Monday, August 5, 2013

My version of events...

I just wrote this in an email to my husband, which he will submit to the people who hired the shitty movers who messed up our floor in North Carolina.  I figured I'd post it here for your perusal.  Enjoy!

A week prior to our move, a representative from A+ came over to inspect the house and determine how much time they would need to pack our belongings.  She said some people would come on Tuesday, July 23rd to start packing.  We later received a phone call from someone telling us that they wouldn't need two whole days to pack us and, instead, two packers would come on the 24th.  The morning of the 24th, I was expecting the packers to arrive by 8:00, but they showed up at 9:00.  There were two of them, a man named Tommy and a woman named Doris.  Doris seemed to be in charge.  I had to ask them their names; they did not volunteer them.

I pointed out the few high dollar items we own and Doris said she would pack them carefully.  Doris and Tommy worked until about 3:00 or 3:30, then said they needed to leave because they had to get their vehicle back to Fayetteville by 5:00.  They were about halfway finished with the packing, but Doris said there would be eight movers on the 25th and we would be packed up very quickly.  I was fine with that.

The next day, the movers arrived at a little after 9:00.  I noticed Tommy was not among the group that showed up on the 24th, but Doris was there.  I was not introduced to the other people who were packing and loading our belongings.  Throughout the day, I noticed that the crew seemed to be in quite a bit of hurry and were taking shortcuts.  At one point, I saw a couple of the guys trying to carry my kitchen table out of the house without having removed the legs.  The driver stopped them and asked them to take the legs off, which they did.  

In our living room, there was a small section of laminate flooring that had tented after heavy rain last fall.  I heard one of the guys say that they had left one of our area rugs down to help protect the area, though they did not put the rug over the worst section of the tented part of the floor; they left it where I had originally placed it, in an area adjacent to the floor that wasn't nearly as warped.  I heard Doris say that the rug would not help and they shouldn't worry about it.  

Toward the end of the day, the crew began working in the kitchen, which is just off where the tented area is.  There were four ways to get into and out of the kitchen: through the garage, the back deck, the dining room (which we had used as an office area and where the floor was not at all damaged), or through the living room, which is where the tenting is.  The tented area is closest to the kitchen, but it was possible to go around the tenting with the moving dolly because the worst tenting did not extend all the way across the living room floor.  It was also very easy to step over the tenting, as my husband and I had done since it first occurred.

I observed a few of the more junior guys on the crew being very careless as they accessed the kitchen.  They repeatedly went to the kitchen via the tented area, even though there were three other ways to get there that would have allowed them to avoid the damaged floor entirely.  Most of the crew members didn't seem concerned about walking around or over the tenting.  I watched a couple of them actually step on the tenting as if they were doing it on purpose; at the very least, a couple of them appeared to have an attitude of complete disinterest in anything but finishing the job as quickly as possible and getting paid.  A couple of the guys repeatedly rolled a loaded furniture dolly over the tenting, which miraculously didn't seem to damage it too much more.  They seemed oblivious to me standing there getting more and more perturbed as they came through the house like a herd of elephants.  I finally stopped a few of them and asked them to stop stepping on the tented area because they were going to ruin the floor.  I showed them the flatter area next to the tented section that they could roll the dolly on.  They did roll the dolly on the flatter portion at least one time after I showed them.  Alternatively, they could have rolled the dolly out of the other entrance in the kitchen through the area that had no damage.  I also heard Doris say "Y'all don't come through this way.  Go the other way."

A couple of minutes later, another young crew member came striding into the house and happened to kick the tented area with his foot.  I don't think he did it on purpose; he just seemed oblivious and in a big hurry.  When his foot came into contact with the tenting, it knocked the planks out of the floor and left a large hole.  I noticed that the missing boards caused the adjacent boards to be knocked askew.  He tried to fix what he did, but I asked him to just leave it.  At this point of the day, I was really getting upset at all I had observed and especially the completely avoidable damage that was done to the floor.  

At about 2:30 or so, Doris suddenly said the crew was finished and they had to go.  I noticed more items that they hadn't packed and was handing them to the crew as they were rushing to leave.  One item that they almost left was the bottom of an artificial Christmas tree.  Another was my husband's grill/smoker.  Doris was supposed to do a walk through with me, but she was very eager to leave and asked me to hurry up and initial the inventory paperwork.  As she was about to take off, I noticed that they had not packed our microwave.  She grabbed it and said she she would make sure it got on the truck.  When I made a comment about the floor damage, she said I could note it, but she didn't think the company would take responsibility for it.  Then, she left.  

Once they were gone, I was on the verge of tears.  I also found more things that didn't get packed, specifically: bakeware, some planters that were left on the deck, a garden hose, silverware, and some other odds and ends.  One cabinet and a couple of drawers were left completely full.  

A couple of hours later, someone from the company called and said that Doris had left some original paperwork at our house that she needed and asked if we would mind if she came back to get it.  My husband said that was fine, but they had also left some stuff unpacked and he was upset about the floor.  They said they would get the rest of the stuff.

Doris showed up the next day and apologized for rushing out the day prior.  She finished packing the things that were left, got her paperwork, and left us with a big hole in the floor.  She had told me repeatedly that she had been a mover for many years and I'm sure that's true, but she didn't seem to care much about her work or that of the others working with her.  Moreover, I am not sure who was supposed to be in charge.  Doris seemed to be in charge, but based on prior experience with military moves, I thought the driver was supposed to be in charge.  In this case, it was never made clear who the boss was.  I had very little contact with the driver; he didn't introduce himself to me.  He asked me to move my car out of the garage and I showed him what items in the garage were to be packed and what would be staying.  Other than that, I didn't speak to him until it was time for them to leave and he shook my hand and said goodbye.  

When my husband submitted a claim to A+ regarding the damage to the floor, he received a response that the company wouldn't fix it because there was already damage to the floor.  That is true, but there were also three other ways the moving crew could have accessed our kitchen which would have allowed them to completely avoid the damaged area.  Barring that, the movers also could have easily maneuvered around the tented part of the floor, since the worst tenting only affected a portion of the floor perhaps halfway across the living room area.  I observed these young men working and only a couple of them seemed interested in not causing more damage.  

In A+'s emailed response to us, there was also a statement about how the movers have to use dollies to get their work done.  While I did see this crew rolling a dolly over the tented floor, the dolly is not what caused the damage.   What actually caused the hole in the floor was one of the guys striding very quickly into the house and hitting the tented area with his foot.  It had the same effect as if he had actually kicked tented area of the floor very hard, knocking out the planks.  I understand that there was pre-existing damage, but this crew was negligent by not taking steps to avoid more damage.  They ended up making a bad situation much worse.  Moreover, I don't buy the idea that pre-existing damage in a home gives a moving company the carte blanche privilege of causing even more damage to the home and then not having to take any responsibility for it whatsoever.  It seems to me that any thinking person who cared about their work would do their best not to exacerbate existing damage.  

Most of the crew seemed unconcerned about protecting the house or our belongings; they appeared most interested in finishing the job quickly and leaving as soon as possible for whatever reason.  It was very distressing to watch and now I worry that some of my belongings will not have been packed properly and will be damaged in transit to Texas.  

This was by far the worst moving experience of my life and it's not even over yet.  It upsets me that this company apparently gets away with their careless business practices without any repercussions whatsoever.



4 comments:

  1. I would think whoever hired the movers would very much ant the movers to take responsibility for the problems they caused, as wouldn't those who hired the movers be ultimately responsible? Also, wouldn't the movers want to please the people who hired them, since those people presumably hire many movers and would not be eager to hire these bozos again if they didn't take responsibility? Movers have to be insured, don't they? I understand we're all hesitant to make claims because it raises our rates, but that IS what insurance is for.

    Good lettter!

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  2. Thanks Alexis. I don't know. I would assume they have insurance. All I know about this situation is that the moving company totally kissed us off and wrote that everything had to be in writing from now on, which I guess means they have lawyers involved. I don't know that the organization that hired these movers will be any more helpful, but I'm sure the Army would prefer not to deal with complaints like ours. We'll see what happens.

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  3. I forgot to add that I learned a long, long time ago (in preschool) never EVER to trust anyone named Doris.

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  4. LOL... I have an aunt named Doris.

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