If you spend time with Marisa Komarek, you’ll quickly see art holds a special place in her life.
"It brings me a lot of pleasure," she says. "I just love it."
She started building her collection at a young age.
"Whenever I could scrape together enough to just go to an art fair and buy one little piece, it was my little thing," she says.
Today, artwork graces the walls of her home. But earlier this year, several pieces, including an original wax painting by artist Rachel Friedberg, went missing.
"I treasured that piece more than anything, so of all the things they could have misplaced, it’s heartbreaking," Komarek says.
In February, Komarek paid Mayflower movers more than $7,300 to move her family from Seattle to South Florida.
"I hired Mayflower and paid a premium price, I felt, to go with the best,"Komarek says.
After the movers unloaded the truck at her new home in Florida, she signed an inventory control form saying she had received all of her items. A few days later, she says she opened two boxes that didn’t belong to her.
“And all of a sudden we realized we were missing two boxes,” she says.
Those missing boxes, she says, contained part of her art collection and included her beloved Friedberg painting. Their value – estimated at $100,000. Komarek says she returned to Mayflower the two boxes that weren’t hers. She says one of the boxes had a new glass desk inside, the other had items belonging to a colonel in the US Army. She filed a claim and a few days later received a denial letter saying she had “acknowledged delivery of every item” when she signed the inventory control form. The letter goes on to say a search was “unsuccessful for your missing items”.
"It really put me over the edge,” she says. “I literally found myself just freaking out. I just couldn’t believe they were so dismissive.”
And that’s when she called NBC 6 Responds.
“I want them to find my packages,” Komarek told us. “I want them to make an effort and not to dismiss me and say that the case is closed.”
In an email, a Mayflower spokesperson told us they were going to keep working “to track down any boxes that may have gone missing” and offered to pay for an arbitrator to review Komarek’s claim. More than a week later, Mayflower called Komarek and told her they found the missing paintings and wrote to us “They were in a box that Ms. Komarek claimed did not belong to her and sent back to us.”
“With all we’ve been through, to call me up and accuse me of sending back my own boxes, she’s trying to put this back on us,” Komarek says. “That’s beyond insulting.”
Komarek had given us the name of the colonel whose items she had initially received. We tracked him down in Alabama. He confirmed he was missing items after relocating from Seattle. He received his items the same week Komarek got back her missing paintings. Both the colonel and Komarek are just glad to have their valuables back.
If you use a moving company, it’s always a good idea to take the time to make sure the numbers on the inventory control form match the boxes delivered before signing the form.
Also, if you have high value items in your shipment, be sure to declare them and take pictures so you have proof if something goes missing.