Problem Solver: Movers crash armoire through window

Company declines Naperville resident's claim, then won't return his calls

Dave Gargas

Dave Gargas used Midway Moving to move in June. In the process, the movers lowered his armoire from the third floor window -- and it went crashing through the second-floor window. They then denied his claim for $540 for the replacement. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / January 16, 2014)

Dave Gargas knew the armoire was going to be an issue.

Years ago, the delivery company had to take it apart to get it into his upstairs condo in the Lakeview neighborhood. So when Gargas was preparing to move to Naperville last summer, he tried to disassemble the armoire himself, but he wasn't successful.

When employees from Midway Moving and Storage arrived June 25, they, too, had trouble getting the armoire apart.

"They said: 'You know what? We do this all the time. We'll lower it out the window,'" Gargas said.

His condo occupied the second and third floors of the building, so the movers carefully wrapped the armoire and began lowering it by rope through the third-floor window.

"I immediately ran downstairs to make sure everything was OK," Gargas said.

It wasn't.

The armoire swung away from the building. Then it swung back.

"Just as I was getting to the second floor, I saw it smashing through the window," Gargas said. "There was glass everywhere."

The movers assured him there was no reason to worry, that Midway would pay for the damage, he said. Gargas immediately called his real estate agent, who spoke to the people who had purchased his condo.

The buyers insisted Gargas have the window boarded up and then replaced, which he agreed to. The board-up company charged him $300; the new window cost $240.

When his furniture arrived in Naperville, everything was intact. Gargas signed the bill of lading indicating nothing was broken. There was no spot on the form to indicate the window at his old condo had been broken, he said.

"(The movers) said that the delivery confirmation was only for the goods moved and that the window would be handled separately," Gargas said.

He paid almost $2,000 for the move and the extra $540 for the window repair. After all of the bills were settled, Gargas filled out a claim form requesting reimbursement for the repair.

On Sept. 3, he received a letter detailing the moving company's response.

"Upon review, I regret to inform you that Midway must deny your claim," it said. "Midway denies liability for claimed damage items based on your signed Bill of Lading."

Gargas was floored. After several calls to Midway, he spoke to the woman who runs the claims department.

"She seemed to not fully understand what happened, so she told me she would speak to her manager … and get back to me that week," Gargas said.

In the months that followed, Gargas said, he called Midway repeatedly but could not get anyone to talk to him.

"It's obvious they don't return calls or emails, especially to anyone whose money they already have," he said.

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