According to his blog, Mike says things were fine during the actual move, but after the movers had left, one of the employees at the moving company called to ask if he was missing his Xbox.
Taking that as a hint, Mike checked and found that the box for his video game console had been opened, had its contents removed, then resealed. He called the mover’s office and says he was told by a manager that the Xbox had come out of its carton during transit, become damaged, and the company was investigating.
The next day, Mike says that police from both his town and the town where the movers are located got involved in the case, which they were investigating as a theft. He claims that the police told him there was video of an employee taking the Xbox out of the truck and putting it in his car.
At the time, the manager was extremely apologetic and seemed truly interested in getting a replacement since it was one of his employees that was involved. I will also give major credit to the one mover who turned his co-worker in when he suspected something was up. The manager and I started looking up what a replacement would cost and found a couple similar (same specs and storage) to my X-Box online for $350. The manager and I talked about it and he said he would get a check in the mail as soon as he finished the paperwork on his end.
But when the check came two weeks later, Mike says it was only for half the agreed-upon amount. He says that the manager then tried to tell him that the company only owed him $10 based on the Xbox’s weight and that he could get a used console online for $150.
When Mike told the manager that he planned on writing about his negative experience online, he claims that the manager offered to pay another $50. Mike says he turned down the extra money and chose to write about it anyway.
But that apparently didn’t go over well with the movers.
“After posting my review of the company and its handling of this whole situation, the owner decided to cancel the check they had sent to me as part of our settlement,” writes Mike.
He tells Consumerist, “they cancelled the check and told us we were out of luck if we were going to speak poorly of the company.”
Mike says he never signed anything forbidding him from writing about the unpleasant experience or that made the reimbursement conditional on his silence.
In the comments on his blog, someone claiming to be from the moving company writes that a total amount for the check was never agreed upon. He also states that the offer of an additional $50 was not hush money but was an attempt at “trying to satisfy a customer.”
“We are truly sorry for the action one of our former employee[s],” reads the comment. “We do backround checks on all employees and we don’t hire anybody that has any theft charges. We do everything we can to prevent theft by not only having cameras on the trucks for when they get back but having a manager search the backs of trucks. We took steps to insure that justice would be served by calling the cops to report the crime.”
The comment also states that the now-former employee has been brought up on charges and “will be required to pay restitution to Mike in addition to” the $170 sent by the movers, though this comment appears to have been written before the check was canceled.