Family missing half their belongings after movers fail to deliver
According to the ISG World Miami Report 2020, around 950 people move to Florida every day.
Stacy and Jim McCool are some of those people. They left the cold Connecticut winters behind for Stacy’s health.
“When I’m trembling and it really affects the MS and lupus because my bones are so badly affected,” McCool said.
McCool and her husband hired Florida-based General Moving and Storage (High Priority LLC) to move in late August 2020 – or so they thought.
“We thought it was a moving company and later found out it was a broker,” McCool said.
Another New Jersey-based company with three different names, Pack Rite Movers, Easy Moving LLC, and Let’s Move America, took their roughly 80 boxes with them. Weeks later, and behind schedule, McCool said only half of their boxes had arrived.
“The Lord laughed. They didn’t seem to care. “
The McCools estimate they are thousands of dollars worth of items, including Jim’s clothes, patio furniture, kitchen appliances, power tools, shelves, and Stacy’s son’s brand new $ 600 mountain bike.
“I want to replace my son’s bike because he goes to the bus stop by bike. I learned here in Florida that bus stops are actually a mile and a half away. But do I have the money to replace my son’s bike at this point? No why? Because I have to make sure I have cutlery. “
The McCools said when they called Pack Rite about their apparent replacement policy, the company only offered them $ 150.
Movers that cross state lines must be authorized by the federal government and assigned a number from the Department of Transportation.
To research a company, run the number on two different DOT websites. This page [safer.fmcsa.dot.gov] will provide a company snapshot of whether they are authorized and what they are authorized to do. For example, General Moving and Storage is listed as a broker rather than a carrier.
The second side [ProtectYourMove.gov] helps you to find the originator and lists the number of complaints and their connection.
WINK News found that Pack Rite has filed more than 75 complaints since 2019. After the McCools move, the company lost its interstate relocation license. The DOT cited the involuntary revocation as the reason.
Bryan Oglesby of the Better Business Bureau suggests creating a checklist when moving.
“Specifically, ask the mover for their license information, the legal name of their company, how long they have been in business, the name and information of the owner, and where they are physically located,” Oglesby said.
Oglesby adds that if you’re trying to hire a mover, the company should show up in person or virtually to see what needs to go on a truck.
“If you have a mover who just gives you a generic quote over the phone based on the feedback you’ve given them, how many boxes are around your house and how many pieces of furniture are not the most accurate quote you have, I’m looking for Said Oglesby.
The BBB website states that it is illegal to charge more than 110% of the estimate prior to delivery of goods, even if there are more boxes or goods than expected.
If an additional fee is charged for additional goods, they can only charge an additional amount after delivery and unloading.
Moving companies may charge additional amounts for unexpected events such as climbing stairs, but these cannot exceed 15% of the total cost.
If the estimate is “firm”, you cannot charge more than what is stated in the estimate.
Legally, the estimate must include all packaging materials such as blankets, tape, etc., unless the customer does not want them to be included in the estimate.
MORE: BBB moving tips
If the move is in the same state, you can find the regulators here.
The McCools have filed complaints and are slowly replacing what they can.
“It will probably take me years to replace whatever they took away from me,” said McCool.
WINK News reached out to General Moving and Storage, the Florida-based broker who prepared the move, and hung up.
WINK News also reached out to the originator, Pack Rite, and they did not respond to our request for comment on this story.
And the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the DOT wouldn’t say whether they’re investigating Pack Rite.