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Longmont man says furniture held hostage in battle between insurance, moving and storage company

Longmont man says furniture held hostage in insurance battle
Posted at 9:54 PM, Aug 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-08 00:57:00-04

LONGMONT, Colo. — A Longmont man says a dispute between his insurance company and a moving and storage company left him without his furniture for months while the bill kept increasing.

The situation started with a sewer backup in Tony Landi's home.

"Easter morning, I got up. And in the basement, the sewage was backed up," he said. "You don't want to say, 'Well, hang on. Let me take two weeks to get prices from everybody,' because your basement's full of sewage."

His remediation company wanted to move out the basement furniture. They recommended The Contents Company, a moving and storage business based in Colorado Springs.

Landi believed the expense would be covered by his insurance policy and signed on with the company without discussing prices.

"They moved about half of the basement — so they moved about 450 square-feet of furniture" he said. "I just signed the iPad. I had no idea how much it would cost, but I've moved a whole house for $5,000. So, I mean, how much could it cost to move a few couches and chairs and stuff and put them in storage?"

When the invoice arrived in May, Landi had sticker shock. It totaled more than $18,000.

The Contents Company had a long list of itemized expenses, including 72 hours of packing and moving, as well as more than $1,500 for "overhead" and more than $1,500 for "profit."

Emails provided by Landi show that Travelers Insurance and The Contents Company went back and forth for months, arguing about the cost.

"I think it's unreasonable. It's excessive," Landi said. "My furniture isn't even worth that much money."

The emails show that the Travelers adjuster insisted that $8,500 was a "fair and reasonable" payment for the move and less than two months of storage. The Contents Company's representative argued that the invoices were "fair and reasonable."

In June, The Contents Company sent an email stating the outstanding balance was more than $21,000.

While the charges continued going up, Landi's basement sat empty. He and his wife have been forced to take their laundry to a laundromat every week since the moving company took their washer and dryer. Landi's spice pantry was also packed in the boxes.

"Cooking is difficult. Doing laundry is difficult. Relaxing is difficult," Landi said. "Basically they didn't ruin my life, but they made it hard for the past few months."

Ashley Contrascere with the Contents Company sent Contact Denver7 an email stating in part, "Upon review, we see a few discrepancies."

She blamed the Travelers adjuster for the impasse and wrote.

"Unless there is a policy limit there is no reason that Mr. Landi should need to come out of pocket. We are willing to work with the carrier [Travelers Insurance], but need communication to do so," Contrascere wrote.

Contrascere said the revised invoice with storage through August 14 is $12,210.73.

Meawhile, a Travelers Insurance spokeswoman also responded to Contact Denver7, saying, "We are sympathetic to our customer's issue and continuing to work with them and the storage company to resolve the claim."

Landi said that for the first time in months, he is now hopeful a resolution is possible.

"I feel elated. So hopefully, this will get settled soon. I might have my couch and be watching TV next week," said Landi.

As a result of this experience, Landi said he has learned lessons he wants to pass on to others.

  • Slow down. It's hard when there is sewage in your basement or you are in crisis, but Landi wishes he had talked to his adjuster first. He believes the insurance company likely would have replaced his furniture instead of storing it.
  • Get several estimates. Landi hired the first company recommended and did not compare it with other company's estimates.
  • Get it in writing. Even if you think your insurance company will cover costs, get the estimate for moving and storage costs in writing and double-check to make sure it is a standard amount.

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