7 On Your Side Ends Moving Nightmare

Seven On Your Side
September 5, 2008 9:15:18 PM PDT
The Brooklyn woman travelled more than 1,800 miles from Canarsie to San Antonio, Texas. She made it in one piece. Her belongings didn't do as well. "That was the worst mistake we have ever made." Norma Walker's talking about the moving company she hired last July, Special Movers. "Look out for Special Movers, special problems."

7 On Your Side first visited Norma last month before her move to Texas. Special Movers had already packed up her apartment. She thought she paid them in full, more than $2000. But Norma, got a shock. Her possessions never got delivered.

Instead, Norma, says the mover held her belongings hostage, "In a warehouse in New Jersey," Norma said.

Norma says Special Movers demanded another $5000 or everything stayed in the warehouse. Special Movers says Norma signed a contract document authorizing the extra charges. But Norma says they added to the form after she signed it, a charge Special Movers denies.

Last month, 7 On Your Side visited Special Movers' office, but nobody would open the door. Instead the company referred us to it's attorney.

We contacted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which investigated the Walker's complaint against Special Movers. And special movers delivered her goods; not for an extra five thousand - but for an additional $330.

And just weeks later, Special Movers finally delivered Norma's goods to her new home in San Antonio. But after the movers left, Norma had one more shock.

"My things are all damaged," Norma said.

Her antique table was chipped. And Norma's stem ware was reduced to broken shards. "They were wrapped and packed and everything in there was crushed," Norma said.

As for getting reimbursed for the damage, Norma may be out of luck. She didn't opt for extra protection from the mover, and didn't have renter's or homeowners insurance.

"Before the move, it's important that you do call your insurance company and find out exactly how much coverage you have and for what," said Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.

Also, most consumers don't know standard insurance policies don't cover breakage. Jeanne says, "it's not going to cover if the package is too heavy and they drop the box and your china goes with it. Breakage is generally not covered."

But according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, if any goods are broken you have 9 months after the move to ask for compensation from the mover. Then the mover has 120 days after the notification to pay the claim, make a competing offer, deny it and possibly take the dispute to arbitration.

As for Norma, she's left to pick up the pieces, but glad some of her possessions made it intact, "It's like a nightmare, and it's over."

For more information on protecting your move:

http://www.protectyourmove.gov/ ---
STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips
WEB PRODUCED BY: Steve Livingstone