FORT MYERS: A woman moved hundreds of miles away, but her belongings are still in Florida. Officials we spoke to said she should have read between the lines before signing over her possessions.
Kara Livingston and her son Max successfully made the move from Fort Myers to Columbia, Missouri. Unfortunately, their belongings did not.
Their belongings are being held by the moving company until she pays her bill – an amount that is three times what she agreed to.
“What they’re doing is illegal and morally wrong. We have no rights as consumers,” said Kara Livingston.
Livingston signed a contract for 730 cubic feet at $2,600. She originally told Vanlines of America how much stuff she had to move over the phone, but underestimated.
“As you take up more space the price goes up. We went there to pick up 730 cubic feet and she ended up having 2,400 cubic feet,” said Vanlines of America manager Bryan Wright.
And with three times the stuff, Wright says Livingston was charged three times what she was originally quoted.
Livingston found Vanlines of America on the website Relocation.com. Former customers had given them good reviews.
But if she had checked with the Florida attorney General’s Office, she would have found 11 complaints filed against them.
“If you’re going to give somebody your entire life’s possessions, you should probably check with more than one website to see who you’re doing business with,” said Livingston’s lawyer Steven Martin.
The Better Business Bureau says before signing a contract, you need to:
- Get three estimates
- Show the moving company every item you’ll need moved in person
- Know the difference between a binding and non-binding contract. Non-binding is based on the actual weight. Binding means the estimate can be changed if the weight is different than agreed to.
- And look for marked moving vans.
Vanlines of America says Livingston could have avoided this fiasco if she had told them the correct amount of inventory and read the contract more carefully.
Livingston admits she should have been more careful, but says either way she feels mistreated by the company.
“Shame on you. Do you have a mother? Do you have a sister or a daughter? You’ve turned my entire life upside down,” she said.
She is refusing to pay what the company says she owes and has filed suit in the hopes of getting her things back so she can fill up her new home.