After six months of going back and forth between prospective buyers, solicitors and agents, Alan had finally sold his house and a moving date was imminent. He scoured the Yellow Pages for what he felt was the right removal company and received several quotes. He picked the one that was cheapest.
Alan was relocating to the other end of the country and was filled with anticipation. He was hopeful of his job prospects within the new company, knowing that there was plenty of scope for promotion. He also knew that the climate was distinctly different and this was another aspect he looked forward to. Being a little apprehensive about a new social circle was his only concern.
The removal company was booked and due to arrive at 8am on the Monday morning. Without definitive assurance for timing of delivery of his furniture from the removal company, Alan assumed it would take no longer than two days, assuming they had the sense to use more than one driver.
It seems the removal company, unfortunately, did not have this much sense as Wednesday saw Alan arriving at his new property furniture-less. He tried to call the removal men to get an answer phone stating that everybody was out to lunch.
He left it until 2pm, assuming that most people's lunch breaks were usually over by now and called again. This time a gruff voice answered the phone and Alan asked to speak to the person in charge. The voice at the other end said he was just the cleaner and everybody else, that's everybody else, was at Dave's leaving party.
'Who's Dave and do I really care' thought Alan, 'I just want my furniture'.
By four o'clock he was beginning to get fed up and rang the removal company yet again. This time Dave answered the phone in person, slurring that he didn't give a monkey's where Alan's furniture was as he was leaving. Steaming with fury, Alan felt helpless.
He wandered around his flat, distracting himself as to where he would set his furniture when it eventually turned up. Starting to feel cold and hungry by 7pm and realising that he wasn't getting his furniture tonight, he made his way to a nearby hotel, annoyed about the extra expense.
First thing Thursday morning, Alan called the removal company to be told by the cleaner that everyone was off sick with hangovers and he had to clear up the aftermath. He was almost as disgruntled as Alan but not quite, after all, the cleaner had a bed to lay down on that night.
A week passed and there was still no sign of his furniture. Phone calls were running into the hundreds and stress levels were at their maximum - not a good condition to begin his new job in. The removal company had come up with all manner of excuses, from staff shortages to bad weather - in June? However, they assured him that his furniture would be duly delivered by special delivery on Saturday morning.
At least this way, Alan would have the weekend to unpack, although he was beginning to get attached to his hotel room. Saturday morning arrived and found Alan sitting on his orange box in the middle of an empty floor when, at five minutes to twelve, the door bell rang. With an air of indignation, Alan felt pure relief to open the door and fine the brown coated men from the removal company standing before him, boxes in hand.
In they trudged, moaning that Alan could be more grateful, and dropped their boxes with very little care. Eventually, everything was in and shutting the door behind them, Alan knew exactly where to find the kettle and make his first cup of tea in his new place.
Well, he found the kettle ok but where was the lead - he could have sworn he packed it all together. Never mind, he found a saucepan and heated some water in this instead.
Uncovering his sofa and armchairs it became apparent that they had been used for relaxation purposes at Dave's party, complete with hangover vomit. This brought about a frenzied opening of all of Alan's furniture to find much of it had been abused.
Solicitors are now involved and the case is continuing.
Legal expert Catherine Harvey looks at an individual experience with a removal company that resulted in a court case.