"The Moving Company I Hired Was Incompetent—What Do I Do Now?"

Cory and his girlfriend moved from New York to North Carolina this summer. They hired Quality Van Lines out of Clifton, NJ to handle the move, but soon regretted the choice: they overcharged him, failed to deliver on promises, and damaged not only his belongings but his car. Cory wants to know what his options are now—and we want readers to know how to avoid hiring companies like Quality Van Lines in the future.

Here’s an overview of Cory’s experience with Quality Van Lines:

  • The company raised the fee by 50% on the day of the move;
  • Cory was charged for special packing supplies that weren’t provided;
  • two of the movers were guys hired that morning off the street;
  • the agent who worked with the couple to set up the move stopped returning calls, then went on vacation;
  • the van was late to Chapel Hill by 5 days;
  • the van’s driver smashed into Cory’s car and damaged it;
  • the items arrived badly packed and damaged.

Cory has asked Quality Van Lines to reimburse him all extra fees that weren’t originally quoted, in light of the terrible service and broken promises, but the company refuses. Now he’s wondering whether to try small claims court, but adds “I doubt that would help, since most all of the promises that were broken were merely verbal.”

We think one thing Cory should do is post his story online, especially since he’s already written a 1400-word account of what happened. [Update: we've posted Cory's full story below] The best way to warn others about a bad company is to publicize the experience. Along these same lines, Tim Walker of MovingScams.com lists a half dozen organizations and websites to contact (including his) to get the word out.

MovingScam.com also has some must-read advice on how to find a reputable moving company. First on their list: skip the online search and look for local companies the old fashioned way (i.e., via phonebook and recommendations), because “while there are some reputable moving companies that have web sites, nearly all of the victims that contact us found their moving company on the Internet.”

Your next step is to pick up your phone book, or call your local real estate agents and find at least three moving companies that have offices in your area. Try to find moving companies that have been in business at least ten years, and do not hire a moving broker. Current consumer protection laws related to the movement of household goods only apply to Motor Carriers and not to Household Goods Brokers.

Set up appointments for them to come to your house and do an in-home estimate in the order of your least favorite to your most favorite company. If they won’t come to your house to do an in-home estimate, hang up and find another company.


Here’s Cory’s full story, for those of you who are curious.

This summer, we decided to move from the Albany, NY area to Chapel Hill, NC with Quality Van Lines from Clifton, NJ. Below is a sort of timeline of our move, and the issues we had while dealing with Quality. I will do my best to keep it succinct.

Before the move

We first received a quote from Quality on approximately June 23, 2008. My girlfriend Ali worked with Alan, who asked her for a list of all of the items we planned on moving. She gave him that list, and he came up with a quote for around 530 cubic feet. Later, on July 28, he provided us with a revised quote for 526 cubic feet ($1628), based on some items that we had decided not to bring with us. Based on this price, and the estimate Alan gave of a 4 day wait between pick-up and drop-off, we decided to book our move with Quality.

Moving day

The movers showed up at the planned time on July 31, and went into our apartment to look at our things. Almost immediately, the foreman told us that there was no chance that our things would only take up 530 cubic feet, and that he could not understand where that estimate came from. We asked if the fact that we had more boxes than we had anticipated could account for such a difference, and he said no. He said that the un-boxed furniture alone (which had all been cataloged in the quote) would take up much more room than we were quoted.

As the movers started bringing our things down to the truck, the foreman took us aside and apologized for two of his helpers (who were not speaking any English). He told us that they did not actually work for the company, and that he had recruited them “off the street” earlier that morning. In addition, we noticed that the promised mattress bags, furniture blankets, and TV crates were not being used. None of our wood furniture received blankets, and the mattresses were simply wrapped in lightweight plastic. The flatscreen TVs were wrapped inside boxes that had to be modified on the spot in order to hold their contents; there was no protective packing material or special-fitting box used on either TV (we had been charged $70 for ‘TV Crates’).

Once the things were all in the truck, we were told that the total came to 800 cubic feet, which was 52% more space (and money) than we had been quoted. We paid a large chunk of the balance, as well as a $200 tip, and were told our things would be handled as carefully and as quickly as possible.

Waiting for our things to arrive

Once the movers left with our things, we left the Albany area for the long drive down to Carrboro, NC. On Saturday, August 2, Ali gave Alan a call to check in with him and see how the delivery was progressing. She reminded him that he had estimated an August 4 delivery, and he replied that he had never told her that (a flat lie). She asked him what we could reasonably expect, and he basically dodged the question, saying that he would need until Monday to give us an update. So, we called Quality again on Monday and spoke with Alan; he told us that he needed to contact the warehouse, and he would call us back “in 10 minutes”. Approximately 90 minutes later, after not receiving any call back, we called again. Alan told us that he had no information for us, and could not tell us when we could expect delivery.

On Tuesday morning (August 5), I called Quality again and asked to speak with Alan’s supervisor, as he had been misleading and unhelpful. I ultimately ended up speaking with Moe, who told me that I could expect our things to arrive possibly later that day, but “guaranteed” by Wednesday. After waiting around in an empty apartment and receiving no deilvery or update on Tuesday night, I called again on Wednesday. At this point I was told that, unbeknownst to me, Moe would be out of the office for the rest of the week, and that the drivers would contact us.

That, of course, did not happen. We called the driver directly on Thursday, and he gave us a story about the truck needing repair, and being set back by a day. So, we spoke to Alan. After very rudely telling us that we basically had no reason to complain, he made some calls and told us that the truck was going to arrive in our area late Thursday night. We told him that, no matter how late it showed up, we wanted our things that night; more importantly, we told him that we expected the drivers to contact us directly if that expectation would change. After waiting up (again, in an empty apartment) until well after 1 am, it was clear that our things would not be arriving. We never received a phone call from anybody telling us the plan had changed.

On Friday morning I called the driver directly, and he gave another story about the courier losing the keys. I asked him specifically why he had not called to notify us when that happened, and he did not have an answer. He told us that he expected to arrive that day, but that it would be later in the night. Finally, after several calls trying to verify our correct address (which we had correctly given to several different people), the truck arrived around 8 pm on Friday night (8 days after pick-up, and 5 days after the originally estimated drop-off date).

Delivery

When the moving van arrived, the driver and his assistant were trying to determine the best way to park the truck. Ali suggested that she and I both move our cars to a different lot to give them room, and they agreed. However, before I was able to start my car, the driver had decided to back into his planned spot without waiting for me. While maneuvering his truck, he backed directly into the rear end of my car, causing several thousand dollars worth of damage. After the police were called and a report was filed (and he damaged my car again trying to move the truck), the movers finally opened the truck.

When we looked into the truck, it looked as though everything had been haphazardly thrown into the truck, without any consideration of which items were fragile. As they began removing items, it was clear that this was the case; many of our items were visibly damaged in the gathering darkness, and many of the boxes marked “fragile” were badly beat up (as were their contents). We initiated the claim service, and they replied to us saying that the 60 cents per pound of insurance we had entitled us to a total of $288.

While waiting for the claim service to respond, Moe had personally told me several times that he was aware of problems extending beyond damaged property, and that he wanted to “make it right” with us. However, once we received word of the claim amount, I contacted him and he refused to offer more than $55 on top of the property claim. That is $55 (out of $2400) for the total lack of respect and professionalism, not to mention the broken promises and inconvenience of having a damaged car.

Please keep in mind that this is just a summary; there were several calls which I did not catalog here. We were consistently treated rudely and in an exceedingly unprofessional manner. The lack of communication and follow-through was truly astounding. We expect a more substantial refund in light of all these problems; we think it would be more than fair to pay, in full, the original amount quoted, meaning we would not be charged for the extra cubic footage in light of all of this aggravation. However, Moe has refused to even consider this.

Any suggestions for what we should do would be welcome. Should we pursue small claims court? I doubt that would help, since most all of the promises that were broken were merely verbal. What about reporting the two “off-the-street” workers to the department of labor or INS? Please, we want to be treated fairly, but short of that, we want to punish Quality Van Lines for this horrible experience.

“How to Find a Reputable Moving Company” [MovingScam.com]
“How to File Complaints Against Your Mover” [MovingScam.com]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. opsomath says:

    Surely the company is liable for damaging his stuff – certainly, his CAR – despite the absence of a contract saying they are such.

  2. Zanorfes says:

    You should contact your attorney general. Moving companies are notorious for scamming you and they get away with it. Don’t let them.

  3. ironchef says:

    Angie’s list helps too.

  4. dmuth says:

    Where’s the link to Cory’s story? I’d love to read it for myself!

  5. chemmy says:

    I just rent a UHaul (who sucks in their own right) and move it myself.

    Sorry but I have these trust issues.

  6. Snakeophelia says:

    You gotta go by word of mouth when hiring movers. Even if (as was the case with me), you’d always gotten your friends to help you move things yourself, if you’re going to hire a mover, contact everyone you know for references. I hired Superior Movers in Philly because of their reputation, and have since recommended them to multiple other folks.

    I would rather move all my crap myself then go with a moving company about which I know nothing.

  7. sjaguar says:

    When I moved from California to Ohio, I used ABF’s U-Pack service. Essentially, they drop the a truck trailer at your curb. You get about three days to fill it up (it only took us a day). You put a barrier between your stuff and the commercial shipments that will be loaded later. You only get charged for the floor space you actually use.

    Then, they pick it up and drive it to your destination. Then, you call and they drop it off. Make sure to follow their suggestions (like covering stuff with a tarp to prevent excessive dust).

    The only problem I had was telling the driver how to get to the new house. This was my fault as as I was new to the area. The driver was apologetic (even though it was my fault). He even spent about 15 minutes backing the trailer down my driveway so I didn’t have to unload from the curb.

    I know this wasn’t the cheapest solution, but it worked for me.

  8. Etoiles says:

    Just a note about moving:

    INVENTORY YOUR STUFF FIRST. WITH PICTURES, if possible.

    I had no way of proving that the movers had gone through my self-packed boxes and stolen my entire PC game collection (two CD binders filled with 11 years’ worth of games, many long since out of print) and three DVDs (out of a collection of 150+. WTF?), and so I was s.o.l. trying to get anything done about it. I gave up after six months.

    Those movers were recommended and I did my research (weeks of it) picking them. They were my second choice because my first was unavailable, and we can see how well that went. They mashed 3/4 of my furniture, too, although since it was from IKEA I can’t really complain.

    I’ve had better luck with the two moving companies I’ve used since then (and “Get a U-Haul” isn’t always practical or feasible, particularly when you live on a 6th floor walk-up in Manhattan and have literally NO friends or family to ask for help in the area) but even word of mouth has its limitations when a company goes skeezy.

    • spazztastic says:

      @EtoilePB: When I moved, I looked for a company with a national affiliation, i.e. United, Bekins, Allied. Only problem I had was with a piece of Ikea furniture that collapsed when they tried to move it (I had to sign a waiver for them to move it assembled, absolving them of damage). Several days after the move, I reassembled the piece and discovered that I was missing part of it, which they were not able to recover for me. In consideration of how smoothly everything went otherwise, (which included waiting for and helping us to pack some of the final boxes), I let it go.

  9. arras says:

    the last time I moved, I called up a moving company (sprint van lines, I think). When I called to make the appointment, the woman I spoke with asked how much stuff I had, how many boxes and how much cubic feet of stuff I had. I told her I had no clue – I live alone in a one bedroom apartment. I asked her for her best estimate, what’s typical for a one bedroom? We set an amount and she gave me a quote, which I got in writing – both snail and emailed to me.

    When the movers arrived, they laughed at me – no way is this X cubic feet! You’ve got XYZ cubic feet easily, blah blah blah. If I had known it would have been a problem I would have measured and gotten out my calculator.

    I couldn’t fathom why this mattered – I was their only move that day (it was a holiday) and they had a HUGE truck, which my stuff only took up a tiny fraction of.

    I guess the lesson here is to assemble as much of your stuff as you can in the center of a room and get a rough idea of how much space it takes up and when you call around, tell them – I have approximately this much cubic feet of stuff, but that’s only an estimate on my part.

    The other stuff – the lateness and wrecked car, I would take them to small claims court over that or work out a deal with them. Their driver is at fault for hitting your car

  10. mariospants says:

    “two of the movers were guys hired that morning off the street;”??? He should be thankful he wasn’t robbed as well.

    Even with great moving companies, you’re gonna get damage, loss, delays, change in costs etc. etc. Especially if they only estimate the weight in advance (they’ll blame your books or something else if you’re over-weight).

    Make sure your moving company is insured to the hilt with a reputable company and you ask to get an official weighing if the price goes up due to that and it should help some.

  11. Jevia says:

    Oral promises/contracts are just as good as written ones, just a little harder to prove. I’d go ahead and try small claims court.

    Also, you should never tip until the job is over. Once they have your money, there’s no incentive to do a good job.

  12. wildbill says:

    A couple of more tips.

    1. Movers should charge by weight not volume. Weight can be measured on a scale. If you are concerned, insist on being present when the truck is weighed both before and after your goods are loaded. Check on this during the quote process.

    2. Get everything in writing.
    3. When buying insurance, there are lots of different kinds. Be sure to understand.
    4. Note high dollar items. Our insurance forms had a place to list all the high dollar items. These are things that cost more than $.60 per pound like flat panel TVs, artwork, etc.
    5. Something we found out the hard way. Checkoff your inventory sheet as the truck is being unloaded. Don’t be afraid to slow the movers down to do this. Every box and item has a number. The only time you can report something is missing is before the driver has left.

    We recently moved 23,000 pounds 500 miles. Cost us almost $10,000 for good movers and I still had $600 in insurance claims, mostly due to some stuff they lost, (we had a tough move on the starting end).

  13. cordeliapotter says:

    movingscam.com saved me so much trouble when I moved from Chicago to DC 4 years ago.

    • veronykah says:

      @cordeliapotter: movingscam is fantastic. That should be the first line in ALL these stories, look on movingscam.com BEFORE you hire any movers!
      I found great movers in Queens to pack my ABF cube, as well as finding that ABF has cubes[like pods] that you can pack yourself, and padlock. They drive them to your destination and will even store it for you. Better than UHaul, cheaper and safer [if you are good at packing] than a full service mover.
      Seriously, check movingscam.com before you move.

      • MomInTraining says:

        @veronykah: I have to second ABF. We moved a few years ago and used them, and they were a pleasure to deal with. Real people answer the phone, they work with you if you have special circumstances, and seem to really get the idea of customer service. One warning with any of these pack it yourself kinds of things, you have to be very careful about how you pack things to make sure they don’t get damaged on the way. I think ABF sends things via train a lot, so my stuff got pretty bumped around in transit. I should have done a better job protecting my wood furniture from scratches for example, but at least it was my fault and not some joker moving company that I paid good money to!

  14. JGBrock says:

    No matter how careful you are, how thorough your research, how many people you talk to, moving is still a crap shoot. I moved to and from Phoenix using a national carrier that I shall not name here (but it rhymes with zAllied). The first move was a dream. Professional agent, movers, and driver. Showed up on time, only one ceramic planter cracked (and the driver was far more upset than I was). Price did not change.

    Moved away from there a couple of years later and it was a nightmare. Agent changed the move date without telling us. Movers showed up late and had been drinking. Stuff went nowhere since the agent had not booked a driver. Got told ten different stories everytime I called and he always ended with “I’m going to call you right back” Never happened. I finally started calling the national office. Ten days after the delivery date, they showed up. Stuff broken, stuff missing, most things not even in boxes. We had checked with our homeowners insurance agent before leaving and were told that they covered moves, so we kept our policy active to cover the move time. Once the extent of damage was known, we filed a claim and were told the agent had no business telling us that. No coverage except for the standard rate per pound from the moving company. Covered maybe 5% of the damage.

    I filed a report with the BBB which was a waste of time. I detailed the whole thing and they contacted the moving company which denied it happened. The BBB said “okay then, Satisfactory rating!” Never trust those asshats for advice.

  15. JustThatGuy3 says:

    I second the “get an in-home estimate.” Any reputable moving company will send someone out to inventory your stuff and give you a “not to exceed” estimate in writing. Then, there are no issues with the company saying, on the day of the move, “wait, you have much more stuff than we quoted.” If it turns out the estimator erred, and the quote’s too low, that’s the company’s problem, not yours.

  16. lowcajones says:

    for next time:

    [www.moyerandsons.com]

    the most honest people in the moving business. my parents used them 6 times for interstate moves. they are a trusted company by the federal govt, and have often been used for moving federal agents and their families. this is a company that takes remarkable care of your stuff on both ends and in transit.

  17. 2719 says:

    I think car insurance should cover the damage for his car? But when it comes to movers I simply don’t trust them. Things break, accidents happen but it seems to me they make it really hard to get reimbursed for the damage.

    Also they charge a lot of money for this service.

    • aka Cat says:

      I don’t understand why you’d want to report the day laborers to INS. It’s not their fault that they were hired with no training.

      @2719: And then he has to pay increased insurance premiums for who knows how many years. No thanks — that’s why the person who causes the damage (or their insurance company) is supposed to pay for it.

  18. rainbowsandkittens says:

    What a horrible story.

    We moved from Albany, NY, to the Charlotte, NC area about 3 years ago when my dad changed offices in his company.

    Luckily, they paid for the cost of the relocation. So when our truck was 3 days late and they tried to tell us it’d be another $4500 if we wanted to see our stuff, the company lawyer was all too happy to make some angry phone calls to the mover co. dispatch.

    Magically, that truck showed up within hours and the mysterious charges disappeared. These companies know they have all of your belongings and that you are over a barrel–so these stories are scarily all too common. It’s like legal ransom!

    I do have to give a shout out to a more local NC moving company my husband and I used to go from our townhouse to our newest house in 2007: Two Men and a Truck. You get what the name says, and they charge you a flat rate per hour they lift stuff and per mile they drive. We had all the furniture and boxes waiting for them near the entryway and we moved all of our stuff across town for $500. Simple!

  19. madfrog says:

    I just moved and it is a PAIN! I only went about a mile up the street, so I can only imagine what you went thru. That picture is a pretty good deciption of what I looked like afterwards. Who knew I had soooo much crap! Told my husband next time (we are planning to go out of state in the next few years) we are either renting a UHaul or getting a POD

  20. KesCaesar says:

    I am planning a move back home from America to Canada; International Movers aren’t really a local thing. Does anyone have a suggestion about how to find good international movers?

  21. hills says:

    angie’s list is worth every penny – great way to research movers and all sorts of companies….

    ALWAYS getting moving estimates in person – have the rep come to your house and look at your items

    ALWAYS pay extra for the full-replacement value insurance – the standard 60 cents per pound

  22. ShreeThunderbird says:

    I’ve used Consumerist’s comments to relate my experiences with a
    company that has offices in the New York and Los Angeles areas. I had
    most of the same problems Cory experienced plus a few he didn’t have.
    Basically, the company lo-balled the estimate, jacked up storage
    fees, damaged some of your furniture, and the most valuable items
    simply “disappeared”. The arbitration offer was so low as to be
    ludicrous and we refused to accept it.

    When we began complaining we discovered the company periodically has
    it’s license revoked by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, but always
    gets another one – sometimes under a different name. The laws
    relating to interstate moving were apparently written by attorneys
    for dishonest moving companies because nothing can be done by
    consumers victimized their activities.

    Those who always say go to court probably have not dealt with losses
    that exceed small claims limits or ever paid fees to a decent lawyer.
    We did complain to movingscam.com, etc., but there were already many
    stories about moving companies – even supposedly reputable ones.

    What it comes down is either do not move or do it all yourself.

  23. Rhayader says:

    Hey everyone, Cory here, thanks for the advice. If nothing else, this was a learning experience.

    @rainbowsandkittens: yeah I have also heard good things about 2 Men and a Truck.

    @opsomath: Yes, they were on the hook for the car repairs, and the insurance covered that. However, the company refuses to consider the large inconvenience of getting a car repaired, beyond the straightforward monetary costs. I missed much of my first week at a new job going back and forth to the body shop and Enterprise.

  24. PingPongDarts says:

    I’ve found that overall, Penske tends to be the most trustworthy and reliable national company by far. Granted, you still need to do your homework and keep them on a short leash but during my extended moving experience with them, their national customer service operators were extremely helpful and friendly. The 16′ moving truck and vehicle tow I rented from them were very well maintained and there are multiple coupons/deals you can use (certain site referrals, AAA memberships, online booking, etc.).

  25. AmbiUbi says:

    Unfortunately I wasn’t a good consumerist in 2004 when the hubby and I moved cross country from CA to PA….short notice job change, 2 weeks to pack everything up and 1 week to drive ourselves cross country with 2 cats and 2 turtles in tow…Called a few places to get a quote and went with a company that seemed reasonable and competant enough. Told them we would be in 4 days after they picked up our stuff so don’t get there before us please. Well, three weeks and about 50 phone calls later our stuff finally arrived. They let our belongings sit in storage for 2 1/2 weeks while they kept telling us it would be out on the next load, whatever….

    So the driver gets there (with some guy to help that he obviously picked up off the street somewhere on his cross country way) and then proceeds to tell us our street is too small for him to pull into and we would need to pay another $300 for the distance or else he would take our stuff away. In tears I went and got the money…what else could I do? We even had our new neighbors out there yelling at the guy that they could pull the truck in with no problem, but the jerk wouldn’t budge.

    I wish I had done more research.

  26. harlock_JDS says:

    I’ve had experiences with movers

    1) Two men and a truck. Apparently they dropped and damaged my Saga dreamcast when loading (My mother was present on load up). Said Dreamcast was missing when they unloaded. Owner of the franchise kept saying he would help but never did and when i escalated to the cooperate office he got angry and refused to talk to me again (and the cooperate office said it was a local issue). BBB was unable to resolve anything. The company that i was working for (and who was going to pay for the move) was withholding payment till it was resolved but went out of business so i don’t know if two men and a truck got paid or not. Refuse to deal with them again

    2) Nationwide movers. Did end up being charged more because of a bad initial estimate and the truck was a day late but other than that it went ok.

    3) FlatRate absolutely wonderful move with no issues at all.

    Needles to say i know who’ll I’ll be using in the future.

  27. QNine says:

    I disagree on not going with online. Yea, checking out the actual business websites won’t tell you who is good and who isn’t, but neither will the Yellow Pages. Go to Yelp (full disclosure – I work for Yelp) or other word of mouth websites (Craigslist is also valuable) and see what people have to say.

    Online word of mouth is a powerful way to highlight great businesses (and call out bad ones) and for many people, more accessible than the traditional “talk to a friend who hopefully has a recommendation” way of doing it.

  28. hills says:

    -angie’s list is worth every penny – a great way to research lots of companies

    -always get an estimate in person

    -always spring for the full-replacement value insurance

  29. howie_in_az says:

    I had to threaten to call the cops on American Move Aid during my move from Pittsburgh, PA to sunny Arizona. They ended up delivering the items 4 weeks late (“These things happen”) and breaking a large collage frame in the process. I joke that I had the Russian Mafia move my furniture because the people I actually met were all Russian. I phoned the dispatchers every day to see where my stuff was, and then placed follow-up calls to my ‘moving manager’ guy. Lots of ‘oh the truck broke down’ notes that somehow never made it to my inbox or voicemail. After a week of this BS I said I’d have the police come pick up my stuff at wherever the broken down truck was, and wouldn’t you know, the truck was fixed that very day.

  30. kanderson321 says:

    We’ve moved across country twice (Seattle to Boston, and then Rhode Island to Portland, OR), and either we’ve gotten lucky, or we had great service for the most part (Allied, I think both times).

    I’ve never gotten a quote by phone. I always have the estimator come and actually physically look at the stuff we’re moving (which includes antique furniture).

    The worst of the moves came from the Seattle to Boston; our driver hired day laborers, and on a blisteringly hot, humid day, these guys did a great job of unloading the truck. That is, until it came time to move the TV to the upstairs bedroom. They were tired, dehydrated and smashed the TV into the door, breaking the plastic case on the TV, and punching a hole in the door.

    I made them stop and take water breaks. I even went and bought them McDonalds for lunch (heck I’m paying for their time, and if I want to pay them to eat so they’re not breaking my stuff, I will do so — cheap insurance).

    Other than that, and the driver mis-judging the height of his truck vs. the height of the cable line strung to our roof, it wasn’t all that bad. The antiques survived, as did we all.

    Again, I’m not sure if it’s just that we’re lucky, or we’ve gone with national movers with good reputations.

    • woot says:

      @KesCaesar: I’ve had great experiences with Allied Van Lines (allied.com). They moved me from the London to LA and then cross-country within the US (including the car, which I was pleased to find out got packed inside the trailer with everything else). Not a scratch on anything and a completely seamless process.

  31. ckaught78 says:

    Reading all the horror stories people have with moving companies makes me feel like the luckiest guy in the world. I moved from San Francisco to York, Pennsylvania earlier this year with no problems whatsoever. I used AMS Relocation Inc out of Burlingame. They are a Bekins agent.

    I went with a binding contract and had them pack me up. The rep wasn’t sure if the truck would fit on my street for the pickup so he sent a driver out the same day of the estimate to see if the truck could fit and he determined it could. While the binding contract costs a little more, you don’t get stuck with added costs on the other end. You also take the risk of your load be under the estimated weight, but it is a risk worth taking. I lucked out in that the estimated weight ended up being right on.

    The driver who actually did the move was totally awesome and professional. These guys do pick up help locally for loading and unloading since they can’t bring a crew qith then cross country. The guys were supplied by the local agent. To further state how good my driver was, about half way though the loading one of the helpers dropped an old crappy desk I had down the stairs outside my building, which broke it. The driver immdediately sent the guy walking. I didn’t want the desk anyway and ended up getting reimbursed for it.

    Anyway, the driver thoroughly inventoried everything and emailed me pictured of my stuff in the truck once it was all packed in. He called me throughout his drive and arrived on the morning he said he would. Everything got unloaded and all items were accounted for.

    This is by far the largest move I had ever done and after reading so many negative reviews of all the moving companies I was very worried, but at the end of the day everything turned out great. I am beginning to believe that people only post reviews online when they have a bad experience. The majority of people with good experiences don’t bother to post.

    Anyway, I feel bad for the guy in this post, but this doesn’t happen to everyone.

    • Rhayader says:

      @ckaught78: It’s nice to hear a good story for once. I am the OP, and the thing that really sticks out in your account is the up-front and honest communication you had with the driver. Emailing you pictures? CALLING you? I would expect a customer service-centric business to be on top of things like that, but unfortunately that is far from the case. I hope you recommend the people you used, because the good companies deserve to stand out.

      • Aisley says:

        @Rhayader:

        Hiya Cory. It is terrible that your move was a nightmare, let’s hope it won’t happen again. No one deserves such an ordeal specially when moving accross states.

        Since relocating to the US from overseas 15 years ago, I have moved 3 times (inside the US). My experiences have been always great with the one company I used. Maybe because I went with the recommendation of a very good friend of mine? Whoever needs to move in the Metropolitan Washington area will be very well served by taking a look at “Two Guys and a Truck”. The driver and his helpers are quite good; very polite and an eve more important thing THEY LISTEN to whatever I had to say. The only thing is that they won’t pack your stuff, which is fine with me. I have this believe etched on my brain, no one, absolutly no one will be more careful than you are packing your stuff. Now, that I believe that doesn’t mean I cannot understand that there’s other people out there who are in a very different situation.

        And for closing, through the years I have heard humongous amounts of moving horror stories from friends, acquaintances and on line/newspapers. What I find most fascinating is the fact that the only two things all these people have in common are:
        1. People hired moving companies;
        2. The moving companies had “Van Lines” in their name.

        Hum? Is anybody seeing a pattern here?

  32. PinkBox says:

    I had such a bad experience with my last move that I’ll always rent a uHaul or Penske in the future, and drive my own car.

    We used ABF, which was ok. The problem was the movers we got to take our (already boxed) items from our apartment to the ABF truck.

    They tried to pack a VERY full trashcan, and I had to stop them. They then ended up packing it anyway so I had a lovely smelly box of trash when our items arrived to our new home.

    They also charged us close to $600 to move a one bedroom sized apartment worth of stuff just a couple of miles away. Much more than the original quote, but we were stuck by that point.

    We used another company to move my car, which left our car stranded three hours away from it’s destination for a good two weeks. They were unable to tell us when our car could be driven those three hours, so we ended up having to get it ourselves. They tried to CHARGE us for driving to pick it up!

    The car that had been to a shop to make sure it was in prime shape before the move promptly broke down three days later and could not be repaired. Obviously something screwed it up during transit.

    I really don’t want to go through that kind of expensive trouble again. Totally not worth it.

    The sad thing is that I really did my research first and these were supposed to be reputable companies.

  33. ManiacDan says:

    When I moved from Albany to Dallas, TX, I filled out an online “let moving companies spam you” form, which was supposed to pass my information along to moving companies. Quality Van Lines called me every single day from that day forward. Every time they called I told them I wasn’t interested and to take me off their list, but they always said “we have a pre-existing business relationship with you and we don’t have to.” I eventually started using an air horn on them, but even that didn’t dissuade them. I had to change my number when I finally managed to move (which I did myself, to the tune of $6,000 JUST FOR THE TRUCK).

  34. QualityVanLines says:

    This is a response from Quality Van Line Management directly. First and foremost we last spoke to Cori about a week ago, and he was making an outrageous demand for money and threatened us by saying that if we do not pay him what he wants he will immediately try to ruin our business reputation and start making us look as bad as he can on the internet. If we were to give him the money, he would be happy with the service and the situation would be over. Obviously, we did not.
    Regarding the facts, the job was picked up on July 31, 2008 and delivered on August 8, 2008. Within contracts Cori and Ali signed and were well aware of, we had 7-14 BUSINESS days to deliver the furniture, it arrived in 5 BUSINESS days, which is in fact an early delivery. After delivery Cori came to us with complaints of damages. By law we have a claim department that handles these issues and we give a valuation with signing up with our company of $0.60 per lb per article. Before signing up with us you are more than welcome to buy additional insurance, Cori chose not to do that. Therefore, he went to the claims department for damages and recieved an offer of $288.00 for reimbursement. He was not happy with this and refused, he called us back and said he wanted $800.00 back for his inconvienences, stress, and lack of professionalism in his opinion. He did understand the reasons the quote went up and had no problem paying for that, it was just his stress upon delivery he decided $288.00 would not be enough. We offered to make it $350.00 just to satisfy his demands, and he declined once again and told us in these exact words, “Your company will be sorry”. We have all legal documents of Cori and Ali complying to the terms of the move, and understanding the contracts. This complaint is coming directly out of spite because a customer is not getting what they wants, it is our job to make sure every customer gets everything they deserved by the law and the terms of moving policy.

    • Rhayader says:

      @QualityVanLines: a) Please spell my name correctly. It is C-O-R-Y. I would expect you to know that much after all of this.

      b) Like I said on the phone, hiding behind the contract is your legal right, and I can’t stop you. I thought you might be concerned with keeping a good reputation and honoring your word, but that is clearly not the case.

      c) Anyone else who is reading this, the grammar, tone, and sentence structure in the above post are clear indications of their level of professionalism and customer service. Whether I can get my money back or not, I must stress that you DO NOT use this company.

    • j0nesey03 says:

      @QualityVanLines:

      Wow. Extremely professional on the part of Quality Movers….bickering in a blog thread like they were rating a YouTube video. How do I sign up with them for my next move?

    • PennyParker says:

      @QualityVanLines: In the moving business occasional – or by the sounds of this thread, frequent – issues will arise including delays, broken property, or the incidental hiring of a couple Mexican laborers. This is understood by the people who choose to pay for your services. Given this, there are a few problems I have with Cory’s situation and your response.

      First off, is it really that hard to stick to a delivery date that you yourself have set up? If you think that you will be unable to deliver their belongings at the date they wish, tell them that in advance so they can make other arrangements. Don’t tell them it will be a 4-day delivery (as per Alan’s estimate) and make them sit on their thumbs in an empty apartment wondering if and when their things will show up.

      Another thing- don’t fault someone for not paying for additional insurance. The moving company itself is a form of insurance. We hire “professionals” because they are supposed to be able to take care of our belongings and make sure that they get to us safely, which is why we pay fairly good money for that service. We understand that movers are humans and may occasionally drop a vase or scratch a table, but when we sign the contract we are not assuming that our belongings will be thrown about in the moving truck with no sense of organization or care. When signing up for insurance, we are expecting reasonable and minimal damage, we are not foreseeing your company’s carelessness and irresponsibility.

      Last but not least, when problems like this do arise, we expect to be treated like human beings. If there is a delay or something has gone wrong, give us a straight answer as to what is going on and what is being done to resolve the issue. Like with every business, we would like to be treated with respect and complete professionalism. I can understand Cory’s frustration and it is your own fault that it has turned into this ugly fiasco. Rather than just throwing the written contract in his face, you should have evaluated the entire situation and taken into account the empty promises and lack of professionalism that he experienced with your company.

      I am disgusted by both the treatment Cory received in doing business with you and the written response that you have posted here. I applaud Cory for taking a stand against this kind of treatment and making others aware of your poor business practices.

  35. oregongal says:

    I used to work for a major freight forwarding conglomerate as a Sr. Claims Specialist. Our slogan? “Make a claims adjusters day, break something”. I feel for the OP because I have see literally from broken/missing pieces to a family pet being rolled into a futon and put in storage for 3 months! Oh and Grandpa’s ashes dropped on the curb because the tape failed on the box. The best advice I can give anyone is do your homework and deal with ‘brand-name’ businesses. The locals are (not always but..) most likely irresponsible and under-insured.

    Oh and it’s worth your hard earned $$ to buy FULL-REPLACEMENT coverage. You’ll be glad you did.

  36. Icer133 says:

    I will say after having moved just this last month I will never use a little know company. I had a gut feeling when I was about to use a company called Discover Moving and storage and did some more research and found some pretty disturbing stories about them. This is when I decided to go with Preferred Movers of Nashville who is an agent for Wheaton Vanlines. Overall even though some of our things got Damaged they did a good job. They didn’t raise prices, they were a day early form when they said they would be there. they always answered the phone and stood behind every promise that they had told me/ put on paper. I did spring for the full replacement Insurance and am glad that I did as their was enough stuff that got roughed up to make it worth having. Overall I am happy and will never use anyone who has only one office. Always move with a company that has offices nationally and that way you know they are big enough to back up their claims and always get every little detail in writing. If you can do that your move will be a success even if you have to deal with irritating people you will always have someone to call. NEVER GO WITH THE CHEAPEST QUOTE WHEN MOVING. Go With the people that come to your house look at your stuff and have moving vans all over the country with their name plastered on the side of them. that will tell you if they are a reputable company and will keep their word. Because that is how they got there to begin with.

  37. Demonbird says:

    MOVERS!
    I HATE THEM. When we were moving from Colorado t California we had a moving company come in. I had items we were bringing with us separated in another room. Some valuables and movies and such. While packing they “accidentally” knocked over a cabinet we had. I ran over from my stack of valuables and investigated the cabinets condition. A couple minutes later when I walk back down to the room they were in the door is open, the packages they were in slashed, and many items were gone, as well as two members of the moving team. Screw movers.
    NEVER ship anything but furniture with them and treat them like criminals at all times. They may very well be.

  38. zolielo says:

    I move things for the government all day every day.

    I will not lecture… But one tip that I will give is to request a list from your State DGS of commercial carriers that they use.

  39. theysaidwhat says:

    Cory should also send this story to baristanet.com, a local interest website for the greater Montclair, NJ area(Clifton is neighboring) which is widely read by the locals. They also have a forum in which he could share his tale of woe.

  40. PhiTauBill says:

    Anyone have any advice with respect to damages caused to one’s home during a move? My brother had a horrific experience with A Security Moving and Storage, Inc. based out of Bayonne, NJ for his move from NJ to Pittsburgh, PA.

    Basically, in addition to drinking their alcohol, stealing items and acting in a threatening manner toward his wife, they damaged floors, ceilings, and walls in both the home they moved out of and the home they moved into, as well as damaging the front door of home they moved into requiring $1,000s of dollars to repair. This sort of damage to the homes should not be excluded under the $0.60 per lb. per article limitations, correct?

    The situation was a nightmare all around, as my brother did purchase additional insurance from movinginsurance.com, but the movers never provided a manifest listing the items that were moved, so they have been unsuccessful in collecting from insurer to date. Is there a colarable consumer fraud action to take against the movers for not providing the manifest? With the move costing over $8,000.00, it’s obvious that the company moved a considerable quantity of stuff. The movers further tried to disclaim responsibitlity for items they described as self-packed that were in fact packed by the movers themselves.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated….

  41. Overheal says:

    I just moved last week. We called [Myrtlebeachmovers.com]

    And so when we asked them for references over the phone the only thing they provided was the letters of recommendation on their site: which I found fishy.

    Anyway as we were getting into the agreement he started going on about Stairs. “Are there stairs? Thats an extra stair fee” of about $50 – which we talked him down to $15. But when we talked 2 days later this was of course up to $75.

    Then on the night before the move he starts insisting that he be paid in cash and was very agressive about the whole thing. Eventually we just hung up on him though and listened as he tried to call us back and left 2 messages on our machine – being huffy and rude and moaning about needing cash because he had not had a client in over 2 weeks. I wonder why.

    Anyway if you live in the greater charleston area watch out for these Myrtlebeach/Charlestonmovers.com people.

  42. Roclawzi says:

    I know these movers, not personally, but I work in the area and my father lives in the area. They must pay extra for bad attitudes, as I found them once loading a truck by having it backed up a short driveway and all but about 6 feet of the road blocked. I had my daughter in the car and I wasn’t interested in getting in a fist to face discussion with them, but I did call out to them to move the truck since I don’t drive in the area much and didn’t know how to bypass them. They told me they didn’t have to move the truck. I told them that I was calling the police and I turned around. I did call the police, but as I was making the turn off the street, I saw them pulling their truck out, with the doors open, and dropping roughly off the curb. I don’t know what was in the truck at that point, but I’m betting it wasn’t the best thing for it. Basically they were blocking the street so they didn’t have to walk an extra 15 feet per trip. I’m sure there was nothing for the police to see by the time they got there.

    My brother owned a moving company for many years, and he was someone of intense integrity. His word was never questioned, there was never a reason to. If something broke on a run of his, he was waiting with the money for the replacement already off the bill. He had quality employees and paid them well. Unfortunately, despite bidding competitively, he just got sick and tired of having to deal with all the work for very little money in the end, because he was competing with low quality movers who had no problem surviving because people who had problems no longer lived in the area of the company that gave them problems! My brother would do tons of extra labor on top of all the work associated with running the business to keep his costs low, but in the end, word of mouth only goes so far. People are often willing to take a risk on a cheaper company that’s half the price than a company who came to them high recommended. It’s only everything they own, right? If we could get honest ranking these companies, we could see who’s worth the extra money, and who’s going to rip you off.

    If it helps at all, my workplace uses movers often enough, and I will make sure to point this post out to the person who makes the call on these contracts.