Movers Turns Musicians' New Zealand Adventure Into Fiasco

Ah, New Zealand, the land of kiwis and hobbits. Daniel and his girlfriend went there to set up a studio and get paid to do recording sessions. They’re musicians. They hired Morton Van Lines to ship their equipment from LA to NZ, but after over seven months of struggle, they got it, or their money back.Turns out the equipment was shipped to the wrong country and then returned to the USA. Maybe if Morton Van Lines ever returned a phone call or an email it could have been straightened out. But nay. Here’s Daniel’s story…

Hello Consumerist,

I have been trying to deal with Morton Van-lines ( for almost 7 months. My girlfriend and I are working studio musicians based in L.A. and were offered a chance to set up a studio in New Zealand and do some recording sessions for up to a year plus.

Because of the comparatively small market of musical instruments in the country, we realized we had to bring along most of our instruments, along with our clothing and personal belongings. We had done our research and chose the company based on our budget and the service included in the delivery.

Our equipment was picked up from my house in Los Angeles in late August and we were quoted with a 6-8 week turnaround. We left the U.S. in early September and arrived at our studio in time to prepare the room for our gear. After the 15th week passed, we wanted to know what was going on. We then had an extremely difficult time in getting any word on our shipment. Burning through countless phone cards, and infinite email messages that were never returned, we started to really fear the worst. When we did actually get in touch with somebody at the office, we were
consistently let down with numerous false promises.

We never got the tracking number that was promised, nor any insight on what the hell was going on with our stuff. This hide and seek went on for FOUR MORE months, bringing it to a total of 6 months.

Now, keep in mind, we have a business to run, and work that needs to be completed. Dealing with customer (dis)service has been a nightmare for us and has put an INCREDIBLE amount of stress on our relationship. After the 4th month, we had finally gotten word of what was going on… it was shipped to the WRONG COUNTRY and was returned to the
U.S.!!!! Imagine the soul-crushing blow to learn that if they shipped it THAT day, it would take another 6-8 weeks!!

By this time it is mid-Dec. and we were now faced with a complete strategic disaster. We had to cancel all studio bookings, and face that fact that no matter how beautiful the country is, we could not enjoy it one bit. I came back to the States on Dec. 28 (even though I wanted to stay in NZ for new years so bad) to deal with this problem more locally. But then, the fun REALLY began…

For the entire month of January, I tried to reach the operations manager by calling the office everyday. I spoke with the two shifting secretaries and left dozens of messages with them and on the operation mangers machine. For the entire month of January, I DID NOT get one call back! Not even one call back. After a particularly fiery email, she finally called me and then used every cookie-cutter excuse you can imagine. Between a string of random emails, we had gotten 6 different guaranteed, written projected arrival dates, spanning over 2 months, that were NEVER followed through. At present (Feb. 11, 2008) the current written guarantee for delivery was today, the 11th, which was
let down once again. I am STILL trying to get our stuff back after 6 months being God knows where.

At this point, I am extremely concerned whether all of our things will be in there and in what condition they will return in. After being in transit for 6 months, who knows what state they’ll be in. Not to mention I have been living out the small carry-on bag of clothing that I packed to bring with me to NZ (as most of our clothing was in the container).

Morton Van Lines (or Moron Van Lines, as I like to refer to them) have pledged to a 100% refund and compensation for their inability to provide the service we hired them for. However, no amount of money can ever compensate for the hell we went through, and are STILL going through in order to get our things back. Between missed dates, stressed relationships, called off sessions, plane tickets bought, and time lost, money can only refund so much.

I wish I could conclude this story with a happy ending, but this ongoing saga of mismanagement will go on for a long time, even after we get our things back.

What a horrible experience. What a horrible company. Their website is dead now, and judging by this posting on Rip Off Report, so is the company. Looks like Daniel’s stuff might be sitting in a storage locker somewhere, while the storage company waits to get paid by an insolvent moving company.

It’s important to do your research and hire a reputable moving company, especially if you’re shipping internationally. has tips for international moves, and a roster of companies they recommend.

RELATED: Morton Van Lines Disappeared and Has Held my Household Goods for 4 Months in Oregon Ashland Oregon [Rip-off Report] (Photo: frischmilch)