RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It took months for their possessions to arrive, but now a Wake County family can finally enjoy their new home filled with the things they own.
In August, ABC11 first told you about the family's struggle to get the movers to deliver their items.
Despite moving to the Triangle in April, by August, the movers still had not delivered anything that was loaded into the moving truck in California.
"They've responded to me a couple of times. They said that the stuff was getting loaded on the truck in two or three days but this was like a month-and-a-half ago. Not all hope is lost, but I would just say like 95% of hope is lost," Maria said at the time.
Shortly after Troubleshooter Diane Wilson showcased Maria's frustrations, she got a call from the movers that the moving truck would arrive within the week.
Maria had her doubts but the truck arrived. Before unloading anything, the mover from Deluxe Moving required full payment of $1,400 in cash. He refused to take a check or credit card. Maria tried to ask why, but the mover said he would leave and charge $150 an hour if he did not get his cash.
"I'm actually the last person you can get in a fight with," Maria said he told her.
Maria's husband got the cash, and paid the mover, and watched as he unloaded box after box.
It was tough to watch for Maria as she documented the job. She said she caught the mover not handling boxes that said fragile with care. As they opened the boxes, several items were broken or damaged. Their big-screen TV has a crack down the middle of it. Despite the broken items, Maria said she is just thrilled to have her things. She does have insurance on the move and says she will file a claim.
Sadly, their struggle with movers is not unique. We heard from dozens of people facing the same heartache involving movers.
In all cases, just like Maria's, the move starts with a quote from a broker, not an actual mover.
Gregg Garfinkel, a transportation attorney who fights on behalf of consumers to get their possessions from movers, says most of the cases he's involved in start with a quote from a broker.
"All they're trying to do is get that money in, and they don't look at the goods. They go down the list and whoever potentially has a truck coming from point A, or point B, or can move their truck from point A to point B to go to point Z, they're just going to put your goods on that truck they don't really care," he said. "They don't have the customer's interests at heart. That's who you're trusting the lifetime of your household belongings to and it's a crapshoot. And the customer usually loses."
Doing your research on the front of the move is key.
"When you get a low price, there's a reason, and they're either non-compliant with the rules and regulations of the state or the federal government, or there's a catch," he said. "There's a low price leader on your computer screen, but when they pick up your goods and close the door that low price goes out the window."
That's exactly what happened in Maria's case.
The price went from $2,500 with the broker and then jumped up to $5,800 when the actual mover arrived. Despite it taking four months to get all of their items from the mover, she's relieved to finally have everything and credits ABC11 for the mover finally delivering everything.
As a consumer, before hiring anyone, download the Right and Responsibility Handbook by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If the mover is holding your goods hostage, you do have rights.
"Letting the movers know the significant penalties that they face in wrongfully withholding the goods," Garfinkel said.
Before you hire a mover, make sure that the mover is licensed. If you're moving within the state, contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission at (919) 733-7766 or online to access their list of certified movers. You can also ask the Commission whether it has complaints against the company. If you're moving from one state to another, you can visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's website to find registered and insured movers and check for complaints.