Moving Fraud - Hostage Moving Loads

Some scammers create “hostage load” situations, in which the moving company provides a low estimate to move but then substantially increases the price once items are loaded on the mover's truck. If the customer doesn't pay the increased price, the mover holds the belongings hostage and, in many instances, drives away with the truck full of belongings.  

Intrastate Hostage Loads (in-state moves)

  • Arizona's Hostage Load Law (A.R.S. §§ 44-1611 to 44-1616) applies to in-state moves and prohibits movers from demanding payment and refusing to deliver or unload household goods unless movers comply with specific statutory requirements. 
  • For example, it is illegal for a moving company to refuse to deliver or unload goods once it is paid the "total estimated price" in the signed contract.  
  • If the mover refuses to unload property, but has not fully complied with Arizona's Hostage Load Law, the mover is unlawfully holding the property. 
  • Seek help from local law enforcement immediately if a mover attempts to hold your goods "hostage" for additional payment. Peace officers can direct a mover to deliver and unload goods being held unlawfully during in-state moves. A.R.S. §§ 44-1614(c).
  • If you are involved in a hostage load situation, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency and the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 602-223-5000 or by email at [email protected]. Also, file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Interstate Hostage Loads (moves between Arizona and another state)

Been scammed?
File a complaint today.

The Attorney General’s Office is here to help. If you believe you are the victim of a consumer scam or fraud, file a consumer complaint online right now. You can also call:

Phoenix: (602) 542-5763

Tucson: (520) 628-6648

Outside metro areas: (800) 352-8431

Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist.