GRAPEVINE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – They moved to North Texas looking for a better life for their children.
But for the Mabil family, the experience with their moving company turned out to be a nightmare.
Akuot Leek and Jacob Mabil fled terror in Sudan.
Jacob Mabil is one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan. The terrorists burned their villages, killing the adults, separating children from their families. Too afraid to go back, the boys started walking toward Ethiopia.
The Sudanese refugees eventually arrived in Boston in 2004, seeking the American Dream. This year, the Mabil family hoped to make Texas home.
Getting to Grapevine was hard enough, but the Mabils said the move added salt to their wounds.
“Why would someone do that to us,” said Akuot Leek. “We have been through a lot enough.”
The family used an online broker to book a move on July 22. The broker, U.S. National Movers, gave the job to the moving company, Rapid Relocations in New Jersey, for $1,986.
Akuot was told she would get her things in 10 to 15 days. Akuot offered to send the company a list of items they had, along with pictures.
“He refused, he said I didn’t have to do that,” Akuot said.
Then, on the day of the move, the movers showed up at 10:30 p.m.
“They looked at the stuff and they said, ‘Oh no! This is not the spread you were quoted for,’” Akuot said.
The movers wanted an additional $3,600. Because the Mabils needed to vacate the apartment, they agreed to pay.
But once the Mabils got to Texas, there was no sign of the movers.
“He said, ‘Your stuff is not going to leave Massachusetts until the 10th,’” Akuot recalled.
Akuot was told she signed a document saying her items would be delivered on the “first available delivery date.”
She said she never signed that document.
“We had to buy new stuff,” Akuot said.
With her kids starting school, they had no furniture and no beds.
A full month after their items were picked up, the big truck finally arrived.
The mother was told she owed another $500 because the truck couldn’t reach their street. In the end, they paid a total of $5,371, nearly three times the original amount.
“it really all comes down to communication,” said Louis Massaro, a consultant to moving companies and brokers.
Massaro said customers must research brokers and movers.
“You are putting your entire life and putting it on the truck,” Massaro said. “You should do a little more research.”
Massaro said to avoid problems with movers:
-Have an accurate list of items. Send pictures.
-Ask for the exact delivery spread that includes the date of pick-up and delivery.
-Look up reviews for the broker and the moving company it hires.
Consumers can also go on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to find out how many complaints the brokers and the movers have.
As for the Mabils, they’re glad their moving nightmare is over so their fresh start can begin.
“Regardless of difficulty we have endured, we feel like this is still our dream.”
The moving company, Rapid Relocations, did not respond to calls or emails.
The broker, U.S. National Movers, sent Consumer Justice the following statement that reads in part:
“It is so important that the customer tell us exactly what they are moving for the DOT manifest. Unfortunately, the customer had a substantial increase because they did not disclose the additional items on our call… The customer had about double the original estimate and as such would pay double for their items and the space if they had accounted for their items in their entirety.”
The Mabils dispute the company’s response.
Below is the full statement from U.S. National Movers.