Couple's shock after removal firm goes bust
A COUPLE who used a Clifton removal company that went bust were appalled to find their possessions stored among a damp, messy pile of wet containers and rotting clothes.
Development manager Hannah Russell, 39, and her architect partner Tom Russell, 43, used Rosenkavalier, based in Boyces Avenue, to help them move house from Montpelier to Kingsdown in July 2011.
The move went well but the couple left half of their possessions – including 30 years worth of books, family photos and furniture – stored with the company.
They were supposed to receive invoices for payment every month but by February this year the invoices had stopped.
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The pair tried to get in touch with the company via the phone number listed on its website and via the number of its Clifton shop. They received no answer and there was no way to leave a message.
Eventually they got a phone call from Ben Graves, who they believed to be the owner of the company, who explained he had ceased trading due to financial reasons but that the couple's possessions were "completely safe" and being stored in a warehouse in Weston-super-Mare.
He also offered to cancel six months of charges and said he would re-invoice the pair from the beginning of June. No invoice arrived and the couple then wrote a letter to Mr Graves saying they would be seeking legal advice to ensure the recovery of their possessions.
The next day they managed to get in touch with him and demanded the address of the storage facility.
He told them the property was being managed by property consultants Alder King.
After speaking to Alder King, Mrs Russell was shocked to find out that Rosenkavalier had gone bust and had defaulted on payments to the landlords of the warehouse.
Alder King was therefore managing the warehouse on behalf of the landlords, while Rosenkavalier was in the hands of bankruptcy trustees MHA MacIntyre Hudson.
Alder King asked the couple to prove they had possessions stored at the warehouse and were then able to give Mrs Russell access to the storage facility at Europark in Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare.
There she was appalled at what she found.
She said: "I was completely horrified by what I saw in the storage facility – as a paying customer, and one that had been reassured on several occasions by the owner of the company that our possessions were safe in his hands, I just couldn't really believe what I was seeing.
"It took a while to take in the scene. The other emotions were relief and hope – relief to have made it to this point and hope that we would, finally, be able to put an end to this horrible episode.
"It took nearly an hour to find our container – realising that it wasn't any of the ones that were more easily accessible I began to inch my way down the gap at the side of some of the more deeply buried containers.
"The moment I shone my phone torch up to one of the containers right at the back and saw our number on it, was great. It was the beginning of the end of months of worry.
"Luckily none of our possessions were badly damaged but I worry for other people who have things stored there.
"What I hope to be able to do is to reach other people via this article who may be going through the same process and to reunite them with their possession.
"They are, of course, only possessions, but for some, including us, those containers will hold a lifetime of precious memories that cannot be replaced."
The Post tried to contact Rosenkavalier and Ben Graves but had no response. We also contacted MHA MacIntyre Hudson but they were not able to provide a response.
A representative from Alder King confirmed that the company had applied for insolvency, and had defaulted on payments to the landlord of the warehouse, which Alder King was now managing.
He said Alder King could repatriate belongings to their owners if they could confirm they were their own.