HYATTSVILLE, Md. (ABC7) — Every year about 10,000 people beg the Attorney General of Maryland to help them fight back against fraud.
But he hand-picked this next case to take to court, telling Consumer Investigator Kimberly Suiters it's one of the most outrageous examples of consumer abuse he's ever seen.
A cellphone video captures an intense and chaotic moment... a near physical fight with employees of Best Offer Moving Company.
The panicked voice you hear on the cellphone video belongs to Carlyn Lucas.
Lucas is a single mother and has an 18-year-old daughter. Her name is Salia and she is a deaf-mute with cerebral palsy.
Together the two needed to move to an apartment 10 miles down the road.
Lucas went online and found a moving company who did make the best offer. Best Offer Moving Company offered to move the two at just $348.
But after all their stuff was taped up and loaded onto a truck, the price tripled to more than $1,000.
Everything the two owned was on that truck: their beds, clothes, medicines, orthodics, and even Salia's hearing aids.
But when Lucas told the company she could not afford that amount, she watched them drive off with all of her belongings.
A total bait and switch move that we learned was highly illegal.
Normally a consumer like Lucas would have to hire an attorney to get the goods back but in this case, no less than the Attorney General of Maryland Brian Frosh himself filed suit on her behalf.
"When you have people sleeping on floor, your kid's disabled, your family not well to do... you have to do something," Frosh told us.
7 ON YOUR SIDE tried to track down the company owner, Andrii Dziapka, but his business address on Darnestown Rd. led us to a UPS store. We then tried to reach him at home... to no avail.
Instead an attorney for Best Offer Moving told 7 ON YOUR SIDE, "In the moving business, people underestimate significantly what they have... and this often leads to misunderstanding." Or in the Luacs' case, overpricing.
Their attorney insisted the company "does not hold goods hostage," and that the Attorney General's allegations about quoting consumers one price, and then demanding significant addition costs are "blatantly false."
But 7 ON YOUR SIDE found other customers who complained online about hidden fees... being charged double and triple the original quote.
Another woman told 7 ON YOUR SIDE she was quoted $75 an hour, expecting $600 total. But at the loading dock of her new apartment, the company handed her a bill of $2,000.
Eighteen days after Lucas' goods were taken from her, she got them back.
Dziapka's attorney said once he was made aware that he couldn't legally keep her goods, she was allowed to get them but not without confrontation.
While two investigators from the Attorney's General office kept the peace, a new moving company was hired and Carlyn and Salia were finally able to move home.