Moving Company Scraps Auction Of Service Member Items Amid Social Media Outrage

Family & Relationships
Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Eric S. Garst

Family-owned Bay Area Movers in Portsmouth, Virginia, planned to clear out room for storage by auctioning off abandoned household items. The problem? The moving company has 105 crates containing 47 service members’ household goods, some of which have gone unclaimed for 22 years — and a big misunderstanding followed by a social media firestorm forced them to cancel the auction.

The issue arose when the auction post advertising the event displayed boxes that weren't part of the auction, according to Bay Area Movers. Gene Daniels Auctioneers, the group that wrote the advertisement, wrongly suggested the boxes could include "HIDDEN TREASURES" collected and lost by veterans overseas.

As a result, the ad seemed to indicate that the company was pilfering the storage lockers of service members in search of war memorabilia to make a quick buck. Indeed, some of the items included in the image belonged to a service member who dropped off his items as recently as April.

Over the course of the last week, the company’s Facebook and Yelp pages took ratings’ nosedives.

Robin Villers, vice president of Bay Area Movers,  insisted that none of the items up for auction were lost or taken by movers while military families were undergoing  permanent changes of station. Instead, it is property that was intentionally kept at the storage facility by service member. However, their government-paid storage has since expired, now at cost to the company.

Bay Area Movers also said that they have made every effort to notify these service members that their items need to be collected. Villers added that all storage space taken up by these abandoned items had gone unpaid for at least five years.

“We want the people who have been outraged to understand this personal property is very old and has been at the storage facility for decades," command spokesman Fred Rice told Military Times.

The company first opened in 1985, and it had  never held an auction prior, instead choosing to hold onto the items in case service members returned to claim them. Often moving and storage companies will take the owners to court over unpaid debt.

“We’ve never taken any military member to collections, never taken any military member to court. We don’t want to hurt them financially or hurt their credit,” Villers said. “A lot of these members are enlisted and don’t get paid a lot.”

It remains unclear if putting these items up for auction is illegal or not

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less

Airman 1st Class Isaiah Edwards has been sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military jury found him guilty of murder in connection with the death of a fellow airman in Guam, Air Force officials announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

It took four years for the Army to finally start fielding the much-hyped Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and it took soldiers less than four days to destroy one.

Read More Show Less
Capt. Jonathan Turnbull. (U.S. Army)

A soldier remains in serious condition after being injured in the deadly ISIS bombing that killed two other U.S. service members, a DoD civilian, and a defense contractor in Syria last week, Stars and Stripes reports.

Read More Show Less

A Russian man got drunk as all hell and tried to hijack an airplane on Tuesday, according to Russian news agencies.

So, pretty much your typical day in Siberia. No seriously: As Reuters notes, "drunken incidents involving passengers on commercial flights in Russia are fairly common, though it is unusual for them to result in flights being diverted."

Read More Show Less