Storage Stress: Moving companies refuse to move couple’s items after storage unit is infested by roaches, rat

(WSVN) - When you move from one city to another, sometimes you need to put your things in storage. For one South Florida couple, that decision turned out to be a bad move. 7’s Brandon Beyer has more on their “Storage Stress.”

It was supposed to be a simple move from Broward County to Central Florida.

Richard Ludwig and his wife Vicki Moffett started packing early, so they rented a storage unit at Life Storage in Pompano Beach for $275 a month.

Richard Ludwig, rented storage unit: “We’ve had stuff there before, and we’ve had no issue.”

When the moving company put their boxes into the unit, they sent this notice saying their “belongings were in great shape.”

But nine months later, when it was time to move out, things had changed.

Richard Ludwig: “There were live roaches scurrying about. There were egg pods on our shrink wrap and on our furniture, on our boxes everywhere.”

The bugs were so bad the moving company wouldn’t finish the job.

Vicki Moffett, rented storage unit: “They waited till they got everything loaded — just about three-quarters of it — and they said, ‘No, this is too dangerous.'”

The movers put their things back into the storage unit and then quit because of the “severe roach infestation.”

Vicki Moffett: “I went straight to the office, and I told them about it.”

Vicki said the unit was fumigated for two days, and because the first company refused to come back, they hired a second moving company.

Richard Ludwig: “About halfway through, one of their employees kind of [went] ‘Oh,’ backed up and said, ‘I just saw a rat!'”

The movers then pointed out rat feces and boxes that had been gnawed.

Richard Ludwig: “This has been chewed on by the rat.”

Once again, the movers quit on the spot.

Richard Ludwig: “He goes, ‘Due to safety reasons, I can’t continue.'”

The second moving company said in writing “conditions of the storage unit were deplorable”and called it “an unsafe work environment.”

Richard Ludwig: “This was just unbelievable. I’m already $1,000 over budget.”

The Ludwigs ended up having to move themselves.

Life Storage did refund them one month’s rent, but the couple said it was not enough.

Richard Ludwig: “I paid $275 a month for that unit to have my things infested with cockroaches and rat feces.”

Life Storage wouldn’t speak on camera but sent a statement that said, “our customer’s satisfaction is our highest priority, and we sincerely apologize for all the frustration that the Ludwigs have encountered.”

They said they take “preventative measures, such as pest control, to help avoid issues such as these,” and they encouraged them “to file a claim with their insurance company.”

Richard Ludwig: “It’s been very stressful and very aggravating to say the least.”

The Ludwigs did file a claim with their insurance company, and they will be reimbursed for a portion of their damaged goods, but they say nothing can compensate them for months of storage stress.

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