Magnum Moving, Toronto: Heather’s Moving Experience from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

If you’re considering a moving company, let me suggest that you do all that you can to avoid Magnum Moving: this story isn’t over yet, but we’ve experienced nothing but poor service, misrepresentation and over-charging by the company. At the moment, Heather has been charged over $700 for a move that was quoted to cost $177 + GST. If things aren’t cleared up, there’s no doubt we’ll be going to small claims court. Fun!

Rather than taking my word for it, let me show you what a shiesty operation Magnum Moving is. This is also a lesson in buyer beware: if something sounds too good to be true, it is.

The preamble

Heather, after we made the decision to move in together, went on-line to get quotes. She got a number of quotes, one from Magnum Moving on November 26. They wrote:

We would like to thank you for considering Magnum Moving, as we are aware that you have a lot of options and we do greatly appreciate the chance to gain your business.

Based on the specifications received we would suggest that moving of your personal effects, including disassembly and assembly of furniture and depot-origin-destination-depot travel time should take approximately 3 hours.

We will supply you with one 24-26ft. moving truck and two professional movers as well as the full equipment, at a rate of $59.99 per hour, or three professional movers at the rate of $89.99 per hour.

So, even now, looking at the email, it seemed like it was all (especially the language) pretty professional. For comparision, when I moved from Guelph in 2004 (with Tender Touch Moving, which I highly recommend), I was quoted a rate of $79.00 per hour and a total time of 5.5 hours. Later in the email, they write:

We will blanket-wrap all the furniture, shrink-wrap the necessary items and place runners on your floors.

At Magnum Movers we have wardrobe and mirror cartons that you can use for free with any moving job. It is a great deal and can save you money.

Again, sounds great. Why not use them, right? So, Heath got back to them on November 28th with potential dates for the move. Aditionally, she asked them if “…are there any additional charges I should be aware of, for example, minimum charges, fuel surcharges etc.” She heard back from the Magnum Moving Sales Executive later that same day. He wrote that he could book her on her requested dates with the same hourly rates. So far so good.

On November 29th, Heather called Magnum Moving. Magnum Moving has a nice ad in the Yellow Pages with their phone number. It has a friendly picture of a smiling family towering over a picture of a small house. They suggest that you “Let someone who Cares handle your Valuables.” She got an answering maching when she called the number. In fact, you always get an answering machine when you call (you could try it too…the ad is on page 842 of the 2006 Toronto Central West edition of the Yellow Pages).

In hindsight, this is a pretty big flag. Heath began to wonder if she should pull the plug on the operation and book with another company. She decided that she was reading too much into it and given the fact that they got back to her promptly by email, she expected everything to unfold as planned.

Heath finally confirmed with Magnum Moving on December 15th and gets an email with a thank-you from the sales executive. Then she waits, expecting that she’ll be contacted the week of the move. That being said, the email never outline furthur steps after the confirmation. Again, a red flag in hindsight.

Heather kept waiting and believing that they would call and make the final arrangements–for example, what time they would arrive during the day and confirming the correct address. Finally, at 8 am on January 17th, the day before the move, Heather emailed the company (because, as you guessed it, they weren’t returning calls) to make final arrangements. Heather asked in this email for the sales executive to call her to confirm. The response to this email? Nothing. Finally at 4 pm, she called the number and, of course, left a message on the machine. Within ten minutes they called back. What service! The company representative said that she should expect the truck between 8:00 and 8:30 and then told Heather that they prefered VISA as payment.

The move

So, Heather got up early today to get to her (now old) apartment in time for the movers to arrive. Heather got there at 7 am, sat down on a chair to be moved and tried to fall asleep. 8:30 arrived and passed. 9:00 arrived and passed. At 9:10 the guys who eventually moved Heather’s stuff called saying that they were a few minutes away and apologized for the delay. They eventually arrived at 9:35.

Keep in mind tha Magnum Movers are the moving company that seems to pride itself on its service–Heather had the “honour” to let them care about handling her valuables. They were to “blanket-wrap all the furniture, shrink-wrap the necesscary items and place runners on the floors.” As well there were to be wardrobes and mirror cartons for the move. Instead of wardrobes, they offered to “find a place to hang [her clothes] in the truck.” No wrap was to be seen-be it blanket or shrink. Runners on the floor? Nope. Care, it seems, for Magnum Movers includes putting furniture on wet concrete. Here’s a shot of her box spring:

Notice the corner? It’s a nice touch.

Initially, Heather was pleased that things were working well. Though they were late, things were moving out of the apartment. Heather called me at 11:30 saying that everything was loaded up and she was making her way down to the apartment. Heather arrived at 11:45, saying that she had lost them on Dupont. They eventually showed up at the apartment around 12:05. The movers then sat in the cab for a half hour, having a smoke and waiting for Heather’s VISA authorization to go through (aka letting the clock run). During that half hour, I went out a couple of times to the truck to see what was happening: I was greeted with “five more minutes.” So, Heather and I waited in the lobby until they got the authorization they needed (and the niccotine fix they were craving).

The move-in after that was without incident. Without incident until then end. As they were leaving the apartment for the last time, they asked Heather how she wanted to pay: she said VISA. The movers then said they were going to put the payment through and get the receipt. They asked how much Heather wanted to leave for a tip. This is a nice touch: pressure to give a tip always is appreciated. Heather did give an amount to be added to the bill, at which point mover number two (I called him Addidas track-suit guy) asked if he could have it in cash. Another nice touch.

The bill

They retreated to the truck cab and Heather and I waited downstairs. It was 1:45 and we figured out in our head what the bill should cost. Here’s our generous math:

Moving – 4.25 hours
Travel time – 1 hour

Total: 5.25 hours @ 59.99 = $314.95 + GST = $337 + tip

So, we ballparked a bill around $375, including the tip. When Heather got the VISA stub (aka, I guess, the receipt) it was for $723. Excuse me? That’s almost 2x as much as we were expecting to pay.

Magnum Mover’s Time Machine

So, because Magnum Mover’s movers didn’t give us a receipt, we have to guess how they made up the bill. Our take:

Moving: 4.25 hours
Travel time: 1 hour
Time travel, where they froze time and charged us anyways: 5.8 hours

You see, given their hourly rate and how much time it took them to move, Heather was overcharged by 5.8 hours.

What’s next?

January 18th, 2006

Needless to say, this isn’t over yet. Heather immediatley called VISA to get the charge removed. She was told that she needs to wait for four days until the charge appears on her bill before they might be able to do something. We also called Magnum Moving and (no suprise here) left a message. We finally emailed Magnum Movers asking them to contact us. Right now it’s a waiting game.

Check back here for updates…

28 Comments

  1. Alan Cuthbert

    I have unfortunately booked Magnum for a move at the end of April. Like you I found there ad, price and response all fairly professional. I guess with hindsight that will be a wrong move. Any further news on your recovery of the money owed? And thanks to you I will be asking for a written confirmation and pay by check or cash on the termination of the move. (minus of course any deductions for damage they might cause. and I will bring my own drop sheets).

  2. Hector Gull

    This company is obviously running a scam, My story is just as Heather’s story step by step, it happened sunday march 26th 2006, they have it all planned and I’m sure they do the same to all their customers (victims is a better word).

    Let me know your progress, though I think is best to join forces and take this matter to the authorities.

  3. Linda Greenovski

    I moved with Magnum Moving on April 25th.
    My suggestion is: low price, nice people, good company.
    I’m happy with my move.

  4. Isabel

    ms. greenovski is the only person i’ve ever heard of who had a good experience with magnum. i had the same issue with them from start to finish and i can let you know that since heather signed the visa slip there is nothing that visa will do–i sat crying on the phone with a visa supervisor. small claims court it is if you can find them. their url disappeared sometime in may shortly after my move with them which was an utter nightmare.

  5. Dennis Rutledge

    I have a very similar story but was taken for over $800. This company is fraudulent and you will not receive a response from them. I called the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and they attempted to contact them and were ignored. I was told by the ministry that I have a strong case against them should I choose to persue a small claims action. It is nearly impossible to find any contact information for this company and if I were to pursue my claim I would spend nearly as much in time and incidentals as I would get back. Don’t think for a moment that these thieves don’t realize that. Best option is for eveyone who has been taken to contact Ryan Roberge at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

  6. Chitra Parshad

    One of our office employees was relocating so she had a small move within downtown Toronto on Friday, April 27, 2007.

    Movers did not show up on time. Couldn’t reach them. Did not have packing materials (tape, covers, wardrobe) as promised. Still waiting to get a copy of the receipt for a move that cost $800+ for just over a couple of hours.

    Come to think of it, the persons answering the phone did not have any phone etiquette.

  7. John Loyd

    Magnum Movers is now Empire Movers and they are running the same scam. I hired them a couple of week ago to move me and they rammed their truck into the side of my porch doing $1400 of damage. I have been trying to contact the owners of the company for 3 weeks now and I am unable to get a hold of anyone. There is no personal contact information on the empiremoving.ca website and no one claims to be the owner/manager of the company. This company is getting away with robbery and must be stopped.

  8. Empire moving of Toronto with Tel: 416 901 6683 are movers with fraudulent practices. The company in question operates under the name of empire movers of Toronto and have operated under other names such as Magnum movers before. For payment processing they hide behind numbered companies to hide their identity.

    They are not movers but use this ploy to get possession of your goods. Once they are in possession of your goods, they engage in extortion of great sums of money using threats and threatening demeanor. Once they know that they have extorted money and the victim does not or can not give any more, they dump the goods right in the middle –be it on the road or lobby or in a remoter place.

    As they are not really mover –they do not understand move very much. They make tall claims about their knowledge of residential and commercial moving and are tolerable till they get the possession of the goods. Their attitude changes to offensive and intimidating once they have the goods loaded on the truck—then the extortion starts.

    They, in the name of confirming the identity of customer, get your credit card and then without your consent debit your card for thousands of dollars. They ask you to sign the papers and when the victim asks for the copy, they make excuses. They initially promise to give the receipt for the cash money but once they get the cash , they engage in excuses such as they have run out of receipts. In order to squeeze the maximum amount, they work only 10-15 minutes in an hour and find all means to prolong the move and agony. A simple move of 5-7 hours is extended to 18-22 hours on flimsy excuses all geared to extort more money. Every half hour or so they demand more sums of money giving the customer a choice of either –coming up with more cash or they with abandon the move with the goods.

    They work under different names and number companies and they keep on changing the legal status under which they operate to make it difficult for public to trace them. It is a very sophisticated ring of fraudsters and with their modus operandi they extort hundreds of thousand from innocent customers.

    They work in groups of 3-6 persons and during one move faces keep on changing. Old faces disappear and new faces appear each claiming that he does not know what is going on.

    It will be in the public interest if this mover and its fraudulent activities are brought to the notice of police, authorities responsible for moving companies and public encouraged to take appropriate action to lodge complaint and recover the extorted funds.

  9. Reporting a company engaged in massive fraud from your site

    The company in question operates under the name of empire movers of Toronto and have operated under other names such as Magnum movers before. For payment processing they hide behind numbered companies to hide their identity.

    Empire moving of Toronto with Tel: 416 901 6683 are movers with fraudulent practices. They are not movers but use this ploy to get possession of your goods. Once they are in possession of your goods, they engage in extortion of great sums of money using threats and threatening demeanor. Once they know that they have extorted money and the victim does not or can not give any more, they dump the goods right in the middle –be it on the road or lobby or in a remoter place.

    As they are not really mover –they do not understand move very much. They make tall claims about their knowledge of residential and commercial moving and are tolerable till they get the possession of the goods. Their attitude changes to offensive and intimidating once they have the goods loaded on the truck—then the extortion starts.

    They, in the name of confirming the identity of customer, get your credit card and then without your consent debit your card for thousands of dollars. They ask you to sign the papers and when the victim asks for the copy, they make excuses. They initially promise to give the receipt for the cash money but once they get the cash , they engage in excuses such as they have run out of receipts. In order to squeeze the maximum amount, they work only 10-15 minutes in an hour and find all means to prolong the move and agony. A simple move of 5-7 hours is extended to 18-22 hours on flimsy excuses all geared to extort more money. Every half hour or so they demand more sums of money giving the customer a choice of either –coming up with more cash or they with abandon the move with the goods.

    They work under different names and number companies and they keep on changing the legal status under which they operate to make it difficult for public to trace them. It is a very sophisticated ring of fraudsters and with their modus operandi they extort hundreds of thousand from innocent customers.

    They work in groups of 3-6 persons and during one move faces keep on changing. Old faces disappear and new faces appear each claiming that he does not know what is going on.

    Your endorsement/engaging in links / advertising their activities may seriously jeopardize your reputation and even implicate your company in this massive fraud. Should you need any clarification or have any question, my name is Nawel K Seth, and I can be reached at 905 660 7999.

    It will be in the public interest if this mover and its fraudulent activities are brought to the notice of police, authorities responsible for moving companies and public encouraged to take appropriate action to lodge complaint and recover the extorted funds.

  10. Hector Gull

    This was the address of Magnun when they registered their website

    Magnum Moving
    302-120 Shelborne
    North York, ON M6B 2M7
    Telephone: (416) 826-1685
    http://www.magnummoving.ca

    I found this to be an apartment building and not a business, I actually went there and there was no name on the apartment tag at the door.

    This is the information of the domein registration and the real name of the criminal that rans the show:

    Domain magnummoving.ca
    Registrant Name oleg bron
    Registrar MyID.ca (Creative Pixels Inc.)
    Renewal Date 2006/08/30
    Date approved 2004/08/30
    Last changed 2005/08/30
    Description
    Registrar Number 25309
    Registrant Number 1038404
    Domain Number 1038461
    DNS1
    ns1.servertrinity.com 65.98.55.50
    DNS2
    ns2.servertrinity.com 65.98.55.51

    Name: oleg bron
    Job Title :
    Postal Address toronto ON m6b 4b4 Canada
    Phone 4168881382
    Fax
    Email olegbron@mail.ru

    note that the e-mail is in a russian server, I know that the guys operating the track where acting under his command, the spoke in russian my mother understands the lenguage.

    we should get toguether and have the authorities involved.

    CORONET APARTMENTS
    302-120 SHELBORNE AVE
    NORTH YORK ON M6B 2M7

  11. Leanne Shapiro

    Wow, it is sad and yet very comforting to see that we are not alone in our horrid experience with Empire Movers. I only wish I had discovered this information before we chose to move with them. We have a similar story to the ones above. Our movers showed up over an hour and a half late. They did not have enough drop cloths, wardrobe boxes or other materials. They actually started using our packing tape!!! They were soooooo s-l-o-w it was maddening. We had moved ALL of our boxes the day prior, so they were only moving furniture. I swear, if we hadn’t done the boxes ourselves, they would probably still be moving (we moved on September 2!!!). They smoked on the truck with our possessions present. They took breaks and cell phone calls all day long. They mis-quoted and overcharged us, including a surcharge for using a credit card. And, at the end of the nightmare, the movers had the gall to ask for a tip!!!! We have filed a complaint with the BBB, but will also follow up with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, as suggested above. We need to stop these thieves!

  12. Isabel

    Here’s the doman info for Empire Moving — egads these people are like cockroaches. They just keep spawning. I did try calling and managed to get someone on the phone though which was interesting. Maybe they’re changing tactics these days. But old Oleg Bron comes up again and again doesn’t he.

    “EMPIREMOVING.CA” is registered.

    Domain Name: empiremoving.ca (1523813)
    Registered: 2006/05/08
    Last Modified: 2007/04/18
    Expires: 2008/05/08

    Registrant: Empire Moving inc. (1523811)
    Alex Green olegbron@hotmail.com (1471155)
    1 (416) 901-6684

    Technical: olegbron@hotmail.com (1471156)
    ns25.serverquality.com 70.86.6.34
    ns26.serverquality.com 70.86.6.35

  13. P.N.

    Wow – I just got scammed by Empire Movers and unfortunately, found this site too late. They damaged a number of our goods during the move, took way longer than they should have, told us on the day of the move about charges that were never mentioned before (as if we had a choice at that time to say no, having booked elevators, and being required to move out on that day!). I will be looking to file a suit at small claims court.

  14. Me Too

    We very recently had a terrible experience with these crooks. Damaged a few high-priced items, no moving blankets in site. Shrink-wrapped only 2 items. They had no idea how to move. Final price was far higher than initial quote, but at that point (moving day), we had no choice. These people are incredibly shady.

  15. Jeff

    They now go by Alpine Movers and the same problems. The charge on my card was to a Magnum Movers. I never authorized Magnum Movers to do my move. Property was damaged, I was overcharged, they failed to meet their contract requirements. I am calling Visa and perhaps the authorities

  16. lee

    I sadly also got scammed by Alpine movers and worse yet I did not get a receipt and cannot prove that they moved me (funnily enough they were out of reciepts but were coming right back with one). I would like to know if there is further action that I can take and if any of you have had any results.
    Good luck to you all and sorry you have also had this experience. It is infuriating.

  17. Hector Gull

    Well, I lost my fight with Visa, my point was simple; how can a company with no location, office and means of been contacted have a point of sale device and a charge account for Visa? they didn’t care I sign the visa slip and that’s, I filed a police report and the police in Oakville never contacted me again, they have more important things to do, like handing parking tickets and setting speed traps in streets that can easily be a 70/80 KM/h but the city on purpose set it at 60KM/h to make money, if we don’t regain control of the government soon we’ll be like the USA, or are we already like them.

  18. Hector Gull

    This is amazing, the following is the address that Oleg Bron, aka Alex Brown, aka John Green, register the new scam moving company “Empire Moving” that replaced “Magnum Moving”..from BBB:
    Empire Moving & Storage
    600 Bay Street
    Toronto, ON M5G 1M6
    Telephone: (416) 901-6683
    http://www.empiremoving.ca
    if you are from Toronto you know what that address is……

  19. We were scammed as well last year (Mar 07) I wished that I had done more research as well but did not know that they operated under a different name. Here is how it all began…and worked out.

    First getting a quote – dated January 23, 2007. It wasn’t badly priced and was quite comparable to other movers, however they boasted their experience, the care they take with your items, the courtiness of their staff, etc.

    March 6, 2007 – movers arrive 2 hrs. late. No calls, only after I try to reach them numerous times. Moving from an apartment building where I’ve booked the elevator. They come in, first thing get me to sign a form (which I note has some additional info. that I don’t agree to so they tell me to scratch it out and initial). I feel funny about this so I try calling the office and leave a few messages. Also call my financial instution re: upcoming charges for move & they say I can only dispute – cannot limit – the transaction when it’s completed.

    They move my stuff (which I’ve packed, stacked, and disassembled). The move takes no longer than an hour to load up. In the meantime they do not use a single blanket to protect my furniture. I help them load items into my own vehicle as I wanted to protect some (good thing!), I have to request and put together wardrobe boxes. Arrive at new house – they unload everything into garage, including a few broken items (lamp, table, etc) with no comments. Total time = 2.5 hrs.

    They hand me a mastercard slip to sign & go to their truck. One guy returns and asks how I will pay their tip. HA!! You’ve broken my stuff, not called me to tell me you’re late and then this. So I tell him cash…but I have none. He hands me my mastercard slip which has a total of more than $100 more than originally agreed upon. I freak. Guys are gone.

    March 9 – I send an e-mail as I’ve called a few more times and no returned calls. I try calling again…this is fraud. I finally speak with someone and they tell me to e-mail as it’ll be received faster.

    March 14 – e-mail again. Call financial institution – file a dispute.

    March 21 – e-mail again after more phone calls. Each time I actually speak with someone they tell me the person incharge is not available and to e-mail. Contact my financial institution again.

    April 3 – no contact from them

    May – September – no contact. I am advised by my financial instution that there is nothing I can do.

    That was crap. Stressful…and not needed. DO NOT USE THEM…they are a fraudulent!!!!!

  20. me

    THANKS to everyone who wrote here. I am currently looking for a mover and liked the info and response I got from “John Green”. Thank you Lord that I read these blogs! I’ve been saved from a possible nightmare! Thanks everyone!! Keep spreading the word!

  21. R.M

    Let me tell you how happy I am that I came across this blog. I just called Empire Moving and cancelled our move with them immediately!!! Sorry you all had to experience such a bad move.

      • M Kaulbach

        As current caretaker of 600 Bay (the purported address of these movers ), I can inform you that there is not any such business at this address. We have a tenant here since 1952 that also confirms that since he has been here, there has never been any company in this building which were furniture movers.

  22. Rachelle

    I believe I am the latest in a long list of poor unsuspecting people to get ripped of by Empire movers. I feel like such an idiot. I always do my homework and check things out before hiring services. I was taken for almost $900. I can’t even go into the details of this nightmare move because I am so seething mad. All I can say is: they came, they damaged (about $400 to my door and walls, they overcharged by $400 (thank God I never gave out my Visa #)and they won’t retuen calls or emails. I am filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and hope no-one else falls into this horrible trap. As a single mom surviving paycheck to paycheck I feel so stupid that I was not more savvy before spending my hard earned money on these mother F@&#!ers (sorry for cursing).
    IF YOU HAVE HIRED EMPIRE MOVERS FOR YOUR UPCOMING MORE – CANCEL ASAP

  23. Carina

    I was in such chaos when I had to move November 1, 2011 that I did not read this blogs about Empire Movers and I wish I would have. I was also scammed by this company, charged WAY more than quoted and the worst most stressful day of my life.
    I decided I would research the company a bit to see if anyone else had any similar situations and WOW I can’t believe I didn’t research them ahead of time. :(

  24. scammed

    I also was scammed by empire movers and was unsuccessful in fighting visa. I filed a complaint with the BBB, which they agreed to refund my money ($1400 for a 1bdrm condo move 4 blocks away). The nightmare included half of my stuff not even showing up including a sofa and entertainment centre. When the stuff was not delivered and they wanted to be paid it turned into a shakedown, and he just scoffed and said ” I have a presigned slip I can charge whatever I want”. We even called the police and a sargeant came and told us that this was not the first time they had seen this scam, but that it was a civil matter and the best way was BBB and small claims court. Unfortunately he said a single individual getting scammed was not enough for the police fraud department to be involved. I really wish there was a way to take these individuals down. I am posting my story only to add to the previous comments, DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY!! It seems that they just keep reincarnating themselves and scamming people. :(

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