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St. Johns County man says movers caused thousands of dollars in damage to furniture

‘I just want what is fair value to repair my furniture,’ Keith Liwen tells News4Jax I-TEAM

Former St. Johns County resident Keith Liwen said a third of his furniture was damaged when he hired Two Men and a Truck Jacksonville/St. Augustine to move him from Fruit Cove to Texas.
Former St. Johns County resident Keith Liwen said a third of his furniture was damaged when he hired Two Men and a Truck Jacksonville/St. Augustine to move him from Fruit Cove to Texas.

Former St. Johns County resident Keith Liwen said a third of his furniture was damaged when he hired Two Men and a Truck Jacksonville/St. Augustine to move him from Fruit Cove to Texas.

“Most of the bedroom furniture was nicked up, we have a dinette that was nicked up very badly and the dining room set was pretty scratched up,” Liwen told the I-TEAM, adding that several other pieces of furniture were damaged as well.

Liwen took photographs of the damage to document what happened and reached out to the I-TEAM for help. That’s after he said he spent more than two months trying to get the moving company to make things right and repair the damage.

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Keith Liwen says his movers caused an estimated $7,000 in damages to his furniture during the trip from Fruit Cove to Texas.

“They told me they wanted to get a furniture repairman to come out. I said that was fine, and the furniture repairman came out and inspected everything and he supplied them with an estimate,” Liwen, who noticed the damage within two days of the move, said. “I never heard back from them after that. I kept calling for about two weeks and when I finally got in touch with them, they said they wanted a second person to come out.”

He said a second estimator revealed it would cost nearly $7,000 to repair his furniture. An itemized copy of the second estimate lists the damage to each piece of furniture, all of which added up to a total of $6,967 (view an embedded version of that estimate below).

Despite repeated requests, Liwen said Two Men and a Truck never provided him with either of the two estimates, but he got a copy of the second one from the estimator who came to his house. “They sent out people who did the estimate. I had no contact with them until they came to my house,” he said.

But Liwen’s ordeal was far from over.

“After I got the second estimate, they sent me an email that said they decided to offer me $1,000,” he said. “I was shocked and then the other thing they told me, they had a guy that they work with all the time look at the pictures and he said the estimate was $550. ... I can’t imagine that would cover one piece of damage that was caused.”

“I’m not looking to rake anyone over the coals. I just want what is fair value to repair my furniture.”

The I-TEAM contacted Two Men and a Truck for an explanation. Pete Ruffing, the Jacksonville franchise partner, sent this response:

“Our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® St. Johns, Florida location moved Mr. Liwen to Texas the first week of September. We have been in ongoing communication with Mr. Liwen to resolve this since he notified us on September 6 about items inadvertently damaged during the move. This process is still in progress and the final step is acquiring a third estimate from a local repair vendor, which will take place on Friday, Dec. 4. Once we have this estimate, we will work with a selected vendor to make the necessary repair in a timely manner. As the “MOVERS WHO CARE®” it is our practice to resolve damages as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, in this isolated incident, there have been a variety of hurdles resulting in delays. It is our intent to have this resolved as soon as we have the third estimate, and Mr. Liwen is aware of this timeline.”

Liwen believes the reason it has taken so long to find a resolution is because he thinks the company did not like the expensive damage estimates and was looking for a way to avoid paying such a steep repair bill.

After the I-TEAM contacted the company, Two Men and a Truck scheduled a repairman to fix the damage to Liwen’s furniture on Friday.

The I-TEAM did some digging into Two Men and a Truck. To be fair, we found no red flags about the Jacksonville moving company. Complaints against moving companies are filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. We found none against the Jacksonville offices in the last four years. You can search complaints against a moving company with this database.

We also checked with the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida. The Two Men and a Truck location on Philips Highway and the St. Augustine location have A and B+ ratings, respectively. Movers are among the top categories of companies searched on the BBB’s site. More than 5,700 complaints were registered with BBB about movers and moving companies.

If you are planning to move any time soon, BBB said you should always discuss up front the company’s damage policy and check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what is and is not covered under your replacement value protection. Click here for a list of other suggestions to follow before hiring a mover.

Liwen has a warning to anyone who is thinking about hiring a moving company: be careful.

“I understand how things can get damaged. My problem was that they just didn’t take care to pack everything,” he said. “If they had packed everything the way they did with the first half of the truck, I don’t think I would have had this type of damage, but after a certain point they were just in a hurry to get everything in and it was obvious that they didn’t take care of what they were doing.”


About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.