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International shipment of furniture and personal items still not shown up...we've paid in full...what can we do?

(13 Posts)
UmSami Thu 30-Oct-08 10:19:29

Would really appreciate some advice from any Legally minded individuals out there...
We have moved overseas (Saudi Arabia) within the last year, and have 'recently' shipped our furniture and personal items from the UK...but, it's been one problem after another and we are not sure what to do next.
In late July, early August we started making plans to ship furniture and contacted a number of companies for quotes...we, of course, went with the cheapest quote...but it was also a company that family had used before...
In early august we confirmed with the company that we would be using them and asked re money transfer.
There were problems with contact, and DH didnt manage to get in touch with person dealing with account for a long time, most corres done via e-mail
Money was finally transferred in full in late aug/early sept...DH was advised that shipment would be dispatched almost immediately and time from shipping to arrival in port was approx 3 weeks.
After money transfer heard nothing, hubby sent numerous e-mails from Saudi advising that I am leaving UK soon and shipment needs to be collected...nothing.
Finally I phone company...speak to woman handling account (its a travel agency that also arranges shipments)...she was 'shocked' that the shipping company hadn't contacted me as she had given them my number...my question...why didnt you follow up...anyway, they didnt pick up the shipment before I left and it was left to fam to sort out...the travel company adv that it was their first time using the shippers and the person managing the account had gone on holiday not passing it to anyone else...it was not their fault...they were trying to help hmm...am very cynical as I had to chase them to find out anything, they never called when they promised to, and they considered it acceptable to tell me to delay my trip to london to catch flight to KSA when I was 35 weeks pregnant and traveling with 2 yr old alone...
Anyway, after alot of headaches, shipping co turned up to storage facilirty and collected furniture at agreed time...
They forgot a mattress in stairwell, FIL had to rearrange storage, and contact company to collect...by this point it was 19/09...Friday..
Company agreed to recollect on Monday 22/09...didnt turn up, finally turned up few days later.
We dont hear anything...so DH starts chasing Travel angents again...this time it is the person their that is on holiday so DH ends up speaking to company owner...
Shipping co have not dispatched cargo, first they state that because they did not have matterss they missed cargpo hold and incurred costs as container was not full to capacity...they argued it was our fault that mattress was not taken, we argued that as they had removed it from strorage it was their responsibility, they wanted to charge us an additional 50% of shipping cost!
then they argued it was packed incorrectly so we have to pay extra, this delayed shipment too...DH points out that packing was supposed to be included...this was only a verbal agreement tho...and he did state that everything was packed...which it was but not in a way they accepted...
Anyhoo, TA took our side and argued with shippers, who did not help their case saying that they had been unable to contact TA to discuss,,,apparantly however TA's must have 24 hour contact no and this is the number the shippers had...
Begrudingly and after several e-mails to TA calling DH a liar shippers agreed to swallow cost and it was agreed that items would be sent 5th? Oct for arrical in port 24 oct! We were unhappy with previous delays as baby due 29th oct and car seat, cot, bouncy chair etc etc etc in shipment, but had no choice but to accept.
Oh Shippers also tried to supplement cost by approx 300 as stated that volume due to extra packing now beyond volume quoted...we were hmm due to prev conv and fact that plenty of room in storage facility prior to re-pack.
It was agreed that DH would first recieve goods before extra money paid, and basically it was his call if reasonable or not, if not TA would swallow cost...
Anyhoo...24th came and went, DH waiting for weekend to be over and contacted TA...again many e-mails later finally get a reply...phone no of port shock dh chases himself, and they adv not recieved and nothing expected from UK til NOV 5th at earliest!
Again contact to TA...3 e-mails later, a forwarded e-mail from shippers to TA saying they are looking into this! angry
Ultimately we are furious...baby is now overdue and we have to buy extra car seat at least and moses basket stand, poss chair, push chair, cot, they are still taking no responsibility...
We are stuck in PIL's house as no furniture...
We are paying rent on empty appt.
Am also terrified that shipment lost as irreplaceble prof photo's of PFB as well as many of his toys in shipment...
Does anyone have any idea of what to do next, what recourse do we have?...DH wants to claim any expenses re baby incurred...I doubt he has hope in hell...Can we issue court proceedings from here...
I'm just very angry, this is really not something we need right now...It's 2 months since we paid and one headache after another...
Sorry it's long...if you've read this far thank you!

SqueakyPop Thu 30-Oct-08 10:27:54

Presumably it's insured

ShinyPinkPumpkin Thu 30-Oct-08 10:32:17

When I moved back from overseas I was advised to expect an 8-10 week lead time on shipping. That was from Singapore back to the UK.

Did you not have a written agreement/contract with the company?
I know I did and it stipulated sailing dates etc.

SqueakyPop Thu 30-Oct-08 10:33:26

We knew everything about our shipment too, SPP.

UmSami Thu 30-Oct-08 10:40:47

SqueakyPop [panic] you'd think so wouldnt you? I would presume that any contract would involve this...but first time at this...will ak dh to see if he knows, to be honest dh arranged whole thing and he is a novice too, TA company used before by his DP's and no probs, he just took their advice...I really hope we are not going to be burnt here.

ShinyPinkPumpkin (love the name btw), most comms via e-mail but have never seen paper contract, dont think there was oine as agreed whilst DH in KSA...its an arab thing...TA is arab owned, have worked with before...all based on gentlemans handshake! In their defense manager was very supportive against shippers trying to charge unreasonably, and they have swallowed extra volume costs with nothing more than verbal agreement that dh will pay extra if sems reasonable...I see the TA as honorable but disorganised...

mumoverseas Thu 30-Oct-08 10:43:19

OH NO! I saw this thread and thought I'd read it as we are thinking of shipping things back to the UK next year and was gutted to see it was you UmSami! So sorry I can't give advice you need from legal point of view, as you know, its not my area! However, if it helps, I'm very hormonal too at the moment (although am not due to deliver any day like you) so I'm quite happy to go and kick someones arse here in Riyadh if that helps?
Also, if it helps, we've got some of Gracie's things you could borrow until yours turn up. Insha'allah? Could help with car seat (Graco one which fits onto the pram) from birth to about 9 months. Obviously we'll need it back for around February but hopefully you'll have your stuff by then. Again, insha'allah! No cot/moses basket because as you know,I wasn't having anymore and gave it away but gave it to a neighbour whose DD must have outgrown it my now so will ask her. Will text you later when I've charged my phone and put credit on it.
WE WILL get you out of MIL's! ps. let me know when little one comes, will come and visit you in hospital xxx

mumoverseas Thu 30-Oct-08 10:45:10

ps Umsami, remember we are in Saudi where they only have one speed! I received a letter from DD's boarding school in UK last month that took 5 weeks to arrive!xx

annh Thu 30-Oct-08 11:52:03

It's not much help now but why did you have this unusual arrangement of using the shipping company via a travel agent? It's difficult to follow all of your story but it sounds like too many people involved in two different companies. Who is the actual contract for shipping with? If it is with the shipping company, then cut out the travel agent who doesn't seem to be adding much to the mix and deal only with that company. Are they an international company? Are your husband's company involved in the relocation? Are they paying for it? In which case, a call from them will, sadly, probably be more effective. Were you given a shipping estimate when you signed the contract? I think it will take several weeks at least for stuff to be shipped and you then have to wait for it to clear from customs at the port. This is something which is usually done by the shipping company or their local agent. Do they have a local agent? Who will be organising the clearance and local delivery?

Short term, you need baby stuff so throw yourself on the mercy of the expat community there. We had a similar situation when I gave birth abroad to ds2 while all our stuff was still in storage - due to house renovation running over, not shipping probs - and had to call into our only friends on the way home from the hospital to borrow a carseat and carry cot. We had only been in the country a few months and I was reluctant to ask people I barely knew for help but in retrospect, people would have been only too happy to help. All expats have been new once, some of us several times, and people really are willing to bend over backwards for newcomers in difficulty.

UmSami Thu 30-Oct-08 12:27:11

Thanks for that mumoverseas...I know its not your area, thats why I didn't ask...hope I didn't offend!
Thanks for the arse kicking offer too, hope hormones arent driving you (and DH, DD1 & DD2)too mad...I really am quite scary right now...thankfully everyone here is just finding it funny...I say thankfully but you know it makes me want to hit them!
I wish it was just a case of a Riyadh arse kicking, but, unless the port have messed up completely (which, lets face it, is always a possibility)I think it's a UK thing...DH is on the phone as we speak so fingers crossed!...Suprise suprise, they are STILL looking into it angry but at least he now has the name of saudi company...[frustration]!
Anyhoo, sorry I'm moaning...main thing I wanted to say was THANK YOU for offer of loan of baby stuff, I'd really appreciate the car seat...thats whats bothering me most! I am hoping (maybe naiively (?) really cant spell at mo! blush) that 'stuff' will be here by mid Nov...have to be optimistic...and lets face it, if it's not here by then it's prob not coming...Optimism swiftly flies from window!
Blinkin 'ek I can talk! I'm gonna shut up now...off to mothercare for pj's for me...gotta look glam in hospital (excuse me whilst I choke from laughter!)
Talking of glam, any news on hairdresser?!
Oh and I'll hold you to that visit! xxx

mumoverseas Thu 30-Oct-08 12:36:21

hi UmSami, no worries ref car seat, do you want the pram that goes with it (its one that you can plonk the car seat on so you don't have to wake the little cherub up) -ooh can I say cherub here? We have borrowed a car (hurrah!) for the weekend as after DH crashed ours we have no idea when it will be back from being repaired. Its a nasty little metallic green ford focus, just what you want in Riyadh! Anyway, we are out to Kingdom tomorrow pm going to brunch at spazios (have you been there yet?) so could drop it off to you if you'd like? Either that or bring to NG hospital when your little one finally arrives? Let me know what is best. (must go and locate my phone and top up card!)
oh, word of warning ref hospital. When I had Gracie I remember one of the nurses kept coming in (the day after she was born) saying that the doctor was going to come and see me so could I put my abaya on! I said if she thought I was getting out of bed the day after a c section to put a sodding abaya on she could think again. As a ob/gynie doctor he must have seen it all before so he could take it or leave it!
Alex, being Alex, forgot to get hairdressers mobile number but I'll get it for you. See you soon xxx

Buda Thu 30-Oct-08 12:39:32

Can't help with legalities but am sending sympathy as I have done the moving thing and I know what it is like.

Just a thought re volume. If the shippers packed for overseas transport it will take up much more space than your packing in a self storage facility which is what I think you were saying is where your stuff was. So that could be the reason for the increase in volume/cost.

UmSami Fri 31-Oct-08 09:37:10

Hi mumoverseas thanks for that! Think I've seen your message too late to ask you to drop off car seat lol...not to worry we'll arrange something! Am angry angry angry right now as am finally experiencing first hand the stupidity that is the Riyadh medical system...I have made it clear since I was in UK that there is no way that I was giving ANYONE my baby after birth...they have a stupid idea that they NEED to take the baby 6 hours after birth to observe...my obgyn, who is a friend, had initially said in conversation to DH that it won't have to happen...but now she is saying that they have to, it's hospital policy and that she can't do anything to stop it...she adv that there are no paeds (even paediatric nurses) on mat wing so baby has to go to nursery in case of probs...Think I may just have digressed on this thread! SORRY just fuming! Can you see the smoke?!
Anyway I am off to post on AIBU before my head explodes!
Thanks for chasing the no for me...lol at Alex, I'm just the same!
Hope you enjoy brunch...'mabrook' on the car...can totally sympathise...you're a brave woman going out in anything less than armoured truck here...We've been driving rented Renault Megane for months whilst the Ikama is sorted...Rami's itching for a proper car! For those in the uk...this is no disrespect to either ford focus or renault megane drivers...but here the cars are BIG and drivers are nuts...you dont EVER cross the road on foot, you drive a block and park on the otherside...ITS SCARY!
Oh good news...well I'm excited...got my P&T yesterday...yay. And even better news, saved 1000SAR, MC in Granada has a reduction on the red ones, and as it's red or sand or apple without double only hmm here I was happy!I know you were looking at it...now might be the time...Sorry R!
Sorry bout rant, see you soon! If you dare! xxx
Buda if you're still reading God bless you! Thanks for the support, don't object to paying more re volume if reasonable, but after everything else am very hmm
Still no news...will get DH to call AGAIN today...they were supposed to call yesterday pm but of course didnt

mumoverseas Fri 31-Oct-08 10:27:52

hey UmSami, will try to catch you on AIBU thread, if not will phone later. Just off to spazios, yummy!

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