On 1/28/03, I contacted Century Van Lines to get an estimate for moving expenses. I found them via the Internet. My move was from my apartment PA to less than a half mile down the road to my new home .
The representative I spoke with (Norman) on the phone quoted me a price of $95 per hour. He then emailed me a contract, which I signed and faxed back; authorizing a $400 deposit to be put on my MasterCard.
He sent me another email that I had to sign and fax to him stating that for eight hours, the price would be $855.
I emailed him back asking if the price would be lower if the move took less than eight hours.
He responded that it was correct that if the moving took less than eight hours, I would be charged the $95 per hour rate (I have saved both an electronic and a paper copy of my email correspondence with him).
The movers were scheduled to arrive on Monday 2/3/03. On Friday 1/31/03, the companys dispatcher (Tony) contacted me saying the movers would be arriving on Sunday 2/2/03 at 10 a.m., a day earlier than agreed upon.
Two movers (Nisim and Moshe) arrived on 2/2/03 at 11:30 a.m. (an hour and a half later than the agreed upon time).
Nisim told me that he had to charge me $455 more in cash or he would not move my furniture.
He said he was calling back to the home office via his cell phone and they were telling him that $855 was the minimum I would be charged.
So, I foolishly gave him the cash in the amount of $455. I didnt know what to do, he said my belongings would not be moved if I didnt pay it. He was very intimidating. I was afraid and confused. I was alone in the apartment with the two movers.
So, he and Moshe moved my belongings on to their truck. They refused to move my stereo, my computer and accessories, and several wall portraits, claiming I would have to transport them in my own automobile. They did not have the appropriate tools to disconnect my washer/dryer and I had to call my contractor to come do this.
Upon arriving at my new home with the first load of goods, the movers refused to actually move the furniture into my home.
They claimed they could not come inside because they had mud on their shoes and did not want to track it on my new carpets.
I asked them if they could put down blankets (they had a whole pile of blankets on their moving truck) or change their shoes and they refused and said they could just pile all of my furniture in my foyer. So, they did that, and my contractors actually had to physically place the furniture in my home.
I have several eyewitnesses who were present upon my arrival at the new home who can attest to this, including both my contractors.
At this point, I noticed that some of my items were damaged. For example, rather than removing the back of my computer desk with the proper tools in order to transport it, they merely ripped it off with their hands, leaving nails lying all over the floor of the apartment I moved from.
They also ripped a cable connecter right off the back of my television set without using tools; that is now broken. Furthermore, the furniture was placed in the moving van haphazardly, nothing was fastened or secured, and nothing was covered or put in boxes (that hadnt already been in boxes).
They went back to my apartment to load up a few remaining items. At this point, Nisim told me that he needed to charge me another $100 in order to move the rest of the items, and again I was scared and confused, so he had me sign a credit card slip for that amount.
After I signed that, I signed the bill of ladings, which only had $400 written on it. He then wrote another $455 on the bill of ladings and wrote the $100 with the words, tip beside it. I did not authorize any tip.
Furthermore, He wrote all these amounts on the bill of ladings after I had signed it. I tried to confront him about it, but he pretended that he could not understand me.
After loading up there truck for the second time, there were still some remaining household items left in my apartment, including two lamps, several boxes, a clock, and some plants. Nisim claimed that there was no time to move these items and refused to move them.
The movers brought the second load to my new home and again refused to bring the items in, unloading them in my foyer. The previous eyewitnesses were there for this part as well.
While moving items, Moshe and Nisim began screaming at each other in the front yard, in a language I could not understand.
After all the items had been unloaded, Moshe jumped off the back of the truck and thrust a metal ladder at me saying, Nisim told me to ask you if you want this; someone left it behind. I told him it wasnt mine so I did not want it, but he thrust it at me.
All the while, Nisim, who was driving the van, was driving off down the road with the back van doors wide open, leaving Moshe behind in my driveway. Moshe began to run after him.
When the van reached the edge of my development, Nisim got out and attempted to shut the back doors, but saw Moshe running toward him, so he got back in the van and sped off down Rt. 11/15 south with one door hanging open and Moshe standing along the highway.
Nisim drove off without informing me he was finished moving, without asking me if I was satisfied, etc. He drove off at exactly 2:45 p.m. This means that he and Moshe worked for a little over 3 hours moving my furniture.
Moshe began walking down the highway as if he was hitchhiking, and my contractor drove after him and picked him up in his truck.
He drove him to a local gas station and tried to convince him to return to my residence and call his family and/or the police.
Moshe refused to do this, and told the contractor that he and Nisim had had an argument about the tip and that Nisim had left him there because of it. Moshe said his brother, Tony, worked for the moving company in Ft. Lauderdale and that Moshe was here working for the company. He said he had a visa and was a citizen of Israel.
He asked my contractor to leave him at the gas station. My contractor gave him $10, because he had no money, and wished him good luck, leaving him at the gas station.
The next day (2/3/03), I called Century Van Lines to discuss the situation. I was connected with Tony (who is Moshes brother) and I told him everything that had happened, stating that I was very dissatisfied with the service, that goods were damaged, and that a mover had been left behind.
He was not concerned with my complaints about service, rather he kept asking me to repeat the story over and over and give him insight as to what the argument had been about.
He said the Moshe was his brother and that he would get back to me about my complaints in due time, but that he had to locate his brother first.
On the evening of 2/5/03, State Trooper came to my home inquiring about my moving problems. I had not contacted the police about this matter, so I wasnt sure at first how he had gotten involved.
I recounted the whole story to him, and afterwards, he informed me that Tony from Century Van Lines had contacted PA police earlier in the week reporting Moshe as a missing person and giving my name and address as the last place he had been working.
The trooper informed me that a dead body of a man matching Moshes description had been found hanging from a tree about 3 miles south of the gas station my builder left him at.
He showed me some photographs of the body, asking me if this was the young man named Moshe who was the stranded mover.
I agreed that this picture was indeed the mover. The trooper informed me that they were fairly certain that the cause of death was a suicide by hanging.
Two days later, 2/7/03, the trooper contacted me by telephone to inform me that the death had officially been ruled as a suicide and that Moshes family had come to PA to claim the body.
Meantime, the trooper also informed me that Nisim had abandoned the moving truck that had been brought to my home in New York City and has never been heard from since.
In the meantime, I did not receive any word from the company addressing my complaints about the moving service.
I did, however, receive a voicemail message from Tony on my cellular phone in the a.m. hours following the troopers visit to my house asking me to call him to provide him details about his brothers last hours of life. I did not return his phone call.
Upon settling in to my new home, I discovered that my washing machine was not functioning properly. A repairman from Sears came to fix it and found that the problem was a sensor in the lid that had been broken.
He stated that this type of damage would have been done if the item had been transported and not secured properly. At since it was working fine prior to the movers loading it onto their truck and at since they failed to properly secure it on their truck, I assume this is a result of the move as well. I paid $110 for the cost of repairing this problem.
On 2/14/03, I contacted Century Movers again via email (at since I had not heard from them) requesting some kind of compensation or refund for their services.
I explained that it was not fair for them to charge me a total of $855 for 3 hours worth of work which was not even completed due to the fact that some of my furniture was not moved out of my apartment and the fact that the movers would not even move the items into my new home.
I also explained that I had been initially quoted by one of their representatives at the rate of $95 per hour and attached a copy of his email to me assuring me that the cost would be less than $855 if the moving took less than 8 hours (which it did).
I also informed them that I did not authorize a tip, and explained how Nisim had written things on the bill of ladings after I had signed it and had pretended not to understand me when I questioned him about it.
In addition, I mentioned the damages to my items.
On 2/17/03, I received an email reply from Jenny S. who identified herself as the general manager at the company stating that the only thing that could be done is that I would not be charged the $100 for the unauthorized tip.
She stated that regardless of what I said happened, she has a bill of ladings with my signature on it in her possession and said that meant I had to pay full price.
She did not address the issue of their lateness or unprofessionalism. She said that I would have to file a claim with their claims department if I wanted to address the situation of my damaged furniture.
After receiving reading this email on 2/18/03, I contacted Jenny S. at Century Movers by telephone and tried to discuss the situation with her.
She said, I have a bill of ladings here with your signature on it and the amount of $855 written on it, so that settles the matter.
There is nothing more we can do for you. When I emphasized that Nisim had written things on it after I had signed it, she said, I do not believe that, I have no reason to believe that.
When I discussed the movers not moving things into my new home and not moving everything out of my apartment, she said, I do not believe that, and furthermore your signature on the bill of ladings indicates that the move was completed, so I cannot help you.
She was very rude to me and said she did not care what Norman had initially quoted me, that $855 was the minimum price, and stated, If you signed something you didnt understand, that is your problem, not ours.
She also said, The fact that Moshe committed suicide does not concern you, the issue is the moving services, they were completed and that is final.
I cannot give refunds or compensation to every last customer who calls and complains.
The conversation ended with me asking her to have the owner of the company call me and she stated that she would give them this message. He has not contacted me.
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