LUBBOCK, TX - The Brooks family packed up all their things, ready for their move to North Carolina. Now, they're worried they may never see them again.
"Everything that my family owned. Pots, pans, dishes, shoes, clothes, computers," Nick Brooks said. "I mean, everything that we owned. Yeah, we are going to have to start fresh. Really fresh."
Brooks said he got a quote from a company to come and move their belongings into a storage unit in Dallas or Austin, to be held until they got settled in North Carolina. He found their website online. This company is not a motor carrier, but rather an interstate broker, meaning they do not transport an individual shipper’s household goods but will coordinate and arrange the move by a motor carrier.
Brooks said some contract workers from a company called Platinum Van Lines arrived in a pickup truck with an attached trailer, instead of a marked semi-truck as he expected. Then, he said he spotted another red flag when the movers gave him an inventory sheet, but didn't keep one for themselves.
"Nobody is answering my phone calls now," Brooks said. "I'm lost."
He said he never received a confirmation email either from the coordinating company, so he has no clue where his things might be.
Lubbock Police are investigating the case as a theft. According to a police report, two suspects showed up claiming they were contractors of the company.
EverythingLubbock.com put in a call to the coordinating company, Superstar Van Lines, who said Brooks shouldn't worry. They claim they are trying to get in touch with those contract workers at Platinum Van Lines. The number provided for Platinum Van Lines, however, was out of service.
Courtney Henson works for Hart Moving and Storage in Lubbock. She said they work hard to get accredited in multiple ways, so their customers can feel secure.
"You want to know, when you have someone coming in to take off with all your things that it is going to be there at the end of the day," Henson said.
Hart Moving and Storage is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association and has reached Pinnacle status with the Southwest Movers Association. They advise their customers to do their homework before the move.
"These are people you are inviting into your home to handle your things," Henson said. "So it's important to know those people have some sort of accountability."
According to the national Better Business Bureau here are some things to look for:
A good BBB rating.
Use of marked trucks.
Information and licensing and insurance.
Employees who are insured, bonded, and background-checked.
According to the national Better Business Bureau here are some red flags to look out for:
An estimate given over the phone without an on-site overview of household items.
Asking for cash or a large deposit upfront.
Use of a generic, unmarked truck.
For information on how to help the Brooks family if you are interested, click here.
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