• 150 military families say Jacksonville-based Suddath Relocation Services made their move a disaster

    By: Jenna Bourne, Action News Jax

    Updated:

    PDF: Florida Sen. Bill Nelson sends letter to U.S. Transportation Command

    More than 150 military families say a Jacksonville-based moving company made their move a disaster, complaining of delays and ruined belongings.

    Action News Jax first exposed complaints on Thursday about military families spending weeks stranded without their belongings after the military assigned Suddath Relocation Systems to be their mover.

    Since then, dozens of military families have personally shared their stories with Action News Jax.

    A group of about 150 people have joined a Facebook group within the past month to vent their frustrations about Suddath military moves.

    “It feels like, up until your story, no one has cared about what’s going on,” said Navy wife Brianna Turner.

    After the Navy assigned the Turner family’s move to Suddath Relocation Systems, Turner said they slept in sleeping bags and on air mattresses for more than a month while they waited for their moving truck to show up.

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    “We’re close to, honestly, about $1,000 in the hole because of this company. And, sorry, I’m getting emotional,” said Turner. “But it was hard to see our kids go through it.”

    Julie Stephenson’s family is still waiting on Suddath to deliver their belongings.

    “This is the living room: Two air mattresses, two chairs – lawn chairs – and a TV,” said Stephenson, an Army wife.

    She said she and her husband bought the TV to keep the kids entertained in their empty house.

    Stephenson said her family has already been without their stuff for a month.

    She said Suddath now tells them they’ll have to wait another month.

    “No one wants to help you. No one wants to answer for it. It’s all up to a company that just doesn’t care,” said Stephenson.

    A Suddath spokesperson said the company blames delays on a truck driver shortage.

    That spokesperson also said, “Military relocations typically involve high volumes of moves to smaller markets,” especially problematic during the summer “peak season.”

    The company points to its 4.6-star average review on Google, and said Suddath has a 94 percent on-time delivery rate.

    “It’s hard just not to break down and cry,” said Army wife April O’Neill.

    A driver shortage does not explain what happened the O’Neill family, as well as several other families who’ve shared their stories with Action News Jax.

    Not only did O’Neill face delays, she said $15,000-worth of her belongings were damaged.

    She filed a claim for 110 broken and missing items.

    “Military moves are hard enough financially, emotionally. But to see everything you own in the back of a truck, covered in filth, and broken is just heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking,” said O’Neill.

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    Action News Jax called and emailed Suddath’s spokesperson on Friday asking what the company will do to fix the issues these military families said they’re having.

    The spokesperson did not respond, so Action News Jax showed up at the company’s Jacksonville headquarters to get answers for military families.

    After waiting for 40 minutes, a woman who identified herself as the head of Human Resources said the spokesperson was in a meeting and offered to try to set up an appointment for next week.

    Click here to read full statement from Suddath's CEO. 

    Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is taking action because of this story.

    Earlier this week, Action News Jax brought our findings to Sen. Nelson, who is a senior member of the Committee on Armed Services.

    On Wednesday, Sen. Nelson sent a letter to the head of U.S. Transportation Command asking him to investigate whether there’s enough oversight of military moving contractors. He also wants a breakdown of how those contractors are chosen. 

    Sen. Marco Rubio spokesperson Olivia Perez-Cubas said military members who are having issues should “contact our office, and we of course would be happy to help."

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