MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - One former middle Georgia woman used a popular moving website to move her house from Macon to California, but was left with the clothes on her back.
Barbara Titus, her daughter, and their three pets wanted to surprise her elderly mother by moving back to her hometown of Folsom, California.
She moved from her Macon home back in June, but her belongings didn't make it so far.
Barbara logged onto uship.com to find someone to take her stuff across the country.
The site lists hundreds of professional moving companies who bid on potential jobs.
Through U-Ship, she hired a mover named Jeff Gatz.
"We agreed to June 21 with a pick up with a delay of delivery until July 3 so that my daughter, and I and 2 dogs and my 16 pound cat could travel across the United States," Titus said.
Gatz and his crew drove to Macon in a Uhaul truck and packed up some of Barbara's things and said a man named Dan will be back to pick up the rest.
The movers took her things to Atlanta, and that's where the confusion began.
"I, meaning him, paid for a month's storage, I paid movers to unload your stuff in and I left the key with UHAUL," Barbara said.
But that wasn't true.
Gatz rented a UHAUL truck in Idaho for a job in Maryland, he'd had it for three months, and by the time he got to Barbara, he owed UHAUL more than $11,000.
He still said Dan was coming.
UHAUL seized the truck from Gatz and held Barbara's things inside their College Park facility outside of Atlanta.
Legally, UHAUL could've auctioned off Barbara's belongings. Barbara and her daughter were left with the clothes on her back.
Dean Jutilla with uship.com says their site addressed Barbara's problem immediately.
"It's very unfortunate what happened to her. The transporter has been suspended. She has received a full refund for her deposit and fees and we've taken action against that transporter."
Barbara later got a call from UHAUL.
"UHAUL said we're releasing your stuff and sending it to you," Barbara said.
She thinks it was because she went to the media.
That included paying for everything to be moved back to California, and plane tickets for her to supervise the move.
A couple of days later, UHAUL showed up at Barbara's Macon home, and at the storage facility in Atlanta, and moved her things across the country, free of charge.
When Barbara got to Atlanta she found out her most of her belongings were damaged.
UHAUL is paying to replace any of her damaged items.
TIPS FROM BECOMING A MOVING VICTIM:
- Have movers come out to meet you in person, that way they can't raise the bill later.
- Also get the specifics, from moving companies, to arrival dates.
- If you're using a moving website, check to see if they have a "prevent fraud page" like this one.