Investigation reveals moving company accused of overcharging, holding property ‘hostage’

DENVER — Moving can be stressful and finding the right company to help you move your personal belongings can be nerve-racking.

Many consumers turn to online review sites to help them decide who to hire, but FOX31 Denver has received tips about one Denver metro area moving company and after doing some checking of our own, we found out the owners are facing several criminal charges.

Jacob Krause hired Mafia Movers last September after checking out their reviews on the site Yelp. “When you first look at Yelp they have like three-and-a-half star or four-star rating.” He says that was good enough to have the company move him a few miles to his new apartment off Downing Street.

Krause said everything seemed alright, until he noticed his credit card bill. He claimed Mafia Movers overcharged his credit card by $200.   “Initially they said, oh yeah, we know you got overcharged. I’ll fix it for you and then I never heard anything and never saw anything.

He tried to work it out with Mafia Movers but he said the owners never refunded his money so he had to dispute the charge with his credit card company.

Moving companies in Colorado are regulated by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. According to records providd by the P.U.C. Mafia Movers also goes by the name Gentle Hands. In the last two years six complaints were investigated by the state agency.

Records obtained by FOX31 Denver found the owners failed to get a required registration with the agency in 2012, they also failed to register with the Colorado Secretary of State and then the owners were given a warning for not having the proper insurance back in February. After receiving warnings from the PUC, the owners Ben Aberle and Do Lundhaul resolved the issues.

But the pair is now facing more serious allegations by the Adams County District Attorney. The D.A. claims Aberle and Lundhaul tried to influence a public official and forged a document related to a move the company did last September.

Stephanie Renter told criminal prosecutors that Mafia Movers was hired to pack up her spa business from her strip mall in Adams County, but after trucking her tanning beds and equipment, she alleges the movers demanded $2,600, three times the quoted price.

She spoke exclusively with FOX31 Denver Investigative Reporter Tak Landrock about the move, “I was just in tears, in tears and he (mover) came over to me and said, ‘he (owner) wants me to leave with your stuff now.’”

She said the movers drive off with her property and still haven’t given it back.

In the original contract Mafia Movers gave Renter, the company failed to indicate a final price in the total amount due section of her contract.  According to the PUC, it was only after Renter’s move and after the state agency began its investigation that the owners wrote in a final price.

FOX31 Denver gave the owners of Mafia Movers several opportunities to speak on the record about the criminal allegation against them. Both Aberle and Lundahul refused to do an interview with FOX31 Denver saying they would need to consult with their attorney. Both owners were given another opportunity to issue a statement for this story. While they said they would, neither man emailed or sent a statement to FOX31 Denver.

The Better Business Bureau of Denver says Mafia Movers earned a “D” rating for 14 complaints in the last 12 months; many remain unresolved by the consumer agency.

Megan Herrera with the BBB said the biggest mistake consumers make when hiring a moving company is not getting a proper estimate. “When it comes to getting an estimate, they really need to come and do estimates in person. Don’t take an estimate over the phone,” Herrera said.

She recommends you get three estimates and after you pick the moving company you are going with, review the contract and make sure you get an estimate in writing. She suggests having the company circle the final price for the move before any work is done.

Herrera says any issues that come up that could affect the final price and outcome need to be clearly spelled out as to how they will be handled.

The PUC will help you with complaints concerning instate movers.  You can call them between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the PUC Consumer Line at 303-894-2070 or 1-800-456-0858, if calling outside the Denver metro area, but within Colorado.

If you have a complaint about a mover from another state you need to contact the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238).

12 comments

  • Kevin R.

    We moved from Thornton to Ft. Garland, about 250 miles SSW of Denver, four years ago and hired Two Men and a Truck. Absolutely no complaints! Would use them again.

  • R.D

    How does a “company” like this stay licensed? Why does the PUC not cancel their ability to operate?

    • desert

      When we moved “from” Colorado, we used a moving company, supposedly top notch, in fact had moved one of our presidents out of the white house….these suckers tried a scam on me…all our belongings were boxed and on the floor for the salesman to see, he underestimated or just wanted some extra bucks, he said I deceived them on the amount of goods…THEY WERE ALL BOXED WHEN HE WAS THERE…..he tried to hold back part of our goods,…I called the company and got hold of the president I believe he was, when I told him what happened he said to give him a minute to talk to the salesman…..within a couple of minutes the salesman called me like a whipped puppy and we got our stuff……my opinion….YOU CANNOT TRUST THOSE SALESMEN! If you have to deal with them,, find out who is in charge and talk to them first, see if they are honest….otherwise forget that company!! imho

  • Greg Hill

    Guess there’s something to a name after all (e.g. Mafia Movers). Wonder if everyone that works there is named Vinny or Lenny …

  • Anonymous

    I used Aurora movers for all 3 of my moves and they were awesome! Gave me an accurate quote and handled all my things with care. Highly Recommend over “mafia movers”

  • brian

    i have worked for a moving company for over 13 years ever since i was out of high school. i have seen everything. they never do background checks on the people that go on a job and many are from a labor ready. i have sen movers take everything from underwear , money , tvs you ipods you name it i have seen it. never hire a company that does not do background checks. and pack your own stuff. i have even seen movers cut the tape on the bottom of a box and steal items so it looks like it was not packed.

  • Anonymous

    Funny to see Stephanie Renter on this news clip. She had some movers move her out of her house, and after three days of packing and hauling her stuff she did not pay them. I guess this is what you call KARMA.

  • John Bisney

    It is critical to know who you are dealing with when shopping for a professional mover. For interstate moves, always look for the ProMover logo, the sign of a legitimate company which has been pre-screened for you. Learn more at http://www.moving.org,

  • Anonymous

    I moved Stephanie and Robert Renter in 2012, pack and load 15k local and got nothing, not even a glass of h2o……good luck Renter!!

Comments are closed.


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