Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ryder Moving and Storage, a.k.a. Storage and Moving Services Inc (Pompano, FL)

My story begins with a cross country move from Austin, TX to Annapolis, MD, due to my wife's company relocating us. I was tasked with researching some of the options and finding a good deal the company would be happy paying.

I went online and requested a few quotes and was bombarded with quotes and phone calls. After plugging the DOT numbers into the website to see if they were in good standing. I started talking to Aron Miller at Ryder Moving and Storage, also doing business as Storage and Moving Services Inc.

He seemed to be interested in our business, spent a great deal of time on the phone with me and was immediately responsive to any questions or concerns I had. We went through our inventory over the phone several times and he said they did not have a local rep to do an onsite inspection. He actually told me the advantage of his company would be the crew that picked up my items would be the same crew to deliver and told me they were employees of the company and not subcontractors. So I decided to pad the cubic footage in order to ensure we were close to the actual number on the pick up date so we were certain everything would fit on the truck. I sent photos to Aron Miller to show him the storage unit and was assured we were in good shape.

In addition to the standard insurance paid by Ryder, we opted to get a higher end insurance policy to cover the antiques. The policy with Baker International required the moving company to pack the TV and the antiques. I called Aron Miller back and explained the policy terms with him and requested the movers bring the appropriate packing material. He added that to the invoice and charged us for the TV crate in addition to a crate for a door and other packing materials.

We were in a rush because the sale of our house ended up resulting in an early lease and move in date for our buyers and we had to be out quickly. Aron Miller assured me we would be taken care of and he could have a truck there on the day we needed. I paid the deposit with a credit card and the deal was done.

Estimate provided by Aron Miller
Company Information

Contract Number

** Lesson learned, that I hope benefits you.... NEVER just go with an over the phone or email estimate. If a company does not provide an onsite estimate, say "Thank you!" and hang up. ONLY go with a company that comes to your house and walks through everything with you. Also, don't rush the move, because in the end, you will not be as focused as you need to be and you will be easier to scam.

So, back to the nightmare. I sent my wife and daughter off to Houston to spend time with family while I dealt with the movers.

I got a call from the driver, "Sean" who said, "We need to pick up a day earlier than expected or it will be the following week."

I called Aron to discuss this and he told me to hold while he talked to the dispatch team. He came back on the line and said "Due to a Jewish holiday, we need to do it this way." I agreed, because we had to be out of the house before the next available pick up date."

I reluctantly agreed and started scrambling to get everything finalized. The driver, "Sean" was in touch several times and answered the phone promptly when I called.

The day the crew showed up "Sean" was rude and condescending. He was trying to alter the contract with additional fees and said that Aron was wrong and did not know what he was talking about. When I refused to pay the fees, he threatened to drive off. I called my wife to see what she thought and because we were over a barrel with needing to be out of the house, we paid the fees.

The driver refused to take a check and demanded cash. He also stated they would only accept cash at the delivery point. He also said he would make the delivery in 5 business days. This would work out for us, because I was driving our car across country with our dog and it would give me time to get there and give us time to get the keys to our new rental.

Then Sean stated he needed me to take him to the offsite storage unit to make sure there would be room on the truck, while his crew started loading the truck. He refused to wait until the truck was loaded with the household items and again threatened to drive off without moving us. I was not comfortable with this, but really had no choice.

I left his crew and drove him to the storage unit 25 miles away. After he looked the unit over, he demanded I stop and allow him to pick up lunch for his crew. At this point, I felt trapped and decided being nice and making conversation might be in our best interest. I stopped at a couple places for him to pick up the things he needed. During our conversation, I discovered he was in fact a subcontractor and NOT an employee as Aron Miller had promised.

Once we were back at the house, I started taking mental notes of the crew and how things were going and wrote down the things I felt stood out. His crew chief (never got his name) seemed to be acting in  a careful way with out items, but little did I know it was all a show when I was standing there and completely different when I wasn't watching them.

The financial discrepancies began almost immediately. The contract stated there would be a $150 fee for bulky items like my 1920's upright piano and breakfront. "Sean" stated it was $200 and due to the fact he had threatened to drive away twice, and that Aron backed him up, I did not argue.

"Sean" disappeared into the truck and never lifted a finger to help. Once the truck was loaded up, we headed over to the storage unit. They started loading the stuff up, and again "Sean" asked for more money in cash. He wanted $500 right then to "pay his helpers."

I went to the bank and pulled out $300 and told him it was the most I could draw out on a daily basis. He was not happy, but took it.

The crew chief then handed me the inventory list, asking me to sign it. I started reading through it and told them I would not sign anything unless I read it to make sure I was not releasing them from any liability. I made notes on the paperwork stating the company is not released from liability.

Thankfully, my storage unit has a video recording system that caught the driver and his crew on camera giving me a hard time about the paperwork. The storage unit has provided a copy of that tape.

Eventually the truck pulled away with my belongings and I wrapped up the things I needed and headed for the hotel. This was on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

The next day I finished up at our house, taking pictures and making sure everything was in order for the buyers. I did not expect to hear from the movers, because Aron told me the reason they picked up early was because of the Jewish holiday. Imagine my surprise when I get a call from them saying my shipment was going to be delivered on the next day, Sunday the 8th.

When I explained we did not have the keys to the new house and that they told me it would be Friday, Sept. 13th before they would make the delivery. I was told, "We met our obligation, that is all we had to do," and they hung up.

This is when the scam alarm went off in my head.

Aron Miller refused to answer the phone. The driver refused to answer the phone. Dispatch refused to answer the phone. Customer service refused to answer the phone. They also refused to return any calls.

I emailed Aron Miller and Joey Pino, COO. I emailed Josh Socher, President. None of them would reply to any of the concerns I had.

While we are waiting for our stuff, we have to survive, so we buy basics like a couple pots and pans, towels and a futon and small TV for our daughter to be comfortable, as she has started her new school. We decided to move into the empty house verses sinking money into a hotel.

At this point, the red flags are waving like crazy that we had been scammed. I started digging around to get more information about the company. Once I had the name of the owner and saw the other victims posting about their experiences, I started digging deeper and found the business license and the primary number associated with the company, which is listed to a Jodi Socher.

I called that number and left a message and low and behold I suddenly got a phone call back from Joey Pino asking me "What do you want?"

I explain in very simple terms I have figured out they are a scam company and I want our stuff back. He tried to tell me, "I don't understand why you are calling random strangers to complain about us." He and I get into a pretty heated argument on 2-3 occasions, because he is an asshole scam artist and I called him out on it.

I informed him that the only number I called was Jodi Socher's as she is listed as the Vice President of the company. I also found her and Josh Socher on Facebook and sent them both messages complaining about Aron Miller and the driver.

I informed Joey Pino "my next call would be to the local authorities to report them along with the Florida State Attorney's office." He put me on hold and stated my stuff would be there in 2 days.

Guess what?

Two days go by and there isn't a delivery. I continued to message, email and call all the principal officers to try and get a response. I printed out my phone records and printed off every email between me and any person related to Ryder Moving to show my efforts in communication and filed a theft and fraud complaint with the local authorities.

Finally, I get a call from "Jimmy" who tells me they are going to deliver our stuff.  He and the driver "Alex" from Oleg Van Lines Inc. will be there in a couple days.

The Subcontracting Truck 9/21/13
We make arrangements for my wife and daughter to hang out in a hotel while I wait for the delivery. I had a couple friends hang out with me and the truck showed up around 4 pm, instead of the 8am time frame we were given.

There are only two people on the Oleg Van Lines Inc. truck. The driver, "Alex" and the helper, "Jimmy."  It is starting to rain and they seem to just want to dump things and go. I won't let them, but instead have them bring boxes in, while my friend records the sticker number, so we have an idea of what numbers may be missing.

Several hours later the truck is unloaded. I make them stay around to unpack our TV before I sign any paperwork. The TV is cracked, (the one they packed in the crate I paid for because the insurance required it).

The dining room table top was destroyed. There are gouges and scratches and pieces missing.

Our metal shelves were bent.

My computer and printer box was opened and gone through, which made me put a fraud alert on my credit cards and bank accounts. Even with a password protection, there are ways for hackers to get into your files, like your tax returns.

The word "Fragile" means nothing to these people. They threw boxes around, opened them, pilfered through them, looking for valuables no doubt. We were smart enough to put our silver sets and other valuables in the car with me.

They threw our belongings in some dank and damp storage unit after going through our stuff. This is what the boxes looked like when they finally arrived on the Oleg truck.

Seriously this is how the box was delivered

This is exactly how this box was delivered. Not sure what clothes are missing.
ALL of our furniture had damage, because they did not wrap it properly. They managed to bend the doorknobs back into the wood door causing extensive damage.

Furniture was tossed around and busted.

After unpacking most our things, I called Ryder Moving and Storage to discuss how I file a claim. I did not get a response, so I emailed everyone I could think of at the company with a number of the emails bouncing back. I finally got an email from Kari Harp with a pitiful claim form attached.

Top 1/2 of Pitiful and Lacking form

Bottom 1/2 of Pitiful and Lacking form.
I am still photographing and documenting everything and I have filed a police report for the damage. I am also contacting the Florida State Attorney's office in the hopes they will open an investigation. I have to get all the documents, photos and witness statements together so I can prepare for any civil litigation we may decide to pursue against Josh Socher, Jodi Strosberg Socher, Jose "Joey" Pino, Aron Miller and Ryder Moving and Storage a.k.a. Storage and Moving Services Inc.

On November 12, 2013 I received an email from Josh Socher. He is trying to throw Joey Pino under the bus. Here is what he said.

"My name is Josh Socher i am one of the principles of Storage & Moving Services. I understand you were and had been in contact with a Joey Pino (who is actually also an officer of the company he is the COO) and oversaw all the dispatching,pick ups, and deliveries (or lack of) he has since walked away from the company keeping everyone up in the air with certain customer's and deliveries (as that was his department that we now know was not run to its best of abilities let's just say. I am currently working to get any outstanding deliveries, and want to make sure you have received your belonging's. As if you have not please let me know that also so i can arrange to get your item's out to you and in which case will call you Thursday or Friday of this week to let you know which day it will be. I appreciate your understanding and patience in this matter, and thank you for your feedback.Sincerely,Josh Socher"
I wrote him back and called BULLSHIT! He was emailed throughout the process, as was his wife. I told him if he is sincere in his efforts, he can reimburse us for the items we had to buy while his company held our stuff hostage, reimburse us the cost of the move and cooperate with the insurance company when we file the claim.

I also invited him to this blog to read about our experience. I am doubtful I will ever hear from him again.
I am hoping to use some of my research skills to help other victims, not just of this company but any others out there. I want these guys out of business and in jail if possible, because there is a laundry list of other companies Josh Socher and Joey Pino have operated. There are hundreds of complaints out there.

Don't believe me? Just Google "Josh Socher moving scam" or "Joey Pino moving scam" and take a look for yourself.

If you have been a victim of a moving scam, consider contacting . Move Rescue is a non-profit organization funded by the larger, legitimate moving companies, dedicated to assisting victims in the hopes of getting their items returned.

My next post will get into some other information, you might find useful in your next move. I was able to track the owners of Ryder and Moving down through social media, including their property records and even their wedding registry. Anything on the web that is public information, may be useful in a court of law, especially if you win a case and need to find out what they own.

It all comes down to specific search terms. Something I am pretty good at, because of the genealogy research I do for our families.

I just discovered a site showing they have made the news in FL. The real Ryder trucking company was able to win an injunction in court to make them stop using their name. We can see how well they are obeying it, based on the paperwork I got when they moved us. The United States District judge, the Honorable Donald M. Middlebrooks signed the order on July 25, 2013. The order clearly states The Sochers are not to use anything with the Ryder name on it. Yet, on September 6, 2013 I am handed a bill of lading which clearly has Ryder across the top of the paper.

Like most people, I thought I was hiring the larger, more reputable company. I think I might have to contact Karen Jones, Senior VP and Chief Marketing officer to see what she might want to do with this information. She used to work for NRG/Reliant Energy, Inc., I think my wife may know her and it may be interesting information to her, interesting indeed....

Anything to say Joshua or Jodi?

Stay tuned and feel free to leave a comment or ask a question.