I hope that this blog will be of help to anyone moving to France. We had planned, researched and made a two page list of who to contact and which removal firm we would employ to take our furniture to France. Most of our furniture was being transported to Daglan due to the fact that the pieces held sentimental value for us; we needed to trust the firm we were going to hire.
My husband wanted to hire a man with a van and travel with him but my son and I wanted to be reassured that the many items would get to Daglan in one piece. So we did spend quite a lot of money for a specialist international removal firm to pack, collect and deliver our new home. The pleasant representative who visited us for the quotation said delivery would be within a month. Signed and sealed, dates set and the move begins.
First my husband and son drove to Daglan with the cats; it was a thirty hour drive with breaks every two hours to attend to cat needs. I flew over a few days later to stay in France while my husband and son flew back to England to oversee the packing and collection.
The removal firm arrived late due to traffic problems but once they arrived they were quick and efficient, they did pack everything for us, collected it and stored everything away until a delivery slot was available.
The removal lorry in England.
The first delivery date they gave us was the 19th October, great I thought it will be delivered before winter. That date the company cancelled due to unforeseen events, which were not explained to us. 28th October was our next date, again cancelled due to unforeseen events; we emailed and phone everyday. I wanted to know what the “unforeseen events” were. Has the lorry broken down? Have they sent our home to Mexico by mistake? Have they lost everything? Or will our home be on ebay at any moment? Each day no answer was given.
By early November it was starting to get very cold here with some frosty mornings or cold damp fog. Taking the word that our goods would be with us within a month we had no winter clothes with us in France and I was also in need of my orthopaedic mattress due to back problems, so I was in a lot of pain without it. Paul and I bought thermal vests, winter sweaters and trousers.
On Friday 13th November almost a month after the first projected delivery date our goods arrived. We were expecting a lorry that was similar to the one in the first picture, as described in their catalogue, as promised by their representative and as discussed with their packing team.
We spoke to the neighbours explaining that a large lorry would be blocking the square for a couple of hours and what we got was:-
A man in a van with a trailer, spot the difference!
I honestly did not know if I should laugh or cry. The latter seemed to be the most appropriate. To be fair they did get most of our home items to us, we are still waiting for a rather valuable wardrobe. Friday 13th November, the date itself should have given us a warning.
It stands to reason that one hundred and twenty one cartons measuring over 900 cubic feet being crammed into the above will not go without damage or breakage. However, after I had got over the shock I became hopeful our home was here at last.
Then my husband and I started to unpack, the dinning room chairs had been taped into sacks with no protection for the legs at all, it is no surprise that they were gouged and badly scratched.
The nest of tables had a broken leg and the phone table went the same way as the chairs, glass in pictures frames was smashed… the list goes on.
1/ So in short we did our research, and still wound up with a terrible experience.
2/ Watch how they pack all of your items, or pack yourself.
3/ Make sure that you get a delivery date in writing; a phone call does not count, apparently.
4/ Make sure, it must be written down, that they will deliver your items in a lorry that is mentioned on their website and brochure.
5/ Insure all of your items just in case they get lost or damaged. We insured through their company, so we will wait and see what happens with that.
6/ Make sure that you really need everything from your home or could you buy new furniture in the country to which you are moving to, this will save money and worry. Our items were of sentimental value collected over almost forty five years of marriage, we wanted them safe and they were not safe at all.
O.K that is my very large moan over with, it is very upsetting but we are here in Daglan with fabulous new and old friends that have been wonderful to us and welcomed us into their village. The markets are great; fresh food, wine etc we have a Christmas market to go to next Saturday. So it is not all bad news.
Update :-The wardrobe arrived this morning, 28th November, over seven weeks after collection, completely unwrapped and minus any protection other than a few blankets thrown over it. It was explained that customs asked for it be unpacked. As expected the damage was obvious, scratched in three places, a chunk of wood gouged out in another and there was a door handle missing.