-in-law called earlier in the day and tells Michael to call him and asks him again to fax the contract to him. He doesn't call or fax. The officer calls me back and tells me that she went down to their offices and of course no one knows anything. She asks for a contact number and gets his new cell phone number. She calls him and asks when I will receive my furniture and he tells her next week sometime. He can't tell her exactly as he has to call his drivers. She also tells him he is in violation for some permit he is supposed to have hanging in his office. She tells him she'll give him to the end of the following week to correct the situation.
I felt more optimistic, but Michael has still not called back. I give my brother-in-law Michael's new cell phone number and he leaves another message. I ask Ivania if she has any idea where my furniture is, she says she doesn't know but she slips up and says it may be still in storage.
That brings me to yesterday. Michael finally calls my brother-in-law and he asks again for the contract and the location of my furniture. Michael changes the subject by saying "Let's talk about something relevant." My brother-in-law responds "I think holding someone's furniture hostage is relevant. He then says he has not delivered the furniture because I have not paid him, which is obviously a complete lie. He tellsmy brother-in-law he'll call back at 4pm which he doesn't do and has his new cell phone disconnected. In the meantime my brother-in-law has found federal law that states if I have paid 110% of the original estimate, my goods must be deliveres and he suggests that I should file in a Federal Court and get an injunction against Michael.
I still needsthe contract to see if there is a clause limiting jurisdiction to Florida...don't have the contract...do have a California lawyer who will file for me, but don't know if that will work. I am looking for a Broward County lawyer to take the case, but hasn't found anyone as most lawyers in Broward don't want to take on these cases.
Over the weekend I also emailed the original Moving Company website to tell them that one of the companies they represent was fraudulent and ask if they could send me a list of the movers they represent and to ask if it is possible to get a copy of the bids I received last month...no response and no phone number on the website. I also created another bid request using a fake name and address...didn't receive a response.
I have hired a private investigator to see what he can dig up and to liase with Economic Crimes Unit in Florida. My brother-in-law is filing complaints at the Attorney Gerneral's Office and the Economin Crimes Unit (which I believe is a division of the FBI.)
I don't know what to do...I need HELP. I am afraid he is just going to bolt and I'll never see my furniture again.
Here is the contact information:
Owner: Michael Schneider
Focus Movers 954-578-0455
Countrywide Van Lines 954-578-3009
Shoreline Movers 954-578-0062
S.I.A.A., Inc. - no number
"Dispatch" - 954-578-6776
Mono Courier Number: 437068
Venice, California Click here to read other Rip Off Report list of other Moving Companies Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on National Moving Network and other various transport companies ripping off the consumer