Kathryn Bruns, CPA
Moving: A Nightmare with an admittedly funny ending
Moving is well known as one of the most stressful events we undertake once or more in our lifetime. I sadistically chose to do this several times over the years. One of my most memorable (and traumatizing) experiences was back in 2009. I will never forget it.
In 2009, my daughter was all of 1.5 years old, and I decided I wanted to move out of our fourth floor condo and into a nice house. I remembered the "nice moving company" I had hired a few years before and decided to use them again. Pretty soon into the moving process, I realized that this company had seriously gone downhill. The owner, who was happily married with kids and a nice enough guy at the time of the previous move, was now a bitter, angry person going through a messy, ugly divorce. I heard all about it during our initial moving conversations. A part of me had a bad feeling, but I ignored my gut and moved forward with him and his company, remembering the good move experience I had with them before. I should have listened to my gut (we always should!).
This time around, the company seemed to have difficulty getting a steady crew of individuals on their jobs. During the first move day (yes, there was more than one day involved), I began to realize that these crew members were not even "regulars" that routinely worked for the company. The were very open about complaining about their sometimes "boss" (the guy going through the ugly divorce), and let me know they have had trouble with him paying them in the past. There seemed to be absolutely no censorship in their complaints of the guy, and although I grew more concerned, I was at their mercy at this point. Midway through the day, I had to leave the premises to take care of some critical things related to the move, and I noted that the owner had not even shown his face all day. I was just going to have to trust these men alone and unsupervised in my home.
At the end of the day, I got a call from the owner that all that was accomplished by end of day was 3/4 of the loading of my belongings onto the truck. I inquired about how in the world they could not finish clearing out my old place by the end of the first day, but I got no answer that made any sense. What in the world did these guys do when I left them alone that first day ? The answer to come......
The rest of the move process was just as unprofessional and stressful, but eventually it was done and I was all moved in. A couple of weeks later, I received my final cable bill from my old residence. It was abnormally high. Upon closer look, I realized that there was a large amount of strange pay-per-view content charged to my account. Looking at the date of the charges, I realized to my dismay what had happened. After I left the movers alone to complete the first day of the move on their own , they decided to take a long break and finish out the day relaxing on my couch. They apparently spent the rest of the day enjoying some good old fashioned expensive movies on my TV.
I immediately called the cable company and explained what had happened. The conversation got quite awkward when the customer service rep explained the the movies ordered were of the "adult movie" variety. WHAT?? These movers enjoyed PORN on my dime when they should have been moving my stuff!! I begged the cable company to have mercy and remove the charges, and they agreed to remove half. I called the owner of the moving company and went nuts on him. He remained pretty calm and acted un-surprised. I basically got a "tough crap" reply.
Although Personal Affairs Stewardship promotes advocating for yourself, sometimes you have to just suck it up and know when to pick your battles. There really wasn't much I could do here, and I chalked it up to a learning experience and having a funny story to share in the future. Please call us if you are exploited in some way by another, to let us help you decide if your battle IS worth pursuing. We can help !