Movers Break IKEA Bookshelf, Shrug

For their recent move, Derek and his wife selected a local operator of North American Van Lines. Things went pretty smoothly, except for one IKEA Expedit bookcase that was somehow cracked while leaving the couple’s previous home, and subsequently fell apart when it was brought into the new house. Someone gave Mrs. Derek what she assumed was a claim form to sign, but ended up being a “Particle Board Furniture form” absolving the movers of any responsibility for cheap furnishings.

My wife and I recently relocated for her new job. After shopping around for moving prices, we decided on the steep, but within our limits, [redacted], an operator of northAmerican Van Lines. When inventory was complete, the mover offered us their optional, “full valuation,” coverage; working in the rental car industry, and knowing the coverage business, I decided to consult my rental insurance company to see if our household of junk would be covered while in transit.

My agent let me know that our stuff would not be covered and that it was up to us whether we would like to risk damage or not. January 13th and 14th in the place we were moving to were marked by severe winter storms and this led us to accept the coverage.

That said, at this point, we assumed all of our stuff would be covered. When the movers started moving stuff out to the truck, they man handled one of our Ikea Expedit bookcases to the point of making a loud crack noise. They continued to move it with no further problems. The following day when moving the bookcase into our house, the bookcase fell apart when similarly torqued.

I appreciate the fact that this is an Ikea bookcase but I also understand I’ve moved a great number of times and have never replaced one of these bookcases for lack of durability. We asked the driver/mover what we would need to do to further the claims process at which point he provided what he called a claim form and requested my wife sign it in my absence.

The mover wrote in the bookshelf information, asked my wife to sign the form, and then asked her if she could find the inventory number on the bookshelf. At this point, we assumed the claim process had begun and we followed up that Monday with a call to the movers to get the claim process in action. After repeated calls, 2 full weeks later, our claim was denied. The moving company claims, “…prior to the move of your household goods you signed a Particle Board Furniture form,” which is clearly dated the day our stuff was delivered to the house.

Dear Consumerist, Does a mover simply say, “What you wanted moved was too delicate, I have no liability for this item…” or should my bookcase have been handled gently assuming they knew of the fragility of such bookcases. And what of my wife being conned into signing a waiver?!