Occupational Licensing

New Jersey Rescues Consumers From Roving Bands of Predatory Moving Companies


New Jersey may never be totally safe from the bane that is unlicensed moving companies. But thanks to the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs, the New Jersey State Police, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, residents of the Garden State may sleep just a little sounder tonight.

From mycentraljersey.com:

Twenty-six unlicensed moving companies … were cited for allegedly violating state law, and were assessed civil penalties of $2,500 each, as the result of an undercover sting operation.

Operation Mother's Attic focused on moving companies that solicited intrastate moves—from point to point within New Jersey—without a state license. FMSCA filed its additional penalties [of $25,000] against two of the movers because they performed interstate moves without having the federal operating authority necessary to perform interstate transportation.

"Horror stories about predatory movers are all too common. By its very nature, the moving industry touches the lives of consumers when they are vulnerable," [said an acting attorney general].

The unlicensed movers were confronted by Consumer Affairs investigators—and by investigators from the FMSCA, agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a transportation compliance unit of the New Jersey State Police.

Some of the unlicensed movers even had the audacity to appear with rented U-Hauls instead their own vehicles. Others advertised on Craigslist.

For all the talk of "predatory movers," New Jersey does little more to protect consumers than require movers to acquire insurance (and pay fees to the state). Of course, people are perfectly capable of deciding for themselves whether they want to pay extra for an insured mover.

Just a few days ago, my wife and I hired two gentlemen to help us move apartment. They were pleasant, efficient, and cheap, but their license and insurance status remains obscure to us. I'm glad no one from the state showed up to protect us from them.

The plight of the unlicensed mover (and general contractor and barber and taxi driver and …) is of national significance. In recent weeks a bevy of pundits have claimed that reluctance to extend federal unemployment benefits bespeaks a lack of sympathy for the unemployed. The unemployed want to work, we're told, but the jobs just aren't there.

Yet surely some nontrivial number of those missing jobs are killed by regulation. Where's the sympathy for would-be entrepreneurs?

And speaking of the criminalization of honest work, Warren Meyer over at Coyote Blog has some words about federal licensing of interstate movers as turf protection for big moving companies.

NEXT: Baylen Linnekin on California Requiring Food Workers To Wear Gloves

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  1. These movers took like forever to get across the George Washington bridge!

  2. New Jersey appears to be the new California.

    1. I’m sure California will consider that a challenge.

      1. When one New Jersey city council decides to ban toys in Happy Meals, the whole state will then have to be considered a contender.

  3. Operation Mother’s Attic focused on moving companies that solicited intrastate moves?from point to point within New Jersey?without a state license.

    Rooting out the worst of the worst. Exposing the face of PURE EVIL.

  4. Operation Mother’s Attic

    Somebody has watched too many spy movies. All this over furniture movers?

  5. Wow, I feel safer.
    Maybe next they can crack down on unlicensed lawn care companies and car detailers.

  6. Happy Saturday.

    Some fool named Steve Shives parades his ignorance on the you tubes. This little five minute bit is SFW, but not safe for your brain cells.

    A buddy of mine sent me the link to this poltroonery. I now hate him.

    1. If libertarians were voting for real, honest to goodness scarecrows, like made out of real straw and totally inanimate, then that guy would have some really good points.


    3. Shitstains like Steve are damn good at arguing with the libertarians who exist in their heads.

    4. His first ‘point’ that he boils down to “I want to be left alone, and I want things my own way” is the mantra of every academic Leftoid out there. If you can’t find one to listen to in person, find one of their students, especially the pothead variety who want pot to be legal and free in the drugstore.

      1. True. It isn’t even an accurate description of libertarians. We want to engage with people on mutually agreeable terms. Maybe that means no engagement, but it certainly doesn’t mean “my way or the highway”.

    5. Now I have watched the whole thing and I hate you.


    “We are in an unprecedented, very serious situation,” said Brown, who asked California residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 20 percent. “Hopefully, it will rain eventually. But in the meantime, we have to do our part.”

    This is what happens when you don’t build high speed trains in the middle of nowhere.

  8. I’m having a hard time understanding how a moving company could be predatory.

    1. It is all in the eyes of the folks who went through enough bureaucratic BS* to be a registered mover.

      *To include greasing politicians into restricting the legal market.

    2. Well, to be fair, sometimes they’ll give you a very low-ball “estimate”, then once your stuff is all packed up in their truck they’ll give you a much higher “real price”, then hold your stuff ransom until you pay it. Which to me constitutes fraud and theft and should be prosecuted as such.

      I don’t see state licensing as a real deterrent to that, though.

  9. Let them eat cake.

    Michelle Obama is in many ways the embodiment of the contemporary, urban, well-heeled middle-aged American woman. She likes to take “me time,” as she did during an extra vacation week this month without family in Hawaii, setting off a tabloid furor over the state of her marriage. She frets that her older daughter, 15-year-old Malia, hangs out with the boys a grade above her. She gardens, although unlike the rest of us, she has significant weeding help.

    She toys with false eyelashes.

    On Saturday night, Mrs. Obama will celebrate her 50th birthday (which falls on Friday) with dancing and sweets throughout the state floor of the White House, drawing the nation’s attention away from her husband, at least for an evening. Guests will sip fine American wines, consume delicate macarons and be entertained ? the expectation is by Beyonc?.

    Lick the boots. Lick them.

    1. I am at least somewhat grateful that the media’s tortured quest to portray this woman as someone worthy of admiration has, mostly, failed. Only the most sycophantic and slavish of Barry’s fans care to hear about her taxpayer-funded indolence.

    2. You would begrudge the only woman on the planet worthy of being penetrated, to the envy of men and women everywhere, by the Nobel Prize-winning leader – nay, savior – of the free world some wine, sweets, macarons, celebrity entertainment, and a week of private vacation time in Hawaii to celebrate her blessed birth? You cold-hearted monster!

      1. Gross

      2. I wouldn’t necessarily begrudge. It’s more than I despair that anybody would care, and that we all pay for her lifestyle.

        The American aversion to royal titles (and royalty in general) has held on the surface, but one does not need a royal title or bloodline to embody the things which make royalty so vile a concept. One needs only the means, which are mostly plundered from the public at the point of a gun (a thought which does, I understand, make me a radical racist anarchist libertarian nut. Ask Steve Shives!).

        So, perhaps Michelle is the first wife of the first royal president, and she is living like a queen. Because fuck you, that’s why.

  10. The ubiquity of state laws governing moving companies makes me wonder about their origin. When were these laws passed? Were there all sorts of abuses in the old days?

  11. I’m having a hard time understanding how a moving company could be predatory.

    I will help you understand the cold hearted monsterousness with a real world example.

    A few days ago, I bought a couch at a thrift store. It being too big to fit in my sedan, I arranged for a guy and his wife who own a truck to pick the couch up and haul it to my place, where the guy and I hauled it up a few flights of stairs to my apartment.

    So far, so good.

    But then, I took cash out of my wallet and paid him, and he didn’t ask for money to pay “tax” on this private transaction, and I sure as hell didn’t offer to give him extra money to hand over to the local criminal gang to be used to further oppress me by paying for police to stop me from driving at safe speeds or paying for bureaucrats to make sure that grocery stores don’t put my purchases in thin plastic bags for my convenience or other such worthwhile infringements upon my liberty.

    And thus we both robbed society, making everyone but me and him worse off, because not handing money over to such a criminal gang is theft, right?

  12. In the sense that most laws benefit some commercial interest at the expense of consumers, this form of corruption is part of the very nature of government.

    Today, I took one of my dogs to our vet for his rabies vaccination which is required by law. The vet would not do the $17 vaccination unless I also paid for a $47 examination. This is a fairly universal practice. So the vet is using the threat imposed by the law to force people to buy something they neither need or want. It’s government-facilitated extortion. Even humans can easily get routine vaccinations without being forced to pay a doctor for an exam.

    While $17 might constitute an acceptable burden, low income people are going to forgo licensing and vaccinating their pets rather than pay the $64 that the vet is going to soak them for. In the end, fewer dogs get vaccinated, the community is less safe, and veterinarians are the only beneficiaries.

    Regardless of any high-minded rhetoric to the contrary, government functions almost totally as a mechanism to benefit the well-connected at the expense of the general population. It’s what they do.

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