Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Help Me Howard: Movers
If you have ever moved, you either called your best friends or you hired a mover. Many people do. Many people are happy. Many are not after the price soars, their items are damaged or just disappear. What can you do about it? It's why one family called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- When Nikki and her husband needed to move from New York to Miami, they did what most people do: hired a mover.
Nikki Eyquem: "Seemingly, it was relatively painless. We hired a professional moving company to move us."
Painless and professional in New York, but when they showed up in South Florida, they were painful and pitiful.
Nikki Eyquem: "This was broken. This arm has been broken here, and this down here, also broken. This is an antique. This was my grandmother's rocking chair. This is the key table, and it had a mirror here that was completely broken, shattered."
These are the things that were damaged. Now let's talk about the things that just disappeared.
Nikki Eyquem: "Many of our electronics, bread maker, scanner, TV, microwave, computer are all gone, mountain bike gone, roller blades gone. We had lots of our camping equipment missing. It's all gone."
The Eyquems had paid the Georgia-based company more than $3,700 for the move. Then, she started counting. Nineteen items damaged, 136 missing and the cost to repair and replace it all, staggering.
Nikki Eyquem: "We've calculated that we've lost over $10,000 in stuff."
$10,000 worth of damage, and then there were the family treasures that cannot be replaced.
Nikki Eyquem: "For example, one of the things that was missing: my grandmother's China. I can't replace that."
Nikki called the moving company to complain. They said, fill out a claim form, and we will get back with you in 30 days.
Nikki Eyquem: "It's been about 45 days, and we've had no response as to the status of our claim and where our things are."
In the meantime, Nikki had to unpack and try to set up her house.
Nikki Eyquem: "It's been a little difficult to adjust without having all of our possessions and making it feel homey and cozy. This was so bent that I couldn't get the lid on it anymore. I've never had pots and pans get bent."
Her pots and pans are bent, and it's understandable that Nikki would also be left bent out of shape.
Nikki Eyquem: "I definitely feel like I was ripped off. I feel like they basically stole our stuff."
Well Howard, some stuff was damaged. Some stuff disappeared. So what can Nikki and her husband do?
Howard Finkelstein: "In most cases, if a company damages your property, they have to pay you what it's worth. But we looked at the contract the Eyquems signed, and it's a standard contract that movers use that basically takes them off the hook for lost or damaged furniture and requires that they only pay literally pennies on the dollar."
When we spoke to the moving company in Atlanta, they said they've been in business more than 20 years and have never had this kind of loss, that they had no idea what had happened to the missing items and did not know how the other furniture was damaged. As for the $10,000 to repair and replace the items, they said they would follow the contract Nikki signed and only pay her $600. Howard says if you are going to hire a mover, be careful.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you are hiring a mover, you do have ways to protect yourself. You can buy extra insurance from the mover to cover your furniture. You can get your own insurance and some people's homeowner's policies do cover this type of damage. But no matter what you do, be careful when you hire a mover."
Nikki thought they had hired a good mover. She is refusing their $600 offer and may sue the movers. But on the bright side, she does like South Florida.
Nikki Eyquem: "We're enjoying our time in Florida. It's a lovely state, but it would have been better if we had all our belongings."
Patrick Fraser: "We get a lot of complaints about movers. The Florida attorney general's office told us they have four complaints about the Georgia company Nikki hired. So how do you protect yourself? Besides insurance, never take a quote over the phone. Get them to come over to see what is being moved and get everything in writing. Then, cross you fingers."
Got a situation you want to haul off? Load it up and send it our way. We'll gently wrap things up and get you moving.