What to do when a moving company loses your furniture

The moving company loses his furniture. Now what?

When Paul Fisch’s moving company loses his furniture, he turns to the usual suspects for help. But they can’t do anything. Time to call a consumer advocate.

Question

I recently scheduled a cross-country move from New Orleans to Los Angeles with Purple Heart Moving Group. The company quoted a rate of $1,922 for the entire job and we paid a deposit of $821.

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Purple Heart contracted the job to Victory Moving and Storage. In late April, a Victory representative moved our belongings into his truck. He then told me the price had increased from $1,922 to $5,768.

When I tried to back out, the Victory mover said he had already started packing and I would have to pay for the packing and unloading. He also told me the $800 deposit was just a “finding fee” for Purple Heart and didn’t count towards the price of the move.

I paid this new price of $5,768 in full for the move.

Our contract says they have 30 days to deliver the furniture. It’s been 53 days. The Victory mover’s phone has been disconnected. Every time we call Purple Heart, a representative promises to call us back with further details, but never does. I’ve filed complaints with the BBB and the Department of Transportation, but my belongings are still missing. Please help us. We have been sleeping on the floor for almost two months. Can you find our furniture? — Paul Fisch, Los Angeles

Answer

You should have received your shipment on time and without paying anything extra. Your case has so many red flags, all of which are described in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Protect Your Move” brochure. A moving company representative should have shown up in person to offer an estimate. Something about that subcontractor also seems off. You could have avoided all of that by carefully reviewing the government brochure.

And if anyone ever tries to hold your furniture hostage, call the police on the spot. I’m willing to bet the mover will quickly unload the truck and speed away, never to be seen again.

Time to find your lost furniture

This is a complicated case. Purple Heart worked with a subcontractor. It’s unclear if the Victory mover was an employee or a subcontractor. The contract you signed allowed for a reasonable price adjustment, but also provided compensation for late deliveries. The paper trail between you and the moving companies went on and on, but the bottom line is: Purple Heart was late and owed you money.

In reviewing the correspondence you sent to the Elliott Advocacy team, it looks like you did everything you could. You kept your emails brief and polite, and you were as patient as you could be. It’s too bad the BBB and government couldn’t help, but I’m not surprised. This isn’t the kind of case they’d get involved in, at least not immediately.

I contacted Purple Heart on your behalf. The company agreed to compensate you $200 for the delay. It found your furniture and delivered it.

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