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I-Team: Customers Say Furniture Was "Held Hostage" By Movers

BOSTON (CBS) - Even under the best of circumstances, moving is stressful. But dozens of Massachusetts families who all used the same moving company say their moving day was a nightmare. Now the I-Team has learned that company, Father and Son Moving and Storage, is under investigation by state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Julie and Jeff Whiteley of Bedford and Megan and Jeff D'Antionio of Pelham, New Hampshire are just two of the complaints received by Coakley's office. Both couples say they were lured by competitive estimates offered by the company and both were stunned when they got the actual bill on the day of the move. "They backed me into a corner," Megan said. "It was a little bit like having a gun to your head," explained Julie.

For Julie and Jeff, the original estimate was a little over $1,500. When all of the furniture was locked into the truck, she got the actual bill. "I was horrified," she said. The bill jumped to more than $3,300. "Basically, our furniture was being held hostage. We had to pay what we needed to pay to get it back so my son could have a bed," she said.

Peter and Megan had a similar experience. Their estimate was $607 to move a dining room set and a bedroom set that Megan's uncle gave them for their new house. Their bill also doubled in price. "They said to me if you don't pay this, we are going to keep your furniture," she said.

Both couples say their bills were inflated with fees that were never mentioned on the phone; heavy lifting fees, hoisting fees and packing fees that added hundreds of dollars to their final cost. The Whiteleys and the D'Antonios both paid hundreds of dollars to have their furniture wrapped in thin paper and both say it offered little protection. The D'Antonio's are missing a marble top to a nightstand they say arrived in three pieces on moving day. It was wrapped in that same paper.

Coakley told the I-Team her office has received more than 80 complaints about this company and most are similar in nature. The customer is caught completely off-guard when the bill is hundreds more than the original estimate. "I would say be very careful before you engage with a contract with this particular company," she said.

We asked company owners Bryan and Keith Taylor for an interview on several occasions. They declined, but they did offer a lengthy statement which describes disclaimers in the emailed estimates that clearly point out that additional costs may apply. The statement also says the company does its best to send someone from their team out for an exact quote. Julie and Jeff say they got in-home estimates from two other moving companies but Father and Son never mentioned one.

Father and Son Moving and Storage has a D+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Attorney General Martha Coakley told the I-Team her office would take appropriate action when the investigation is complete.

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