L&D usually refers to Loss and Damage, and Ill get to that. In the case of Elite Moving and Storage, L&D stands for Lies and Deception.
As a favor to a friend who lives abroad, I made the arrangements to have the contents of his storage space in Los Angeles, CA moved to a condo in Miami, FL.
The critical element of this move was TIME. My friend had a very narrow window of time that he could be back in the US to finalize the packing of the storage space in LA and then fly to Miami to be there when it arrived. It could not leave Los Angeles until 12/26/12 and it had to arrive in Miami by 1/8/12.
After researching dozens of companies I narrowed the choices down to two: Allied Van Lines/Berger Transfer and Storage and Elite Moving and Storage. Both of these companies confirmed they could deliver the shipment in the specified time frame.
I put together a comparison spreadsheet for my friend to make his decision. Since both were of omparable price and both claimed to be able to deliver in the specified time frame, he chose Elite based on one of the pros I included: Donna is great to deal with. I had jokingly, I thought - added a con to that: Or, she may be a two-faced con artist.
Guess which one came true?
The shipment was picked up as contracted on 12/26. The promise was to deliver in Miami on 1/8. My friend flew to Miami on 1/5 to prepare for the delivery. Throughout the week we both were in contact with Donna who said all was well.
I had reserved the freight elevator in the building where the shipment was headed for 1/8. On Friday 1/4 the condo manager called me to confirm that fact. I called Donna and she said they were on schedule.
On Monday 1/7 my friend called again to confirm the delivery. Suddenly, Donna was evasive, saying she didnt have time to check with the driver and she gave my friend the drivers cell phone number. He tried to contact the driver throughout the day, finally reaching him in the evening. The driver told him he and the truck were in Barstow, California, and he had deliveries to make in New Mexico and Alabama.
In other words, in the 12 days that the shipment had been in Elites possession, it had managed to move 62 miles (with 2,286 miles to go). And, more to the point, Donna had been lying about the progress the entire time.
When we attempted to contact Donna about this, suddenly she was having a personal emergency. Other people in her office seemed to have no way to reach her. Through sporadic communication with the driver (whose cell phone had no voicemail) a new delivery date was promised 1/14.
By that date however, my friend would need be back in his country of residence, leaving the task of receiving the shipment to a third party and having wasted both his time and expense to be in Miami.
Did the shipment arrive on 1/14? No. It arrived on 1/22 - a full 27 days after it was loaded and 15 days after its promised delivery!
More shady business went down as the driver wanted to be paid in cash rather than money order (contractually, Elite had allowed for cash or money order upon delivery). When he was denied that option, he wanted the money order to be made out to someone other than himself.
Not surprisingly, considering Elites complete lack of professionalism, there was damage to several furniture pieces.
In my early research, it seemed that finding a reliable and honest moving company was like the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack. They all seemed to have bad reviews and complaints.
It was only through many congenial phone and email conversations that Donna convinced me Elite was the exception to the rule.
In searching websites where I could post this complaint, I went to AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association). On Elites website they claim to a member of this organization whose website has no record of them. Lie!