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StormWarning

Caledonian Moving and Storage - Disappearance of Belongings @CaledonianMove

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In July 2012, I placed antique furniture (family heirlooms), paintings, and other personal possessions in a climate-controlled storage unit with Caledonian Moving and Storage for an agreed four-weekly sum of £60, which I faithfully paid until May 2016. So a total sum of £3,015 (inclusive an overpayment of £60).

At that time, I made arrangements with Caledonian's owner, David Howie, for my belongings to be shipped to Germany, where I now live.I paid Caledonian £2,280 by wire transfer for the shipping, which Mr. Howie confirmed in an e-mail sent 9 May 2016 that he had received.

My belongings were scheduled to be shipped in June 2016. They never arrived. I of course followed up with him extensively, to the point of emotional exhaustion. Mr. Howie stopped answering e-mails and wouldn't answer the phone when he recognised my number.

Eventually, I reached him on the telephone and he claimed that everything had been in transit, but that due to the Brexit referendum, his drivers had all cancelled and refused to take the shipment. He also gave me a personal sob story about his business being in trouble and that he was really no longer in the moving business, rather only storage, but that he would see this one shipment through and I needed to just give him some time but that he *guaranteed* I would get my belongings back.

I never heard from him again. I tried here and there to reach him, but he never answers the phone and ignores all e-mails. Once, I caught him on the telephone and he again spent a long time explaining his woes and that he's in a period of difficulty and that I just needed to be patient. It has now been years since I have been trying to get my belongs back. Quite frankly, my depression over the loss of so many family treasures - paintings by my grandmother and great-grandmother, a four-poster bed that has been in the family since the 18th century - has had me paralyzed with inaction, scared that if I "upset the apple cart," that I would never see them again. I guess at a certain point I stopped participating in the futility of the exercise, as it only worsened my pain.

 

Some months ago, I discovered that Mr. Howie is now operating as Move Care in Glasgow. The company is owned by his father; James Gibson Howie. I wrote a long e-mail to the company, begging Mr. James Gisbson Howie to intervene. David Howie called me an hour later. He assured me that he still had my belongings and that they were safely in storage. He also assured me that he intended to deliver my goods. Although I should know better by now than to trust this man, he left me with the impression of someone who owned up to his obligations, acknowledged that he has done me terribly wrong, and promised to make good on what he has been paid to do. Of course I haven't heard from him since.  

Somehow he has managed to get away with the loss of tens of thousands of pounds worth of furniture and heirlooms. The financial loss is nothing, however, compared to the sentimental loss. This was everything I owned in the world. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about something I used to have and will never see again.

I don't know how Mr. Howie can live with himself. If you search this site and read reviews elsewhere, you will come across others who have had similar misfortune in dealing with this man.

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I'm very sorry that you are having such a bad experience here. You certainly don't seem to be the only one.

 

https://www.removalreviews.co.uk/movers/caledonian-moving-and-storage-89

 

Maybe if you find any other reviews about this company you could post them up here as well.

Have you called the police? I think that you should do.

Secondly, if you can contact the owner, if he is prepared to confirm that he still has your items, then maybe you could try asking him to photograph them and then to organise your own immediate collection of them. It seems to me that you need to get them out of his custody as quickly as possible.

 

 

Also, I'm going to say that although lots of people are suspicious of this man's motives, it seems that the police have been informed several times and that they may have interviewed him but I'm not aware that they have been any police accusations of theft or dishonesty and although there may be justification for thinking that that is what is happening, maybe this is simply a very badly organised business – clearly one which not should not be trusted – but not one which is actually practising any dishonest activities.


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Hi BankFodder,

 

Thank you for your reply. I did once attempt to contact the police, and I probably should do so again. Thank you for the advice of asking for photos. I would agree that accusing someone of theft is a very serious charge, but at a certain point, it's hard to think of it as anything else. My belongings are gone. The man who has (or had) them has been playing a shell game with me for three years now. I had pretty much accepted my loss as a (terrible!) life lesson, but every now and then I come out of my depression/resignation long enough to make another attempt to reclaim my items. As you can imagine, this has been an exhausting, and soul-destroying process. I have tried to move on with my life, but the reminders of what I have lost are all too frequent.

 

As suggested, other reviews of this business that will verify my experience:

 

https://www.yelp.co.uk/biz/caledonian-moving-and-storage-glasgow

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Caledonian+Moving+and+Storage/@55.8892,-4.25279,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x954663ef275d70f8!8m2!3d55.8892!4d-4.25279

 

These are the people who owned Caledonian before it was struck off the companies register. https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC392650/officers

 

However, David Howie is still running the company under multiple other names, including MoveCare. http://movecare.co.uk/ Note he is still receiving reviews - no doubt the positive ones were written by one of his aliases - as well as responding to reviews as the owner of Caledonian. The company went bankrupt - or was struck off the register - in 2015. So why do they still have an active website? https://www.removals-scotland.com/

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Well I'm afraid that you haven't helped yourself by leaving it so long. It means even the police – if you can get them to pay attention – will take you less seriously. I would suggest if you have a Facebook account that you open up a Facebook group on this – a public group and hopefully the word will get round and other people will start posting on it. You should do what you can to contact people.

I'm afraid that we could suggest that you bring an action – but you seem to be talking about a very large amount of money which would take you well outside small claims limits and also this company seems to be based in Scotland so you may not have the usual benefit of the small claims process and I'm not sure whether suing a Scottish company from England, even though they are a business defendant whether the case would be heard in England or in Scotland. We need some additional advice on this.

Even if you won the case then I foresee considerable problems in enforcing the judgement so you could end up with fees of up to £1000 or so, a judgement and then no way of using the judgement.

I would certainly consider contacting the police in your area but also the local police to the storage area. I don't normally tell people to advise citizens advice – but maybe you should do because they will at least add it to some kind of database that may be accessible to trading standards. This won't do you very much good – but it may help people in the long run.

I'm very sorry that this is not a more positive and assertive response. I'm afraid this kind of thing these me add a bit of a loss. It's a real shame that you left it so long.

If you find some way of checking up to see if your goods are still there then that would be a very good starting point. This may mean travelling to Scotland to have a look for yourself personally.


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Yes, you're correct. I should have escalated the issue a long time ago. Because I was strung along for so long with repeated assurances of delivery and numerous sob stories about his personal troubles, David Howie was able to keep me hanging on for a resolution that didn't involve lawyers or the police. At a certain point, I was simply exhausted from dealing with it and I slipped into a long period of depression. I've recently been in contact with other of Mr. Howie's victims and will see what can be done - if anything - to make any of us whole again.

 

In the meantime, at the very least I can warn others to avoid doing business with this unscrupulous man.

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Thank you for this, Bank Fodder. I am pursuing every angle and this is most helpful.

 

I don’t suppose you know a trusted resource where I might find a good solicitor in Glasgow? At this point I have little faith that my goods are still in storage or if so, that they are undamaged. I really am seeking restitution at this point as I have no trust of the business owner. He has simply lied to me too many times.

Edited by StormWarning

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We don't make recommendations about lawyers.

I suggest that you start putting up some reviews on trust pilot and also on Facebook. I'm very surprised that there are no reviews on trust pilot whatsoever given the level of complaints which I understand have been made about this company or its predecessors.

I think you will be very helpful if you would post up all the various incarnations of this company which have existed over the past seven or eight or nine years.

I suggest also that you find other people have been affected and asked them to come here and post new threads.


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Ok thank you for those tips. There is a lot of negative information out there already.

This story, for example: https://www.commercialmotor.com/news/o-licence-revoked-allowing-out-control-son-take-over.

 

Quote

O-licence revoked for allowing 'out of control' son to take over

15 August 2016
Ashleigh Wight
Compliance
 


A removals partnership that demonstrated a “shallow” commitment to road safety by allowing the partners’ son to take control has been stripped of its O-licence.

Traffic commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken said that Glasgow-based partnership James Gibson Howie and Eileen Howie, who traded as Removals Scotland, gained a licence to give to their son, David Howie, before “reverting to pre-occupation with their own lives”.

Aitken disqualified James and Eileen Howie indefinitely and said that David Howie would have to attend a public inquiry (PI) if he applies for another O-licence.

A PI in July was told that the operator ran more vehicles than the two authorised on its O-licence, and traded as Caledonian Removals and Storage without informing the TC of the change.  It had not used the operating centre listed on its O-licence and had found no alternative site.

There was no transport manager controlling the vehicles and drivers since the transport manager named on its O-licence, Stewart Savage, stepped down in 2012. The TC had not been made aware of his resignation and David Howie had instead taken control of the HGV operation, despite being unqualified to do so.

 

And this one: https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14660275.couple-behind-glasgow-removals-firm-disqualified-over-licence-breaches/

 

Quote

Couple behind Glasgow removals firm disqualified over licence breaches

By Helen McArdle
Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken
 
     0 comment
 

AN "outwardly respectable" couple behind a Glasgow-based removals business have been stripped of their operators licence indefinitely after an inquiry found they allowed their son to drive without the correct qualifications and lied to investigators.

James and Eileen Howie, directors of Removals Scotland, have been disqualified after the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, Joan Aitken, ruled that they had a "shallow" attitude to road safety.

Miss Aitken said the couple, from King's Park in Glasgow, had been let down by their "out of control son", David Howie, adding that it was "more likely than not that he is at the centre of all that has gone wrong" at the Possilpark removals firm.

However, she stressed that their behaviour had been "irresponsible and inexcusable".

A public inquiry into the running of the Removals Scotland was called after complaints from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The alarm was raised after a DVSA examiner pulled over one of the company's vehicles on the A74 in August 2015 because it was not displaying an operator's licence.

 

David Howie, who was driving, said he was en route to Chester and was filling in as a "one-off" after the driver supposed to do the job was unable to work. However, it emerged that Mr Howie was not licensed to drive a lorry and did not hold the CPC training certificate required by professional drivers.

 

So I suspect my situation is far from unique.

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To be blunt, OP, one approach to this horrendous problem of yours is staring you in the face: Helen McCardle. She is the reporter bylined in the Evening Times report (above).

 

The problem faced by many victims of criminal behaviour is that they can't get newspaper publicity of their plight because media works on the basis that if a story is already running, then it's an established fact and can be capitalised upon in future. |If it isn't already running, then maybe it's not a story at all.

 

Remember: the definition of "news" is that which the Editor of one paper thinks the Editor of another paper is going to publish next day.

 

Victims of fraud etc can't 'break through' a newspaper's  reluctance to publicise their situation, and are thus so often left with the desperate hope that the unimpressive showbiz offering 'Watchdog' from the BBC is the answer to their ills. It isn't. Watchdog is a national publicity platform and isn't in the habit of going national with the tale of a single individual's experience. Nor does it employ an investigative team to go out and dig up the facts on a case to see if others, elsewhere, have been affected. It waits and waits and waits and maybe one day gets around to actually screening an item that's been under consideration for many a month, though not necessarily to any individual's particular benefit..

 

Although you don't realise it, you have already got yourself into a strong position thanks to the good luck of the reportage of the Traffic Commissioners. You're attached to a "running story" now . . . one that has broken out through no efforts of your own, and which should be regarded as a horse upon which you should ride forthwith and, hopefully, steer. Don't let it gallop out of sight.

 

You even have the name of a regional newspaper journalist to contact, one already flly acquainted with much of the background and highly likely to be well disposed towards you..

 

It's also a fact of life that police-follow-Press as much as Press follow what the police are doing. Let the journalists ask the police what they're doing in regard to the investigation and prosecution of this man -- though of course, you're going to have to use your own imagination and resources to locate the items you believe to be "lost", and retrieve them as fast as possible. Do not leave them (assuming they are still there, and haven't already been disposed of) in the hands of that company and its proprietor.

 

Newspaper reports are here today, fish 'n chip wrappings tomorrow. Hopefully there's still time for you to capitalise on the recent media interest in this man and his business by contacting that named journalist as soon as possible. Good luck!

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