RE: Complaint Against American Van Lines East, Inc.
9507 North Trask Street
Tampa, FL 33624
To Whom It May Concern:
I hired American Van Lines East through a referral from an online website called ServiceMagic.com. The company quoted me $855.00 to move my 3 bedroom, 3 bath home located at FL to my new residence located at FL (4 miles down the road). The quote was presented via e-mail on December 20th, 2007. I spoke to the company representative "Gail" and specifically asked if there were any hidden fees, additional fees, etc. She verbally advised that there were absolutely no additional fees, the hourly rate was the only cost and that I can "drink your coffee, watch the movers take great care of your possessions and pat them on the back and tell them what a great job they did when the move was completed." Gail stated that should the move take longer than the estimated time, the only additional cost would be the flat hourly rate. I agreed to the terms and paid her a $95.00 deposit via credit card over the phone.
On December 29, 2007, the movers arrived at 10:00 AM. The superintendant provided me with a sheet advising that there were additional costs for packing material, due to the fact that the company has a policy indicating they would not load any item onto the truck unless it was packed to "their" specification, and thus, I had to pay for packing material, including but not limited to tape used to wrap blankets, boxes, bubble wrap, etc. Obviously, I had been planning to move for quite some time and could not contest these fees since it was the morning of the day I was scheduled to move.
Upon completion of the loading of 3/4 of my house, the superintendant advised that this move would take two days to complete and that a crew would have to return on Sunday due to the fact that they wanted to be home in time to watch the Patriots play on television. I spoke with Gail via phone who then had several conversations with the superintendant / foreman "Ron". When he returned inside the home, he pointed his finger in my face and stated "You can keep your f***ing tip buddy!" This was witnessed by another employee named "Jose". Apparently, Gail had informed Ron that he was not working fast enough and he was upset by this.
When the movers arrived at the destination, 4 miles away, Ron presented me with a final bill. The invoice was for approximately $900+ more than they originally quoted due to "packing costs". When I contested, Ron stated that they refused to unload the truck until I paid the entire balance in full, as well as sign the contract stating all my items were received in "Good" condition. I could not possibly know if they were received in good condition as they had not unloaded the truck yet, additionally, he indicated that if I didn't pay the balance in full immediately, they would return the truck to Tampa and charge me storage fees until this was settled.
In summary, a move that was quoted at 1 day and $855.00 ended up costing over $2,000 and 2 days. I have been advised by several employees of the company that the foreman receives a 10% commission for every dollar he charges in packing material costs. My costs exceeded $1,000 for miscellaneous items like tape and bubble wrap. The foreman had confessed to me at one point during the move that he only makes $12.00 per hour. He then has an incentive for charging me as much as he wants for packing material due to the fact that his commissions made exceed his hourly pay for physical labor. No individual could possibly count or track the amount of tape used, pieces of bubble wrap, etc. to ensure it's accuracy. Additionally, their definition of "adequately packed" is merely subjective, allowing them to force the consumer to have to obtain additional packing at astronomical pricing.
A simple review of their packing item costs will reveal that they are gouging at a time where consumers are vulnerable and have no options. My only alternative would be to leave items in the previous home or pay the fees they were requesting. Also, I feel it is unethical to force a consumer to sign off on a contract when I have no way of knowing if the items were received in good condition or not. The foreman also advised me that if I paid the cost via credit card, there was a 20% penalty fee for doing so.
I believe this company to engage in deceptive business practices. They take advantage of consumers when they are vulnerable and force them to sign contracts under duress. I did request during the move 2 wardrobe boxes and 1 TV box.
After supplemental research on the internet, I have found through the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Department of Transportation, as well as various random websites that there have been repeated complaints against this company for similar practices.
Lake Mary, Florida
U.S.A.Click here to read other Rip Off Report list of other Moving CompaniesClick here to read other Rip Off Reports on National Moving Network and other various transport companies ripping off the consumer