Update on damaged stairs
Anyhow... believe it or not, it's been dragging along since then without any actual repair work being performed. After a month of the moving company refusing to provide references for the "restoration expert", examples of previous work, etc. I started to look for other local companies who could come in and give an estimate.
I have a friend with an old house who suggested a very high quality renovation company that does a lot of work on old houses. They sent someone over in October with a finishing expert to examine the stairs and provide a quote. They were pretty shocked that the moving company's "restoration expert" had nailed boards to all the stairs. The finish guy who came along said it would certainly be easy to match the FINISH on the stairs if they replaced only the damaged treads, but that the wear pattern would be impossible to replicate properly. This is a country house, and the stairs have taken quite a beating. They've been painted and stripped in the past, and some traces of the paint still remain. He suggested that it might be possible to repair the damaged treads, but that he wouldn't recommend it.
The suggested course of action was essentially to rebuild the staircase with salvaged wood. If only the damaged parts were replaced, it would be very obvious that half the stairs had been replaced, and certainly not very aesthetically pleasing. They prepared a quote for us by the end of November, which we submitted to the moving company. Since the work was much more extensive, the quote was approximately three times what the original company quoted. It also covers damage the original company does not intend to repair.
The moving company have been dragging their feet since then. The woman we deal with is never in her office, doesn't reply to voice mails, etc. Some time in March they finally got back to us, essentially saying they would not pay for anything more than the original quote they obtained from the company they hired. We have not got any references or examples of previous work from this company. The moving company will not guarantee that the work will be satisfactory in any way. They've also instructed the "restoration" company to not deal with us directly.
We had our lawyer send them a letter outlining the facts, and have just received their final reply stating they have no intention of paying more than the original quote. They believe they are only responsible for the specific parts of the stairs they damaged, and that any additional work would be "a betterment issue".
It's become quite apparent that after the original damage they wanted to have a quick and dirty repair done and sweep the issue under the rug. They are NOT happy that we went out and got our own quote from a more reputable company. It's now got to the point where we're going to have to sue them to recover enough to pay for the damage they did. It's really turning into quite a nightmare, but we have no intention of rolling over and giving in.