Longueuil police are investigating a Montreal-based moving company, following a complaint from a couple who say they never received their belongings after moving, CBC News has learned.
Kim and David Lague agreed to hire the company, Mega Moving and Storage, last August after seeing an advertisement on the internet.
They said they were initially quoted a price of $1,695 to move their belongings from Nova Scotia to Ontario. But more than four months after their delivery date, and after paying Mega Moving and Storage more than $5,000, they still do not have their belongings.
"We are beyond frustrated," said David Lague. "I have yelled and screamed at people trying to get them to understand how badly we feel."
According to David Lague, the initial agreement with the company included several months of free storage to give the couple time to find a new home in Chatham, Ontario. But when they contacted Mega Moving to arrange to receive their belongings, they said the price had gone up.
"I wrote an e-mail and said you can keep the money, furniture, clothes ... please give us our private personal stuff and walk away" - Kim Lague
"When I contacted them and said, 'Here is the address, see you Oct. 1 for the delivery,' they said 'Not quite, we require $6,061 before we make delivery,'" Lague told CBC News.
"I said, I have a quote here for $1,695 ... this is crazy!"
In the meantime, the deal for the house in Chatham fell through, so the couple moved into David's sister's home in Welland, Ont. with just a couple of suitcases filled with summer clothes.
Most of their belongings, including furniture, winter clothes, family photos, passports and birth certificates were all inside the moving truck.
The couple has also lost specialized medical equipment including a lift chair. Kim Lague relies on the equipment, since she suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed on one side.
No sign of belongings
The Lagues said they continued to plead with Mega Moving for the delivery, and in mid-November they received an e-mail from the company that offered to return 80 per cent of their belongings if they paid $4,000 cash.
Desperate and feeling helpless, the couple agreed, and in December sent the cash.
Despite several written promises from Mega Moving that the truck would be there in the coming days, there was no sign of their belongings.
"I stressed to them from the start, you have all my medical stuff that helps me live my daily life," Kim said. "I even got to the point where I wrote an e-mail and said you can keep the money, furniture, clothes ... please give us our private personal stuff and walk away. These people just have no concept of what they've done!"
The couple finally contacted police in Ontario, who transferred the case to the Longueuil police.
Delay blamed on 'bad management'
According to Quebec's business registry, Mega Moving and Storage is owned by Fehmi Yasar of Brossard.
The company is also registered as having an office on Côte de Liesse Road in Montreal.
'these companies are allowed to get away with situations like this because there is no governing body willing to address the situation' - Jim Carney, president of the Canadian Association of Movers
CBC News went to both addresses, but was not able to speak with Fehmi Yasar or find any trace of Mega Moving and Storage.
However, in a recent e-mail exchange with the Lagues, an unnamed person using the company's e-mail address said the company was having "business problems" and blamed the delay on "bad management on our side."
CBC News also recently received an unsigned e-mail from the company.
It states, "The said shipment is in the truck, not lost, stolen, or sold. We had some problems doing the delivery ... At the moment we are waiting for the truck to be able to go on the road and do the delivery. It will take one or two weeks more but not longer than that."
However, when CBC News replied with a request to see proof that the Lagues' belongings were still in the moving truck, there was no further response.
'The year of the rogue mover'
President of the Canadian Association of Movers, Jim Carney, said the Lagues' story is not all that unusual.
"It's the year of the rogue mover," he said.
"It's a very serious problem that's gotten worse with the advent of the internet, and these companies are allowed to get away with situations like this because there is no governing body willing to address the situation."
How to protect yourself
Protect yourself from rogue movers by following these steps, outlined by the Canadian Association of Movers:
- Do your homework by researching online and reading reviews of the company.
- Call the Better Business Bureau, and ask the company for references.
- Never pay cash.
- If you think you've been scammed, contact CBC and go public with your story to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. Reach us at 514-597-6300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.