Moving Nightmare: Berkeley family's belongings stuck in pod at damaged warehouse

Moving can be stressful, but one Berkeley family’s experience is just plain awful.

Jessica Tai and Chris Ward packed up everything they own into a PODS storage container, trusting it would make the trip from Connecticut to their new home in California. Instead, it has been stuck in a damaged warehouse in West Oakland, and they are unsure when or if they will ever get their belongings back.

"Emotionally, mentally, monetarily, this has been the most stressful move," said Tai. She said PODS has been giving them the runaround for weeks. "We had permits for the street, had everything prepared, booked movers and we were told there were going to be delays. And that kept happening. We couldn’t get through to PODS or any customers service person."

Tai went down to the PODS warehouse in West Oakland to try to get some answers. She found the building red-tagged. It has been deemed unsafe to enter since December 31 because of a partial roof collapse.

After multiple calls, emails, and a few negative online reviews, Tai said a PODS representative finally apologized. But she still has not been told when her family’s belongings will arrive, or if they were damaged during a series of storms that pummeled the Bay Area the past few weeks.

"It seems like talking to them and pleading with them to help us, while living in an empty apartment, that’s not getting us anywhere," said Chris Ward, Tai’s husband. Ward works as a filmmaker, and said he is losing income, because he’s not able to work. "All of my work equipment is stuck in this pod as well. So I’m having to turn down jobs over and over and over as a freelancer," said Ward.

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A response from PODS on Tai’s Yelp review reads, "At this time, we’ve been advised there are no visible signs of damage to customers’ containers." Tai said there’s no way to be sure until they unlock the containers to check for damage. She also contacted the City of Oakland, since the city leases out the site, and has met other PODS customers online who are going through the same nightmare.

"We just want transparency. When we ask questions we don’t want cover-ups or straight up lies. We just want them to be honest about what they’re doing to remedy the situation," said Tai.