I recently had to move from New Orleans, LA to Houston, TX. I have moved 5 times in the last 6 yeast so don't consider myslef a novice at this. I had a 4 bedroom furnished house and wanted professional movers to do the work. I searched the internet for companies and made several contacts to get quotes. Advanced Moving Systems came up on several web sites. Their quote was not the cheapest, but the did offer free storage which was a plus to me. This made it easy to move out of New Orleans one weekend and into Houston the next at no additional cost. I should have been suspicious when they did not want to see the house prior, to estiamte the wieght. There estimate was based on Cu Ft not weight. They gave me an estimate of $3300. In the balpark of all the other companies, but that free storage took them over the top. I put a $100 deposit on my credit card and scheduled the move. I verified that this could all be done on a credit card so I could be protected if anything went wrong. They said no problem.
I met the movers Sun AM. I should have been suspicious when they showed up in a Ryder truck when my move 4 months earlier took up 3/4 of a trailer. They went over the contract that was based on 1100 cuft at $3/cu ft. They said anything over that would be $5/cu ft. I argued that is should get cheaper with more stuff not more expensive. I talked to Tommy, the supervisor and got him to agree to $3 for the extra. I asked the drivers did they think I had more than 1100 cuft and they said it didn't look like it.
They proceeded to begin loading my stuff. They were beating up my walls and door ways. No pads on the floor or any of the things a professional mover should do. They left with one load took 3 hours to retun and get the second load. Finished the second load at 7:00 Sunday night. I had to be out of my house by Mon AM and still had a 6 hour drive to Houston. I was not a happy camper. After everything was loaded they told me that there was 2800 cuft and the total cost was $11,000. I almost passed out. They said there was nothing they could do and I would have to talk to their supervisor in the am. But they would take it down to $10,000. What a deal. I had to pay half of it at that time.
I go to get my credit card and they say their machine is broken so I'll have to do it Western Union. I asked if it was treated like a cash advance because I wasn't going to pay 21% interest and the cash advance fees. They said it wasn't and they would cover any fees. I completed the transaction with Western Union to a Zion Rokah. And they were off. I figured they will work with me on Monday because I paid less than $10,000 for a move from Cal to MN and they packed and unpacked all my boxes.
I called Bill Davis on Monday, he transferred me to Tommy who was the rudest man I have ever met. And basically they said if you want you stuff it will cost $10,000. I asked were it was and they would not tell me. I asked what would be the cost if I have another moving company pick it up and complete the move and they said $8,000. After a couple days of trying to negotiate I realized they were not going to budge and they had everything I owned.
In the mean time Western Union had called and said the transaction did not go through because I could not do a $5000 cash advance on my credit. Remember they said it wasn't a cash advance. But even if it would go through they would not allow it because Zion Rokah was on their fraud list for moving scams. The light bulb went off.
Finally realized I was over my head and called a lawyer friend. He got a hold of the attorney generals office in LA and they worked out a deal that if I paid $2000 they would release my belongings to me. ANyting less than that Advanced Moving woudl fight in court whiel they kept my belongings in storage. I had to take another day off work and fly to New Orleans to meet them and sign releases and fed ex checks etc. Had to go with another fly by night mover because no reputable mover would get involved in a move that they didn't have an address for and could not inspect prior. That cost me another $3500. And I could make no claims with them because I couldn't prove who did the damamge.
I finally got into the sheds and they were not climate controlled which is huge in the south, so many of my things had molded. All of my belongings were thrown in the storage shed. The lawn mower was on top of the bed. Light boxes on the bottom and heavy boxes on top. Most of the boxes were crushed. It was a nightmare. They had not intention of ever sompleting that move. They just wanted to see how much money they could get out of me.
I had a large amount of broken dishware. They had taped directly ont my furniture so much of the finish has peeled off.
I have not decided if I will pursue a lawsuit because I just want this nightmare over. But I will definately do everything I can to let people know what a scam ADVANCED MOVING SYSTEM is.