Rogue Movers: Local company operated illegally for months
A local moving company accused of not delivering on several moves-- leaving customers out thousands of dollars and without their belongings-- was operating illegally for months, according to information obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
A KTVA investigation first revealed a Wasilla family had paid Ability Moving and Storage $23,000 more than six months ago, but the company never delivered their goods.
That story turned up even more complaints, and a second KTVA investigation connected a current Ability owner to a moving company that had similar complaints lodged against it in the 90s and eventually filed for bankruptcy.
Now, an FMCSA statement says in part:
"Ability was reviewed in Alaska during November 2017 and there were numerous problems. This company has not had operating authority since March 14, 2017 however they operated without authority."
That means not only were several moves botched, they were booked illegally.
After the third installment of KTVA's series 'Rogue Movers' aired, KTVA received an anonymous delivery of some of Ability's internal documents. Included was a list entitled "Outstanding Moves" with names and contact information for 20 consumers.
KTVA called every number on the list and spoke with almost every customer. Many had already paid for a second moving company to rescue their moves from Ability.
One woman, paying Ability to store her belongings, Elizabeth Mitchell, was unaware of the issues, saying "I'm glad you guys reached out, calling people on that list because there are people not there anymore and trusting these people with their valuables and then it's gone. It's scary."
"They knew even before I called them that things weren't right, that nothing was moving, and they were still accepting money," said another angry customer.
Transportation attorney Bob Rothstein said he's never represented a company that "transgressed so mightily." Based on what customers have said about Ability's business practices, he said Ability's owners are likely facing steep fines and potential incarceration.
Federal law states an operator providing unauthorized transportation can be liable for fines of at least $25,000 per violation.
Rothstein says each shipment moved after Ability's authority was revoked could count as a violation.
KTVA reached out to Ability, using the number partial-owner Geneva Dupuy listed as her own in an email to the state. It's the same number Ability has used to communicated with customers and KTVA in the past, but this time the person on the other end of the phone insisted it was "the wrong number."
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