Woman wins lawsuit against movers, still waiting to get paid
A woman who sued a Columbus moving company and won has been unable to collect her court-ordered judgment and turned to ABC6/FOX 28 for help.
"About in June of 2015, a house came available beside my mother. So, I decided to move," said Teresa Myers.
She paid Roadrunner Relocation Services to move her next door to her mom's west Columbus house. Nancy Myers made all the arrangements for her daughter.
"When I was talking to them on the phone they sounded so nice, you know and I thought this is gonna be a good company. That's what I told her. No sense looking any further, you know," said Nancy.
Roadrunner bills itself as a "full-service blanket-wrap moving company, fully licensed and insured."
But Teresa said they didn't wrap her stuff, they damaged it. They broke picture frames. They got grease on a chair. And they poked holes in her nearly-new box spring and mattress set.
When Nancy complained about the bed, Roadrunner said insurance would pay for it.
"He kept saying 'it's fifty cents per pound. How much does the mattress weigh?' How am I supposed to know? I don't know. But he offered fifty dollars," said Nancy.
Fifty dollars for a bed worth thirty times that.
"I got so frustrated I said, 'you know what? We'll just see you in court,'" said Nancy.
She and her daughter sued in Franklin County Small Claims Court. After a trial, the magistrate found that Roadrunner didn't properly wrap the bed, damaged it beyond repair, and falsified paperwork limiting Roadrunner's liability. The magistrate ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $1699.98 plus interest.
"We waited the 30 days in case they decided to appeal. [We] did not hear anything. [It] was very nice, I called them back, I said 'in case you forgot.' Did not hear a word. I have not heard a word," said Teresa.
Nick Federici owns Roadrunner, and after being stiff-armed by him, Teresa called ABC6/FOX28 and we called Roadrunner and thus began the "Roadrunner Runaround."
Federici told us to call his lawyer. His lawyer told us to call Federici. Federici told Teresa to call his lawyer. The lawyer told her he doesn't represent Roadrunner, he's just the "middle man." He suggested Teresa get a lawyer, then made her an offer.
Roadrunner would agree to pay Teresa in installments, but only if she took down negative business reviews she posted online. No deal.
"If they had won the case, you best believe within 30 days we would have either had to pay one way or the other because they would'a been garnishing our wages," said Nancy.
Columbus attorney Jake Levine said Roadrunner is stalling "because they can."
"They don't think she's is going to take this the full way," said Levine.
There are 4 ways to collect most Small Claims judgments.
- If the debtor has a bank account, you can ask a court to use that money to pay the judgment
- If you know where they work, you may garnish their wages
- If they own a home or other land, you can get a judgment lien on their real estate, but can't collect until the property is foreclosed on, refinanced, or sold
- If the debtor is a business that keeps cash on-hand, you can ask for that money
"These are all options that are on the table and when you're dealing with a debt collection issue like this against a business, you don't take any of those off the table," said Levine.
For Teresa, it comes down to getting what's owed to her.
"I work very hard. I would like to get my mattress replaced. I've earned that, you know. I really have," she said.
After we visited the Roadrunner office, Nick Federici called Teresa and offered to pay her in full if she took down the negative review and stopped our story from airing. Teresa declined and plans to pursue all available legal options to collect what's owed to her.
If you're representing yourself in court, Franklin County operates a free self-help center. It's on the 10th floor of the courthouse.