I think Sr. Olives and I are cursed when it comes to moving. As students we’ve moved every 1-2 years for about the past decade, and you think we’d get better at it with age, but no. Lately we’ve been using those hourly-rate moving services that come with the truck rental, but I had quite a few things scratched and dinged up because the movers didn’t really seem to care about our stuff.
So this year I had the brilliant idea to hire professional movers with a full packing service. This would both help alleviate the stress of moving and prevent our stuff from getting scratched. I called around and took the lowest estimate. Maybe that was my mistake. The customer service rep seemed competent and professional.
We were scheduled to move on Saturday. It was to be an easy one-day deal. I was at a training seminar that day, so my husband was overseeing everything. After they packed our stuff up (leaving a not insignificant amount of it behind), my husband drove to the new place and waited for the movers to arrive. After 40 minutes, they still hadn’t shown up. He called to see what was up.
‘‘Oh,’’ they said. ‘‘We forgot to call you. We’ve been in an accident. You’ll get your stuff tomorrow.’’ (Just to be clear, this was 2 hours after the accident.)
This wasn’t a little fender-bender, either. It was a 9 car smashup on the NJ Turnpike and was caused by a brake problem with the moving van. Thankfully, nobody was injured. The moving van, with our stuff in it, was towed to a police impound (or something like it, details are sketchy) and left. We had none of our stuff with us, including a mattress or blankets, but fortunately we have a friend living in the same apartment complex who had left us her apartment key in the event of some unforseen problem. We crashed there.
The next morning, we get a call from the movers. ‘‘Uh, we’ll call you tomorrow,’’ they say. They can’t tell us when we’ll be getting our stuff back.
So we have an empty apartment, with a very pissed off cat, with no air conditioning, no clothes, nothing to do for an entire day. We ended up having to buy new clothes to get us through the weekend. We went back to the old apartment and spent the day clearing out a number of the things the movers hadn’t bothered to pack.
When the stuff finally arrived on Monday, then the real fun began. That’s when we got to explore all of the ways that things can be broken, and all the ways moving companies can be completely incompetent. There were a few major things destroyed in the accident - a desk, a bookcase, and an expensive, cherished crystal pitcher we’d been given as a wedding gift.
However, a great deal of the damage to our property clearly had nothing to do with the accident. Large, heavy boxes were thrown on top of small ones until they collapsed. They threw our wireless router into an empty wooden cabinet without wrapping or securing it. And the thing that really gets me - they wrapped everything in packing tape. Not just on the boxes, but directly onto all of our wooden furniture. You know what happens when you put packing tape on finished wood? Yes, of course you do, because you’re not an idiot. And I don’t mean a single strip of packing tape, I mean they wrapped our shelves like 5 or 6 times in the stuff and utterly destroyed the finish on a number of our things. They ruined the finish on my best piece of furniture - a family heirloom of sorts that will probably cost a few hundred dollars to refinish.
Unpacking has been a most depressing experience. I’ve lost some things that cannot be replaced. I haven’t added up the damage yet, but I’m guessing at least $800 worth of our property has been destroyed, and about half of that due to pure incompetence. We’re submitting our claim to insurance but it could take months to get reimbursed.
Yesterday I called the moving service to complain. I was very polite and very calm. I specifically said I wasn’t complaining about the accident but rather the damage caused due to negligence. I told him about what the packing tape had done to our property. He couldn’t possibly have cared less. He kept telling me to call the claims number for reimbursement. I explained I was submitting a claim to insurance, but calling the company specifically so that he understood his movers were damaging property. He didn’t care. He basically hung up on me. This is a national company, so I’m going to send a certified letter of complaint to the central office. Believe me, I have never in my life been angry enough about a service to complain about it, until this very moment. We’ve taken pictures and documented everything, and they WILL compensate us for the damage they caused.
We’re still unpacking, trying to sort through this mess. I have never had such a stressful moving experience in my life.
There’s my horror story. What’s yours?