(WSVN) - Moving across the country can be stressful, but it turned into a nightmare for one new South Floridian. She made it here, but all her belongings did not. 7’s Brian Entin investigates.
Virdell Heard is supposed to be enjoying her retirement, but instead she is living in an empty Fort Lauderdale apartment.
Virdell Heard: “I’m used to living a very, very comfortable life, and this has just been disheartening for me. I feel like they have stolen my things.”
Virdell worked as a police dispatcher in St. Louis and saved up to retire in sunny South Florida.
She hired Merit Moving out of Lake Worth. Her stuff was picked up in Missouri on Aug. 3, and she was told it would be delivered seven to 10 days later. But August turned to September. September turned to October, and nothing arrived.
Virdell Heard: “If I had known it was going to be like this, I would have put my things in a truck and drove them here myself. I wouldn’t have had this problem. But I have spent $1,700 for these people to pick my things up and keep them.”
Virdell said she called the company over and over again and always got a different excuse.
Virdell Heard (on phone): “I’m calling because I still don’t have my property.”
Virdell is not alone. Just this year, federal and state authorities have received 72 complaints about Merit Moving and its parent company, J & J Moore Nationwide Van Lines.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office told 7News they have an active review of complaints from customers in 12 states.
Merit Moving is a moving broker. That means they don’t own any trucks and sub contract out all their moves. We’re driving up to Lake Worth to their office to see if we can track down Virdell’s stuff.
There is no sign on the door, but we found Merit Moving’s owner, Salvatore Viscount, inside the office.
Brian Entin: “Hi, my name is Brian Entin. I’m a reporter with 7News.
Salvatore Viscount, owner: “What’s up, man?”
Brian Entin: “Hi, nice to meet you. We’re doing a story about Virdell Heard. Her stuff has been missing for two and a half months and she hasn’t been getting any information.”
Salvatore Viscount: “What’s that?”
Brian Entin: “Virdell Heard. One of your customers. Her stuff has been missing for two and half months. She’s on a fixed income. She’s waiting for her stuff. Do you know where it is?”
Salvatore Viscount: “No, I’m not sure. I’m sorry.”
Brian Entin: ‘Can you check for us? Can you look through your files and check for us?”
Salvatore Viscount: “Yeah, but you guys gotta go outside. It’s private property.”
7News showed Viscount the moving contract and he promised that Virdell’s belongings would be delivered later that night.
Seven hours later, they arrived.
The movers showed up in a rental truck, months late.
But Virdell was still so relieved to have her belongings.
Virdell Heard: “God knows I’m glad. I’m just glad to have my things where I can live, just a normal life. If you’re going to move, please, just check the people out.”
To search the complaint history of moving companies and brokers, go to the links below.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
U.S. Department of Transportation
Florida Attorney General
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