Jay Robers, general manager of Arizona Discount Movers, says he works for one of the good movers — a company with a great reputation.
But his company is often mistaken for one of the worst-ranked moving companies in Arizona, and Robers said the confusion isn’t always accidental.
“We have been A-plus rated with Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau for the past five, six years,” Robers said.
For local or in-state moves, people can turn to the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures during or after a move if they believe they’ve been wronged. Weights and Measures officials named Robers’ company one of the worst rogue movers in the state.
It was a mistake. Weights and Measures Acting Director Shawn Marquez confirmed that officials confused Robers’ company with one called Arizona Discount Moving and Storage, which also is associated with Move 4 Less and Discount Moving.
Robers and Marquez said the rogue mover is using Arizona Discount Movers’ good name to do business.
“Numerous times people call up, mistaking this company for us, and they will literally tell them, ‘Oh, yeah. We are Arizona Discount Movers,” Robers said. “They will even go so far as to send them to Angie’s List to see our reviews, then they will call them back and they’ll book them.”
Marquez said Arizona Discount Moving and Storage, Move 4 Less and Discount Moving all are rogue movers who take advantage of customers. He said representatives of each company impersonate Arizona Discount Movers.
“If I’m a rogue mover but I represent myself as one of the good guys, I have a better chance of getting away with it,” Marquez said.
John Negrete of Arizona Discount Moving and Storage and Move 4 Less denied the allegations, saying his company does not take advantage of customers.
“We are not impersonating Arizona Discount Movers. We do thousands of moves a year, so there are complaints online about us. But plenty of other moving companies also have complaints — including Arizona Discount Movers,” he said Friday in phone and e-mail interviews. “Weights and Measures is wrong.”
Moving companies are considered “rogue” when they don’t follow the rules and generate complaints for unethical practices such as price-gouging, Marquez said.
“I wish we were wrong, but this time we got it right,” he said.
Weights and Measures has handled numerous complaints about Arizona Discount Moving and Storage, Move 4 Less and Discount Moving. Last week, state investigators talked to Tracie Comfor, who hired Move 4 Less to transport her belongings from a Scottsdale home to a storage facility the moving company claimed to own on Cave Creek Road and Mohawk Lane in north Phoenix.
“They advertised they owned the facility and I needed to put my stuff in storage, so I thought, ‘That’s convenient,’ so I booked them.” Comfor said.
Not only did the movers arrive late for her move, they held her belongings hostage, Comfor said. She said Negrete locked up her things in a truck behind the gate of the storage facility and refused to give her access to it until she paid $1,200. .
Comfor said her bill was supposed to be no more than $200. She said she was willing to pay the original amount until Negrete refused to hand over her belongings. . She said she also learned that Move 4 Less does not own the storage facility.
Instead of paying the higher amount, Comfor canceled her debit card before Negrete could charge any money for her move. Now, Move 4 Less is taking her to small-claims court to recover the amount owed, she said.
“I’m beyond outraged,” Comfor said. “I can’t believe this guy (Negrete) can get away with such a thing.”
Comfor said she retrieved her belongings after calling the Phoenix Police Department.
Negrete denied her claims and said Comfor is liable for her bill. That’s why he’s taking her to court, he said.
“It is not true that our company is price jacking. … We do not apply any additional charges,” Negrete said. “Our mission is to provide every customer with a safe, affordable, stress-free move.”
All moving companies operating in Arizona are required to register with the U.S. Department of Transportation and obtain an operating number before doing business.
Negrete provided an operating number for Discount Moving, but Department of Transportation records show it is “not authorized.” The federal agency has no record for Arizona Discount Moving and Storage or Move 4 Less.
Negrete initially claimed that he wasn’t required to have a federal operating number unless he was involved in interstate moves. He also said his operating number was valid. He later acknowledged that, “We do need to update our information with the DOT.”
Marquez said it’s common for rogue companies to piggyback on the good reputation of other companies, so consumers should double check the name of the companies and request and verify operating numbers on the DOT website.
Customers also can visit the business in person.Companies that discourage visitors should raise red flags.
Robers said his company has suffered because of the mistaken identity. He said consumers need to research moving companies carefully before signing a contract.
“Do your homework,” Robers said.