On 7/21/06, my wife pulled into the TA Travel Center in Santa Nella, CA, around 5:30 pm and filled our 2004 Expedition with gas. After pumping, she pulled forward into a parking space. A Belfor Moving (from the California Bay Area) truck was to her right and was parked at a slight diagonal pointed towards our truck, overlapping its parking space and the one in front of it. While my wife went into the building, her mother stayed in the truck (in the passenger seat) with our two young daughters. The moving truck started to move, but didn't pull forward far enough before it turned, and the rear of the truck caught our passenger side mirror and moved it back against its stop. The mirror shattered and fell out of the now cracked plastic mirror assembly. The truck stopped for 5-10 seconds a few yards after the accident, and mom thought they were going to stop and get out, but they then started moving again and left the truck stop. My wife remained at the scene for hours in 112 degree heat waiting for the California State Patrol. When they arrived, there was nothing they could do because the accident happened on private property. This incident is classified as Hit and Run-Property damage. After my wife called me sobbing, I immediately contacted the moving company and spoke with the owner, Craig Belfor. He was very apologetic over the accident, and promised to provide reimbursement for the damage. He said he wished to avoid taking the hit on his insurance, and requested I send him an estimate for the repairs. He sounded very honest and sincere, so I agreed. I called him after getting the estimate from the Ford dealership ($323.48) and asked if I could email the estimate. He said yes, and also requested that I send him pictures of the damage, the Expedition, and a measurement of the height of the mirror from the ground. He said this was so that he could show his driver the evidence of the accident. The driver and his passenger had categorically denied the accident happened. Now I can understand them not knowing that the accident happened, and it's very possible that is the case. But they did not even allow the possibility that it COULD have happened, which of course is wrong since my mother-in-law was about 16 inches away from the accident when it happened. So I gladly provided all the information requested by Craig. I call later in the day to ensure that they received the email, and they had.
A week goes by, and no response. I send a follow up email, hoping I haven't been forgotten about, because I discovered it's not the safest thing to drive a big SUV without a passenger side mirror. Another two weeks go by, with no response. So I call again to speak with Craig. His daughter Natalie tells me that she had it on the calendar for him to contact me. So Craig gets on the phone, and proceeds to tell me that he could find no evidence on his truck of any accident, and that his men swear that there was no accident. The lack of evidence doesn't surprise me (assuming he was telling the truth), as a plastic mirror assembly is no match for a multi-ton piece of metal. He re-emphasizes these points over and over, eventually getting to the point of he has decided to believe his infallible driver who has never had an accident over the word of a middle-class family from Washington and their mother. With a broken and somber spirit, I then sadly ask if I may now have the name of his insurance company. At this point he has become confrontational, and with malice in his voice he says Sure, I'll have to look that up and get back to you. OK, so what owner of a small business doesn't know the name of his insurance company??? It is at this point I realize that I'm dealing with someone who is lacking integrity. So I say Now, if I don't get a call back. He cuts me off with anger in his voice, and says that threats will do no good. Like I'm some kind of rogue con artist who is holding him hostage!!! It is hard to believe that someone would sacrifice their integrity and the reputation of their company over 300 bucks. I tell him that I'm not threatening him, and he angrily reinforces the fact that he'll call me back with the name of his insurance.
So of course here we are now one month following that conversation, with no insurance. Surprise! Throughout this whole process, I was never accusatory or angry. I tried to conduct myself with kindness and grace, and expected the same in response. I even followed up that last conversation with an email stating my disappointment in his decision, but that I loved him (the biblical commands of love your neighbor as well as your enemy), and wished him and his family the best. I figured this was the last opportunity for him to do the right thing. I've struggled a lot with what approach to take.turn the other cheek, or take out ads in his local paper calling out his dishonesty. I settled on just presenting the facts, and allowing people to make their own decision on whether or not to use a company that acts in this manner. Would people who had their belongings damaged while using Belfor Moving be taken care of? I have no idea. But this is how they treated my family.
((( ROR REDACTED LAST NAME FOR SECURITY PURPOSES )))
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