NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


August 7, 2001 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

FIVE MOVING COMPANIES AGREE TO DISCLOSE ALL TERMS, STOP COLLECTING FOR INSURANCE NOT PURCHASED

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached settlement agreements with five Maryland moving companies and their owners regarding allegations that the companies deceived consumers who hired them to move their belongings. The companies are Mid-Atlantic Moving and Storage Company, Inc., 2741 Poplar Lane, Annapolis, and Nationwide Moving and Storage Company, Inc., 8067 Cryden Way, Forestville, both of which are owned by Bryan Funk; and Metro Moving and Storage Company, Inc., Metropolitan Moving and Storage, Inc., and Discount Moving and Storage Company, Inc., 5630 Lafayette Place, Hyattsville, which are owned by Michael Funk.

Complaints filed with the Consumer Protection Division state that the companies failed to provide moving contracts to consumers until the day consumersí moves were scheduled. According to consumers, after their furniture was loaded into moving vans, the companies demanded cash payments; if consumers refused to pay in cash, their belongings were taken away and improperly auctioned. The Division alleged that the moving companies charged consumers for insurance that they never provided, and they did not possess warehousemenís licenses.

Under the settlement, the five companies and their owners agreed to:

  • disclose to consumers all terms contained in their moving contracts sufficiently prior to consumersí moving dates so that consumers can choose to hire other moving companies if they disagree with the terms;
  • not collect money from consumers for insurance coverage unless they have actually purchased insurance for the consumers from a licensed insurance company;
  • stop selling storage services unless they have a license to operate a storage warehouse; and
  • stop asserting warehousemanís liens and auctioning the personal property of consumers unless they have a warehousemenís license and a contract with the consumers that would permit them to sell the property.

Michael and Bryan Funk, who are father and son, and their companies also agreed to refund to consumers the amounts they charged for insurance that was not provided. They also agreed to pay restitution to consumers whose furniture was improperly auctioned. Finally, the five companies agreed to pay $20,000 in civil penalties and the Consumer Protection Divisionís investigation costs. The companies and their owners do not admit they engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.

"A moving company must tell its customers all terms and conditions of its services, and it must actually provide the services consumers pay for," said Attorney General Curran.

Consumers who have complaints about any of the five moving companies should call the Consumer Protection Division at (410) 576-6569.

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