Summit Van Lines sale rep Haidie Smith contacted us via a moving website. After getting estimates from 8 movers-- 7 via phone, 1 in person-- we settled on Summit to moves us from NY to LA. They had no complaints registered against them and had a competive price, though not the cheapest.
Ms. Smith promised us a lot of things, chiefly that the non-binding estimate she gave us was very close to accurate. She insisted her estimate of under 3,000 lbs was accurate and there was no way our move would exceed 4000 lbs.-- even after we told her our on site estimate came back at over 5,000 lbs. She also promised that they could deliver on a specified date, with no delivery window. We mentioned that other companies had delivery windows of 48 hours to ten days.
Ms. Smith restated that they could deliver on a specified date, if that's what we wanted. Unfotunately we chose to believe her about both her estimate and Summit's delivery policy. Neither promise was even remotely fulfilled.
Sept. 13, 2002. The moving team arrived two hours late, which forced us to pay our doorman to stay during his lunch hour so the service elevator would continue to run. Once they had loaded all of our possessions, David (no last name given) gave us his binding estimate-- of 6,000 lbs.-- double what Ms. Smith had estimated. We asked to speak with her and then her supervisor, another David Greenberg. They each made no apologies, inisisting that this was just the way it was with estimates. It was clear form their language ("there was no guarantee" and "what you have to understand is"). David G. even went so far as to suggest Ms. Smith really wasn't qualified to give an accurate estimate. She simply plugged numbers into a computer.
We were exhausted and about to embark on a 3,000 mile car trip and they had our stuff. We felt we had no choice but to suck it up and agree to the new price. We paid our cashier's check deposit (Summit doesn't accept anything but cashier's checks and cash) and doubled checked on our delivery date (Sept 25) with David, the on site mover. We asked him if he was going on the trip, since he had promised that all our furniture-- including the pieces he disassembled would be well take care of. He said he wasn't sure if he was going, but maybe. In any case their team of guys would take care of everything when our things arrived in Los Angeles.
September 18. We called Ms. Smith to tripled check on our delivery date of Sept. 25th. This was the first mention from anyone that our delivery date was "no guaranteed". Warning bells went off. We asked if that meant they would not meet the appointed delivery date. Ms. Smith said, so, in all likelihood they would make the delivery on the 25th or at the latest the 26th.
Sept 21. We called again to ask where exactly our possessions were and check on the delivery date. We were told by Carrie the weekend receptionist that David G. would call us back on Monday. No called back on Monday.
Sept. 24. We called again to check on our things. We were informed that the truck should arrive by the 30th(!). Then we were told much more forcefully that they had never guaranteed anything. David G. and Ms. Smith refused to apologize or admit that they had misled us. David G. actually said: "It's a cross country move-- anything could happen. The truck could catch on fire or get in an accident. So we never guarantee delivery." Can you imagine if this is what they told us during their sales pitch? David G. then informed us that our things had been put into storage in New Jersey and didn't leave until 9/20.
I complained vociferously. Why was it stored for a week? Why hadn't anyone contacted us to let us know about the delay? Why hadn't Ms. Smith mentioned that the truck carrying our possessions had not even left when we talked to her on 9/18 about our delivery date? David G. had no answer except to reiterate that they had never guaranteed anything.
I demanded the phone number of the driver in order to find out-- without an untrustworthy middleman-- when our things would arrive in LA. When I spoke to the driver, Rodney, he imformed me that not only did he not work for Summit, he had never heard of them. His company US Movers had been subcontracted to deliver our stuff.
Sept. 27. I spoke with Guy Shoshanderg, who I was told was in charge at Summit. I outlined, in detail, our problems with his company. He said very little, as if concerned the call was being taped. When he finally did say something he simply reiterated that we had never been guaranteed delivery. I asked him if he cared about the satisfaction of his customers. He insisted he did and once again said that they had never guaranteed anything. He said that his company had no complaints against it. I promised him that it would if he did not address the situation at hand. He said he would look into the matter and call me back. I told him that several people at his company had promised to call me back and none of them ever had (I guess they had never "guaranteed" they would call me). He insisted he would call me.
Sept. 29. The truck was due to arrive at 9AM. Fed up and knwoing that as soon as we paid the driver we would lose any influence with Summit I called Mr. Shoshanderg, leaving a message that I wanted to be called back or the next call he would get would be from a lawyer. Mr. Shoshanderg did not call me back. When the truck arrived two hours later and Rodney, the driver, left a message for Mr. Shoshanderg saying there was a problem with payment, Mr. Shoshanderg called back within 5 minutes. He told Rodney there was no issue and he should demand full payment. Rodney asked if he would speak with me and Mr. Shoshanderg refused. I took the phone anyway and asked why he had not returned my calls. Mr. Shoshanderg sais that he was still "looking into the situation". I told Mr. Shoshanderg that his company was perpetrating blatant consumer fraud and I would be contacting the Attorney General among others. Mr. Shoshanderg told me I was wasting his time and hung up.
With no recourse but to pay the balance, especially since we were now dealing with a third party (US Movers), we paid. The movers unloaded the truck and we found that virtually every item of furniture had packed was damaged, including a 200 lb. vintage stainless steel desk that had literally been buckled. A custom made armoire had been cracked, scratched and warped because it had been disassembled to fit through our NY apartment's door, but never reassembled for the journey. The driver and the labor attempted to reassemble it, but ended up drilling new holes and making the entire situation much worse.
Sept. 30. We called Summit for claim forms. Ms. Smith told us she was horrified that our things had been damaged and that she would put the forms in the mail immediately. When we asked her to express mail them, she refused. Express mail is too expensive she said.
My wife then spoke with Mr. Shoshanderg who insisted he had never hung up on me and actually had the nerve to ask why we hadn't called him about the damages yesterday. He then accused us of lying about the situation by saying that if they were not telling us all the information, how did we know that the truck had not left NY until 9/20. My wife informed himthat the only reason we knew that was because we harrassed David G. until he told us-- and well afte rthe fact. He again insisted that cumstomer satisfaction was very important, yet refused to do anything about the situation.
Oct. 8. We called Ms. Smith to inform her that we are still waiting for claim forms. She insisted they were sent and referred us to the Claims Dept. The woman there suggested we wait 14 days and then call and they would resend them. I told her that she knew very well that claims must be made in a certain window of time and that they were simply attempting to close that window as much as possible. I insisted they resend the claim forms immediately. She said fine and hung up.
Oct. 11. Ms Smith calls me to inform me that the insurance forms were returned to her "could not be delivered/no such addressee". We reviewed her information and it was all correct other than a slight mispelling of my last name. I told her to resend it immediately.
Oct. 15. Our posting on a moving advocacy website gets a response. The respondee informs us that Summit Van Lines is in fact US Movers Van Lines, the "third party" company that had delivered our stuff and one that had been issued a cease all operations letter from the DOT. We have not corroborated this information, but it seems more than plausible.
Los Angeles, California 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 Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Summit Van Lines