Troubleshooter: Mover complaints

February 17, 2010 4:38:19 PM PST
ABC11 Eyewitness News first reported on Derric Fozard and his moving company Miracle Movers in 2005. We caught him on video moving people even though he'd lost his moving license.

The year before, the state utilities commission had revoked the license because he didn't have proof of liability insurance. A string of unhappy customers told us they'd lost thousands of dollars.

One of those customers was Susan Bailey who is owed more than $98,000 for her lost possessions.

"All the stuff most valuable to me, irreplaceable, priceless," Bailey told ABC11.

Bailey paid Fozard's Miracle Movers to store her things for a year while she studied abroad. When she came back, she found out Fozard hadn't paid the storage company, so they auctioned off all her stuff.

"Miss Bailey did take care of her obligation and I did and I did and I still do feel very badly, and I cried, I literally broke down and cried," Fozard told ABC11 in 2005.

But customers say he didn't change. Five years later, another customer is crying foul.

Ken Johnson's been picking up the pieces since Miracle Movers collected all his belongings in Kansas City for a move to Portland, Oregon back in October.

"I was quite sure the first week I would never see any of my belongings again," he recalled.

Johnson contracted with Worldwide Van Lines, but they subcontracted the job to Miracle Movers. Johnson says not long after they picked up everything he owns, Fozard called him with bad news.

"I don't where your stuff is. We can't find it," he said he was told.

"How do you lose a truck? How do you lose a truck full of stuff?" he wanted to know.

After almost a month with no stuff, he said Fozard called to say he'd finally found the truck, but there was a catch.

"Oh by the way, your shipment is overweight. And we had estimated 3,500 pounds but in fact it's 6,100 pounds and you're going to owe us $2,500 more," Johnson said he was told.

That was not okay with Johnson since the estimate on his non-binding contract with Worldwide was for $1836. He'd paid Worldwide $638 and was supposed to pay Miracle Movers the remaining $1,200 on delivery.

"And I said I'm going to insist that you reweigh this shipment," Johnson recalled. "And they said that's not going to happen. We're not going to do that. We don't have to do that and we're not going to do that."

But according to federal regulations, if a customer requests a re-weigh, the mover must comply.

"The next time I talked to Mr. Fozard the balance was $3,500, so it had increased a thousand dollars because they wanted to charge $100 a day for storage," said Johnson. "At that point Derric Fozard said if you don't give me my money I'm just going to sell everything. I'm going to go through and get all the stuff of value and I'm going to sell it and I'm going to throw the rest away." "You decide what you want to do."

Afraid of losing all his stuff, Johnson agreed to pay Fozard $1,600. That's $400 more than the original contract.

"They would not tell me where it was until I gave them $1,600," said Johnson. "I had to deposit $1,600 into their bank account and it was total extortion."

Johnson said once he paid the money, Fozard finally told him his property was in storage in Washington State - four hours from Portland. Johnson rented a U-haul and drove there to find banged up boxes and worse.

"My bed, my box springs was broken, underneath was broken, my bed, they had cut themselves and had bled all over my mattress," he said.

Johnson loaded everything in the U-haul and headed back to Portland - but not before weighing his load. Despite Fozard telling him it was 6,100 pounds, the weigh station in Portland, put it at 3,160 pounds - more than 300 pounds less than what he contracted.

Armed with Johnson's complaints, ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Diane Wilson went looking for Fozard again.

He wasn't at his Cary office, so we went to his Durham home where he was not happy to see us. He yelled and threatened to call the police, but eventually met us on the street to talk about his dealings with Ken Johnson.

He didn't want to see the paperwork that showed Johnson's stuff didn't weigh more than the original estimate.

This man did not pay us. We went all the way out to fu**ing Portland, Oregon to drop this man's things, and you don't know what you're talking about. We went all the way out to Portland, Oregon or where ever he lives at and he didn't want his stuff. I picked his stuff up based on what another broker asked me to do," said Fozard.

"I have their contract and they say the shipper is responsible. Do you want me to show it to you?" Wilson asked.

"You don't know what you're talking about," Fozard responded.

But Worldwide Van Lines' contract shows that they're just the shipper's agent. The customer must pursue the carrier for all claims. In this case, that's Miracle Movers.

"This is not a joke. This is my livelihood," Fozard told ABC11.

It's also no joke for Ken Johnson or Susan Bailey. She's still waiting for the $98,000 judgment Fozard owes her after our first story five long years ago.

Experts say when dealing with movers the best advice is to do your own research and take a look at any contract before agreeing to it. If your moving company is hiring a subcontractor - which they often do - demand to know everything you can about them before you pay a deposit.

And if you're not sure about someone, even a quick Google search may bring up some red flags. In this case, that's exactly how Johnson got in touch with us. They Googled Derric Fozard and our stories about him popped up.

Some have asked how Fozard could still be in business, but so far all the complaints against him have been handled in civil courts. Even though there have been eight judgments against him, he hasn't paid on the majority of them.

In order to force him to pay, the victims would have to pay more money to file the paperwork to go after his assets. It's a process that takes time, and it's something that someone in Oregon is unlikely to do because they'd have to come to the Triangle to take court action.

Send pictures | Classifieds | Report A Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts
Most Popular  |  Follow abc11 on Twitter  |  abc11 on Facebook


Load Comments