Bainbridge newcomer shares moving story, warns of scam

Published 9:19 am Monday, March 21, 2022

Shawn Swartz is a newcomer to Bainbridge. She recently moved into the historic painted lady Victorian home at the intersection of Hall Street and Evans Street. While she was excited about her new venture in the south, nothing prepared her for her moving nightmare. She is now speaking out about the scam she fell victim to, in hopes it helps others.

Swartz was living in State College, Pennsylvania prior to moving to Bainbridge. However, she had encountered Town and Country Movers several times when visiting her parents in Boca Raton, Florida. The company advertised that they moved people across the country, and Swartz felt as if they were a trusted, reputable company.

“I was moving, and I had picked a date, but no movers could move me because it was move-in day for 55,000 students at our local university (Penn State).” she said. “Getting a local mover was absolutely impossible, so I called a very well-known company in Florida.”

According to Swartz, when she first contacted Town and Country Movers, they promised her the world.

“They said I would have a whole moving crew, along with an 18-wheeler,” she said.

Swartz said she then signed a contract and gave them a deposit to begin the moving process.

When moving day arrived, the crew was nowhere to be seen.

“The day they were supposed to show up, they didn’t show up,” Swartz said.

Swartz had a closing day of Friday, but the moving company had promised her a week of service, where they would park their 18-wheeler and allow her to load up stuff from her home, basement and storage unit.

“I called that Monday afternoon and was told they would be there Tuesday,” she said.

Tuesday arrived, and again the moving company was not there. Swartz said she dialed up the company, who again promised they would be there the next day; the company said they had been tied up.

Swartz awoke on Wednesday morning to still find the company had not arrived. This time when she called, the company informed her the movers would be there later that evening, as they were coming from New Jersey.

“I thought this company is from Florida, but the movers are from New Jersey,” she recounted.

Not only was Swartz confused, but she knew the drive would take at least seven hours.

Nevertheless, the moving company did arrive late Wednesday evening, but it was not a crew as promised. It was a group of three men with a 26-foot moving truck.

“They did the best job with what they could, but it began the nightmare no one wants to have,” Swartz said.

Once everything that could be fitted in the truck was stored away, Swartz still needed room. She said she begged the lady who owned a storage unit in State College to please let her have a unit, despite it being move-in weekend.

“She gave me a unit she happened to have, because she knew it was temporary,” Swartz said. “The movers then took what wouldn’t fit to the storage unit.”

After everything was packed away, the movers then informed her they had to take her truck of stuff back to the New Jersey warehouse, until she moved into her home in Georgia.

The home was not ready, yet, so Swartz moved in with her daughter in Ohio for two months.

During that two months, Swartz only incurred more moving nightmares.

“The moving company refused to take any alcohol, paint, flammable material such as my grill or my tanks for my grill, so I had to rent a U-Haul and drive it to Ohio,” she said. “I wasn’t going to get rid of my grill and tanks.”

Swartz then put those items in a storage unit in Ohio and all seemed to be going well, until the woman in State College called, informing her she had to come get her stuff.

“I drove back to State College and rented another U-Haul truck, got stuff out of the unit with my children and drove the truck back out to Ohio,” she said.

With one U-Haul truck full and other truck full of stuff in storage, Swartz’s children prompted her to get a company similar to PODS that would come in, allow her to pack up all her stuff and then arrive when she needed it.

“So that’s what I did and it was a tenth of the cost of the moving company,” she said. “I had dreamed of a mover coming in, packing up all my stuff and pulling up at my new house, putting the stuff where I tell them to, but that didn’t happen.”

Finally, it was move-in day for her home in Bainbridge. She had unloaded everything from her PODS truck, but still the moving company was nowhere to be seen.

She thought the company would arrive as promised and said she began sleeping on an air mattress.

“I slept on that air mattress until the second week of December, when they finally showed up,” she shared.

During the waiting period, Swartz said she contacted a lawyer, who told her she may never see her items again, as she had been scammed by brokers.

“I really thought I would never see my stuff again, but when she called in December I was so excited,” Swartz said.

The excitement was short-lived once Swartz saw what was in the back of the truck.

Swartz claimed she saw a few crushed and moldy boxes that looked like they belonged to her, but everything else was not hers.

“We had to take everything out of the truck and decide if it was mine or not,” she said. “I ended up with important papers from the other person, and they ended up with my bed, but the worst part was of what I did receive, 80 percent of it was moldy.”

Swartz called the New Jersey warehouse to find out what had happened and why her few belongings were so molded.

The company told Swartz they reportedly had a flood in their warehouse and she was lucky to get anything at all.

Following her original conversation with them, she tried to call back one week later, but they had disconnected their number.

Beyond the items being molded and missing, Swartz found that many items were altogether destroyed.

She pulled out a picture her grandmother had hand painted before her passing, and it had been ripped in three different places.

“This stuff isn’t replaceable,” she lamented.

However, Swartz hasn’t let this deter her. She has since called the Attorney General’s office and a lawyer. She now is on a mission to let others know of this injustice that is happening nationwide and is determined to not let others be taken advantage of.