Why is the media hiding the names of fined illegal movers in Portland?
Once again, ODOT stings illegal moving companies (here is the link in case you missed it). The good? Not much. ODOT slaps these illegal companies with a meager $1000 fine, and doesn’t plan on going any further. They did bring in a local news crew but failed to put on blast the names of the owners and the names of the companies, to help consumers know who to avoid. Seven companies in all were fined. After contacting ODOT, they informed me that the names will not be released because they are currently innocent until proven guilty (the media does have protection guides through the freedom of press provision, which still does not explain why they did not release this information).
Here are the two they reported on:
The Delivery Guys
Ohanas moving company
Here is one company that was not reported on (being in the moving industry, I hear the scoop):
Portland Student Movers AKA PDX Precision Moving. Both companies are the same – it’s just a way the owner’s to trick you into thinking you’re getting two different quotes, and hides the reputations of the others.
Unfortunately, the media did not release this information to the public, which is strange since the whole point of inviting the media to the sting was to make sure their illegal actions were published. Also, let’s clear up a few things regarding becoming licensed. First, it is only a $100 application fee. So why are these people not getting licensed, when it only costs $100?
One, becoming licensed requires all owner and employees be background checked and screened. So if they get licensed, they may have to fire some of their staff for not passing this test, or even worse, they can’t get licensed because they themselves can’t pass this requirement.
Two, if they get licensed, they may have to actually give good customer service! After all, they can’t change their names every 6 months once they get bad reps on places like Yelp!, Facebook, Google + and other review sites. Oh and believe me, they do. Just read the reviews on Yelp! (and the not recommended reviews at the bottom). Customers end up saying a different name than what’s in the review because they were hired by an old alias, and now operate under a new name until customers bash that name and move on.
Three, becoming licensed takes way more than $100. First off, it’s a $300 application fee (not $100). And after insurance, screenings, medical DOT cards and such, it ends up being about $4,000 to get licensed. I know what you may be thinking: it’s hard for a small company to fork out that kind of money. I have been there, but at PDX Movers, our growth was important to us. We want to establish a great brand, create jobs in our community and provide excellent service – much more than any of these companies can say.
Here was my open letter to the reporter who reported on the sting that happened on March 20th 2014
Dear Nina Mehlhaf,
I am a co-owner of PDX Movers, a local, legal moving company. I saw your report on the sting of 7 moving companies on March 20th 2014 and their illegal actions, however I am still a bit upset with how this was reported. In your article and your video, you posted the names of 2 of the seven moving companies charged with illegal moving. One of the moving companies was cited for a driving without a license and not even publicized. I have worked very hard to become a legitimate mover, and yet all of these illegal moving companies come in, under cut our regulated rates, don’t pay for the appropriate fees, don’t carry the appropriate insurance and put our community at risk. Yet you don’t inform the community of who these people are. The whole point of inviting the media to these stings is to inform the public of who to avoid and all you have down is scared people into asking the question “are you licensed?” and excepting the answer yes (which anyone can say). With the credibility your companies web page has on Google, just mentioning those names can cause that negatively publicized article to come up warning people about these illegal moving companies. Lastly I have never seen you (or any other media outlet) reach out to a licensed mover to get there opinion on the matter, to inform the general public of the standards that need to be followed. All I am saying is that it seems like a bit of a waste of time to even report on this matter if you’re not taking the steps to put these companies on blast, all of them. I know for a fact they are all still out there getting business and hurting this industry and your community, all praising the fact you didn’t say there name to hold them accountable.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.