On September 12, 2008, two United Van Lines trucks arrived at our house about 10AM, There were 4 people on the trucks, all dressed with United Van Lines logo shirts. One of the people was responsible for putting identification stickers on each carton and item that was put on the truck. He, in addition, was responsible for packing various paintings and a glass table top.
During the course of the morning that day, two of the persons started to move a cabinet that contained our collection of music CDs and some DVD videos. The found that the cabinet was full and said we needed to pack the CDs and DVDs separately. We had discussed this with the gentleman who came to our home to estimate the cost of the move. He said the cabinet could be wrapped with a plastic wrap to keep it from coming open during storage and transportation. I told him that in fact I had moved that cabinet myself to New Mexico from Dallas Texas, fully loaded, and did not experience any problem.
The workers at our home then proceeded to wrap the cabinet, many times around to secure it from coming apart. I then observed them putting a padding blanket around it and take it to the truck. The cabinet was secure at that time and there was no reason to believe it would not arrive in Florida in the same condition it left our home.
However, on arrival in Florida, we discovered that the cabinet had been opened and the contents completely jumbled. The CDs were not in the order they were when the left New Mexico. Indeed, they were placed in a purely random manner with many cases being put on the shelves in a fashion that the name of the CD could not be observed without completely removing it from the shelf it was on. In view of the fact that the method of securing the cabinet was secure and it is clear the cabinet was opened, I can only conclude the cabinet was deliberately opened after if left our home or it was so grossly mishandled that the plastic wrap was broken. In any event, this represents totally disrespectful or negligent handling of this cabinet either during transportation or during storage.
Around 4:30PM on September 12, the furniture, boxes and loose items from our home were completely loaded on the two trucks. At that time and as previously arranged with the person who came to estimate the cost of the move, I drove with the trucks to the other side of town to a storage facility where we had many totes, boxes and loose items that were to be shipped to Florida.
When the workers had loaded only a few totes onto the truck, the person who was putting inventory stickers on the items told me that he had run out of stickers. I asked him how he was going to keep track of the items. He said that once the truck reached the storage facility in Las Cruces, the load would be re-inventoried and the items without stickers would be tagged. That seemed like a reasonable way to handle the situation so I permitted the loading to continue. At that time, I saw a 33 gallon size plastic tote with all my wife's fall and winter clothing loaded on the truck without any inventory tag on it. There were approximately 25 totes and furniture items that were loaded on the truck without tags.
The trucks left Silver City, NM around 5:30PM on Sept. 12. Subsequently, our items were taken by the United Van Lines trucks to a storage facility in Las Cruces and were stored there until about November 14 when it was reloaded for delivery to us in Florida. Despite the representations of the persons on the United Van Lines trucks that picked up our goods, there never was a subsequent re-inventory of our goods.
On arrival on November 21, the driver in a United Van Lines truck and wearing United Van Lines logo shirt informed us that he would have two helpers to unload the truck and he fraudulently represented that he had picked up every item that we had sent to storage. He had no separate inventory of what he had loaded on the truck to verify his representations and he certainly had no way to verify the un-inventoried items were there as well. He also did not get two persons to help him unload though one person eventually showed up and he did hire my son to help unload.
The driver, we realize now, had no way to prove that he picked up everything and was simply fraudulently misleading us into believing all our goods were on the truck. He also represented that none of our goods had been mistakenly dropped off at someone else's home because he had not confused our goods with those of someone else. That false representation was made deliberately to mislead us into not checking too closely as to what actually was being delivered. Indeed, we discovered just a few days ago that an attachment for someone else's vacuum cleaner had found its way into a bucket in which our vacuum cleaner attachments were delivered. Hence, it is perfectly possible some of our goods could have been left by him at some other location.
As the end of the day came on November 21, the driver again fraudulently mislead my wife into signing a document that all the goods had been delivered. As we subsequently discovered, there is close to $1000 worth of items and $1500 worth of clothing in the un-inventoried tote that have gone missing. The United Van Lines people now seek to avoid responsibility for these losses because the driver fraudulently mislead my wife into signing a paper as the driver sought to leave.
In addition to the above mentioned approximate losses, we have filed a claim with United Van Lines for damages to furniture in an amount estimated by a furniture repair person to be about $1200, $1150 for un-repairable damage to our porch furniture and damage of several hundred dollars to totes used by my wife to store fabric.
It is outrageous that United Van Lines seeks to avoid responsibility for its inept, unprofessional, irresponsible handling during the moving and storage of our goods and relying on a signature fraudulently obtained to support non-liability for at least some of our loss.
We paid handsomely for storage fees and insurance. One would hardly expect that one had to spend more to get insurance from the damages caused by irresponsible and fraudulent behavior on the part of United Van Lines personnel.
The Villages, Florida
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