Moving company complaints on the rise

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TONOPAH, Ariz. - Artwork helps pay the bills for Donna Earley.

She sells her creations, everything from wood-carvings to stained glass windows, to supplement her income.

“Being disabled, being a woman, being an elder, I can't just pick up and move things,” she said.

When Donna decided to move to a new home in Tonopah earlier this year, she hired a moving company called Starving Students.

She says it took her a month to carefully pack all of her stuff. “I had all my cordless tools and I thought, and I had them all in milk crates,” she said.

When Starving Students showed up the day of the move, Donna says things seemed fishy from the start. “I knew immediately they were inexperienced,” she said.

Donna says things quickly went from bad to worse. She showed 3 On Your Side photos of the damage she claims Starving Students caused.

What put her over the edge, she says, is when realized her precious power tools -- $2,000 worth -- were missing.

“So I'm not so much concerned with the breakage that they've done as I have for the fact that they have taken something that belongs to me,” she said.

Kevin Tyne is director of the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, the state agency that investigates moving company complaints. “We've seen cases that are heartbreaking to see,” he said.

Tyne says complaints are on the rise and consumers need to be aware. “You really should be on-site at the location with the company when they're loading up your valuables onto the van and you should really be there when they're offloading,” he said.

Donna was there. She even says she bought the Starving Students pizza. “I fed the boys,” she said.

After calling the cops and getting no help, Donna turned to 3 On Your Side.

3 On Your Side contacted Starving Students which tells us it background checks every employee and that there is "absolutely no evidence or other proof that our employees took these tools."

The head of the California-based company did agree to give Donna $700. “This is my tool,” Donna said as she showed us her hammer. With just one tool left in her case, she'll have to start over.

While $700 won't buy all the tools she needs, Donna says it's a lot more than she ever would have received without 3 On Your Side.

We're told the sheriff's office is now investigating Donna's case but we appreciate Starving Students working to resolve this complaint.

When dealing with moving companies, you need to spend some time researching them before you hire and be sure to ask for references.