I was looking to ship my things from Los Angeles, California to Vienna, Austria, overseas. Moving from one place to another. I was looking for different shipping quotes, with picking up my things and/or bringing my things myself to the warehouse.
I got several different quotes from different companies and yes Crown International Forwarder made the best offer. Almost a third of other quotes. But with my own delivery to the warehouse. I called them up and only one person, Chris Neo, spoke with me and kept being the only person to deal with. Like a one man show, I feel.
I asked him how he could be possibly so cheap and he told me it is our outstanding customer service and we get mostly word of mouth referrals and that way we can be so competitive. He said that there also would be a destination charge as an agent would get my things released at customs. It would be about €150.
I decided to give it a go. He also said that if I pack it myself and bring it to the warehouse, the warehouse staff will carry the load for me and put it on pallets and shrinkwrap it, that is called palletization and I would have to pay a little bit extra, But that way the single boxes would not be all over the place. But he would not give me an exact quote, he just said it wouldn't be much more. So I trusted him. I expected a final bill around $1,200.
He gave me the warehouse address where to bring my things. I wanted to save as much money as possible as I was shipping from oversees,
I packed my own stuff and rented a uhaul to transport it to the warehouse. Last minute Chris told me that the place to transport it to is a different one than originally. So I had no chance to inform myself about the terms and conditions of that 'new' warehouse. St. George Warehouse, Inc.
Upon arrival the reality was that I had to unload the truck myself and put the things on pallets myself and get them ready for shipment. No help from the warehouse staff and Chris could not be reached over the phone. I basically had to do pretty much everything myself.
BUT then I was sent the bill for that work and they wanted to charge me for the palletization!!! Which I had done myeself!!! PLUS the warehouse people measured more volume than was actually present, increasing the bill. Making it over $1,611. I disputed the charges with the warehouse but they just referred back to the terms and conditions in which they stated that it was my liability not theirs.
After finally reaching Chris who said he had been previously out of the office, it was after hours, and having several conversations, he then took that charge off later. This reduced the bill by a forth.
I asked him again if there would be any more fees, any more charges I would have to pay or would be just the finalized $1223.63 that we now agreed on and he said that would be the final prize. No more charges.
So it shipped. The shipment was supposed to take about 5 weeks. I waited and waited and waited and after about 9 weeks I finally got word that it had arrived. But I got an email on a Friday, where there are no work days on the weekends here, and in this email I was informed I was supposed to pick up my things no later than the following Monday and if I was to fail I would be charged storage charges for each additional day that it was not picked up! AND on top of it there was no agent who clear my things at custom but instead I was billed €550 for getting my things out of that warehouse in Austria and released and that was the destination charge!!! And the people at the new warehouse didn't tell me that I had to get my things through customs first and get it cleared and that it would take an additional day before that would happen so that I ended up with a truck company that was supposed to pick up my things that day, but couldn't and I had to pay them anyway, and pay at custom a fee although I was told with a residency declaration from my Austrian Consulate in Los Angeles, I wouldn't have to pay anything, the bill ended up to be about and additonal €800!!!
It basically doubled the prize of the initial agreement that I was given by Chris Neo!!! And then I got a bunch of excuses why that was OK and agreed on anyway. Eric Ng from CTL then also explained to me that this was the was it is done and this is all legal and the terms where all clearly stated on the website.
The problem is that I was never given his website of his company and neither could I find it in Google nor did anyone tell me upfront how things were to be done or being dealt with. There was a lot of assumption and promises but none were fulfilled. It was always different then I was told.