I am a contract design engineer and moving is just part of my career. I have gone through the moving routine 2 times prior, in the last 2 years, so I thought I was somewhat wise to the "game". These 2 "shyster" corporations took me, my "wisdom", and the "game" to a whole new level. I went to the internet to some generic web site requesting moving co. info. After sifting through 50 e-mails and contacting several of the Movers, I contacted American Van Lines, Yvan Hector was the agent.
The first thing I expressed in our first contact was some of the issues of the 2 prior moves, specifically 2 things; 1) I didn't want to deal with time windows, I wanted specific dates, and 2) I wanted a moving company, I didn't want to be thrown between a sales rep, a dispatch rep, a driver, and a complaint dept. Neither did I want "day laborers" moving my stuff. Yvan assured me that "these people work for American Van Lines, we know who the drivers are and who the movers are, they work for us. The reason for this was I have 2 double reclining - with center console - loveseats, and they're heavy, the last move the 2 movers really struggled (and in all fairness, the loveseat won).
The date of this call was Thursday afternoon 11/25. Okay now onto the Binding "Not To Exceed" estimate. The move was from Goldsboro, NC, to Dublin, OH. I itemized the contents of my apartment, and boxes (I had just moved only 7 months ago). So as we are listing the contents, Yvan puts me on hold 3 times, "to make sure that dispatch can cement these dates. I had asked for a P/U date of Sat., 11/3, and since my move-in date was already set in Ohio for 11/7, delivery for 11/7. After crunching the numbers, and me telling him that the weight of the the previous move was a little over 2300 lbs., Yvan tells me he's going to write the estimate at 3006 lbs. so I can be eligible for a 70% discount for an "over 3000 lbs." move. And also protects me if I've missed some things or I have more weight than we thought. We will just adjust the back-end balance based on the true final weight.
Yvan crunches the numbers and comes back with a number of $1847.26. He goes through the " that includes list" of services provided. Then comes the need for a deposit so we can get the dates I requested. The deposit was $947.26 - 50% plus the change. I informed him I had been laid off now for 2 weeks and that I didn't have the cash on my debit card at that moment. Well, when can when can you have the money? Tomorrow I hope. Well, Mr. M., I'm going to write the dates you requested in the estimate as long as you're going to have the money tomorrow.
Make a long story short, the deposit was paid Sat. 10/27. Then I receive the contract and there's
a 2 day window for the P/U and a 5 day window for the delivery; the best part is that my guaranteed delivery date(same as my already approved move-in date) was set in the middle, 2 days preceding, and 2 days after. So I try to reach Yvan with no success. but I do get an e-mail from Andrew Soto in quality, telling me to contact him ASAP so we can go over the Binding Estimate. I call him immediately and guess what, I tried all day Sat. and couldn't get a hold of him or Yvan.
Now its Mon. 10/29, all day long called, no answer, no call back. Tues., 10/30, I get a call from Andrew from quality, to go over the itemization and make sure we have listed everything. I unload on him about the time windows, especially about what kind of moron would list a time window which had dates prior to my approved move-in date. He then informed me the dates are automatically generated. "By who and based on what?", I asked. I told Yvan my move-in date was 11/7. So, Mr M. what you are telling me you wouldn't be able to take delivery if it came on the first day of the time window? Well that's a rhetorical question isn't it? Well, Mr M., we are going to have to charge you $250/day for storage. WTF? It's not my fault that someone scheduled a time window with days prior to my move-in. Isn't this a Binding Not To Exceed Estimate. That only deals with the weight. I called the apartments I was moving to and they graciously changed my move-in date so I could make the time window without the $500 extra caharge. I called Andrew back, let him know, and then proceeded to let my feelings known about the mess, he then said we'll get a 3-way with Yvan so he can hear your issues. Well, we got Yvan, but then Andrew vanished(dropped call, we must have gotten disconnected). I might as well have been debating with the newspaper talking to Yvan.
Now enter Colonial Van Lines, the second half of the dynamic duo - Null and Void. I get a call from Wakeen, Fri. 11/2, and he informs that he is a dispatcher for Colonial Van Lines, and that I was all set for P/U on Sun. 11/4 between 10 am - 12 noon. I never called any Colonial Van Lines? Your job was contracted to us by American. Another WTF? moment pursuant to the description given by Yvan(see paragraph 2). I told him I was promised 11/3 by American, he says it states 11/3-11/4 on the estimate. I then told him I had a 9 1/2 hour drive ahead of me to get to my new job, and that I have a scheduled start date of Mon. 11/5, at 8:00 am sharp for orientation, and that I was NOT going to miss it. I have to have the movers out by 1:00 pm to get to Dublin, OH by 10:30 pm and get some sleep before 8:00 am Mon. orientation. I pleaded with him to please write a note somewhere to let the movers know that the earlier the better on Sunday.
At this point I decided everything that I was told was a lie to get me to sign the Estimate and get the deposit. I decided it wise to get my move fully insured. AVLRD wanted $600, I decided to check prices via the internet. The first insurer I called told me that Colonial was not on there list of insurable movers, I didn't know their DOT # or MC#, but I did have AVLRD's. She put it in and then informed me that they didn't have a mover's license, they only had a broker's license(see paragraph 2).
Scheduled day of P/U finally here. Waiting.......waiting...........waiting............I get a call at 12:30 pm from Miguel(driver) were going to be a little late, we'll get there around 3:00 pm. They finally get there at 3:30 pm. The truck is loaded at 6:30 pm. There is no possible way for me to make it to the orientation Mon. 8:00 am for my new job. I now have to call the GM of my contract agency on Sunday night to inform him that I won't make it Mon. I can't make it Tues. either because if I start out at dawn 6:30 am and drive straight thru I wouldn't make it until 4:30 pm, but I have to stop for gas, something to eat, men's room stops. The office for the apartment closes at 5:00 pm, so I can't take delivery until early Tuesday am. New job starts Wed. now, if it starts at all because of these fools.
It is now Mon. 11/5, my initial start date, it is 3:00 pm and I am on the road going through PA., I get a call from Teheria Julien, from CVL, to tell me what the balance is owed when the movers show up.
she tells me its $1546.26. How did you come up with that figure? Its only $900 based on the existing Binding Not To Exceed Estimate.and that was based on 3006 lbs. and I know that is more than the true weight. Well Mr. M, we weighed it , and the weight was 4000 lbs. Are you out of your mind? You're telling me that my 1 BR apartment contents weighed 2 tons? Wait a minute let me look at my registration, yep your telling me that ! BR set, 2 loveseats, TV, Stand, msall kitchen table and 4 chairs weighs more than my Jeep Grand Cherokee? Well Mr. M, you can have it weighed before it is off loaded, and then after it is unloaded, but right now you must pay the full amount per our weight if you want your contents delivered. I am now starting to think that I've died and gone to hell. I told her as I told Yvan from AVLRD that I just moved 7 months ago and the weight was a little over 2300 lbs. Well Mr. M, as I said you can have it weighed but you must pay the amount we just gave you.
So I paid, figuring they got a rude awakening coming when they get the figures. Well, Tuesday - Delivery Day has arrived, I have already searched online and found the closest CAT scale location, at a Pilot Travel Center in Columbus, OH. 1st thing, Miguel breaks out contracts and wants payment, which I give to him, then he instructs me where to sign. On the payment page which stated the remaining balance of $1546.26, I sign it, then I print underneath it, Weight Under Dispute. The driver goes into a tantrum, telling me I had no right to do that. I told him I had every right, I was going to write something that let it be known that I paid this amount against my will. Then he says talk slow, I think he meant don't raise your voice, he could barley speak or understand english, the helper had to translate most of the time, and he wasn't much better. We
then drive to weigh the truck, 20,420 lbs. Then they unload, I help them because I know the weighing has put them behind. They refuse to set up anything, they just brought the stuff up and set it in the BR's and then jumped in the truck and took off. If I had to run across the complex and catch I them, I said what about the re-weigh? Miguel said "Let's go". So I run to get my keys and jump into the Jeep, I called Colonial and warn them that the driver is not to re-weigh unless I'm there. So the re-weigh total - 18,100 lbs. So I call Colonial and tell them they tried to overcharge me by 1680 lbs. Teheria tells me she will call the driver to fax her the weigh slips, and she'll get the refund expedited ASAP.
The next day I write an e-mail to Teheria Julien, cc-ing Yvan Hector, and Andrew Soto, figuring a shipment charge of .60/lb. I wanted to know what the status was and what the amount was. I figured at .60/lb. x 1680 lbs. = $1008.00. Andrew calls and informs me that I was charged .62/lb, but that they charge by a flat rate, but refund on a sliding scale. I called Teheria and she told me the same thing. I said to both of them, you over charged me at the rate of .62/lb. using an inflated erroneous weight amount, and you say your not going to refund me the full amount you wrongly charged me.
Aren't there agencies out there that are supposed to protect citizens from unscrupulous, if not outright criminal, business practices? Weren't the Dept. of Transportation, and the FMCSA established to protect consumer rights, to investigate high incident complaints, to oversee how companies conduct their business, so that consumer rights could be protected, and that an individual did not have to hire a lawyer and seek the costly, overburdened venue of judicial relief, and handle it at the regulatory level? To these esteemed agencies I would direct to the wonderful tool called the internet-> google "Colonial Van Lines" and on the first page are 2 sites,
movereviews and mymovingreviews(suffixes unattached per this web sites request). This 2 company tandem has an average of 2 complaints per week for the entire year so far, I mean how much evidence do you need? What constitutes a high incidence of complaint?