Tuesday morning brought a big surprise for Patrick Buckley.
The doorbell rang shortly before 8 a.m., and outside was a large U-Haul truck.
Workers from Fastway Moving were finally bringing Buckley the items he had trusted the company with more than a year ago.
“It was literally ‘ding-dong.’ I had no idea they were coming,” Buckley said as movers carried a dresser from the truck and into his home. “I never thought I’d see this stuff again.”
Back in June 2016, Buckley and his twin brother hired Fastway Moving of Secaucus to take items from a Morristown apartment and put them into storage until the brothers had a final destination.
The company tried to charge Buckley more than the $660 they had agreed to in writing for the move, and then it tried to charge a higher monthly storage rate. At the time of the move, Buckley straightened out the numbers — or so he thought.
A few months passed and he realized he hadn’t received any bills for the storage fees, and when he called, the company said the charges would be higher because his stuff took up more space than anticipated.
They agreed he would pay the smaller amount for the months that had passed, but a higher amount for the future months. Buckley made payments and the account was in good standing.
When June came — a year after the move — Buckley asked Fastway to redeliver his stuff to his new home on Long Island.
He would leave messages. He’d be sent to voice mail. Calls would be disconnected.
No one ever returned his calls or made an effort to schedule the delivery.
Concerned, Buckley filed a police report and a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs. That’s when he learned the address Fastway used was vacant.
His stuff was nowhere to be found.
While we asked Consumer Affairs for an update, we learned Fastway had a federal tax lien and a judgment against it.
More importantly, public records showed the company’s charter and authority to do business in New Jersey was revoked by the state earlier this year because Fastway didn’t file an annual report for two consecutive years.
Fastway is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, because it does moves across state lines.
That wasn’t pretty, either.
FMSCA issued an “Out-of-service” order on Fastway, based on 15 violations. It was also issued a $50,060 civil penalty, which to date, hasn’t been paid.
That all meant Fastway didn’t have the authority to move Buckley’s things, even if it knew where the stuff was.
The company didn’t respond to our requests for comment.
But a Consumer Affairs investigator had some lengthy email exchanges with Fastway reps. The emails, shared with Bamboozled by Buckley, showed multiple promises by the company to hire another company to deliver Buckley’s items.
None of those promises were kept.
Until this week — when Buckley’s doorbell rang.
It was two workers who identified themselves as working for Abreu Logistics. We had previously learned Fastway Moving is a d/b/a (doing business as) for Abreu, which is based in Pompano Beach, Fla.
“They’re not telling me much,” Buckley said of the workers, calling them “tight-lipped.” “I asked where it all came from and they said something about Newark and getting it off a trailer. The details are sketchy.”
At least he now has his stuff – and he wasn’t asked to pay for the delivery.
Buckley is one of the lucky ones.
Buckley said he spoke to another customer who hired the company to move him and his family from Brazil to the United States. His stuff is supposedly on a boat somewhere in Uruguay, Buckley said he was told.
Consumer Affairs couldn’t confirm how many other customers’ belongings were found, but it confirmed it did help getting Buckley’s stuff.
It said it is continuing its investigation, in cooperation with FMCSA and the Federal Maritime Commission, to identify the whereabouts of goods belonging to other affected consumers.
“At this time, the Division is seeking information from consumers who have knowledge regarding Fastway Moving and Storage – also known as Abreu Logistics – or who have contracted with the company and have not received their goods,” a spokeswoman said. “Consumers with any information regarding this investigation are urged to contact Investigator Vincent Buonanno at (973) 504-6442.”
Bamboozled wants to give a big shout out to Consumer Affairs and investigator Buonanno, the guy Buckley said was key in getting Fastway’s attention. Buonanno’s efforts – stepping up and hitting the street, tracking the company’s footsteps in New Jersey and beyond – encouraged the company to close this nasty chapter in Buckley’s life.
We hope other customers get their stuff too. If you’re one of them, contact the investigator and let us know if we can help.