BOSTON (Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Thursday a $202,000 settlement with a Billerica moving company that allegedly inflated fees, demanded cash last minute and held consumers' goods hostage.
Under the terms of a consent judgment, Father and Son Relocation Services Inc., doing business as Father and Son Moving and Storage, Bryan Taylor and Keith Taylor, the company's principals, are permanently enjoined from engaging in unfair and deceptive practices in violation of the state's Consumer Protection Act and must pay up to $202,000 in total.
The settlement fund includes $75,000 worth of restitution, $110,000 in penalties and $17,000 in court costs.
A portion of the penalties, $50,000, is suspended provided the defendants comply with the terms of the agreement. The agreement also suspends $10,000 worth of court costs.
"Consumers place their faith in moving companies, entrusting them with their most valuable possessions and hard-earned money," Coakley said in a statement. "This settlement protects consumers from further harm, provides them restitution and requires that this business will operate honestly and fairly from now on."
The defendants allegedly lured customers with false advertisements that promised low estimates and reliable, consumer-focused service.
After bringing in customers, they allegedly demanded higher fees after the company had possession of the consumers' household goods, giving consumers no choice but to pay the added upfront costs.
Father and Son Relocation Services Inc. also allegedly provided storage and warehousing services without a license.