Our motor home is back in Switzerland! It was a long way full of questions, mails and phone calls. But one thing at a time:
It was a long time ago when we learned in Tacoma that we had to drop our motor home off at the port one day earlier than planned. It was a day full of hectic and raw nerves. And then we took the plane home, settled in Switzerland and waited anxiously for the return of our motor home. On the internet you can follow the freighters, so we always knew approximately where our Elliot was at the moment. And then he finally arrived in Germany in late August. The crossing took so long, because we shipped him from the west coast, and he had to pass the Panama Canal. The way from the west coast is much longer, but we could avoid the areas that counted so high corona infections. And since we couldn't travel in Switzerland for the time being because I was going to start a new job, we didn't care about the longer crossing.
Off to Bremerhaven - or not
Handling in Baltimore only took a few days, so we assumed that Bremerhaven would be no different. So we organized a place for our boys because I had to work and for my husband a train ticket to Bremerhaven at the beginning of September. We added a few extra days of reserve to make sure that this would work out and were very surprised when we didn't get the papers to pick up our motor home in time. The train ticket was bought for nothing, but my husband and I enjoyed a few child-free days because the boys were looking forward to their grandparents. We were already looking for a new date to pick up the motor home, but somehow we never got a reliable answer as to when exactly that would be possible. And so the days and weeks went by. The autumn vacations were just around the corner, and we realized that we would not be able to go anywhere because we still did not have a motor home. At least it is easier with the boys in the autumn vacations, since I have then also vacation time and my husband can leave at any time, in order to bring back our camper. We would have been ready, but the papers were still not there.
It was because of the dear money
After countless e-mails and telephone conversations it turned out that our payment for the crossing had not been forwarded to the company that had made the booking with the shipping company. We had paid half of the amount at the time of booking and the second half to Robert shortly before the freighter's departure in the USA. But since the shipping company had never received the payment, they held back our motor home. We were shocked and helpless, as to how to proceed from there.
The race against the Corona numbers
We became more and more nervous, on the one hand because we could not understand why our paid money did not end up where it was supposed to and on the other hand because the rising Corona numbers endangered the collection of the RV. We feared that Germany would impose a quarantine obligation on entering Swiss nationals, which would have made it practically impossible to collect the RV. In addition, the autumn vacations were slowly coming to an end, which in turn would make the whole organization with the boys and my work more difficult.
The sour apple - pay again
When we heard for the first time that our motor home had been held back because of the lack of money, I was of the opinion that this was not legal. It is ours and we had paid on time. Unfortunately I was wrong. The shipping company transported our motor home to Germany and was therefore entitled to the money. The only possibility to pick up our motor home in Germany before further Corona measures, was to pay the amount for the shipment a second time. And we found that anything but funny! It is quite a lot of money, which we had to pay a second time through no fault of our own.
Our mobile home is back
To pay the money a second time was however our only possibility on a fast solution of the problem, and so we paid and could pick up our camper in Bremerhaven and drive back to Switzerland on last Friday in the autumn vacations. There was still quite a mess because of missing customs documents, but in the end this proved to be completely unnecessary. The pickup in Bremerhaven was without any problems and my husband could drive back to Switzerland in time before the quarantine obligation.
Robbed - the shipping company has helped itself
When you pick up your vehicle again at the port, you can check it for damage and report this to the shipping company. The doors and windows of the motor home are sealed with red adhesive before the crossing, which is not very useful for an alcove motor home, since you can get from the driver's cabin into the living area without any problems. We had read about looted motor homes when planning our big trip and were quite nervous about the condition in which we would pick up our motor home in Baltimore. Everything was in perfect condition and nothing was missing. So we were all the more shocked when we unloaded our motor home back in Switzerland when we noticed what was missing. Practically all closets were rummaged through and various things were missing. The staff of the shipping company just kept what they liked. We didn't have any valuables like laptops or anything in the motor home and were amazed at the things that were stolen from us. So the ukulele, a children's diving mask, my good knife, my little bag with the clothespins and other small things were missing. Unfortunately the shipping of motor homes with contents is in a gray area, so we cannot really reclaim these things. But I reported the incident to Wallenius Wilhelmsen, and they apologized. Unfortunately more will probably not happen.
And the money?
We had received the promise from Robert that the amount paid twice would be divided into three installments and paid back to us in stages. Unfortunately, two of these three dates have already passed without any payment from Robert. He thinks that this is all due to the crazy Corona situation. We have a different opinion. The dates for the repayments were not set by us but by Robert himself and nothing happened. We are torn whether we should just be patient or whether we should better pass the whole thing on to an international debt collection agency. Sadly, everything but waiting costs us even more money. We were really very grateful to Robert when he made us a good offer so quickly in the USA. But in the meantime we have paid an incredible amount for the shipment and at the moment it doesn't look like Robert is willing to pay us back the money.
What happens now
Our dear Elliot is back in Switzerland and now already in the workshop, where a quotation is being prepared for the repair of the back wall. We had a traffic accident on the first day in the USA and could not have the damage repaired in the USA. We hope that the settlement of the damage with the American insurance company will be easier than picking up our motor home in Germany. Of course, we will keep you all here up to date.