CLEVELAND — All Leonard Love of Cleveland wants for this Christmas season is to have back all he's ever owned.
Love told News 5 everything he and his wife own is being held in limbo at a New Jersey storage facility, the result of a failed move to a new home in Anniston, Alabama.
He said he signed an estimated contract with U.S. Moving Van Lines in October, and agreed to pay the New Jersey company $2,600 to move all his personal belongings.
But, Love said when the moving team arrived, it told him that he had more items than was originally estimated.
Love said the movers wanted an additional $600, and he gave them $400 in a money order and agreed to pay the remaining $200 when his items arrived at his Alabama home.
But, Love said his personal belongings never arrived in Alabama, and two days later when he called the company, he said he was stunned to learn that the company wanted him to pay an additional $2,800.
Love said the company wanted him to wire $1,300 upfront and pay an additional $1,500 when the delivery was made.
He explained it was money he didn't have, and several weeks of negotiations failed to produce a solution.
“I wake up in sweats, thinking when am I going to get my belongings back,” Love said.
“This company just totally ruined all that I believe in as far as being able to retire.”
“At one point I was so desperate to get my memories back, that I told them just bring my furniture to Anniston, Alabama, to my house, and I’d give them the money, whatever it was, I’ll give it to them.”
Cleveland police detectives are investigating the case.
Cleveland BBB President Sue McConnell told News 5 problems with moving companies are popping up across the country.
McConnell said it's critical consumers do their homework and check reviews on moving companies before they sign a contract.
She stressed the importance of having a final price in writing in a contract, before letting a moving company load your personal belongings onto a truck.
“These companies will hold your furniture hostage, they basically say pony-up some more money and we’ll release your goods to you,” McConnell said.
“They’re all about bringing in the dollars, they might seem like a good deal when you sign-up, but it’s not going to be a good deal in the end."
McConnell urged consumers to take all their family heirlooms and smaller high-priced valuables with them before making that big move.
News 5 contacted U.S. Moving Van Lines about this case, and it said it made Mr. Love aware of the total cost for the move before they picked up his items in Cleveland.
The company said it intends to workout a settlement with Love in the coming weeks.
Still, Love is warning customers to run background checks on moving companies before booking a move to another state.
“Very devastating as it is, I still have my health to a point, and what happened to me I wouldn’t want to wish on anyone,” Love said.
“All I want right now for Christmas is my belongings back, because I have nothing now left."