DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Weeks after moving to Texas, Cari and Brett Myers are still living in a virtually empty home. "By and large, everything is still on the truck," said Cari.
The moving company, contracted through All State Van Lines Relocation, showed up days late, with only half of their belongings, and demanded full payment, according to the Myers family. When the couple refused, the company took almost everything they own hostage. "We're missing the couches, the coffee tables… all of our wedding pictures," said Cari. "You don't realize how much easier it is to have those things."
Last year, the Better Business Bureau handled more than 9,000 complaints on movers for damaging items, raising prices, arriving late or withholding possessions while demanding more money.
"Oh, it's gonna cost a lot more than this. Oh, we're gonna have to charge for this," said Brett.
All State Van Lines Relocation claims that it raised its price because the Myers family had more to move than they originally accounted for. The organization Move Rescue suggests, to avoid getting charged thousands more than you expect, always get an in-home estimate -- if possible, three. If one estimate is significantly lower, beware. It also advises customers not pay a deposit, because you're already handing over your possessions.
"We just want our property. We want to pay the bill," said Brett.
All State Van Lines Relocation now wants the balance on a $10,000 bill wired before it does anything, refusing any offers by the Myers family to pay by credit card. So far, that's a risk the couple has been too nervous to take. "Not knowing if I'll get my things back, or if I get them back, what condition they'll be in," said Cari.
The Myers family is now working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to resolve the matter.
A few more tips:
You can also check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to see if companies are licensed to do in-state moves or with the U.S. Department of Transportation for inter-state moves.
Also, if you have a binding estimate and you pay it, the movers are required to give you your belongings -- and resolve any disputes about additional costs later. If you have a non-binding estimate, you'll have to pay 110 percent of it for your items to be returned.
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