After checking the internet for local movers in the Houston, TX area, I chose Cross America Van-Lines because their estimate was for 3 men and a duration of 5 hours for a total of $350.00 plus a one hour travel time of $70.00 for a grand total of $420.00. This price would include disconnecting the dryer and washer and beds and reconnecting them at the new house. I spoke with Thomas a Sales Representative on numerous occasions and was assured that the truck would be a 26 foot truck and that the estimated weight would be a little over 8,000 pounds. I had moved one year earlier from Conway, AR to Pearland, TX and the weight was a little over 8,000 pounds and a 26 foot truck was used and all my househouse items as well as clothing fit on the truck without a problem. Therefore I felt comfortable with the fact that it was in line with my prior move.
I signed a Moving Quote on October 16, 2008 and faxed it to Cross America Van-Lines on the same date. I called Thomas the Sales Representative and asked it he would be sending me the Contract by email or fax. He said no that the driver would have it with him on the day of the move. The day before the move, I had a voice mail from Thomas that stated, "you will have a 26 foot truck with 3 men to arrive at 6105 Promenade Lane, Pearland, TX at 9:00 am on Saturday, October 25th, 2008 and that the charge would be $70 per hour and that the move would take 5.0 hours to complete the move with tear down and set up at the new home".
At 9:00 am on Saturday, October 25th, 2008, I called Cross America and asked where my movers were. I was told that they were on their way. I waited until 9:30 and called again and was told that they had left about 15 minutes prior. The truck with a driver and two men arrived at my home in Pearland, TX (16 miles) at 10:20 am. At that time, the driver who never introduced himself asked if I was Ms. Wright and I confirmed I was. He said please sign on the sheet on his clip board that indicated he arrived at 10:20 am. At which time he proceeded to tell me that he would need cash or a money order for this move. He also stated that I would be charged for any tape they used or boxes they would need. I told him I had everything boxed and taped and there would be not need for that. I also told him I was not informed that I needed cash or a money order to which he replied that it would have to be one or the other. I signed the clipboard acknowledging the start time at 10:20 am. At which time he proceeded to look through the house to view the contents of the move. I told my daughter who was there with me that I would go to the bank and withdraw $500 (maximum I can withdraw in one day) for the move.
The two men with the driver spoke no english and could not read english either. They appeared to be very young and small in stature. The driver went to the laundry room first and asked it I had disconnected the washer and dryer and I told him that I had not because Thomas told me that the movers would do that. He proceeded to disconnect the washer and dryer and before he and the two men could get them on the truck, the driver's phone rang and he answered it. He proceeded to talk for 22 minutes at which time the other two men did nothing.
As the day progressed and none of my furniture was being loaded on the truck and the driver was talking on the phone over and over again or stopping to smoke, I asked the driver why it was taking so long. He replied that they were moving as fast as they could.
The day progressed at it was obvious by the way the truck was being packed that all of my belongings would not fit on the truck. He said he would have to make another trip. At 3:20 pm exactly, the truck was at my new house which was less than one mile away which would mean that it took the driver and 2 men 5 hours to load the 26 foot truck with part of my belongings and deliver to my new house. I find it extremely interesting that the load took exactly 5 hours to the minute. When the driver came to the front door he had the clip board in hand again with a new figure that I owed Cross America Van-Lines which was $840.00. I asked why I had to pay more and he replied that the Quote was for $70.00 per hour and it took them 5 hours to load the household and it would take 5 hours to unload it. I told him I could not get any more money from my bank in one day. He then looked at my daughter and she told him she would go get the money but that she should start unloading the truck. He told her he would wait until she came back with the money before he unloaded anything. She came back with $380 and I had the $500 and we gave it to the driver. That was a total of $880 to move part of my belongings less than one mile. They unloaded my furniture, did not set anything up. Boxes that were labeled "fragile" were split down the sides and crushed on the top. It was very clear that the two young guys had no experience in moving as they did not know how to turn a piece of furniture to get it through a doorway. The driver never came into the house after he got the money. The two young men brought everything into the house as the driver stood at the back door of the truck and talked on the phone and smoked.
My daughter took them back to the old house to get the balance of the furniture and again the driver stayed on the phone most of the time. She informed him we would not be paying any more money and that he needed to get what he could get on the truck and have it in the new place before the additional 5 hours expired.
At the end of the day, I paid $880 for Cross America Van-Lines to move part of my household less than one mile away. Washer and dryer nor a bed was set up. My quote was $70 hour for 3 men in a 26 ft truck for 5 hours plus one hour travel time of $70 for a total of $420.00. An additional 5 hours at $70/hour would be $350.00 for a total of $770. Not only did he cheat me by holding my belongings hostige for money, he overcharged me at that. It is obvious that when Cross America gives you a quote, they know they will get double (or more) of that quote because they will hold your belongings on the truck until you come up with the money.
I have filed paperwork at the Better Business Bureau and have called the Harris County Fraud Division and will do what ever I can to stop this from happening to someone else.