In a household goods move from Ocala to Gainesville, FL on 1/27/2015,food contents from a chest freezer were stolen.
The contents of chest freezer were to be personally placed and transported in coolers I had set aside. Inadvertently these coolers were packed by the crew and placed on the truck. One of the moving crew suggested keeping the items in the freezer for insulation and since the shipment was to remain overnight on the truck for delivery the next day, the ambient air would be cold enough to maintain the food to which I agreed. This one crew member was the only one of the entire crew involved with the freezer. I packed the items in three boxes, placed the boxes on the kitchen counter and saw this individual pick up the boxes. Later I checked the freezer and saw it was not packed. I mentioned this to the crew member and he said don't worry I will take care of it.
On delivery the freezer was empty. I checked all the boxes delivered and they were not to be found.
I called the moving company about this and they advised me they were not accountable for theft is a police issue and to file a report. I was hesitant to do so as I didn't want the police to bother with a food theft and I didn't want the crew member to be faced with potential legal action. I just wanted compensation for the items stolen. After waiting 24 hrs. and getting no response from the moving agent, I filed an Ocala police report- file only with investigation pending. I finally heard from my mover's sales rep on 1/30/15 who was happy to tell me they would send the crew chief up to help me find the boxes. I found this statement to be obviously an evasive,futile remark as I have already checked the inventory, this individual would not even know the type of boxes the food was packed in, and it was already 4 days later. If the boxes were removed from the freezer (a ridiculous Action on anyone's part, the food would be spoiled with a very obvious smell present. I later spoke to the claims adjuster who was kind enough to advise me. There are a number of other circumstances and observations on my part that I have drawn my conclusions on the guilty party which are open for discussion, but may not be relative to your investigation at this time.
$350 in food value. The chest freezer was used for foods for entertaining. Among the items were 2 whole corned beefs about 12-15lb each with a value of about $125 each along with other items I can inventory worth about$100. I am just looking for reimbursement and no action on my part against the company or individual involved.
Contact Name and Title: ********* / Claims
Contact Phone: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Contact Email: **********@hughesrelo.com
We have spoken with Mr. ******** regarding his suspicions of theft of food items. Per our internal investigation of the situation, we did not find any evidence of theft of food or any other items transported. The customer cannot positively state that he saw anyone remove these items nor did any crew member see another remove any items from the shipment. The shipment was loaded and delivered on the same van. The shipment was never removed from that van during transport. In addition, the trailer was backed into our warehouse and locked up until the time of delivery the next morning. Therefore, eliminating the ability for anyone to access the goods overnight.
As part of the investigation, it was found that the customer packed his own cartons with the meat products and left those cartons unmarked and unidentifiable. He was given pre-move instructions for preparation which were not followed to completion, therefore, creating the atmosphere for this issue. The customer was to have his freezer emptied, unplugged and prepared to move prior to the arrival of the relocation team. The coolers that are being referred to were loaded on the truck earlier in the day. When the customer requested them, the moving van was loaded more than three quarters full. It was not cost effective for the customer to have the shipment unloaded and reloaded to get these items. The customer chose the option of packing these perishables in cartons rather than purchasing temporary coolers to transport his perishable items. He as well, could have specified these cartons to the crew for special handling knowing the nature of what he had packed.
At the time of delivery, the shipper did not notate any missing items. It is our belief that all cartons have not been unpacked and that the customer will find these cartons in his shipment while unpacking. This customer has a large shipment and it is unlikely at this point that all the unpacking has been performed. Should the items have been properly marked, they could have been identified immediately for proper placement in the home.
When the customer notified us that he could not find cartons, our manager did offer to send a crew to his residence the go through all packed items in an effort to locate the cartons reported as missing. The customer denied our offer. His denial also prevented further investigation of the incident on Hughes behalf. We were not given the opportunity to inspect the cartons to verify a loss.
The customer signed for all transported items with no exceptions noted for missing items. Should the customer locate the cartons, the valuation policy does not cover items affected by heat or change in temperature per the terms and conditions located on the back of the bill of lading that governs the relocation, in Section 1.
Our position remains that the customer will find these cartons as he completes his unpacking. The customer has been advised that if he still has suspicions of theft, he should file a police report. Hughes Relocation will offer 100% cooperation from our crew and staff.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
This reply is filled with inaccuracies and drawn conclusions by person /persons not even at the move sight.
Response to Paragraph 1-The items in question were never removed from the moving van during transport or in the warehouse overnight. That is because the items were never placed on the Van to begin with. It is highly suspected that the suspected crew member placed the items in his or the company's econovan in which he transported himself to the moving site.
Paragraph 2- The entire paragraph is incorrect in an effort to shift accountability and place blame on the owner.
Premoving instructions were followed as this was a manual defrost freezer that was disconnected the evening before for defrosting with the food items placed in my refrigerator's freezer. After it was discovered the coolers set aside for transport were inadvertently placed on the van and not accessible, the suspected crew member came up to me and suggested that the items should be placed back in the disconnected freezer for transport due to the insulation quality of the freezer and by staying on the truck overnight where the nighttime temperature would be cold enough to maintain frozen conditions. I agreed with his conclusion and then he said to me not to worry as he will personally take care of it. No other crew member on the team was privy to this discussion. The items were placed in open 2 open top liquor boxes along with a third box which was the original manufacturers case packaging. The items were placed in these boxes only to prevent shifting around in the freezer. Moving boxes were too bulky and a ;larger size than the freezer could accommodate. Moving boxes were not used. If the author of this response was at the house, he/she would have noticed quite number of styrofoam coolers were already available for me which were not needed because of the insulating quality of the freezer. the packed boxes were placed on the kitchen counter and by the time I retuned a few minutes later, the boxes were gone, which I assumed were packed by the crew member who said he would take care of it. I am of the opinion that these items were placed in the econovan not the moving van. Later when the freezer was due to be placed in the van I noticed the items were not in the freezer. I question ed crew member involved and he said the items were not placed in the freezer yet due to the warm outside temperatures but for me not to worry he will take care of it.
Paragraph 3- Upon delivery the freezer was plugged in immediately. I did not check to see if the contents were in place, as I assumed they were. This paragraph alludes to the fact that the boxes were commingled with other boxes. Why would frozen items be taken out of the freezer for the proper placement was for these items to be kept in the freezer on delivery. "Properly Marked"! These were not moving boxes and if placed among all the other moving boxes, they would really stand out. These boxes belonged in the freezer.
Paragraph 4-The offer to send the crew was made four days after packing. If the items were among the cartons, the smell of rotting food would be quite noticeable. Only one individual on the crew would know what the boxes looked like and they belonged in the freezer. It would be futile for others to look through the entire shipment to locate or inspect. The items were never placed in the freezer or the Van and not transported.
Paragraph 6- The position is, and not just the company's conjecture, that the cartons have not been found visually or by smell..The items were never transported and probably residing in someone's kitchen. A police report has been filed but is pending my decision to activate pending Hughes response.
Final Business Response
Again, we disagree with Mr. ********'s conclusion that our moving crew, consisting of long term, honest employees, had anything to do with his missing food. For his allegations to be true it would have required a conspiracy on the part of each crew member to steal these items - items which, by the way, were probably rapidly spoiling due to the lack of refrigeration. His shipment was loaded and unloaded under his supervision, the truck was locked and parked inside a secure warehouse overnight, there was no notation of missing items at the time of delivery, Mr. ******** refused our offer to assist him in locating these items after delivery and finally, and surely most importantly, the employees involved categorically deny having anything to do with his allegations.