Rockefeller Investigates Consumer Complaints of Moving Companies Holding Furniture & Possessions Hostage

December 19, 2011

Chairman RockefellerWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV announced today that the Committee is conducting an investigation into the practice of moving companies holding household goods “hostage” to extract additional money from individuals and families mid-way through their moves.

Thousands of consumers have complained in recent years about moving companies refusing to complete delivery until they pay exorbitant fees that were not part of the original estimates.

“Consumers are telling us that ‘hostage’ scams are widespread and giving a bad name to the moving companies that try to act honestly,” Rockefeller said.  “For this reason, we need to know just how bad this problem is and try once and for all to bring it to an end.  When you hire a moving company you should not worry that your bed, couch and children’s possessions could end up stuck in a truck someplace while a moving company negotiates a higher payment.”

Today, Rockefeller asked several moving companies that have generated a significant number of consumer complaints related to “hostage” scams to provide the Commerce Committee with information about their business practices. 


The Commerce Committee began its inquiry into “hostage” scams in October of this year when Chairman Rockefeller wrote Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro to provide the number of consumer complaints the agency has received in recent years, documents related to FMCSA’s tracking of the problem, and current FMCSA resources devoted to combatting hostage household goods situations.

The information provided by FMCSA showed that thousands of consumers have complained to the agency about this practice in recent years.  “Hostage” scams remain a significant threat for individuals and families undertaking interstate moves.