According to the laws of the State of Arizona, (ARS 47-7403. Obligation of warehouseman or carrier to deliver), A. The bailee must deliver the goods to a person entitled under the document who complies with subsections B and C..., unless and to the extent that the bailee establishes any of the following: 2. Damage to or delay, loss or destruction of the goods for which the bailee is not liable, but the burden of establishing negligence in such cases is on the person entitled under the document. Which, to my understanding, means that shipments arriving damaged are to remain in the warehouse of the receiver until such time that the lawful owners of the goods can establish who is responsible.
But the first week of May, 2004, Citizens Transfer & Storage Co., Inc. of Tucson, doing business under DOT #076235 as an agent of Allied Van Lines, received our damaged shipment of household goods. They held our shipment hostage until I paid a company named Overseas Relocation Services in Kent, WA, claiming to be a freight forwarder handling the over-water portion of the move from Hawaii to the Mainland, $8,460.12 plus a $127.00 charge card-use fee. They insisted I paid cash, but lacked any paperwork.
The two Citizens employees who delivered our goods to our new home, (later confirmed over the phone by the vice-president of the company), told us that the shipping crates had not been properly sealed for the over-water voyage from Hawaii, and large items had been stacked on top of smaller ones crushing what was at the bottom. Worse than that, the whole shipment was soaking wet. But even worse than that, everything except for the china, had not been packed but rather stuffed into boxes as if it were refuse. My interpretation of the actions of the Citizens employees, was that this company did not want to be involved, literally dumping our stuff off and getting out of here as fast as they could. But not before charging us an additional $663.97 fee for transport, and having me sign a formerly unsigned bill of lading for which later I would discover a similar bill of lading in which my signature had been forged.
According to the laws of the State of Arizona, (ARS 44-1522. Unlawful practices) A. The act, use or employment by any person of any deception, deceptive act or practice, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation, or concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact with intent that others rely upon such concealment, suppression or omission, in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise whether or not any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby, is declared to be an unlawful practice. As I understand it, this is a civil offense. They concealed, suppressed and omitted the fact that our goods were damaged.
Because of this, we have spent the past two years living without our household goods, (valued at over $100,000), as they were damaged beyond use, and trying to repair anything that was remotely salvageable. A lot of these items were my fiancé's who had suddenly and unexpectedly passed-away just a few months prior to our move. These mementoes that were destroyed can never be replaced.
I have written numerous letters and made phone calls to all of the companies involved. I have written to the Better Business Bureau, the Dept. of Transportation, the Moving and Storage Association, to Allied Van Lines, the Law Dept. of Sirva, (the parent company of Allied), to Senator John McCain, the Consumer Protection Agencies and Attorney Generals Offices of both States. But to no avail.
Finally, I took a year off from graduate school to research and write my own civil suit, which, at this point, has been brought against the Allied Van Lines agent in Hawaii, HITCO Moving & Storage, and Overseas Relocation Services, who are responsible for the initial damage and the forged document. This despite the fact that Citizen Transfer & Storage was the one who should have initially helped us to get this matter settled from the start. The suit has been submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in Tucson, Order # CV-06-414-TUC-JCG. But despite having to take this matter this far, the companies are still unwilling to negotiate and pay for any of the damages caused, for destroying the memories of my loved-one, and for making our lives a living Hell for the past two years.