'U-Haul stole my Christmas,' says newly arrived Calgary family

A Calgary family are still waiting for the contents of their home, which were due to arrive in Ottawa 10 days ago.

10 days after shipment was due to arrive, family still waiting for contents of their home

The Deodato family has been sleeping on borrowed air mattresses while waiting for their furniture to arrive. (Stu Mills/CBC)

A Calgary family has now waited 10 days past U-Haul's guaranteed delivery date for their household furniture and belongings to arrive at their new Stittsville home.

They fear the load may have been lost.

The Deodato family hired U-Haul to move five "pack-it-yourself" moving pods from their Calgary residence to a new home in Stittsville. The shipment was guaranteed to arrive by Dec. 19. 

However, Jean and Marise Deodato and their three young children spent Christmas with only a few clothes, no furniture, and slept on borrowed air mattresses.

'What can we tell our kids?'

"U-haul acted like a Grinch. They stole my Christmas," said Marise Deodato. "Where are our belongings? What can we tell our kids about their clothes and toys and pictures? This is stressful, frustrating, upsetting. They leave us in the dark."

Their only solid furniture is a dining room table and some folding chairs, purchased when they realized U-haul wouldn't be delivering in time for Christmas.

The family has grown worried about contradictory messages they said they received from U-Haul about the location of the shipment.

The Deodatos paid $4,418 to have five U-Haul storage pods containing their family's clothing, furniture and household effects sent from Calgary.

Delivery date changed

Believing their possessions would join them in Ottawa within 14 days, the parents packed toys for Olivier, 9, Benjamin, 6, and Julie, 3, for just two weeks.

However, after U-Haul picked up the boxes at the family's home on Dec. 5, the moving company changed the guaranteed delivery date to Dec. 21.

U-Haul also informed the Deodatos they would need to hire a third party company to move the large boxes from a Coventry Road warehouse to their driveway in Stittsville, at an extra cost of $1200.

"It's been stressful especially for me as a mom, because I have three small kids at home," said Deodato.

False notification

Following an online notification on their U-Haul profile that the boxes had arrived at the U-Haul depot, they hired Priority Movers to bring the containers for the last leg of the trip. But when Priority Movers arrived at U-Haul's facility on Dec. 21, they discovered the Deodato's shipment wasn't there.

The family's online profile with U-Haul continues to show their belongings as having arrived in Ottawa.

On Dec. 27, following assurances their shipment would be arriving that day, the Deodato's discovered that in fact, the boxes hadn't yet made it to the Ottawa area, but were somewhere near Toronto.

"We were hoping to get here and get all settled, and we were counting on U-Haul, with all their promises — it didn't happen," she said.

'We've never had this kind of treatment'

The family immigrated from Brazil in 2011.

"In the past six years that we've been here, we've never had this kind of treatment," said Jean Deodato who, along with his wife, became a Canadian citizen earlier this year.

A U-Haul spokesperson told CBC News a local employee "miscommunicated" when he said the boxes had arrived in Ottawa on Dec. 21, causing a delay in the delivery. 

Jeff Lockridge, U-Haul's manager of media and public relations, said the company would compensate the family for those costs. But Lockridge said it was a request for more time from the Deodato family to load the shipping boxes in Calgary that pushed back the delivery date.

Marise Deodato denies the family asked for more time.