Phoenix - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today the settlement of a consumer fraud lawsuit against Allstars Movers and Storage Inc. and its owner, Amru Abdalla. The consent judgment prohibits Abdalla from engaging in the moving, packing, and/or storage business for two years.
“My office will not tolerate companies treating consumers unfairly and charging hidden fees,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We have made it a priority to hold moving companies like Allstars accountable for their deceptive actions.”
In 2014, the Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against Allstars, its owner, and its principals alleging the Defendants repeatedly violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and a 2010 consent judgment, which the company entered into to resolve a prior lawsuit with the Attorney General’s Office. Shortly after the 2010 consent judgment, the lawsuit alleges Allstars continued their deceptive business practices by quoting prices to consumers over the telephone and then routinely added significant undisclosed charges to consumers’ invoices. When consumers refused to pay the undisclosed charges, the movers allegedly refused to unload consumers’ property from their moving trucks and threatened to hold consumers’ property hostage until they received payment. In all, the Attorney General’s Office received 55-consumer complaints against Allstars Movers from 2012 to 2014.
The lawsuit also alleged that Allstars:
- Added unwarranted fees to its invoices, including fees for work hours not performed, fees for extra movers who never appeared, fees for items Defendants never moved, and fees for mileage in excess of the distance traveled;
- Falsely advertised that it was licensed, bonded, and/or insured;
- Provided a sham claims process for damaged, destroyed, and/or lost items, which often made it impossible for consumers to comply with the process and obtain reimbursements.
Allstars operated under several names including Allstar Moving & Storage, Inc., Allways Moving & Storage, Easymoveaz, Allstar Moving and Storage, Allstars Movers, Movers and a Truck, and The Moving and Storage Company. (The Defendants in this case have no connection to Allstar Metro Movers of Glendale, Arizona.)
The consent judgment requires the Defendants to pay $77,000 as restitution to eligible consumers, assesses $107,765 as civil penalties, which is more than double the civil penalty of the 2010 judgment. It also requires Amru Abdalla to pay the remaining unpaid amount owed for the 2010 consent judgment, which is $45,234 plus interest. If Amru Abdalla complies with all of the terms set forth in the judgment, the State will release its claim to $50,000 of the civil penalties and the interest owed on the 2010 consent judgment.
The judgment also prohibits Amru Abdalla from engaging in the moving, packing, and/or storage business for two years and Allstars Director, Shareholder, and Chief Executive Officer, Emad Abdalla from doing the same until November 1, 2015. In addition, the judgment specifically requires the following:
- Defendants must disclose orally and in writing any and all fees that consumers will be obligated to pay for their packing, moving, and/or storage services;
- Defendants may not request payment or collect fees prior to completing their packing and/or moving services;
- Defendants may not refuse to return a consumer’s property until after they receive payment for moving services; and
- If the Defendants choose not to provide insurance for their services, they must provide notice to consumers at the time the move is scheduled and obtain signatures of all consumers on a waiver prior to beginning their move.
The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alyse Meislik.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, you may file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. To file a consumer complaint online, please visit www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer. If you have questions or would like to request a complaint form, contact the Consumer Information & Complaints Unit at (602) 542-5763 in Phoenix, (520) 628-6504 in Tucson, or toll free outside metro Phoenix, (800) 352-8431.