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Alberta couple says they were duped by moving company, lost thousands
Published Sunday, December 11, 2016 6:35PM MST
When a moving company kept postponing an Alberta family’s move across the province, Tracy Fitzner said she became suspicious.
The Fitzners hired Canadian Van Lines to make their move from Fort McMurray to Leduc, and when they told the company they were also bringing two motorcycles down, Canadian Van Lines rescheduled and claimed that their car had broken.
The couple then decided to cancel, but not before paying $6,000 up front.
At first, the Fitzners thought they were hiring the reputable Great Canadian Van Lines – a moving company in Alberta since 1990. Instead, they hired a company with a similar name.
“Canadian Van Lines takes a name that appears reputable, and it was anything but,” Jeffrey Fitzner said.
The Fitzners said they were told they would receive a full refund, but were forced to take action in court to get their $6,000 deposit back. It’s been eight months, and they have not received the full amount back.
“I’m not kidding myself,” Tracy Fitzner said. “I don't think we're going to get any more money out of Canadian Van Lines.”
Consumer Protection BC has been investigating Canadian Van Lines for one year, and fined them $7,500, after declaring the company engaged in “deceptive acts or practices,” according to investigation documents.
“We found they were promising consumers their items would be picked up on a certain date, knowing it wasn't going to happen or promising consumer refunds on a certain date, knowing that wasn't going to happen,” Consumer Protection BC’s Spokesperson Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith told CTV Edmonton.
The investigation alleged the company misrepresented itself and used multiple aliases. An employee named Bakari Gregorio Usseni also went by Greg Davis, and James Mahama went by James Johnson, Stephen Hume and James May.
“It is not wrong or illegal for anyone to have an alias name,” Canadian Van Lines sales representative Michael Houghton told CTV Edmonton.
Houghton also said the company hasn't been deceiving consumers, and the Fitzners will be seeing all of their money.
“Those consumers that they felt like their jobs weren't executed properly, they have been fully refunded.”
But the Fitzners said they are still owed $2,394.41 since they won in small claims court. The company told CTV Edmonton they do intend to pay the Leduc family in installments.
But the Leduc couple is not concerned about the money they are owned. They are speaking out to make others aware about their scam, and to generate changes in the industry.
“I would love to see regulations put in place that moving companies have to be licensed and regulated, because right now they don't have to be,” Tracy Fitzner said.
With files from Angela Jung