DENVER — A Longmont woman says an interstate moving company has been holding her family heirlooms hostage for months.
When Kathy Ayres was diagnosed with cancer, the Longmont mother wanted to settle her affairs and move her heirlooms from Colorado to Virginia.
"I have multiple myeloma, stage three, and I want to prepare," said Ayres, who wanted to give her antique furniture and china to her cousin in Virginia. "I inherited all the family furniture. It's more than a century old, and it has sentimental value to my family. She wants it, and her children want it."
Ayres and her cousin found Ft. Lauderdale-based Nationwide Moving of America, signed a contract and sent their precious memories with movers across the country.
"All seemed to go very smoothly. So, they packed it up and took off, and they said it could take up to three weeks," Ayers said. "That was December 31."
In January, Ayres received a text requiring that she wire $2,000 more in advance with the promise that the truck would leave shortly after. Her 97-year-old uncle sent the money, but the heirlooms never arrived.
As it turned out, Nationwide Moving of America did not move her heirlooms. They are a moving broker, and they subcontracted the move to Denver-based H & M Relocation Services, which has an F Rating and an alert from the Better Business Bureau.
"Interstate movers are required to be licensed with the USDOT, the U.S. Department of Transportation," said Ezra Coopersmith, an investigations consultant for the BBB. "We check these licenses periodically. The last time BBB checked was actually about 10 days ago. And at that point in time, the business did not have an active USDOT license."
While the license appears to be active now, Contact Denver7 found federal regulators show multiple complaints against Nationwide Moving of America and H & M Relocation Services in the last two years, including complaints listed in the "hostage" category.
H & M Relocation Service's listed address for the USDOT is a home in Southeast Denver. The owner, David Zoda, did not answer the door, but he called before we could leave the neighborhood.
"Don't show up my residence, you know. If something happens to my mother, you guys in trouble, man," he said, claiming that he is now planning to take Ayres to court for false accusations. "We do care about our reputation. We are a legitimate company."
Zoda said the Department of Transportation took his company out of service in February after his truck did not pass an inspection, so he could not deliver anything. Now, he claimed he is playing catch up for several customers who have been forced to wait.
Zoda said he would allow Ayres to pick up her items when he comes back from a delivery in Texas "in one week, five days."
Ayres said after Contact Denver7 called, she finally received a response from Zoda, but it was a phone call threatening legal action and a text accusing her of slander.
As she fights cancer, this is a fight she did not ask for. She just wants to know her family will get the memories she is trying to send them.
"My intention is to get them moving and communicating. Please tell us what the status is," Ayres said.
Before you hire an interstate mover, search the federal database to determine registration status, complaint history and the type of moving business. Many customers don't realize they are hiring a moving broker who then subcontracts the job with a completely different company.
Be sure pick-up and delivery dates are clearly spelled out in your contract.
Don’t pay cash and don’t prepay or make a large deposit.
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