Originally published on Oct. 29, 2021

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. (WCCO) — A family that moved back to Minnesota this summer has waited months for their household goods and personal belongings as everything they own is stuck 1,300 miles away.

Terry Xiong and Aninta Vang’s new home in New Brighton is furnished with empty walls and bare rooms. The couple has five children who eat on the floor because there’s no place to sit. In the kitchen, no refrigerator is seen and air beds are set up in each room. It’s a lifestyle the couple was not prepared for.

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In July, the family hired a moving company called Van Lines Inc. to move their belongings from California to Minnesota. Van Lines says it subcontracted a third-party company to deliver the items by the end of July. However, four months later Xiong says they still haven’t received any delivery.

“It’s devastating. Moving back to Minnesota, we’re hoping to restart our lives after a pandemic to buy a new home. For it to feel like it’s not a home, it’s stressful to the family and kids,” Xiong said.

The third-party carrier hauled away about $130,000 worth of furniture, appliances, clothes, toys and other items from the family. In order to make sure Xiong’s family has the minimal items to continue living, he had to spend more money for some household goods.

The third-party agent tells Xiong his belongings are being held at a storage unit in Henderson, Nevada, but Xiong can’t be too sure.

“There were pictures but from looking at the pictures, they’re not my items,” he said.

Adding to the misery, the storage unit is listed under a different name. Xiong says the storage company in Nevada threatened to auction the items because the person the unit is under has not been paying the fees. Xiong says fortunately the storage company held off on auctioning the items.

Aninta Vang held back tears saying: “It’s really hard, we have five kids, and I just don’t know what to do. The only thing I want is our products back. We just don’t know what to do with nothing.”

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Vang says the kids don’t have their toys nor their winter gear for the cold months. The family is holding out as long as possible in anticipation of getting their things back.

WCCO spoke to Van Lines on the phone. The company says they have refunded Xiong his money. However, the third-party agent has not. Van Lines says under contract any items lost or damaged are not Van Lines responsibility. Instead, the third-party agent is liable for those items. Xiong disagrees.

“I didn’t hire the third-party they subcontracted out to. I hired Van Lines and now they’re trying to recuse any responsibility for the situation,” Xiong said.

Xiong wants other consumers to beware. He advises taking a photo of the carrier’s driver’s license and DOT number. Xiong says his next steps are to follow up with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, who have governance over the household movers. Xiong says he also filed a complaint with the Nevada District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Department.

Xiong and others have filed complaints on the BBB website regarding the same third-party movers. Xiong says he filed a claim with his insurance, but because the third-party agent says Xiong’s items are in storage, insurance will not count it as lost items.

The family tells WCCO previously they have confirmed Sept. 30 as a new delivery date, but the third-party agent never showed up. Xiong says currently he is waiting for the third-party agent to sign over the storage unit to his name.

“This is where we feel like it’s helpless,” Xiong said. “We just get pushed around and everyone we reached out to so far keeps referring us to someone else.”

WCCO contacted the third-party agent but they declined to speak to us.

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