Reporting Joe Shortsleeve
BOSTON (CBS) – WBZ-TV has learned Attorney General Martha Coakley is taking action against Father and Son Moving and Storage. The Massachusetts-based company is accused of ripping off dozens of local families.
Back in September, the I-Team went knocking on the door of the company’s Billerica headquarters looking for answers.
Jeff and Julie Whiteley were one of several couples who told the I-Team Father and Son lured them with a low quote, loaded the truck with their furniture and then jacked up the price.
Julie says, “Basically our furniture was being held hostage and we had to pay what we needed to pay to get it back so my son could have a bed.”
There have been 87 similar complaints filed against Father and Son.
Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit against the company and is hoping to get customers their money back.
“The court order puts them on notice,” says Coakley
The suit claims Father and Son violated state laws by using deceptive practices including holding goods hostage and giving low estimates.
“We are going to look for damages in the past,” says Coakley, “and more importantly, make sure if this company continues to do business in Massachusetts, they will not violate the law in the future.”
In a written statement, a spokesman for Father and Son said, “It is our policy and standard in the industry that our clients use their furniture as collateral for payment.”
The statement also said.
“Father and Son Moving and Storage prides itself on the level of professionalism and courtesy we bring to every move.”
That’s not how Julie Whitely describes her move. She told the I-Team she’s glad the Attorney General is taking action.
“I was very upset that I was treated the way that I was,” she says. “I saw that a lot of other people were treated this way and something needed to be done about it.”
In addition to the lawsuit filed by the state, federal investigators, including the FBI, recently raided Father and Son’s corporate offices in Billerica.
While the U.S. Attorney’s office wont comment, legal experts say it is not surprising when a company has this many complaints, demands cash payments, and is doing business across state lines.