Expat owner of Dubai rogue relocation shipper now arrested and charged

Published:  16 Mar at 6 PM
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Expatriate victims of a rogue packing and shipping company operating out of Dubai have been promised their belongings back by Dubai police.

Following the arrest of Lionel Davis, owner of Expat Relocations, expatriate families who fell victim to the rogue removal company have been reassured by police their household goods will be returned. Davis is now facing seven separate criminal charges related to embezzlement and issuing false cheques in 2015 and 2016. Expat Relocations is now known to have been an offshoot of Relogulf, closed three years ago after similar complaints had been made against it by scammed expats.

After spending huge additional sums to get their belongings back, a number of the firm’s clients banded together to form a class action against Davis, citing embezzlement of funds, serious delays, missing shipments and massive extra charges over and above shipping quotes. The action involved some 150 relocating expatriates who’d found their goods had been dispatched without any payment from Expat Relocations, leaving their personal effects in bond until they’d found the money to pay again. Worse still, many have been unable to trace their missing shipments.

One couple, Jeff and Nancy Fulmer, used the company to ship their belongings back to the USA, paying Dh29,000 for a door-to-door service. Seven months later, they finally received the shipment after being forced to pay thousands more in extra costs. According to Mr Fulmer, they were constantly urged to pay large amounts in postal money orders and other bizarre payment methods for demurrage and other fees, although they’d paid Davis the full quoted amount at the time of shipment. Although the couple now have their personal goods, they’ve been forced to take second jobs in order to cover the payments.

British expat Gail Thompson began offering assistance to those affected by the scam after a friend had used the company to ship her goods back to the UK. The friend paid Davis in full for the service, but her four containers were dumped at Felixstow’s port for over two months as payment had not been received. The demurrage charges were huge, but Thompson contacted international carrier Maersk, which agreed a discount when she explained her friend had been the victim of a scam. Since then, a number of logistics companies have reported bounced cheques and non-payment by both Relogulf and Expat Relocations, and insurer AXA is conducting a fraud investigation.
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