WILMINGTON, NC (WECT/Gray News) – A man who had lived in Oregon for 25 years decided to cross the country to be closer to his family during the pandemic.
Dan Zimmerman landed a job as a medical assistant in Wilmington, put away everything he owned and started looking for a company to help him move in October.
Appalled by the initial estimates he received, Zimmerman began selling whatever he could, deciding to keep only sentimental and high-value items he could not part with.
At that point, he only had a week left before he was supposed to be in Wilmington to start his new job.
He ended up choosing what he thought was Mayflower Transit, one of the most trusted names in the business. Eventually he learned that was not the case, and he had in fact hired another company with a copycat name – Mayflower Relocation Services.
“They scheduled it, I paid them $1,300 with instructions that I would make three payments to them: $1,300 when the contract was signed, $1,300 when they come to pick up my stuff and another $1,300 when they finally delivered my stuff,” Zimmerman told WECT.
Zimmerman arranged for the company to store his stuff in a warehouse in North Carolina while he tried to find a home.
In December, Zimmerman had bought a house and called the moving company to schedule the delivery, but that’s when he says the apology started.
First, he was told that the mover was having trouble with his truck. Then the mover had come down with COVID-19 and would be out for two weeks.
Zimmerman said the company has completely stopped talking to him and isn’t returning his calls.
Eventually he received a text message saying his things were in a storage unit in Charlotte, but they wouldn’t release the address.
After further research, he learned that Mayflower Relocation Services was not a full-service moving company, but a broker that has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.
They have more than a dozen complaints against them on file, including some from consumers like Zimmerman who said they never received their belongings.
After countless phone calls, Zimmerman learned that his move had been outsourced to Efficient Moving and Storage, who informed him that his belongings were in a storage unit in Idaho but had been auctioned off.
“I called and of course someone had told them that I would call them to get my things. And she said, ‘I’m so sorry, but your things have been auctioned off.’ And sent me pictures. And it just ended my life. I mean, literally, it was unreal,” Zimmerman said upon realizing that everything he owned had been sold to a stranger at his unknowing.
Not only did his possessions include expensive sports equipment, antique clocks made by his father and a guitar worth over $30,000, but also the ashes of his deceased parents, jewelry and all his family photo albums. .
With the help of a warrant obtained by the Eugene, Oregon Police Department, authorities were able to contact the people who had purchased Zimmerman’s belongings on StorageTreasures.com in mid-February for slightly less. of $5,000.
Central Self Storage in Idaho put the contents of the unit up for sale when the person who rented it failed to pay the storage bill.
Buyers had already thrown away numerous photos and personal effects of Zimmerman by the time authorities contacted them.
They offered to send Zimmerman the remaining photo albums they had found, but they had not found his parents’ ashes.
The new owners refused to return any other valuables, saying they were trying to recover the money spent to buy the contents of the storage unit.
Zimmerman said he remains devastated by the loss and disappointed that there isn’t a better system in place to control unscrupulous movers.
“I thought I was safe. I already had all my things packed up. … All they had to do was pick it up and then deliver it. I never, ever perceived that I would lose all my family history, gone, everything,” Zimmerman said.
In addition to complaints filed against Mayflower Relocation Services with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists dozens of complaints filed against the company.
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