By Tim McNicholas

CHICAGO (CBS) — Picture this: you pay a Chicago-based company $5,000 to move you to Louisiana, but they show up without much of your stuff.

Now that family in Louisiana says the movers are ghosting them.

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Morning Insider Tim McNicholas digs into the do’s and don’ts of hiring movers.

“I have been so stressed and so aggravated” said Lori Guidry, whose new home isn’t quite home just yet.

She’s still missing her coffee table, her TV, and her painting—and that’s not all.

“They’ve got my baby pictures, 40 years’ worth of our life photos, my handicap equipment, my wheelchair, all of my walkers” she said.

Guidry said her son-in-law signed a contract for a Chicago-based interstate moving company to move her stuff from North Carolina to Louisiana.

The movers picked it all up, but when they arrived in the Bayou State, they only had some of her belongings.

Guidry said the movers had already pressured the family into paying thousands of dollars, and now they’re ghosting her.

“He’s quit calling me. He’s quit answering me. Again, it’s just been lie after lie after lie after lie,” she said.

“I’d like to say I’m shocked, but sadly thins the type of thing that happens every day,” said Patricia McLaughlin, a consultant for the Illinois Movers and Warehouseman’s Association.

She said you should always hire local.

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“One of the things that concerned me about this particular move that you’re talking about is someone in North Carolina hired somebody in Chicago to do a move to Louisiana. Don’t do that,” she said.

The company called themselves IES Holdings on the contract. U.S. Department of Transportation records showed they’re currently not authorized to do any interstate moves.

At this point, would it even be legal for them to move Guidry’s belongings from North Carolina to Louisiana?

“No. No, because they’re out of service,” McLaughlin said.

CBS 2 left voicemails for the movers at two different phone numbers, asking about Guidry’s belongings.

Guidry said her family wound up with IES through a moving broker—another method McLaughlin advises against.

“People need to do more homework. You’re not buying shoes on Amazon here. You’re giving everything you own to somebody, and trusting they’re gonna give it back to you on the other side,” McLaughlin said.

Guidry has a simple message for the movers.

“Give me my stuff,” she said.

We’re still waiting to hear back from those movers.

McLaughlin said it’s also a red flag when movers ask for big bucks upfront, or when they try to charge you by cubic footage rather than weight.

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UPDATE (10/27/2021, 3:45 p.m.) — Two days after our original report aired, Guidry informed CBS 2 that, after we started asking questions, someone from the moving company finally sent her an address for a warehouse in Chicago where her family’s missing belongings were being stored. She and her husband drove there and retrieved their belongings, but Guidry said much of of what was there was damaged.

Tim McNicholas