Hometown Moving Inc. failed to load and store items properly, stole items, refused to honor their contract and compensate for damages and loss.
I contacted Hometown Movers (HM) for a storage unit and cross country move. Their quote was $85/month for a storage unit, $10/month to store my piano in their "shop" area and $4000 to move cross country. After multiple scheduling and re-scheduling attempts to load my things during the last week of April they finally arrived 7 hours late on the 31st with a trailer that wasn't large enough to contain everything. Later, a truck was brought to finish the load. In the process of moving my piano the lid was damaged. I entrusted several art items to them to pack to ensure they would be covered by their policy. One piece was never boxed and every piece they packed was damaged because they taped the wrap directly to the fitting paper.
Nearly two weeks later, having heard nothing nor having received a bill, I went to HM to discover some of my things uncontained, mixed in with someone else's in their shop area because they never had a storage unit available for me. My things, were pushed off to the side, piled haphazardly with one of the pieces of artwork clearly tossed without care to the top of a pile. I found one piece of art partially packed and also noticed a missing knob and damage to my grill - which now doesn't work at all. When I stated my concerns that they may accidentally ship my things with these others ****** said they were "confident" that they knew what was mine. I was instructed to write a check to either ********* the owner, or ************* an employee.
At the end of May the opportunity came to coordinate moving my things to AZ with that of a coworker and being concerned about the status of my belongings I was anxious to conclude any business with HM. To transfer my things to the second moving company required signing a release for HM without the option to inspect things first. While I was present during some of the loading of my things from the shop area, ********* (the owner) attempted to load a bench that didn't belong to me, an item that ****** said had been there for a long time. It was at this time that Dan told me they didn't have a driver with the proper licensing to move me to AZ anyway. Since they didn't have a storage unit, or the licensing to do a cross country move, they should not have been involved at all.
Later, at the second moving company, I found a chair that didn't belong to me. When my move was completed in August, there were several items missing including my office chair. A considerable inconvenience since I work from home. I called and asked ****** to see if my chair and other missing things were at HM because they weren't on the inventory list created by the second moving company. I called to follow up and ****** replied with an email offering me $21.60 based on the 60 cents per pound insurance coverage their contract states and directed me to go through BBB for resolution, to which I replied was acceptable if they also included all the other damaged and missing items.
On September 17 I went to HM to follow up on the damages and lost items and FOUND MY OFFICE CHAIR BEING USED IN THEIR RECEPTION AREA. They offered no reconciliation.
The following service issues are identified:
5-501 No storage unit, no CDL, packed items improperly, underestimated size of trailer needed,
5-502 postponed move multiple times, seven hours late on day finally scheduled
5-503 not licensed for cross country move
5-504 damaged piano, grill, artwork, stole office chair, mat and other misc items
5-505 corresponded via text and email
5-506 failing to compensate for damages and lost/stolen items per their contract
I have text messages, emails and phone record documentation repeatedly stating my concerns about loss and damages, as well as the inventory sheets I witnessed being prepared by the second moving company. Everything that arrived there, arrived in AZ as noted. The items missing never arrived at the second movers. Also, HM was notified about the piano damage at that time.
I'm asking to be reimbursed $3022 for the unnecessary expenses incurred as a result of the actions of Hometown Movers, Inc. and/or Hometown Moving and Storage. They should not have had anything to do with this move.
Total expenses to date $8622
HM estimate less than $5000
Difference more than $3622
Total expenses to date $8622
Next lowest quote: $5600
Replacing or repairing:
Chair $199 (lesser value than the one stolen)
Mat and other missing items $110
Artwork repair $200
Cost to move TWICE within Bismarck $1859
Business' Initial Response
The complaintant contacted a friend of hers, a current employee of Hometown Moving as she needed help moving her across country due to the fact that the moving company she hired cancelled on her. At that time, the employee explained we could help her get moved however it would be worked into schedule because we were booked .On April 30th, the complaintants items were loaded and brought to the warehouse to be stored until the customer was ready for items to be shipped to her new location. She was fully aware that we would not be delivering the items personally.
In regards to the piano, the customer indicated at the time of the move that the piano had damage from a previous moving company. The complaintants items were stored in the shop area and unfortunately there was some confusion as it was an extremely busy time which she was aware of. We apologized for the confusion and offerered to rectify the situation according to the contract she signed.
On May 31, the customer did release her items to ****** Moving and was fully aware that this signed release released liability of Hometown Moving of damages/transportation to new location. The customer could have inspected items at this time however didn't ask to do so or indicate that she wanted to. ****** Moving came to Hometown Moving on this date to load customer's items. ****** did not have the manpower to load items to their truck so Hometown Moving staff assisted in loading the items. The piano left Hometown's shop still wrapped in moving pads. No inventory was done at the time of this load.
It was never stated that we did not have a driver or the licensing to do a move to AZ. Hometown Moving does have interstate authority which authorizes transportation between stastes however it was in the best interest of the customer to sub it out.
An older stained office chair was found in shop and we brought it into office area. The customer came in 2 days later and saw the chair however obviously couldn't take it on plane with her so wasn't able to take it. As stated in contract we offered .60 per pound for the items she stated were missing and/or damaged. She was not happy with this offer and that is where the situation was left.
With regards to the service issues identified:
Customer was aware that all of the storage units were full and that items had to be stored in the shop for the time being. Our trucks are under 26,000 therefore no cdl is required to drive them.
Customer had prior moving services with a different company however they cancelled on her so we agreed to help out as much as possible. Customer was also aware that her move was being done as a favor to an employee and that it was being worked into the schedule.Hometown Moving has proper licensing to go out of state. In regards to damages/missing items, Hometown Moving offered to compensate according to the contract however customer was not satisfied with the offer.
Hometown Moving has attempted to settle this situation however customer has been difficult to deal with and a resolution has not been found.
Hometown Moving has copies of the signed release, signed contract, and several emails showing efforts to resolve the situation.
Consumer's Final Response
The following includes the emails and texts beginning on May 21 when I found out that my things weren't in a storage unit: It's evident I wasn't aware prior to this that I didn't have a storage unit. It's also evident that I was extremely concerned about saying or doing something that would further compromise things. I felt like I was living a true life 60 Minutes nightmare.
Hi *******. I paid my bill. I'm concerned about the misc things in and around the piano. It's actually in the middle of someone elses stuff. 3:22 pm, May 21
I just unloaded. That stuff today that stuff is leaving 2morrow morning 3:24 pm, May 21
You're loading it? 3:25 pm, May 21
Yea I will make sure nothing happen 2 it. I promise 3:27 pm, May 21
Ok. I need some things before I leave Wednesday, like paperwork, so I know what to tip you, the storage contract so everything's insured properly, you know, typical security things so that if I hit a deer or ditch or die my will can be executed. 3:41 PM, May 21
Ok 3:45 pm, May 21
I trust you, but you shouldn't be put in a position to safeguard my things and I shouldn't be in a position of wondering about it. Right? I'll leave you alone now, but please call/text me later. 3:51 pm, May 21
Ok I will. 3:52 pm, May 21
When can we work out some details? 8:41 pm, May 21
Haha. Maybe 2morrow 8:42 pm, May 21
MAYBE??? 8:43 pm, May 21
Lol just kidding 8:43 pm, May 21
Here's the thing. I'll pay more for the peace of mind that my things aren't strewn about the place. I'm really upset that they aren't contained. It's most likely going to be another month before I can get them moved. I'm sure you're giving me a deal but it's not worth it if things get broken or disappear and I have to replace them. 8:47 pm, May 21
Most of ur stuff is n a vault in side the shop 8:49 pm May 21
Not really. I saw it, that's why I'm a bit shaken up. I trusted you and I've gotten screwed over enough already. Please tell me how to fix this. 8:57 PM, May 21
The only thing that was out was the bigger items. But I'll talk 2 my boss 2morrow about it. 9:00 pm, May 21
Is that normal? 9:04 pm, May 21
Yea u just came when we just got someone else stuff that we have 2 ship out 9:07 pm, May 21
You understand how I'm upset. There wasn't any delineation between my things and the others. I wasn't sure whose were whose and I was looking at my own things. The Piano was in the middle of their things. The last thing I want to do is piss you or anyone else off, or nag. But *******, that's just not what I was expecting. 9:13 PM, May 21
I understand where u r coming 4rm. Good nite sweet dreams 9:23 PM, May 21
How is my piano? 12:23 PM, May 29
Great 12:28 PM, May 29
How do I go about getting an inventory list...like the one mentioned on the paperwork? 12:28 PM, May 29
Just call ****** n should be able to get u 1 12:30 PM, May 29
She said she doesn't know which of the stuff is mine. Or did you do one? What the trailer? 12:31 PM, May 29
I told her where your stuff was at. N that other stuff isn't n r shop anymore 12:35 PM, May 29
Ok, where is it? Is there a complete inventory now then? 12:35 PM, May 29
I was going to retrieve that one painting. Do you know where it is? 12:36 pm, May 29
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM,
Hi ****** - It is my understanding that we are to release your items to ****** Moving. I've attached a release form that needs to be signed prior to the items leaving our shop. Please sign and fax back to ************ or email back to me @ email@example.com. I received a call from ***** at ****** stating he would like to come this afternoon to pick up your items so the sooner I receive this back, the sooner I can let him know we are all set. Thanks ****** and good luck to you!
Hometown Moving Inc.
Items are going to Mesa, Arizona. Not sure where the Las Vegas came from. Would you please provide a record of the items packed at your shop too. **** also suggested that you have an inventory for me. If you would send that information I would appreciate it.
May 31 to me
****** - Sorry - had Vegas in there from a previous release and forgot to change it. **** packed pictures at the shop here and I'm not sure what he would be referring to as far as me having an inventory list. I will update the release for when you arrive this afternoon
I left a message with **** as I was on my way out of town June 2nd regarding damage to the lid of my piano. Now that I've had a few days to get settled in Arizona I need to get some information from you regarding the damage to my piano and the items that were packed by Hometown Movers. There were two items I know of that got mixed in with my things indicating that I can count on something of mine now belonging to someone else. The problem is I'm not going to know for a few months what might be missing. For now, please tell me what to do about getting compensated for the damage to the piano and what I'll need to address any missing things later on. Thank you, ******
Jun 15 to me
After reviewing the information and speaking with *** and ****, we have reached the following decisions:
1) In speaking with **** about the piano, he stated that you had told him there was previous damage to the piano from a previous moving company.
2) Attached please find a copy of a release you signed dated 05/31/12 releasing Hometown Moving of any damage or liability to property once ****** takes posession of the items. Nothing was stated until after the items were removed.
3) As far as the extra pieces you stated you received, we did have some unwanted items in shop that may have gotten placed in there but we are confident none of your items were left behind or went elsewhere.
Please contact ****** for help with any claims as we were released from all liability when items left our shop. Thank you and have a good day.
Hometown Moving Inc
*** and ******,
I understand from others' testimonials that my situation was a fluke, because I've referred a lot of people to Hometown Moving and almost all have reported good service. Every once in a while a job goes off track and I think that my situation is just one of those jobs.
In response to ******'s email:
Yes, there had been damage to the piano when it was moved before. The company that moved it before had the same language in their contract that you have but they honored their contract and I was reimbursed for the damage at 30 cents per pound. Not only that, they netted thousands of dollars as a result of my referrals to them, revenue that was diverted to Hometown Moving when **** and ****** started working for you.
**** and ******, having been guests in my home on multiple occasions, can attest that this isn't the same damage. They were both there, as were *** and ****, when the piano was moved this time. They all know that what is in the attached pictures is not the condition the piano was in when they wrapped it up. The previous damage was to the lower edge of the piano below the keyboard. The current damage is to the lid, at the very front and along the side where it was placed on the board. They bumped it on the front stoop as they were trying to maneuver it away from the step. At the time, I hoped the blanket protected it but I was wrong.
****** has an inventory of the items that were picked up from your shop and trailer, complete with notes and pictures of scratches, dings, etc. Obviously, if something was inadvertently sent elsewhere, it won't be reflected on their inventory sheets. I appreciate your confidence, but the evidence is clearly contrary. My insurance may cover the loss, but I still have to pay the deductible and most likely higher insurance premiums from here on due to this error, not to mention the hassle of possibly having to replace articles entirely.
Monetarily, I'm out $557 (remember I was considerate and paid by check to save you the processing fees) for moving things into a nonexistent storage unit, repair costs to my piano and/or $500 insurance deductible, and $925 to move my belongings to ****** and into a storage facility similar to what I thought you were providing. All of which I believe you should reimburse to me. If that seems like a lot, put it in perspective of the business that I've referred to you, even if it's only 6 people annually, at $557 that's over $3000, if they in turn referred at least 6 others that's $20,000 and if that continues, in three years that is over $143,000. My point is, compensating me this small bit is nothing compared to what you lose in referrals going forward.
I trusted Hometown Moving and Storage because those I've referred to you were happy with your service, and because of **** and ******. What has happened here is wrong, but you have the opportunity to make it right and that's all I'm asking.
On August 15 ****** delivered everything to Arizona that was delivered to their warehouse. A week later I called and simply asked ****** to see if my office chair was there and some other miscellaneous items that were missing. I really thought that if it was there they would admit the mistake, apologize, and send it to me. She said she would check and get back to me. A few days later I asked again, her reply was the following email without any mention of the fact that they had the chair.
August 30 Dear ******,
As previously discussed and documented, liability on behalf of Hometown Moving was released on May 31, 2012. In regards to the office chair, mat, broom, and garden tools, we will insurance this out according to our policy which you signed. Our insurance covers $.60 / pound, the chair, mat, broom(s), and garden tool(s) have a total estimated weight of 36 pounds. Therefore, we will issue a check to you in the mount of $21.60.
Please advise as to where you would like the check sent to. If there are additional issues, please contact the Better Business Bureau as they can mediate between our disputes and documents.
Thank you for responding. I simply asked about the missing items, but there is more. Your response is not acceptable considering you are neglecting the damage to my piano which is 675 pounds or $405. The inappropriate wrapping of my artwork resulting in damaged dust covers on the five pieces wrapped by Hometown Moving and Storage(eighty pounds $48,) including one piece that wasn't even put in a complete box, arriving exposed.
This was an unfortunate experience that was not handled professionally. Given your reputation I'm completely surprised. I requested a storage unit and a quote for moving from Bismarck to Arizona, I was told via text the storage unit would be $80/month and the move would cost under $5000 only to find out after my things were picked up that there wasn't a storage unit available, nor does Hometown Moving and Storage have the licensing necessary for a cross country move.
I've consulted an attorney to determine my recourse and am prepared to pursue further legal counsel if you decide against refunding the $557 I paid for moving expenses, plus the $.60/pound per your contract for the missing and damaged items. Because I referred so many people to you, I will tell my social media contacts and customer database, of my experience and what I would do differently, should they choose to enlist the services of Hometown Moving and Storage in the future.
You can remit to (Name and Address omitted). I will wait a week, until September 5 before going further.
There wasn't a response to this email. When I was in Bismarck in September I stopped in hoping to resolve things. I found my office chair in their reception area. Then I was lied to that *** was on his way back to the shop. I waited more than an hour, talked with the police and had to leave for the airport.