I too am a victim of American Van Lines. I contacted Don Otis on July 5th and explained that I was looking for a moving company that could meet my deadline. I was scheduled for major surgery on July 21st for a hip replacement. I discussed that the items had to be here prior to July 20th as there was nobody to receive them and I'd be in the hospital for up to 8 days and would not be able to do anything for several months after the surgery. I had a 10X10 storage unit in Denver, CO and was shipping to Georgia. Most of the items were in boxes and already packed and there were only a couple living room chairs and everything else was boxes and plastic totes.
He said he had to give me a date of between July 15th and 24th but it should be on the earlier end. I again asked him was he sure because of the situation and I had to receive my things by July 20th at the latest. When I received the email with the binding estimate of $2675 it was reasonable and he sent me the contract. I called him back after reading the contract with questions such as how do I get replacement insurance? What is the thing about sub contractors and did they have their own trucks or did they hire someone else to move the things. I was told that they had their own moving trucks and that the only time the sub contractor came into play was moving from a larger city close to where the shipment was going to the small town I live in. This was not the case at all. I sent the contract back signed on July 6th and they took a deposit of $1231.75, which I again questioned prior to paying that this was to be used against the total binding estimate. I was told yes. I also had asked him prior to signing the contract about why it said $883 for binding estimate. I was told it was just the way the contract was for accounting purposes.
I felt like he was an honest individual and went ahead with scheduling the move for July 8th. The minute they got my deposit it has been hell since then. Calls were not returned to give me a time as to when the movers would show up at the storage unit. I called customer service, emailed and called Don Otis. I then received a call from Jake in Special Services and he was so rude it wasn't funny. He had me so mad after a few minutes that I hung up on him. I then called customer service and explained the situation and that I wanted to speak to the supervisor of this individual. I was transferred to James Willums and it went to voice mail. I got a call back the next day and they would get me a time of pickup. On Friday, July 8th, I still have no time they are picking up. After many calls and voice mails, Don Otis finally called back and transferred me to Sue Ann Turnbill who informed me they would be there between 2 and 4 PM. It is now 10:29 AM the day of the move. I was not in Denver and was depending on my sister to handle that end.
To make a long story short, I again called at 3:45 PM and questioned where the movers were or were they even coming. I was told it's not 4 PM yet so call back after 4. You have to be kidding?? So now it's going on 5 PM and still no answers from American Van Lines and the driver of the truck. Still at this point in time I didn't know they had a subcontractor coming. The driver finally called at 6 PM and said there was no storage at the address he had. Come to find out, American Van Lines gave them the wrong address. It was close to 6:30 PM by time they showed up. My sister then calls me and tells me they have a rental truck and it was two hispanic males that barely spoke English. By now my blood is boiling as the storage facility gates close at 9 PM and there is no way they are going to get it all on the truck by then. I continued to call American Van Lines to no avail. I had to call the manager and explain there was no way they'd be out in time and could he please leave the gate to where they could get out.
They required my sister to sign the contract before they loaded anything. She told them she did not feel comfortable doing this. They said either sign or they wouldn't load the stuff. When she opened the storage unit they were pissed and she sort of laughed and they told her she was being rude and they'd leave. They are already hours late and now they are pulling this crap?
They finally finished around 10:30 PM. Very unprofessional. They told me I had to pay for wardrobe boxes to put the smaller boxes in or I'd be charged extra. They wanted $20 each extra for packing packed boxes. I told my sister no. She asked them did they need to see the authorization I signed for her to handle things. They said no. The loose items that they did pack in wardrobe boxes were untaped when they got to Georgia. My sister had again called and said they had no packing paper or bubble wrap and took two dvd players threw them in the box, then my box fan and at the very top of all this was my microwave. Needless to say when I received them they were in pretty bad shape. They then told my my sister she had to pay 1/2 up front. She told them I had already given $1231.75 to American Van Lines for a deposit. They continued to harrass her and she stood her ground and she also told them I didn't contract with them and they'd have to deal with AVL. The whole time they were packing the truck, one of the two spent most of his time on the phone talking in spanish to his girlfriend. They got mad because as time progressed, my sister kept taking pictures to document everything. They told her she couldn't do that and she told them it wasn't against the law.
The movers added things to the contract after my sister signed it and she questioned them on that and they told her it was just box numbers which wasn't the case at all. When they finished the pack they told her they were heading back to California. She told them this stuff is going to Georgia not California. They then told her that they were dropping it at a warehouse to be packed in crates to be shipped to Georgia and that they were going back to Cali. Believe me, my things were never packed in any crates. Professional movers?? You've got to be kidding!!
The first indication I had that my things went to California is when I received a call that I owed $2800 more. I wanted the weigh tickets as there was another persons things they had picked up prior to mine which was appliances and furniture. I had two living room chairs for furniture that was it. The weigh ticket was the weight of both shipments when they weighed 12 hours later in Utah. This is where the extra weight was and I have spend many days arguing this. They cannot produce a ticket prior to picking up my things. To top that off I was told I'd be charged for storage fees until it left California. Why would I pay storage fees when my storage was paid through the end of July and I could have left it there? I was also told by Maria in Customer Service and Sue Ann Turnbill what made me think my things went to California. I kept telling them look at the weigh tickets. When days later and after I turned nasty from all the stress they had already put me through, I told them that they, according to their consumer handbook should know where my things are at all times and everytime they are moved across state lines. They again violated the law and it's was several days before they could actually confirm the items went to California.
I ended up cancelling my surgery because when I finally got a day my things would arrive, wouldn't you know it, it was the day after surgery? I've brought how convenient that was just to be told by VIP Relocation that oh like we did it on purpose. The night before (July 21st) that my things were to arrive I spoke to Dan at VIP Relocation. He had spoken to my sister the night before as I didn't immediately answer my cell when he called. My sister talked to him and explained everything that had transpired and that I financially couldn't afford an extra $1400 nor should I have to pay it since the weigh tickets and weight had been in dispute since July 11th with American Van Lines, who Sue Turnbill was going to call me back and I never heard from her after I said I wanted to watch the reweigh in GA. When I brought this conversation up to Dan, I was then treated like I'd committed a crime for asking. It's my legal right. I was then told by him I could pay the whole $2800 extra plus dollars up front or take the deal of he'd split the $1400 in two for an extra $700 I needed to pay. He had checked to see where the weigh station was and it was 40 miles out of his way plus he kept telling me he'd have to pay $10 for each reweigh. He got pretty nasty and I was told either I can pay $2800 on arrival of the truck or to take the deal and no reweigh. I did state that this was unfair but what choice did I have if I wanted to ever see my belongings again. He did tell my sister he'd work with me to make sure I got my things. More like worked me over. I was told by Dan if I didn't pay the $2800 then they'd take my things back to California and store them up to 90 days and after that too bad so sad and I'd have to pay to have them bring the stuff back, storage and the original $2800. When three way calling with Sue Turnbill and him on July 31st, he said oh come off it, that would be extortion. You think?? It pretty much was.
The story goes on and on and after looking at alot of these other complaints it's the same old song and dance. They lie to you and say they have their own trucks. They only subcontract within the area. I was told by Sam yesterday that once my sister signed VIP's contract that null and voided their binding contract. I brought up the fact that I should only have had to pay 10% above the quote max to which I was then informed about the non-binding contract with VIP. I didn't contract with VIP which I have many times stated to both VIP and AVL. They've got an excuse and lie for everything. These people need to be put in jail for the things they do. I'm on a fixed income, which they also knew from the beginning and I could have probably saved alot by not dealing with these folks. Sam told me that the 10% only applies to non-binding contracts. DUH?? Isn't that what you were now telling me I had. I'm confused. They just change the subject back to something else to avoid dealing with the issue at hand. And if I had a $1 for every time they apologized and our company isn't like that, I'd probably have my money back they ripped off for.
The icing on the cake was again yesterday talking to Sue Ann and then transferred to Sam and them offering me $100 to technically go away and shut up. I started laughing. I said I want the $700 I was overcharged since you have no legal proof on the weight except bogus tickets with someone else's things added to the weigh ticket. Also when I asked the driver who to contact over all the damages I was told AVL. When I talked to Sam he emailed me the form. Upon reading it, if I sign it, I then I release them from all liability. They go back on VIP for the damages, yet VIP said AVL pays for the damages. These people need to be put out of business. Moving.com needs to blackball them as they have had many complaints on them also. Complaints.com is another site you might check out to see your story replayed by others that have also suffered at the hands of these individuals. Anyone that has had problems with these folks needs to file a complaint with Department of Transportation and Interstate Commerce Commission and VIP is a member of Better Business Bureau in California. Unfortunately, although there are complaints with Broward County, FL BBB on AVL - they aren't a member. Wonder why!!! There's alot more that can be added to this story but it would take up took much of my time to go into exact details. PLEASE stay away if you want your things in one piece and money left in your pocket. I might as well dumped my deposit in the toilet for all it was not worth.