Movers break, lose furniture leaving Johns Island homeowners frustrated

The Investigators

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD)– In May, Jeff von Freymann and his wife hired Reads Moving Systems for their move from Mount Pleasant to Johns Island.

They selected the company partly because of their ability to store their belongings, valued at $20,000 for six months before they moved into their new home.

Von Freymann said the employees assured them their belongings were in good hands and that they would take special care to handle all furniture.

“We went with Reads because the way they pitched what they would do,” said von Freymann. “[They said] We are going to take extra, extra care and you can rest assure it is going to be fine,” he added.

Von Freymann said he packed up about 80% of his belongings and opted against the +$700 insurance because he trusted the company and the care they said they would take.

Upon delivery in November, von Freymann noticed three of their antique chairs were broken along with a desk chair, floor lamp, Dyson vacuum cleaner, and a wing chair. A separate table was missing.

“It looked like they had just thrown things and dumped things upside down and just threw it. I had fragile written on a lot of the boxes and they weren’t taken care of,” said von Freymann.

Later that month von Freymann submitted a claim form listing the damaged items.

Reads Moving System offered $100 for the lost table a $165 settlement for the damaged items based on the valuation included in the plan von Freymann agreed to. The basic coverage only left the moving company liable for 60 cents a pound of each of the damaged items.

Von Freymann denied the $165 dollar claim settlement saying it fell short of the damage.

In an email to the company’s claim team he wrote, “We never expected full restitution. However, we did expect your offer to repair what was damaged.”

Reads Moving Systems responded acknowledging the von Freymanns dissatisfaction and offered the von Freymann’s an additional $150 for “in order to retain customer goodwill and in an effort of reconciliation.”

Reads Moving Systems final settlement offer totaled $550. In an email, von Freymann said he would accept the settlement only if the company also had the three antique chairs repaired through Reads sources and cost.

“It is on them not on us and it should not be this way for the homeowner,” said von Freymann.

The Count on 2 Investigators contacted Reads Moving System. They stood by their settlement offer pointing to a contract von Freymann signed with the basic valuation he elected on the move.

“Please keep in mind additional coverage was offered at that time but was not chosen. Our claims department worked the claim using the supporting documents along with the signed contract staying within the guidelines that govern our industry,” wrote Claims Manager Nick Carserino.

The moving industry is regulated by the South Carolina’s Office of Regulatory Staff.

Safety, Transportation, and Telecommunications Director, Tom Allen said they hear complaints similar to von Freymanns often.

Allen said a 60 cent per pound per item evaluation is standard across the industry but almost always falls short of the claims.

The most economical protection available is Released Value, since it is offered at no additional charge. However, the protection is minimal. Under this option, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if your mover lost or damaged a 10-pound stereo component valued at $1,000, you would only receive $6.00 in compensation (60 cents x 10 pounds).

Federal Motor and Safety Administration

Before you choose a moving company, experts recommend searching the company’s complaint history on the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration site.

“Whatever you sign be very careful of and don’t trust anything anyone has to say about moving,” von Freymann said.

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