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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Docket #: I.04-08-021
Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, firstname.lastname@example.org
PUC ORDERS FINES AND PENALTIES FOR PACIFIC COAST MOVING FOR OPERATING WITHOUT A PERMIT
SAN FRANCISCO, May 5, 2005 - The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in its ongoing efforts to protect consumers from unlawful moving companies, today denied Pacific Coast Moving & Storage, Inc.'s request for an operating permit and ordered the company to pay a fine of $40,000, restitution to customers of $8,711.75 for overcharges and property loss and damage, and $6,931.83 in compensation to the Commission for the costs of its investigation.
Pacific Coast, based in Sylmar, California, filed two previous applications for a moving permit. However, those applications were denied for failure to file insurance and other required documents. Thus, it has never held an active operating permit from the Commission, but nevertheless conducted moves for consumers. An investigation by the PUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division found Pacific Coast had:
· Eighteen violations of operating as a household goods carrier without a permit in force;
· Seven violations of advertising and holding themselves out as a household goods carrier without a permit in force;
· Seventeen violations of failing to procure and maintain on file workers' compensation insurance coverage for its employees;
· Twelve violations of failing to procure and maintain on file liability insurance;
· Seven violations of failing to procure and maintain on file cargo insurance; and
· Twenty-eight violations of the Commission's Maximum Rate Tariff 4 violations for failing to furnish to each prospective shipper a copy of the "Important Information Booklet For Persons Moving Household Goods," charging in excess of the written estimate quoted to customers without a valid change order, failing to obtain a change order for additional services, failing to provide a complete "Agreement for Moving Services" to all shippers, and failing to provide a "Not to Exceed Price" statement on shipping documents.
If Pacific Coast makes full restitution to customers within 60 days, the Commission will stay all but $10,000 of the $40,000 fine.
To check whether a moving company is licensed, call the PUC at 800-877-8867. To file a complaint about a moving company call the PUC at 800-366-4782.
For more information on the PUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.