• Report: #478421

Complaint Review: Summit Van Lines

  • Submitted: Tue, August 11, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, August 11, 2009

  • Reported By:Riverview Florida
Summit Van Lines

Summit Van Lines Fraudulent moving estimates / Actual Charges Fort Lauderdale Florida

*Consumer Comment: Actually - There Are A Lot Worse on BBB

*Author of original report: BBB link to Summit Profile

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Summit Van Lines will begin any move with an on-site estimate which seems very professional. The gentleman they sent to my house was very polite and gave me a great deal of information about the company. I was impressed at this point and decided to use Summit for my move.

Since Summit charges a high amount for the materials they offer, I decided to buy my own materials. I called Summit one week before the move and spoke to a representative named Daniella to let her know I would be buying my own materials. She told me that this was fine and that any materials that were quoted and not used would be deducted from my final bill.

On moving day, Summit sent three men who spoke very little English. I think Eastern European, but cannot be certain. I didn't mind this so much, but it was very difficult to give instructions since they couldn't understand what I was telling them. The foreman was the only person who knew any English and everything had to be relayed through him.

Everything was moved fine - I cannot complain about anything being broken, etc. The packing job was done well and the men were quite efficient. The problem came upon arrival to my new home. The men came inside to take a look at where things had to be placed. Two of the men started to unload the truck while the foreman came inside with me to fill out paperwork and obtain payment. When the foreman handed me the paperwork, the final amount was exactly what was stated on the estimate. First off, the estimate claimed a total of 7 hours for the move - the men had only been there 3 hours until that point and clearly only had about 1 hour to go. Second was the issue with the materials.

I didn't even complain about the hours at that time - I assumed that travel time accounted for something (even though the men had told me they didn't travel far). the materials, however, was a much bigger issue. $1080 of my cost was in materials and I had bought all my own. Summit did use a few boxes of their own, which I had asked them not to do, and left many of my own boxes behind not even using them. I told the foreman immediately that this was not correct. He called into the central office to let them know of my complaint. He hung up (without allowing me to talk to anyone) and told me that all materials were used and that I must make final payment in order for all additional items to be moved off the truck. He then instructed his men to stop unloading the truck until payment was made.

I asked him to count the boxes for me multiple times, but he either couldn't understand what I was asking or was pretending to not understand. Finally, he did make a comment at one point that the truck was too full and that he couldn't count them but that once payment was made and they unloaded I could count them and dispute anything back through the main office.

My mistake was paying Summit. If anyone decides to read this and still use Summit - DO NOT PAY until you are sure everything is correct. Make sure you have the police out to your house and file through your local court system to have your belongings kept in the truck and not moved until the issue is settled - this may have worked if I threatened this at the time.

I contacted Summit two days after the move (they were closed the following day) and let them know of the problem. I was offered $380 in a phone conversation which I accepted at the time just so I didn't have to argue any further. Summit them sent me an e-mail with a form to fill out to recieve $330. I contacted Summit again and told them that the $330 amount was incorrect, that they offered $380 as a settlement. They denied this and sent me a list of all the materials they had used with the charges. This was their mistake as they had everything incorrect. They were charging different amounts on this list than what they had in their estimate; they tried charging for things like Shrink Wrap which was not at all in their original estimate (since it was a free item); they tried charging for items that I had a coupon for originally but now they did not want to honor it, etc.

After going through the list, it was clear that they really owed me $660 which was far more than they originally claimed to owe me and much more in line with what should have been the case given that I bought all my own materials and the orginal estimate was $1080 for materials. Summit refused to acknowledge that these numbers were correct. I then brought my case to the BBB and to my bank for reversal of the portion of the charge that was incorrect.

Summit then started making statements claiming they only offered me the $330 because I begged them since I was on a budget (I make good money and never claimed such a thing to them). It almost seems unbelievable that they'd even state this since I have e-mails from them where they admitted to owing me $330 due to their material calculations being incorrect (though I disagree with this amount).

They also claimed that I threatened them and tried blackmailing them. My second e-mail to them (at which point we were still discussing the $330 refund and there were no hard feelings yet), I stated very clearly that I wanted all communication to be done through e-mail or in writing in some way - if I made any threatening or blackmail remarks they should have e-mails showing this yet they cannot provide any since they were never made.

The only thing Summit is relying on is the signed invoice by me. That remains their main argument and is likely the reason my bank continues to reject my chargeback. Once Summit admitted that their count was incorrect, however, I believe that the signed invoice became void as Summit broke that contract when they filled out incorrect material counts. Since Summit has admitted this, I believe I have a legal case against them. Moreover, I will be filing a suit against them for Libel and possible fraud. If anyone else has has a similar experience with Summit holding belongings until they are paid, please respond to this and I will be happy to open this up as a Class Action against them. If not, I will file as an individual.

Riverview, Florida

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/11/2009 09:51 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Summit-Van-Lines/FORT-LAUDERDALE-Florida-33311/Summit-Van-Lines-Fraudulent-moving-estimates-Actual-Charges-Fort-Lauderdale-Florida-478421. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Actually - There Are A Lot Worse on BBB

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

Look up Nationwide Moving on BBB - they used to have over 600 complaints in a 36 month period.

If we're talking a difference of $50 between what they said and what you agreed to, take the $330. Just do it. It's cost you more than $50 just to argue the point.

One mistake you made is buying your own materials; full service movers are under no obligation to use your boxes. Let's understand why: if there is a claim you file for something broken and the box was packed in one of their boxes by the mover, they're liable. BUT, if they use your boxes, they aren't liable if you file a claim; they can deny your claim simply by stating you forced them to use their boxes and since they have no way to QA/QC your boxes, the mover will claim inferior boxes and deny it. The other reason is that the boxes are a marketing tool; if they come with boxes with the mover's name printed on them, others might use them when it comes time to perform a move. Believe or not, it works.

The second is that the mover is right - you have to pay the balance BEFORE the truck is unloaded; there isn't a mover out there that doesn't have this written into their contract. If you had decided to stand your ground and not pay, the contract gives the mover the right to pack up your belongings in their truck, put them in storage and charge YOU for storage AND the delivery of your items, plus the full 7 hours on the day of the move.

The biggest mistake wasn't the fact you paid them. That was the right thing to do. If you really want to klnow your biggest mistake is twofold (1) selecting a mover based on price, and (2) believing full-service moving is inexpensive. It isn't. Moving is not an inexpensive venture and choosing a mover based on price will ultimately cost you more in the long run.

Best of luck to you...
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#2 Author of original report

BBB link to Summit Profile

AUTHOR: Jason - (U.S.A.)

The following link will give you details about how Summit has fared with the Better Business Bureau. They currently have a rating of B- (which is a very bad rating relative to what the BBB generally gives out) but more importantly, look at their complaints relative to other moving companies. As of this time, Summit has had 25 complaints in the past 36 months. To put that in perpective, Summit has a fleet of less than 10 vehicles. I have not found a single other moving company in the entire state of Florida with more than 10 complaints in the past 36 months regardless of fleet size. There are companies (I won't give names as I'm not advocating any other company) with fleets of 1200 vehicles that have 0 complaints yet Summit has 25 with less than 10 vehicles. I think this shows the percentage of their customers that have problems with the way they do business.

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