Metairie moving company accused of extortion - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Metairie moving company accused of extortion

Updated:
A Mandeville woman talks about her experience with a Metairie moving company. A Mandeville woman talks about her experience with a Metairie moving company.

Mandeville, La. — Mandeville police have booked the owner of a Metairie moving company with extortion and more arrests are expected soon.

Police said the Mr. Move company, located near Causeway in Metairie, forced a North Shore family to pay hundreds more than originally agreed after loading their furnishings on the moving truck.

"He really thought he could just do this forever," said Megan Bagley-Rivolo of Mandeville, who said she was victimized by the moving company.

She said in May she began looking for a moving company to move her belongings into storage and thought she had found a reputable company. "Mr. Move had called us and gave us a great price and said it would be, you know, an hourly rate and that you could stop at any given time and it would be around $700," she said.

But she said things changed dramatically once the movers had placed her belongings on the truck. "When they loaded all the stuff up we went to settle up and that's when they threw this big random number out there. And we kind of went back and forth with it and they told us if you don't pay us this you will never see your stuff again. And they had locked up the truck and they were going to leave with it," she said.

And she did not see her belongings again for weeks. She said the company had demanded more than $2,100 and refused to tell her where the items were located.

Bagley-Rivolo said in discussing the situation with McDuffie on the telephone, he became more and more aggressive, even calling her ugly names.

"It's just amazing that he bullies people around into paying these absurd prices and gets away with it," she stated.

Eventually, to get her furniture back, she said she wrote a check for the inflated amount, called police and then put a stop payment on the check. She said it was Monday of this week that she finally got her stuff back.

Mandeville police said the company's owner, identified as 45-year-old Dunwoodie McDuffie of Metairie, is booked with extortion and unauthorized use of a movable.

"When we looked at the merits of this case and started doing some background investigation we quickly discovered that our current victim wasn't the only person who had a similar problem. We've seen numerous other individuals at this point. They're all singing the same song, same key," said Lt. Gerald Sticker of the Mandeville Police Department.

Lt. Sticker said more arrests are expected in a matter of days. "We have secured some additional arrest warrants," he said.

The company is no stranger to the Better Business Bureau.

"They have an F-rating at this point. Reports do change day by day... we've gotten more complaints in and more serious complaints. And not all of them, but many of them have to do with the price being escalated after the move," said Cynthia Albert of the BBB.

Albert said, to reduce your chances of becoming a victim, always check the background of moving companies, do not accept estimates over the phone, always get estimates in writing and get references. 

The website www.protectyourmove.gov offers additional tips.

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