After several months of wrangling with both companies, we've finally received payments for some of our possessions that went missing during the packing / shipping that Oceanair was responsible for. I believe that the packers at Oceanair deliberately manipulated my packing manifest and shipping inventories to allow them to steal thousands of dollars worth of electronics from me during this move.
Essentially anything we shipped by sea that was an electronic item, never made it back to California. This included:
- 2 macbook pros
- 1 sony vaio
- 1 asus eeepc
- 1 nabaztag
- 2 sony psps
- lots of various minor electronics (digital picture frames, ipods, etc...)
If you look at the paperwork we signed, there were boxes labeled "electronics", but in the end several boxes that got packed, seemed to be left off the manifest completely. With two guys working in our flat at a breakneck pace it would have been easy for them to skip labeling a couple of the boxes on their way down to the truck, and that is exactly what I believe happened.
If you are moving in the UK, I would recommend that you find someone else to do your packing and shipping. I know that I'll never use Oceanair International again, and I'll be encouraging my employer to never use this sub-contrator again either.
From this experience, I've got some tips on moving:
- Do your own inventory. Don't let the packers seal a single box, until you have seen what is in it.
- Count each box that goes out the door and compare that count to your own inventory. If your inventory doesn't match the number of boxes going out the door, tell the packers to empty their truck and find the missing boxes.
- Make sure there is someone in the room with every packer at all times. Don't trust them.
- Make a photo inventory and capture serial numbers on all of your valuables, and submit it to the moving company before they pack.
- Add a call-home application to any computer that is going to be shipped, and make sure it has an encrypted drive and requires authentication to boot up. Even better, erase the hard drive on any computer that will be out of your control.