My family and I started our move from the Columbus, Ohio area to the Orlando, Florida area on Friday, April 3rd, 2009. I had researched and contacted many moving companies to assist with our move (I went with what I thought were the larger, well-known companies). I decided to go with American Van Lines. They were not the cheapest but they were the most helpful and I liked their "not to exceed" price quote.
I signed a contract with AVL and settled on a "not to exceed" price for our move. I secured the move with a deposit in which a used my Chase credit card. This was the only card I wanted to have on file with the company.
Moving day rolled around and my son and I awaited the arrival of the movers. Our wives and children had already left the week prior. We were given 3 different times that the movers were to show up. After waiting for many ours, my son and I proceeded to purchase boxes and tape and began packing ourselves in hopes to expedite the moving process.
The movers finally showed up at my Ohio home at 11pm on the day that was supposed to be used for packing. After doing an intial walk through of my home, they said they were going to go to a hotel and get sleep so that they can get back at 7am to start working. I asked them if they could leave boxes so that I could continue to pack. They said no, that they would handle that when they got back "bright and early" the next morning.
The next day arrived and no movers so I began to call them around 9am. No repsonse. By 10:30am I began calling AVL. They directed the call to a dispatcher and he stated they were geting boxes and would be arriving within the hour.
They pulled in at 11:30am in what was an unmarked 26' truck. They entered my home again, walked around, and within a half hour of meeting me, made the comment "Wow! You have a really nice place! What does something like this cost? When we see a place like this, we are instructed to really stick it to them." I asked them how. They laughed and explained that they do things like going through weigh sation intially with no gas and then with a full tank once the truck is loaded and re-weighed. I explained that I oopted for the binding "not to exceed" contract with AVL. They said " that is a really smart thing to do. No wonder you have a place like this." He turned to his crew and stated "you hear that. Weight doesn't matter. Let's get this thing loaded an get out of here".
10 minutes later the driver returned and told me their boss wanted my credit card info. I was shocked and asked why when I gave all info to AVL. He explained AVL sub-contracted his company for the move. I asked if that is why the truck was unmarked. He confirmed and so I told him that all info was given to AVL and that I was not going to give it to them. He came back later with a cell phone and his boss on the other line. The boss, Max, explained to me that he got info from homeowners after the weigh station, but because of my "not to exceed" plan, he would get the info now for billing to charge me for the move. I responded that, until today, I did not know the job was sub-contracted and that AVL had my info. I would not release anything until I spoke with them. 2 hours later Max called again and asked if I spoke to AVL. I had not but left them a message. He asked for my credit card info again and I declined again.
They started moving furniture 12pm on Saturday. At about 4 I ordered food (as I did for them every meal during the entire move) and the pizza guy asked for my card for verification, THANKFULLY. That is when I realized they had packed my breifcase! I demanded them to retreive it and after about a half hour, it was returned. I took my breifcase, my important document files, and my laptop and placed them in my office. There was nothing that needed to be packed or loaded by them in this room so I instructed the movers to stay out of there.
After eating, the movers informed me there was not enough room on their truck for all of my stuff. At that time, the truck was not even half full. They were going to have to get another truck to come. By 6pm, they had taken the large items and said the truck was maxed out in weight. They were going to go to a hotel, and be back in the morning to pack the rest at 9am so that when the other truck arrived all they had to do was load. They then asked ME to go get more boxes and tape.
Noon rolls around and no movers. The boss calls to check on progress of the packing and how much was left. After updating him he states I'll call you back in 10 min. At 2pm he finally calls back and informed me he had instructed his crew to go ahead and go to FL. I replied for what? I'm here and what about the packing? He wanted to send a new crew in a few days. That was not acceptable because I had to be in FL immediately for business. He then assured me there would be a crew the next day.
I'll spare everyone the details of the second set of movers. Other than it was not much different than the first group up to and including wanting to obtain credit card information within a half hour of walking in my door and not having boxes.(at least this crew had tape.)
One important discovery was made. The hanging files that were in my office (the ones where I instructed them not to touch or even go in my office) had been taken by the first set of movers.
I started blowing up everyone's phones over it- car titles, income tax returns, bank statements, my entire life was in there. I finally got a hold of a service MGR at AVL and his answer was not to bring it to the drivers' attention if in case they didn't realize what they had. I lost it since I felt it was either 1) done out of complete ignorance or 2) done intentially and my personal information was now in the hands of total strangers who already made me aware they had integrity issues.
The driver wasn't returning my calls now and neither was his boss. 12 hours later the driver calls me and says what's wrong? He then proceeds to play dumb about the file at first and said it must have been an honest mistake. I asked him where he was and he said ATL so I replied great I have a very good friend there I'd like you to meet him and give him that file. Very long pause and then replies MR##### MR #### I'm in a bad area I'll have to call you back. Nearly 12 hours later I was instructed my household goods was put into a storage unit in Orlando and was waiting on my arrival. (no location was disclosed.) My wife began monitoring credit cards etc immediately.
Fast forward two weeks - after calling the supervisor numerous times with no return calls I began calling AVL again. It took them 5 days to return my calls. Finally when they did call me back they acted as if I was overreacting. They informed me then that not one but two sub-contractors were involved in my move but rest assured my belongings were safe. I requested an exact location of my belongings which they assured me they could get.
To date I still have yet to get this information. To add insult to injury it will be a week ago tomorrow when we discovered a credit card that was never given to any company has been charged three times for nearly $6200 ! This information was either compromised when they 1) took my briefcase and I made them return it or 2) the files they took they weren't suppose to take.
I called the police and filed a report. I called AVL and made them aware of this. Their response? They assured me they didn't give either company credit card information remarking that the card that was used was not the one they had on file. I was told they would call the subs and find out the exact location of my belongings and they would call me back. At this point hours began to feel like days so you could imagine my state of mind when they called back nearly 12 hours later and told me "to get my belongings delivered I owed additional storage dues and oh, by the way, they said they charged your card because they said you gave them permission to do so." I absolutely lost it!
I went back reminding them of the events that led up to that point. How it has now elevated beyond poor customer service to what was now felonious actions. I made the comment " I can't believe what I hearing right now" and the person I was talking to replied " I can't believe I was instructed to say it". That's when I simply said you know I need to now talk to a VP or President of AVL.
She seemed relieved and replied "I understand and I'll pass this info on".
Another 8 hours passed and I get a call from a gentleman who didn't give his title and he simply stated "we wanted to let you know USA Relocation is no longer in our network." I replied "okay and ???" "We'll sir you're going to have to deal with them directly now and we'll have Federal Moving call you". Then he hung up! WOW!
Federal did call me and ended up telling me he didn't want trouble and he would tell me where my stuff was and credit my card that was charged. He assured me it was in ORL in storage and as soon as he got a truck back into FL I could meet them at the location and he would credit my card at that time.
That was 4 days ago and I have been told two different times when that was going to happen. The location of my household goods are still unknown and my card has not been credited. I made several calls to AVL that were not returned and I was left on hold for nearly 2 hours when I refused to leave a message. Since then I have gotten 2 calls. One telling me that Federal Movers were also no longer in their network. I asked if they could send that to me in writing since I had requested numerous times via email the exact locations of these moving companies and any information they could provide on them.
Their response? No we don't feel comfortable doing that in case we use them again in the future. The second call was from someone claiming to be the Director of Customer Service. She called during a time when I specifically instructed them I would not be availiable. I have made now 6 calls without a return call.
AVL has not taken any responsibility for any of the events that have taken place. They did not disclose during the sales process that the job would actually be sub contracted out. Nor that the people that would be entering my home were not bonded. They then supposedly terminated their ties with these two subs without using my current situation as leverage to resolve my problems with them. Federal and USA still have my goods and my money and don't appear to be in any hurry to resolve the matter.
BUYER BEWARE!!!!!! STAY AWAY FROM THESE MOVING COMPANIES! THEY ARE NOT CREDIBLE!!!!
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Ameri Van Lines Click here to read other Rip Off Report list of other Moving Companies Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on National Moving Network and other various transport companies ripping off the consumer