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Navy Veteran Says Moving Company Offered Payoff For Good Review After Losing Furniture And Priceless Military Memorabilia

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Navy veteran in the suburbs says a moving company lost a special tribute to his military service, along with hundreds of dollars worth of furniture.

Bill Schwartz is sharing his story to warn others, and CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas discovered this complaint is hardly the only one for this mover.

A bookcase without shelves, a table missing its legs, two missing floor lamps; but of all the items missing from Schwartz's new apartment, one is invaluable.

"A Navy paddle. And anybody that's been in the Navy knows that, once you get a paddle like that, with your awards and your rank and everything, it's a big deal," Schwartz said.

The paddle was a gift from the staff at Walter Reed Medical Center, where Schwartz helped wounded warriors in physical therapy after he'd already served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The paddle displayed the actual ribbons and pins he wore on his uniform, and a plaque with a thank you message from his colleagues.

"It feels like you did something, and you earned the respect and trust of your peers, and they enjoyed working with you. It is a big deal," Schwartz said.

The company that lost the paddle and other items is Bulls Moving based in Gurnee.

CBS 2 asked the Illinois Moving and Warehouseman's Association about them.

"It's our position that more complaints than 3 to 5 within a 3-year period is a problem," they wrote. "This guy had 23 last year, and already has 7 for 2021."

Those are just the complaints filed with the federal government. Bull's has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Schwartz said, when he added his complaint, the owner reached out to him.

"He said, 'Look, I'll give you $100 for your lamps, but go in and write a good review," Schwartz said. "He's trying to bribe me."

Other Better Business Bureau complaints describe unfair fees and late arrivals.

Schwartz said he dealt with those issues too. He said Bulls delayed their arrival at his old home by days, and then asked for him to be their alarm clock.

"The gentlemen said 'You know, I'm not a big morning person. Could you start calling me at 7:30 in the morning to makes sure I'm up?'" Schwartz said.

Despite that, they made him pay hundreds of dollars before they'd even start moving.

All told, he paid them more than $2,000 to get his stuff to Hoffman Estates in time to start his new job.

"Anger, frustration, disappointing," Schwartz said.

The company told him they're still looking for the paddle in their warehouse. In fact that's what they've told him for more than two weeks now.

Unfortunately, Schwartz doesn't expect to see that paddle ever again.

Schwartz showed CBS 2 text messages from one of the drivers saying, "They need to find that paddle" and "It's in the warehouse for sure because I put it there."

Bulls Moving sent CBS 2 the following statement:

Thank you for reaching out to us . William (Bill) Schwartz did in fact book a service with us on March 18th and his pickup date was scheduled for April 16th-April 17th . Due to delay on our truck we came to an agreement with Mr Schwartz for the 18th of April.

Mr Schwartz was not ready for delivery right away and from the first date reserving our service he was not sure of the address for delivery. Attached will be able to see TBD (to be determined) on his estimate where it says MOVING TO. Our company did provide him with the option of 45 Days free storage.

I unfortunately received an email with a threat for a  lawsuit from someone named J Conti stating that Mr Schwartz requires a delivery no later than Monday May 3rd  otherwise they will file a suit for damages on the 4th of the same month.

I did contact Mr. Schwartz and we agreed on a delivery date May 1st or May 2nd. Due to short notice, we tried to deliver on 1st of May but we were not able to make it on 1st due to high volume of deliveries. Meanwhile, I would like to note that per DOT, companies are allowed to deliver items during a 21-business day time frame after the First Available Delivery date. Anywho, we delivered  on May 2nd.

After the delivery, Mr. Schwartz claimed that the legs of a table ,2 lamps and , military paddle were missing.

We checked and after overviewing the inventory list we noticed in fact that lamps were picked up and were not delivered.

We also did check on the military paddle but we were not able to find it .  Then we notice that the military paddle was not listed as an item that was picked up. (Refer to the attached item list from the pick up with a Mr Schwartz signature on it.)

A couple of days later we received a horrible bad review from Mr Schwartz . I gave him a call and offered him a reimbursement of 2 missing lamps and the table legs and offered to file a claim for his missing items that were listed on the inventory list which he signed . Once a claim is filed, we can start the process to help him get his matters situated and resolved (please refer to the claim disclosure attached with the contract that was signed by Mr. Schwartz as well.)

Before even offering him the claims option,  I offered him a $200 refund. Mr Schwartz said he will think about it . He waited a few days and got  back to me  asking for a refund of $1500 . We refused it. Meanwhile Mr Schwartz never  filed any claim with our claim department.

We are one of the most reputable interstate moving companies in the Midwest area and we do a big amount of pickups and drop offs. We are not perfect and of course like any other company, we know we can improve and there will always be some sort of complaints. Every complaint is unique but we do our best to always communicate with our clients and try to come to a common ground . With this particular situation I question does this client Mr. Schwartz really want to have his issue solved? Or is he simply just trying to get over on us?

We know we have a  BBB F rating ,  but so does the Ritz Carlton and Disneyland as well, but we both know that BBB is a private structure platform and to have A+, we as companies have to make a decision whether we are willing to pay them or not.  Please do look it up. We are working on our rating as well so let me just say that yes consumer complaints have a part in rating us as a company and their experience as customers  do matter but at the end of the day, there are many more factors that define a company as a whole. I have a large base of volume in jobs and we as a business have done quite well. Mr Schwartz is frustrated and we understand that but at the same time we have tried to resolve this matter within our company and it seems that he just rather went the difficult route when in fact this could have been dealt with and over and done with.


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