KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A cross-country move is stressful under any circumstance but for Shelley and Lynn Adajian their move in mid-October from Los Angeles to Knoxville has them without some of their belongings and upset.
Furniture remains scattered around Shelley’s new home and boxes have yet to be unpacked. She and her mother Lynn moved to be closer to family. They hired Florida-based Colonial Van Lines to make the move. The cost was $26,000 for 15,000 pounds. The pickup went without a hitch.
However, when the furniture was delivered to Shelley’s home on Oct. 28, there was no crew to help the driver and he threatened to leave without unloading.
“He said if this is not unloaded by midnight, I don’t care if it takes until midnight, it is getting unloaded or I am driving back to California with all your stuff, there’s another job I have to do,” Shelley said.
“We were both trying to call Colonial Van Lines,” said Joelle Adajian, Shelley’s sister. “I finally reached someone and I said, she is terrified they are going to leave with all her belongings and my mother’s belongings.”
Several hours later, a lawn crew finally showed up. “They had their T-shirts for their lawn company on and they handed us a business card,” Joelle said. “It was surreal.”
Lynn says it was so chaotic, she still can’t find some pieces of her misplaced furniture.
“They didn’t speak English, you would tell them, ‘Oh, put this in this room. Put this over here,’ and they wouldn’t know where to go. So, ultimately, I had to show them.”
“I would say, ‘So Shelley, where do you want this?'” Joelle said. “She would say, ‘Master bedroom.’ I’d have to lead them because they didn’t speak English. Then in the meantime, four more people would come in and they’d start to put boxes outside.”
The inventory list included a number of pages. Shelley says it took two days to load her and her mother’s belongings.
“It was supposed to be assembled, of course, the mattress, the bed frame all if it,” Shelley said. “It was just dumped there. If you look at the way all that furniture is stacked, it’s like Fibber McGee’s closet or a Jenga game.”
Eventually, a professional crew came and assembled some of the furniture in what they called a “rescue mission.” Shelley said a couple of TVs are still missing. Colonial Van Lines blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent work shortage and told Shelley it was happening with all big moving companies right now.
Six On Your Side reached out to Colonial Van Lines for comment. We were told they would contact the family. Following our call, Colonial offered Shelley and her mother $750 for their “inconvenience,” this offer was increased from $380 put forward a month ago. Both offers were rejected.
Shelley and Lynn said they plan to file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration about their move. Complaints can be with the FMCSA, the Better Business Bureau and the American Trucking Association.
When we checked with the BBB Colonial Van Lines had an “alert message” for a “pattern of alleged customer service and miscommunication issues.” The company has a B-plus grade with the BBB.