Operation Mother’s Attic Nabs 25 Unlicensed Moving Companies in New Jersey
New Jersey authorities charged 25 unlicensed moving companies and assessed fines of up to $2,500 each from "Operation Mother's Attic II," an undercover sting operation last month. State Consumer Affairs investigators posed as consumers moving within New Jersey and booked appointments with known unlicensed movers who advertised on Craigslist, Angie's List, and other websites. None had any relationship with AMSA.
Twenty-two companies sent moving crews to a site in Highland Park, N.J. Upon arriving, the unlicensed movers were confronted by Consumer Affairs investigators, and their vehicles were inspected by special transportation compliance units of the New Jersey State Police, which checked driver and vehicle records and performed standard safety reviews.
Some statistics from the sting operation:
A total of 11 individuals were arrested, including those mentioned above. Nine were wanted on open warrants for unpaid traffic fines or child support. Two were wanted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and were turned over to ICE custody after being detained by State Police.
At least 11 of the unlicensed movers advertised on Craigslist. At least seven had their own, deceptively professional-looking websites. At least one advertised on Angie’s List. The rest were listed in online third-party moving websites or other Internet venues. Attorney General Chiesa noted that an attractive online listing does not mean a company is licensed or reputable. It is important to verify a company’s operating authority and compliance history by contacting the Division of Consumer Affairs. This should be done prior to requesting an estimate or seeking a company’s references.
Despite the requirement that moving companies keep their vehicles properly registered and insured, two unlicensed movers appeared in Budget rental trucks. After being stopped, one unlicensed mover surrendered his rental truck at the investigation site and called for its pickup by a rental dealership representative.