Families in Campbell, Scott counties in limbo over mobile home moving dispute

Investigations

CAMPBELL COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — An East Tennessee mobile home mover has been taken to court twice in 2021 for what his customers argue is a breach of contract. The mover says he’s done nothing wrong and claims he is owed more money by the people who sued him.

Both disputes with the mover started more than a year ago. One case was settled in court earlier this month in favor of the mover. The people who paid for the move lost more than $5,000. In the second case, the mobile home was to be moved a very short distance, it took more than a year to that, but moving the trailer was just part of the contract.

Michael Smith’s mobile home sits on a mountain lot in Pioneer, which is in northern Campbell County. While the home’s in place, it’s not completely set up. He says, “I hired Willard Allen West to move my trailer back in 2019. April 22 of 2019.” Fifteen months go, Michael paid to have his mobile home moved no more than half a mile and have it set up.

“He was telling me, I do such and such time. I’ll be moving your trailer, I’m thinking like 9-10 days, but my trailer has sat for 4 and a half months,” Smith said.

“The porch is still unattached. My anchors, it hasn’t been strapped down. I live on top of a mountain, I pray every night not to blow off the mountain.”

Michael Smith

Having waited over 90 days, in August 2019, he and his wife paid an attorney to send this demand letter to West that he either complete the move and setup of the trailer or return the $3,500. The trailer wasn’t moved until a year later in 2020, but it was supposed to happen in 9-10 days, and nothing was set up. “The porch is still unattached. My anchors, it hasn’t been strapped down. I live on top of a mountain, I pray every night not to blow off the mountain,” he said.

So, Smith filed charges against West, and that case will be heard in Scott County court in mid-October.

Sandra Lay hired West in October of last year. She and her husband paid $5,250 upfront to West. The Lay’s found a home in Hazard, Kentucky, and paid West to move it and set it up. But the old home remains and the new one is still in Kentucky. The Lays filed theft charges against West. The case was heard earlier this month in Scott County Court. West won the case, it was dismissed.

“He is saying that he was not responsible for moving our trailer to our property that another contractor was responsible for it,” Lay said.

In court, West showed a contract to the judge signed by the Lays. West wrote he’s not responsible for moving their home, that’s another mover was in the amount of $4,000 that the $5,200 was nonrefundable and the delivery wait time was six months to one year.

“He says he’s not responsible,” Lay said. “I lose the case, and the $5,250.”

WATE 6 On Your Side checked Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance records, West’s state contractor’s license as a manufactured housing installer expired eight months ago, December 16, 2020.

We asked West why there’s been a delay in completing Smith’s setup. He answered, “When Mr. Smith pays me my money.”

West claims he’s done nothing wrong, he says he’s owed more money for extra work West and his attorney have counter-sued Michael Smith. “We don’t owe him no money,” Smith says.

West’s attorney says he’s confident that the outcome of Smith’s case, set for October, will favor his client, Willard West. The attorney says West’s been in business for 29 years, and never before had complaints from customers; he’s still moving trailers but he’s thinking of getting out of the business.

Regarding West’s expired contractor’s license, the Department of Commerce and Insurance said it can’t comment on open investigations.

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