August 2010 -- We searched the internet for a moving company in Poughkeepsie, NY for our daughter, who was moving into a one bedroom apartment about 10 miles away in Sept. A small job. We found A.Professional Movers, who quoted us $300 for the move after we explained the details and filled out a comprehensive form that they provided. Natalia, our contact, seemed well organized and competent. She estimated 3 hours, 3 men, at $100 per hour. When they didn't show up, we called and were told they were in traffic and would arrive in 45 min. Traffic? Yes, they were coming from New Jersey! What!? 45 minutes later, we were again told they would be there in 45 min.! Eventually the truck arrived, 3 1/2 hours late. When asked what happened, the driver, who acted surprised at my question, mumbled that someone else was supposed to be here, the truck broke down, and he had to come from Hackensack, NJ. I just shook my head. We showed them the contents, and two men began loading the truck while the driver had my daughter fill out some paperwork. First, a "Cancellation Fee" form. Why? They were here, we were moving NOW, why would we cancel? "In case you change your mind, or someone gets sick..." Ridiculous, but my daughter signed it anyway, even though it didn't seem relevant. Next, a form authorizing the move, which showed the $300 quotation, based on the 3 hr. estimate. After the truck was loaded, he explained that he would need to be paid in cash. NEVER was this ever mentioned to us by Natalia, who as I said seemed petty thorough. No check, no credit card -- even though the form had a box to check for "method of payment" that said "credit card." Nope, couldn't take it. New Jersey law, he said. Huh?? What BS. I was furious. I didn't have $300 cash and refused. He said he couldn't complete the move then. I suggested he unload the truck, but then realized my daughter would be subject to the cancellation fee (NOW I saw why it was relevant!). My daughter, wanting to get in her new apartment, agreed to pay him the $300. When we arrived at the destination, he took her $300, which he said he needed before he would unload, then spent 15 minutes sitting in his truck, the clock ticking. We were getting really annoyed. But we had no idea how bad it was going to get. He emerged with the paperwork in hand, and explained that with packing material, travel time (back to NJ!!), the number of stairs, etc., etc., a whole list of extra charges, the move would cost $900+and oh yes, he would need to be paid in cash. He showed us the contract my daughter had signed. He had fraudulently filled in all of the extra charges, and had my daughter's signature -- she hadn't thought to ask for a copy yet, while he was still carrying it around. He may as well have forged her signature -- it was the same thing. So this criminal had her stuff and was extorting $600 from her, saying if he didn't get paid he would have to take her belongings back to Hackensack. We called the police, at which time the driver threw a padlock on the truck door. My daughter was shaking and in tears. She was traumatized. This day was supposed to be one of the happiest in her life. She had just graduated from college and celebrated her 21st birthday and was about to move into her first apartment in the real world and now this thief had robbed her of all of her possessions unless she gave him her graduation and birthday money. The police arrived quickly and could see right through this guy but unfortunately it was our word against his and a civil matter that we might have to take up in court. The police were able to speak on the phone with someone, presumable in Hackensack, who told them that they had spoken with me that morning and told me the job estimate was $800 -- a complete lie. The police wanted to punish the driver but there wasn't a whole lot they could do. They spent well over an hour trying to reason with him. Finally, with the police chief's permission, they told the driver that thy would have to impound the truck until the matter was resolved. Yes! They were making the guy sweat! Now he'd have to find a ride back to Hackensack with his two helpers! Haha sucker! Finally, the police were able to negotiate a settlement of an extra $200, which my daughter agreed to in order to get it done, and he would unload while the police stood by. So, in the end he did extort the $200 but he had to stick around an extra 90 minutes for it. If there is a class action suit against these people, we're in!
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