I am writing this letter as an account of events that have happened over the past month and a half concerning the questionable business practices of two moving companies. The first company, Top Relocation, is a Moving Broker company based in Pompano Beach, FL whose job it is to assign reputable movers to its clients who are looking to move cross country.
The second company, Team Spirit(AKA Seas Jamaica Shipping), is a moving company based in Decatur GA owned by a Mr. Errol Malcolm. The following is a detailed listing of the facts surrounding the ordeal my husband and I have had to endure as both companies have repeatedly bestowed upon us a laundry list of false promises, and lies all the while refusing to deliver our possessions to us. As of the time this letter is written, we have been waiting for our possessions for over a month and we have been given no concrete indication that there is any intention of the moving company delivering our possessions or the moving broker stepping in on our behalf to rectify the situation. Below is a date sorted list of all contacts and facts surrounding the case, all of which can be backed up with a paper trail which will be included as an addition to this letter.
Week 1 5/07/06-5/13/06
After looking into and researching a number of moving companies we settled on signing a contract with a moving broker called Top Relocation. The purpose of a company such as this is to research, schedule, and assign a reputable moving company to their clients to ease the process of a long move. This is exactly what we needed since we were looking to make a 1500 mile move across the country from Minnesota to Florida. On 5/9/06 I called Top Relocation and spoke to Marie in sales and later with Kay in dispatching, who ran through the details of the contract with me and confirmed my needs and the dates of my move. She encouraged me to check with the Better Business Bureau on their status as a reputable company, which I did, and although they had some complaints on their record, all of those complaints seemed to be resolved. Satisfied with what they were telling me and the research I had done, I signed a contract for $2356.90 to cover the complete cost of my move. At that time I also paid a deposit on my credit card in the amount of $556.20 to Top Relocation. The contract I received states that load dates are 5/16/06 to 5/17/06 and the delivery dates are 5/19/06 to 5/27/06. We were assured that they would pick up our possessions on Wednesday May 17, 2006 and deliver by Sunday May 21, 2006.
Week 2 5/14/06-5/20/06
Top Relocation informed me on Monday 5/15/06 that my movers would be Team Spirit based out of Decatur, GA and they would be calling me that day to confirm the details of the move. I received a voicemail from Errol Malcolm (here on referred to as Malcolm) and he said that they would pick up my goods on Thursday May 18, 2006. When asked why they would not be able to honor the dates of the contract, he simply said they didn't have a driver in the area until then. Time was of the essence for us since we needed to be in Tallahassee on the 21st for my husband's new job and the 18th would be pushing it for us to be able to make the drive and arrive in time. All day I attempted to call him back and see if we could find another driver. However, the cell phone number Malcolm had left (770-374-9366), was not ever answered, and it would also not allow you to leave a voicemail. I called Top Relocation again on Tuesday morning, 5/16/06 and spoke with Kay about our concerns. She said she would have Malcolm call me right away. Malcolm did call back and said that he couldn't get anyone there until Thursday, May 18. I told him that we had to leave on that day Thursday at the latest, as my husband started work on Monday May 22, 2006 in Tallahassee, FL. Malcolm assured me that they would be here on the 18th and that we would have our goods delivered by Sunday May 21, 2006, so despite the contract saying they would be here on May 17th, I agreed to the pickup date of May 18, 2006. He said that the driver would call me 24 hours in advance to discuss time specifics of when they were coming. By the evening of Wednesday May 17th I had not heard from anyone, so I called Malcolm again and couldn't get a hold of him once again. I called Top Relocation and asked them to find out when the movers were coming. They had Malcolm call me. He stated that they were in the process of coming from Colorado and they needed to find a new driver and would call me back when they got a new one. I never received a phone call from the driver. At 3pm on Thursday May 18 I called Malcolm again and asked him for the time they would be there. He said he would get in touch with the driver and have them call me. After waiting 2 and a half hours I still hadn't heard anything, so I called Top Relocation again seeking help on this issue and looking for an update on where my truck was. They had not heard anything from either Malcolm or the drivers. At that point we needed to depart in our vehicles in order to make it down to Florida on time for my husband's new job. I made sure Top Relocation had my contact information and we departed. After a few hours we received a call from Malcolm who informed us that they wouldn't be there until Friday May 19th. Frustrated with there inability to keep to their contract and the negligent attitude of the owner, I called Top Relocation and I asked Kay to find us another mover. They said they didn't have anyone near Minnesota and couldn't get someone else there until Monday the 20th. She told me to go ahead and leave Minnesota (which we had already prepared to do) and designate someone to be responsible to meet the movers when they arrived. On Friday May 19th I called Top Relocation again and they seemed to have no idea that there was a delay in the pickup of my shipment. They talked to Malcolm and found out there was another delay and the movers would not be there until Saturday May 20th. Each time we heard from Malcolm, he claimed the movers were in different states; Tennessee, Colorado, Kentucky, etc. On Saturday May 20th I was finally able to call and speak to the driver (Fabian) each hour on the hour. They finally showed up at 7pm on Saturday evening. They loaded up and told my parents that they would be doing a straight shot to Illinois, changing a driver out and then head directly to Florida and would probably be there to deliver on Monday or Tuesday. The driver had no paper work to give my parents, no bill of lading, manifest copy, or truck weight verification slips as were promised by Top Relocation. The just loaded the truck and left.
Week 3 5/21/06-5/27/06
On Tuesday May 21st we were slated to receive our belongings. During the trip I never received another call from the drivers, Malcolm, or Top Relocation. I finally called on Tuesday May 21st and found out from Malcolm that the drivers were stuck in Houston, because something broke and would take time to get it fixed. This made no sense because the drivers were to make a straight run from Minnesota to Chicago to Florida. Malcolm then informed us the drivers had decided to pick up another load in Houston to make the trip more worthwhile. Malcolm and he said he would try to find another driver in Houston to pick up my load and deliver it to me. Since it was approaching Memorial Day Weekend he wasn't sure he could find someone to get it to me before the following Tuesday. After a number of calls back and forth over the next few days, Malcolm told us he was unable to find a driver to take the load until after the holiday weekend. At this point I began to become concerned and began looking into Malcolm and his business a bit deeper and finally contacted the FMCSA. They looked into his business and told me he was not license and did not have any insurance to be a moving company and that they suspected that Top Relocation knew all about this. That weekend I tried calling both Top Relocation and Malcolm in attempts to reach a driver or to get another moving company and no one answered the phone.
Week 4 5/28/06-6/3/06
Tuesday May 30, 2006 I called Top Relocation and told them I hadn't heard from Malcolm all that weekend and was tired of getting the run around and being lied to. I told them about the findings from the FMCSA, at first they wanted to know where I got the information and finally ended up denying any knowledge of these facts. I told them I wanted an update and a definite date for when I was getting my things. They told me that they have had troubles trying to reach him too and they were concerned about this. This was when they also admitted that Top Relocation was getting a lot of complaints about Malcolm/Team Spirit so they have decided to no longer use his services in the future. I asked them about the dates on my contract and Kay essentially told me that those dates had no real meaning and that the Dept. of Transportation says a company has a 30 day time range. After hearing this I called the FMCSA again to confirm this information. The person I spoke to at the FMCSA said that there is no such 30 day law. Later on that day (May 30th) the driver finally did call and said they were in Utah and that they needed a new fuel pump so there would be another delay and couldn't get here before Thursday June 1, 2006. I called Top Relocation, spoke to Kay and told her what I found out with the FMCSA, and demanded to speak to a supervisor. I was passed on to a gentleman named Gabe. I retold him my story and that I wanted my things and inquired about receiving some compensation for this outrageous experience. He offered nothing and said there is nothing he could do. Next I asked him what recourse I had against the moving company considering the situation we are in. He said that there is no real recourse. Just that he knew that Malcolm would eventually delivery my things and we had to wait until it was delivered. I told him I had zero faith in both Top Relocation and Team Spirit. And that he needs to find us another moving company to pick up the trailer in Utah and deliver it to me. He said he would check with his dispatch and get back to me. After 2 hours of waiting, I called and talked to Kay again and she said that once Team Spirit picks up a load, they were contractually tied to it and no one else could pick it up. Shortly after this we received a call from Malcolm; he informed us that our possessions would be delivered on Thursday June 1st. Malcolm told us that until then he would give us regular updates on the situation. We did not hear anything from either Top Relocation or Malcolm for the next 2 days. On 6/2 and 6/3 I attempted to call Malcolm who was again not answering any calls. I called Top relocation on 6/3 who told us they also had been trying to call Malcolm as well and were unable to contact him.
Week 4 6/4/2006-6/10/2006
On June 4th Malcolm finally called me and told me I am not in charge of my drivers. That sometimes they just take off the weekends to be with their wives and families which is what he claimed his driver decided to do on the weekend. He said that driver has shut his cell phone off and he won't hear from him until Monday when he calls in for fuel. After not hearing from Malcolm during the morning of Monday June 5th I called him and he said he was in the process of trying to find another driver to offload our truck onto another truck. He gave no other explanations than this. We did not hear from Malcolm for the rest of Monday and he was once again not answering his phone on Tuesday June 6th. On Wednesday June 7th we finally got a hold of him and he told us he the truck was is Georgia and he was going to rent a U-Haul, offload our things and drive them down to us. He said that our things will be here on Friday June 9th. On Thursday June 8th I called Malcolm and he confirmed they had loaded a U-Haul with my things and that it was on its way to Texas to drop off the other load that was on the truck and then would drive back this way to Florida. Late Friday June 9th night I called Malcolm to find out where our possessions were, Malcolm told us the driver was still in Houston and would be here late Saturday June 10th. On Saturday morning I called Malcolm and he said the driver would be here Saturday PM or Sunday Morning. After that call Malcolm did not answer any more calls.
Week 5 6/11/2006-6/17/2006
From Saturday 6/10/06 until Saturday 6/17/06 neither Top Relocation nor I could get a hold of Malcolm. As a result of this Top Relocation told us they would be filing a police report on Team Spirit/Malcolm. They found out another couple moving from Missouri to Washington was on our truck, and that couple had their furniture picked up and the drivers immediately dropped their furniture off in a storage facility in Missouri and never let anyone know. The way they found out is the storage company called Top Relocation when they were unable to get a hold of Malcolm for payment on the storage facility. On Tuesday we also decided to call Georgia police and file our own theft report in an attempt to give as complete a picture to the police as possible. Wednesday the report was completed and filed. From this point we spent the rest of the week continued trying to get in contact with Malcolm every single day and were unable to do so. On Friday June 16th we called Top Relocation to confirm they filed out a police report. We spoke to Supervisor Gabe again who said that they do not fill out a police report and that is not their job, but they filled out a report with the FCMSA. We were told that it is our responsibility to fill out a police report. On Saturday June 17th Malcolm finally called us and said he never got the part so they were unable to move the truck and they also never offloaded our things onto a U-Haul as promised. When I asked where our things are, he said it was on the truck in Kansas City, MO and that it was not in Georgia. We informed him there was a police report filed by us due his refusal to return our belongings and his behavior. He instantly became belligerent and told us to fill out as many reports as we want that that the police will never touch him because he has a clean record. We asked him to give us the location of our belongings and we would drive to Kansas City and pick them up ourselves. He told us he would Fax us this information once he got it from the driver and would call us back when he had the information. A few hours later we called Malcolm back and he told us that the location that our stuff is in is closed for the weekend and would open on Monday. We gave Malcolm out Fax Information and he said he would fax us information on where to retrieve our belongings. We have not heard from him since then.
Through this process, working with Top Relocation and Team Spirit has been impossible. The lies, stories and broken promises are unacceptable in any medium. Neither side will step up and admit fault or attempt to aid us to retrieve the things that rightfully belong to us despite the fact that they are contractually bound to do so. We have attempted diplomacy, patience, and compromise and are no farther now than we were 3 weeks ago. The reason I am writing is to find out exactly what our other options and recourses are. Our primary concern is to simply recover our personal belongings we entrusted to these individuals and to recover the expenses incurred by being forced to live without and/or be forced to repurchase daily necessities needed to function as a productive citizen. Secondarily, we have found that there is at least one couple who is enduring the same hardship as we are. Judging by the audacity and behavior of these companies, it is highly unlikely that we are alone in this situation and we feel that attention needs to be brought to this issue and the problem dealt with.
Thank you for your attention and for any advice or actions you may have for us.
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