Police probing claims of ‘extortionate’ removals man

Cape Town – Police in Johannesburg are investigating allegations that a removals company overcharged a family and refused to return their goods when they moved to Cape Town.

The complainant, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of being victimised, said she and her husband were initially quoted almost R100 000 for Aran International Removal Company to package and transport their household from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

After they paid their deposit, she said they were suddenly invoiced a larger amount and told “if we do not pay, our goods would not be delivered”.

She said what followed was a “nightmare” of overcharging, threats, damaged and missing goods, and failure to deliver everything as promised.

Desperate and out of options, she opened a case of theft and fraud at a police station near her home in December. They later added extortion to the complaint.

The case was transferred to Gauteng because their goods were being stored there, she said.

“All we are asking is for the R35 000 which we overpaid to be refunded, and our goods,” she said in exasperation.

Randburg police station spokesperson Captain Makgowanyana Maja said the case docket had been received from the Western Cape. He said no one had been arrested yet and their investigation was continuing.

Aran International Removal Company owner Tom O’Boyle was given four days to respond to the allegations.

His comment was that he “was not aware” of any criminal complaints lodged against his company.

Another man who also paid the company for his move from Johannesburg to Cape Town, this time in 2014, told News24 he received “all sorts of excuses” and eventually gave up.

He said some of their items went missing or were broken.

The man recalled opening a case of theft at the police station, but never heard anything more.

“It was too complex to turn around and sue them. We blocked it out of our mind and had to move on.”

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