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BC movers failed to move a piano but still sent a bill, then sued

Image Credit: TWITTER: 2 Burley Men Moving

A BC moving company hired to move an upright piano up a flight of stairs but failed to do so, has lost in court after it sued the owner over an unpaid bill.

According to a June 7 BC Civil Resolution Tribunal decision, Brian Nguyen hired 2 Burley Men Moving to move the piano up a flight of stairs in his house.

However, while 2 Burley Men Moving sent three men to do the job, they couldn't get the piano up the stairs.

The movers left Nguyen's home but then sent him a bill for $336 – its minimum one-hour charge, plus half an hour of travel time.

Nguyen refused to pay the bill so the moving company then took him to the online small claims court.

2 Burley Men Moving is no stranger to the small claims court and this is its 12th Civil Resolution Tribunal case this year. It also has a few cases in the BC Provincial Small Claims Court, where it had roughly 35 cases last year.

In one instance early this year, the company sued a customer over an $800 unpaid bill, only to have the court turn around and rule that it was 2 Burley Men Moving that actually owed the customer $1,800.

In April, the Tribunal ruled the company used two 'entirely different' bills in its attempt to sue a customer for an extra $1,300 and dismissed the case.

In another case this year, 2 Burley Men Moving charged $1,200 for eight hours of travel time for a one-kilometre move. The couple sued to get their money back and won.

READ MORE: Litigious B.C. movers lose in court after overcharging $2,300

Its litigation does sometimes pay off, and the company has won numerous cases against customers who refused to pay.

In the current case, Nguyen argued 2 Burley Men Moving advertised itself as professional piano movers but showed up with only three movers and without the proper equipment.

He also said he was never told he would have to pay even if they couldn't move the piano.

In its defence, 2 Burley Men Moving submitted a waybill to the Tribunal for $336.

READ MORE: West Kelowna winery tour company sues for $6,500 wins $600

However, the Tribunal wasn't impressed.

"While there is a signature at the top of this waybill, it does not appear to be Mr. Nguyen’s name. Burley does not say Mr. Nguyen signed this waybill, and on the evidence before me, I find it unproven he did," the Tribunal ruled.

The movers also submitted "appointment information" paperwork, but again the Tribunal wasn't swayed.

"The document merely describes the move as 'internal piano move.' However, there is nothing on this document that says travel charges or a minimum one-hour charge must be paid regardless of whether Burley actually moved the piano," the Tribunal ruled.

The Tribunal said it's significant there's no mention on the paperwork of what might happen if the piano could not be moved.

The decision said Nguyen later hired another moving company who also failed to move the piano, but then refunded his deposit.

He finally had it moved by a third company which cost him $400.

"I find these facts do not support Burley’s position that the piano could not be moved without damage or that Burley is entitled to payment for its unsuccessful effort in moving the piano," the Tribunal ruled.

Ultimately, the Tribunal ruled that Nguyen never agreed to pay if the piano couldn't be moved.

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The Tribunal then assessed whether 2 Burley Men Moving was entitled to payment for the value of the work done.

"I find the answer is no, simply because the piano was not moved and so Mr. Nguyen received no value from Burley’s services," the Tribunal said, dismissing the case.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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