Q: I recently moved, and the moving company lost or stole about $1,200 worth of my belongings. The movers were unresponsive, so I filed complaints with the BBB and Maryland Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection. Neither could resolve my complaint.
I disputed the $682 in moving charges with Chase, the credit card company I used to pay for the move. They issued a credit for the cost of the move and said it was “final.” I eventually settled with the moving company, accepting about $266 out of the $1,200.
I thought the $266 plus the credit card credit was fair.
Case closed, right? Not exactly.
Five months later, Chase reversed the credit and said the charges were valid. I was told I could appeal. I did. I received a response yesterday to my appeal letter, saying not only are the charges valid, but Chase had contacted the credit reporting bureaus about this.
Talk about adding insult to injury. How can they legally contact the credit bureaus about this when my bills are paid in full each month and I was just disputing a charge?
— Steven Schuster, Baltimore
A: Your moving company should have delivered your property to your new address. All of it. When it didn’t, it should have responded to your damage claim, or at the very least, worked with the BBB or the state attorney general to get this resolved.
Disputing the cost of your move in order to recover your damages is a little unorthodox. It assumes the value of your damaged goods is equal to the value of your missing items.
I might have taken the moving company to small claims court, instead. The state of Maryland caps small claims at $5,000 and you don’t need a lawyer to go to court. A credit card dispute, as I’ve often said, should be your last resort.
But what’s even more unorthodox about this case is that you eventually settled with the moving company. That settlement, it seems, gave the moving company the ammunition it needed to reopen your case and overturn the dispute that had already been decided in your favor.
You might have appealed this to someone higher up at Chase. They’re easy to contact by email. Addresses follow the convention firstname.lastname@example.org. But after reviewing your paperwork, I concluded that would have been a long shot.
Instead, I decided to contact Chase on your behalf. To me, this looked like a series of misunderstandings — a chain of events that started when your moving company lost your property and then gave you the silent treatment. You deserve better.
Chase reversed its decision and issued a credit for $682. This time, for good.
This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.
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