Angry military families take to Facebook over ‘unclaimed’ PCS goods auction


By J.G. Noll

If you’ve been on Facebook this afternoon, you may have noticed a post making the rounds. The post, by Gene Daniels Auctions from Chesapeake, VA, publicizes a weekend auction of “Unclaimed Government/Military” storage containers. Photos accompanying the post show crates stacked floor-to-ceiling in a warehouse. The auction company’s website advertises that approximately 105 containers totaling 78,180 pounds will be auctioned off–some individually and some as an entire home:

“Unclaimed Shipments from Overseas…These Shipments are unclaimed household goods / personal property of military members who were staioned in locations such as Italy, Germany, Spain and Bahrain.  Many Military members take advantage of their time stationed in these faraway places and purchase unique furniture pieces and decorative items handvrafted in these countries.  HIDDEN TREASURES…The contents of thee shipments have not been seen and containers have been sealed since originally packed overseas.  The shipment(s) you bid on may contain such items as antique furniture, china, crystal, artwork, TV’s and other electronics or possibly collectors’ items.”

The post quickly sparked outrage in the military community with more than 317 comments and 680 shares at the time of publishing.

Many responses emphasized that, while the auction company described the contents in glowing terms, families’ memories were also inside the crates. “It’s baby pictures and years of scrapbooks that you worked hours on completing layouts so you would have fun ways for grand kids to look through. It’s your child’s first teddy bear that they want to keep and give to their kid,” Staci Stubbs posted. “It’s the silly glasses that you used to drink out of at your grandma’s that are irreplaceable because they don’t make them anymore, and they weren’t ‘special’ except for the memories.” Others echoed the sentiments, mentioning how irreplaceable many of the crated items would most likely be and sharing their own stories of personal treasures lost during their military lives.

Facebook commenters also noted the seemingly unfair economics of PCSing.”The families are then paid pennies on the dollar for their lost goods. This is profiting off the backs of our military families!” wrote Alice Bullock Adler. Other comments pointed out the paltry lost-item repayment by the government and noted that the crates have names and information on the inside of the crates–and most likely, information that is visible on the outside of the crates too. “You should make an effort to find the owners before auctioning!” commented Laura Auvil Dalton, echoing many comments asking the auction company to reunite families with their lost belongings.

Others focused on the moving company that is selling the crates–Bay Area Movers, Inc. of Portsmouth, VA–pointing out their poor reviews on Google and Yelp. Reviews of the moving company range from broken furniture and stolen goods to dangerous driving. Some writers questioned whether or not the movers truly made an effort to reunite the goods with their clients.

Angry posts and ratings have flooded Gene Dainels Auctions’ Facebook page since the original post. Negative reviews citing the auction can also now be seen on the Google ratings of Bay Area Movers, Inc of Portsmouth, VA.  Gene Daniels Auctions responded on the post to critics saying, “Please understand that Gene Daniels Auctions is only the Agent for the Seller any information regarding your concerns please direct it to Bay Area Movers, Inc. at 757-487-5550.”

An hour later, they posted a second message: “ALL Information that has been posted by Gene Daniels Auctions is provided by the Seller, Bay Area Movers, Inc. Again, we ARE just the Agent all concerns should be addressed to Bay Area Movers.”

Please note that there are numerous businesses across the country sharing the same name as Bay Area Movers.

Here’s the Facebook post in full:

75 Comments

  1. This deplorable auction company rather than taking responsibility for their PR blunder deleted the whole post. Never fear though we milspouses are mighty and as battle hardened as our AD counterparts.

    1. “Never fear though we milspouses are mighty and as battle hardened as our AD counterparts.”

      You should rethink that statement.

    2. >”as battle hardened as our AD counterparts”.

      Really? When’s the last you rucked 12 miles with at least 60lbs on your back? Have you shrunk 3 inches from doing combat jumps? When’s the last time you ran 10 miles (and yes I mean at once).

    3. I hate to tell you, but spouses of military members and those in all branches of our men and women overseas, have a lot to contend with back home. There is a battle you don’t see and it affects everyone. The stress of being a single parent, the stress and fear of your loved one away and potential danger, and the time separated. It take a strong person to let that loved one go and to endure the fight. So I’d like to say the they are battled harder in their own way. Respect for our military and their families.

  2. I am here in Chesapeake. If you know of anyone looking for their lost family items, contact me and I will do what I can to buy your things back if you provide the funds (directly to the auction house).

    1. We never got our hold baggage 3 yrs ago.”lost” we came from Germany. Said it was lost in the USA, tracked it off the boat and then it “can’t be found”..never found and never paid a penny!

      1. I had the same thing happen when I came bacm from S Korea…they finally called said they found our box and would send it to my inlaws…it never arrived. Nore did any payment for lost goods..I kept calling to arrange pick up of my box but they then couldn’t locate it….my childrens items where in there..including pictures and memories we will never get back. It has been 13 yrs now.

    2. We lost a crate moving from Germany to Colorado two years ago and the moving company didn’t care/didn’t wanna do anything about it. We had so many memories in that crate that we still look for to this day in hopes that we just missed it the last time we looked

    3. Can you contact the local news organization in that area? There needs to be a full report. The news should be able to get a list of the names on those units.

  3. Please make an effort to find the families these items belong to.. having lived overseas we know how stressful those moves are. Having “Lost” lots of boxes personally we know how it feels when the
    Movers “lose” things. I’m certain they would want their family items back.

  4. My husband is a veteran. He has made his share of wes-packs. The Navy lost a doll collection he han purchased for me. The stuff needs to be reunited with their owners. It belongs to them. Place adds in the military times about the items.

  5. We almost lost out non temp storage because the military “couldn’t find it” luckily the storage company put forth the effort to seek us out once the military stopped payment for it and we got our stuff back. It breaks my heart to think of all the families that weren’t so lucky.

    1. Your lucky, puts got auctioned of, since the military stopped paying for it while we where stationed in Germany!

  6. That auction company is participating in this and it is u excusable for them to claim they are not to be held responsible! Everyone involved is guilty of ridiculous disrespect!

  7. Really makes my blood boil! There are probably lame “reasons” about to be delivered, but there HAVE to be ways to reunite the goods to the owners!!!

    1. All the containers should have names on them. Especially since it seems that some of them are being marketed as whole households

  8. Everyone involved that knows deep in their hearts if they truly made every effort to reunite these lost items and if the can’t say that have then SHAME ON YOU! If President Trump were aware of this I can’t help but think he would see the right thing is done with all of the military families belongings!

    1. Really?
      It would be the first humane thng he’s done. And he’s made several decisions that hurt military families already. I just don’t see him helping…

      1. I was thinking the same thing. That man only has his and his investors interests in mind.

  9. Well somebody who has money better buy those storages and then hopefully find families and sell what does not look very important just in case no families are found but I know I personally would hate to lose pictures and memories

    1. No you don’t see what “what does not look very important” that’s not for you to judge. These are sometimes belongings that were put into a trust that has been broken and NOT BY THEM. You don’t get to make personal calls on what you think is important and what is sellable. As one of these military families moving overseas and across the states every three years, I have things I cherish that are worthless. But that’s why they are MINE and shouldn’t be sold by some crooked auction.

  10. Can those who have lost items to this selfish moving company file a lawsuit now based on this? You would think that with the proof of the crazy volume of crates would raise eyebrows on how this company really runs.

  11. This should be against the law cause if it’s a soldiers stuff it’s considered government property so selling government property is illegal unless given permission and dint think those families gave permission to sell their belongings!! So the right thing to do would be open each container and try to find the right full owners or do some research with the info that you have on each container to find the families for each box you are selling!

    1. Once a soldier received compensation for their lost items then they no longer have rights to them. You can’t sell a car, get paid, and then see it in the new owners driveway and go take it for a spin….. It’s not yours anymore. I know that sounds shitty but it is what it is!

      1. Compensated at pennies on the dollar, if that, because they were given no other option. Precious memories, family heirlooms just gone, there is no market value for family photos. I’m sure any of them would be happy to pay back the pittance they received to get there belongings back.

      2. Your example is a poor one. We don’t “sell” our items when we agree to take pennies on the dollar for our stuff that was lost/stolen. SELL? Are you serious. Obviously, you have never gone through a PCS move. It sucks! For the most part, we are treated like shit, forgotten (yes I had a move where NO ONE showed up to pack/load my goods), and moved by jokers and “day workers” that these companies find just to get the jobs. I was never compensated for my lost items because the hoops you have to jump through are crazy. My guess is that my family isn’t the only one who just got worn down by the crappy moving company and didn’t complete the mounds of paperwork. Every item has a sticker on it. EVERY.ITEM. The company has records of every label. There is absolutely no reason that they can’t find the owners. I wonder if all of this extra stuff has something to do with the horrible PCS moves from 2016. We were told that the numbers were double and the companies hired were overwhelmed. More families than ever lost items or received entire loads that were destroyed. This stuff DOES belong to the military families. The payment they received is equal to a rental fee because someone else was holding on to the goods.

        1. As a 25 year veteran and one who has made more than my share of PCS moves I can say that it is tough. However, once you receive payment for lost/damaged items, those items, if found become property of the government. The original owner has no right to the property. It sucks, but when you read the fine print, it says you relinquish ownership.

          1. I am not military, but have family in the military. I understand the reasoning that if paid for the items, the original owner relinquished ownership, but as an adjuster in the public sector I know if an item is recovered the insured is given the option to give the payment back and reclaim ownership of the item. Why is it different for our military. Sounds like a lot of former military can identify, why hasn’t someone started a go find me to help purchase and reunite people and their belongs?

      3. They can, however, return the amount they were “compensated” and be entitled to their property.

        1. hahahahhahahhahahaahahahahah you guys x_x the government does not give a rats arse about when you loose stuff or if its damaged by the transport company. I had $15000 in damages and lost goods, even had 2 whole crates shipped to the wrong state! i had photos and documentation of every little detail and i still got the short stick of only $2000, now the company can turn around sell my lost crates and make over their money lost back.

        2. Well, you’re both correct (sort of). When you accept compensation, you don’t “sell” your belongings. You agree to forefit the property to the moving company or a representative thereof. It’s in the fine print…..shitty but true. I’m very keenly aware of the process, unfortunately. When we came to Wainwright from Colorado they broke a bunch of stuff and lost some too. Every single one of our containers’ seals had been broken off and all of them were opened. It was far from a “laughable” situation, to say the least when we discovered that our firearms container had been breeched as well…

  12. That is so messed up my friend has lost a whole shipping container when they PCSed, some of the stuff is irreplaceable but it’s lost who knows where.

  13. Bay Area is selling the items. NOT GENE DANIELS AUCTIONS! I would assume that bay area has no auction license so they just hired a company, Gene DANIELS, to sell it. I would also say that if there is any Information on the original owners then they would have been notified! Believe it or not some people got a lot more $$$ than their stuff was worth and they have already been contacted and have made no effort to come and get their items…. So a storage company can’t just keep it sitting there. I agree that some people who’s stuff got lost got royaly screwed and there are probably some people who wernt notified that their stuff was found, but blaming a 3rd party auction company is ridiculous! That auction company has nothing to do with the logistics of the situation. They didn’t pack it, ship it, store it, or misplace it. There job is to sell items that the owner dosent want, and in this case the owner is bay area. If you want to be angry then that’s cool…. Just be angry at the right people!

    1. Do you know how military compensation works ? My husband has been in for many many yrs and we’ve had to be paid quite a few times, and I can tell you 1st hand NO ONE gets paid a lot more than what their stuff is worth. The military will tell you that themselves . They value your item at 25% of the current cost if you can’t provide receipt . They take into account depreciation for how long you’ve had it, and it gets worse if they don’t even make that item any more . Not to mention you can’t replace a lot of the items you’ve bought overseas in these countries – you also can’t prove the value- so you get maybe half of what you tell them. Even then they tell you to try and find a pic of something comparable to go by. Then you get the bare minimum. There is ZERO $ amt on family pics or items . With technology these days these people can be found. The actions of this company are deplorable, and the auction house once made aware of the situation could easily have backed out . They did not.

      1. Couldn’t agree with you more Shelley. My husband was in the Air Force for 33 years. Retired six years ago… I was a militarywife for 26years.. lost a crate from the states to Japan and lost another crate from Japan to Germany. Tis exactly as you said….

    2. Maybe someone should contact the army/government and tell them what’s going on. I’m sure theyou wouldn’t be thrilled to find out that they have been defrauded like this.

      1. They don’t care. Our last move we had $8,000 in damages to our things. We got not even a quarter of that. We were working with a liason. We notified the military on what happened. I’m sure they are still contracting the company that did our move. They also tried to scam us out of $500 (saying our stuff was over by 500 lbs. at $1.00 per pound). We asked them to reweigh it and they were off by 2200 lbs (meaning we were well under the weight limit). Being off by 100 or even 200 lbs. is one thing, but 2200?? That’s super fishy. The entire thing was a nightmare. Nothing was done by the military in our defense.

  14. Sharing n Sac CA, this stuation is disgusting and WRONG. The fact our military members personal belongings are being taken advantage of in such a way is, excuse my french… FUCKED. I will share this and hope both companies get slammed through the damned floor for this ridiculous move… Not only are they selling items, memories and love packed in a box… There could be personal information in there… what the mother ****?!

  15. Sure, the auction company is not the one responsible for initiating the sale in the first place, but they sure went about advertising it in a shitty way. “Hidden Treasures”? How about “Family heirlooms and precious memories”?

  16. Oh, this is hogwash. One of the crates was clearly identified as being in the way to Germany and isn’t expected to arrive until 6/20/2017. Which means, they don’t even know it’s missing yet!

    1. “Missing”…this is government fraud too. They are getting compensated with government funds. I’m sure they’d like to know that.

  17. The auction house says all materials related to the auction came frim the movers. When questioned directly about the crate bound for Germany, the movers say the auctioneer took the photos. Which is it?

  18. Hello, i work for Bay area Movers Inc. in Pearland Texas, we are in no way shape or form associated with the Company that is doing this. There is also a company in California with Same name, We are not franchised we just have the same name. I am a veteran having served in the army and wouldn’t work for a company that would do something like this. Please if you are going to give bad reviews or contact the company on social media please make sure it is the correct company. I understand the frustration when i PCS from Schweinfurt Germany some of my items ended up lost in transit, now i kinda have an idea what happened to them.

  19. When we pc’s to Hawaii we received our goods but we also received several other boxes that were not ours. We pointed it out to the company that delivered our goods and they said hold on to tgem and they will research. They did not want to put it back on the truck. We never opened the boxes but stored them in our shed. About two weeks later I contacted the company regarding a status update and the petson I spoke to had no knowledge. I explained what happened, she took down my information and said she would get back to me. I even gave her the sticker numbers to help the track the owners. Several weeks went by. Same story over and over. No one knew or cared to help us. Back then, there was no Facebook or social media and I did not k ow what to do. Do I put the items in my vehicle and took them to the shipping company that delivered them. The manager told me that if I left tgem there he would call the police. He said the items were not delivered by tgem because the stickers were different colors. I was loaded. I took them home and posted an add on Craigslist hoping to find the owners. I had To open the boxes to see the contents so that whomever came forward could discribe what was inside. No one legit came forward. There were clues inside of a family that had been in Italy. I held onto those items the entire time we lived in Hawaii. I always wondered who they were and where they were. The company stated that the family probably put in a claim and got paid for their missing items. To me, that wasn’t the point.

    1. How long ago was this? We were stationed in italy and lost a few boxes on our way to Ak from California?

  20. When we pc’s to Hawaii we received our goods but we also received several other boxes that were not ours. We pointed it out to the company that delivered our goods and they said hold on to them and they will research. They did not want to put it back on the truck. We never opened the boxes but stored them in our shed. About two weeks later I contacted the company regarding a status update and the person I spoke to had no knowledge. I explained what happened, she took down my information and said she would get back to me. I even gave her the sticker numbers to help the track the owners. Several weeks went by. Same story over and over. No one knew or cared to help us. Back then, there was no Facebook or social media and I did not know what to do. So I put the items in my vehicle and took them to the shipping company that delivered them. The manager told me that if I left them there he would call the police. He said the items were not delivered by them because the stickers were different colors. I was pissed. I took them home and posted an add on Craigslist hoping to find the owners. I had to open the boxes to see the contents so that whomever came forward could discribe what was inside. No one legit came forward. There were clues inside of a family that had been in Italy. I held onto those items the entire time we lived in Hawaii. I always wondered who they were and where they were. The company stated that the family probably put in a claim and got paid for their missing items. To me, that wasn’t the point.

  21. This infuriates me! We ‘lost’ the doors to our German china cabinet when we were pcsing from NASJRB Willow Geove, PA to Ft Sam Houston, TX in 2010.
    The packers took the doors off the cabinet and packed it ever so nicely. (Movers never took them off before.) I asked him why and he gave some lame safety excuse (for our benefit).
    Never saw them again! We filed a claim and the company looked into it.
    NOTHING! Never received any compensation for anything! All we got was a ‘sorry’. Grrrr. So glad he’s retired now. Lord only knows how many things we’ve lost over the years!

  22. I agree with the bidders banding together and only bidding $1 per lot. Then open the boxes and try to determine who they belong to, try using social media to find them, and offer it free to them if they arrange the shipping.

  23. “ALL Information that has been posted by Gene Daniels Auctions is provided by the Seller, Bay Area Movers, Inc. Again, we ARE just the Agent all concerns should be addressed to Bay Area Movers.” – When you work with vermin, you take on a certain smell. Don’t act like it’s something it’s not.

  24. I’m not surprised this is what’s happening. Irate and pissed maybe, but not surprised. I never saw about three tuff boxes I had mailed directly from Wiesbaden Army Post office to my home in my hometown of Anderson IN. Three boxes filled with things that I wanted to arrive sooner than the movers. Three boxes with my life my 2yr old daughters life, in them. Called post office, had friends check post office, nothing. No one knew anything. It’s heartbreaking because some of us BEGIN our lives overseas, it’s our first house maybe or our first time being a family or first set of china, etc. Things you simply can’t replace. And these people just take advantage of it. The world is truly that greedy and disgusting.

  25. I know the moving company employees are looting this stuff. I wohld love to see dateline go under cover in the moving industry. When I got out of the military, all my household good were delivered, but all I got were empty boxes full of packing paper. No dishes, towels, decor, linens, knick-knacks. Think how much more money DoD wastes by paying these companies AND reimbursing soldiers who file claims.

  26. I’d love to just get the pictures and memories. Stuff that only I would care about. My stuff was at belvoir last time I checked. Being held hostage for $$.

  27. This is where my things are!! We moved from Germany in September 2016 . My teenage daughter lost some of her treasured memorable things, and sad to know she will never see them again. Maybe her name (Kyra) will be in that box to return to her, because she still has hope.

  28. We are being forced to pay $1,000.00 out of our pocket because the provided moving company didnt label Pro gear as they were told ! A move from 2014 !!!!!! These people show up and have their own list of stuff they will or will not take, then while your upset that you have to decide what stays or goes they will ask if they can take it ! This happened last move they brought extra people which ended up being family and then carted off the stuff I was told I couldnt take !! WTH I pulled items I said went out of piles they made for ” trash” or they wanted. A year later we are still fighting about lost/broken items and being hit with this bill for overage thats 3 yrs old. This is sad people will buy these crates and keep the ” good stuff ” and throw out peoples keepsakes. Goes to the cheapest bid not quality movers.

  29. Went online to check out all these jerks and it appears that the auction has been canceled but it says (on Gene Daniel’s website), “Storage Auction Saturday May 6, 2017 Bay Area Movers, Inc. Auction Cancelled At NO fault of Gene Daniels Auctions!”. So, instead of not holding the auction…..they post this pissy message about the auction being canceled but not their fault. Jerks. How about you not do the auction and do the right thing and find the REAL owners of this stuff. Now I know where all my things are that were supposedly “lost” over the years.

  30. Even state side PCS moves are totally jacked. I had the physical manifest of how many boxes I should of had and Everytime I would be missing two or three. Never and reimbursement and just like everything else and reinbursment would be a mere pittance

  31. Gosh, what I’d give to have the yearbooks, pictures, and scrapbooks back. The rest of it meh-whatever-inconvenient-replaceable.

  32. This makes me wonder if when we PCS’d back to the states from Germany in 2002 and I got the phone call that said all of my stuff had fallen off the boat and was lost, our entire shipment, of that is what happened or if it was misplaced and has been held somewhere like this.

  33. Someone needs to get Military Command(insert jokes here) involved in this and the State’s Attorney General. Those goods are stolen property and should be returned to their rightful owners. Unclaimed implies that the owners have all been duly notified and given ample time and access to retrieve their property.

    Public sentiment will be in your side but work to get something permanent done to fix this.

  34. We are literally IN the process of getting ready to PCS to Italy, and have been told last week that the company that was contracted for long term storage had lost their contract just the day prior, and so we dont have any place to store our belongings that we cant use. I feel like I should just go ahead and sell everything I own so I can at least get my pennies on the dollar up front…

  35. We had some items missing from when we lived in Italy. The main thing I remember was the top to my iron made coat rack. It sucks when you had something special made and the moving company could care less

  36. It’s such crap! They lost one of my boxes and they gave me like 500.00. It was worth over 5k. And to know they auction them off? I wouldn’t be upset if they donated them to a military foundation, maybe they would try to re unite the owners to the lost property? Wouldn’t that be awesome.

  37. Had my John Deer riding mower stolen. It was partially my fault. I told the guy when they loaded it and I was looking at the paperwork that I didn’t see it listed. He then took the papers looked through them, and then showed me oh here it is you must have missed it. Two years later after returning from Germany and getting the items out of gov. storage, no mower. I looked through the paper work, and the only mention of John Deer is the John Deer Trailer that went with it. I guess when I tole the guy I didnt see it listed, he covered the word trailer with his finger or something. Well since I had not proof I shipped it, no way to get it replaced. Damn that was a great mower though. 1500 dollarars was a heck of a loss, but tought me to pay closer attention.

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