This complaint and warning is against Colonial Van Lines and their subcontractor Best Price Moving. My complaints against them are probably the same as a majority of their former clients: deception, out-right lies and non-existing customer service. At the end of May I began contacting various long-distance movers. I send in an Inquiry to Colonial Van. Within 24 hours I was contacted by one of their sales reps. Roee.
At the very beginning of our conversation (which their phone system states might be recorded for customer service purposes), I informed Roee that I was not new to the long distance move. Ten years ago, I had moved from Chicago to Minnesota and was now in the process of moving back. So I remembered my concerns from this last move; I had to wait almost two weeks before I received my items in Minnesota.
My concerns were that I have chronic asthma and would not be able to carry my nebulizer and oxygen machines with me on Amtrak with their limited luggage restrictions, it was important that I received confirmed loads and unloads dates. Roee assured me that I had nothing to worry about. Looking at his list of available carriers, he stated that he could have me moved either on 6/19 or 6/20; since Minnesota was less than 500 miles, I would be able to have my items within 2-3 days at the most.
When I asked when would the actual date be confirmed since he was quoting 6/19 or 6/20 dates; Roee stated as soon as I sign the contract and Colonial finalize arrangements with this carrier, I would be able to obtain a confirmation. So the contract was emailed to me. I immediately saw several areas on the contract that were not what was discussed on the email. Knowing that both parties have a write to revise a contract, I made clarification notes on the number of boxes, estimated weight and the load date.
After sending the signed contract back to them, Roee informed me that he could not accept addendums to their contract. This in itself was suspect, so I re-signed the contract and sent a backup email with my concerns, knowing that the information in my email would backup my concerns in the legal arena. Especially in the area of the types of boxes and weigh. I informed Roee I would have more boxes than what was listed and that the only heavy furniture being moved was my armoire and that the weight would be no way in the vicinity of 3000 pounds. Roee stated not to worry about how many boxes; the cost would only increase after 3000 pounds.
Two weeks before the move, I contacted Roee again about confirming the load date. Roee stated that it was still too soon to receive that information from the other carrier. I waited until six days before my move, and contacted Roee again. This time, Roee stated that it is their policy to not give out that information until 24-48 hours before the actual load date. Of course, I was not happy about this, since this was the first I had heard about this window. In fact, I would not have signed with them if I had been told this upfront. During this conversation, Roee was becoming more and more insulting to the point where he stated he did not know why I was so concerned since the 6/19 and 6/20 was the confirmed dates. Any idiot knows that estimated load date is a far cry from a confirmed load date.
Hanging up the phone, I sent him an email along with the email address for their customer service department reflected on the website. It came back undeliverable. I tried on three separate occasions to resend these emails to customer service with them all coming back undeliverable. I then sent an email to their information email address, asking for their customer service email address. On the second resend of this email, I finally received the customer service email from their information area. Lo and behold, when I attempted to send an email to this address it came back: failure to delivery, recipients mailbox full.
Needing a day to de-stress myself from Colonial. I did not bother to contact them again until Friday, June 15th (move date was to be 6//19-6/20). I called customer service. Again, I got the run around, with them about their 24-48 hours window. At this point, I made a statement that since they claim their conversations are recorded for customer service purposes, all my conversations with Roee as well as all the emails and voicemails would reflect that this window was never quoted to me before I signed the contract.
Late Friday, I received a phone call from the carrier who would actually being loading my items. Best Price Moving. They wanted to move up my estimated move to Monday, June 18th (not the 19th or the 20th). Of course, just wanting this move over, I agreed even though I had to move a great deal of things on my calendar around to accommodate. I asked Best Price Rep (I think her name was Shondra), when could I expect delivery of my items. She stated that driver had only one other
load besides mine and would be heading back to Chicago. I should expect delivery on Wednesday, no later than Thursday. I was also informed that at time of load I would need to pay Best Price Moving an additional $560 that date. I was originally informed by Colonial and by their paperwork that balance was due on drop-off of my items in Chicago. Just wanting this process to be over, I wrote out a check for $560.00.
Monday, Best Price Movers arrived two hours before their window. That was fine, since I was already packed. Driver, however, was not focused on the job at hand. He spent a great deal of time looking at forms, which I am sure he had probably seen hundreds of time, while the two workers did the majority of the work. Driver also was so unfocused that I and one of the drivers had to constantly remind him to blue label items which he had not already done. When I received
my items, there were still 10 boxes not blue labeled.
Before they left, driver made comment about so many boxes. More than what was on the list. I informed him that Colonial Van Rep,(Roee) stated the number was unimportant as long as I did not exceed weight. He stated that he had used extra material (boxes, tapes, etc.) and would need to be added this to figure.
Since I was promised delivery on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest; on Wednesday morning, I contacted Best Price for status on delivery. I was told the driver had not returned yet and that as soon as he returns with shipment and final balance was calculated they would contact me. In the interim, while waiting I began looking at my cost sheet from Colonial and the scribbled cost sheet with black outs and write overs from Best Price. The Best Price Movers sheet stated that I owed a balance of $1024.00.
Questioning this amount, I contacted Colonial Movers and stated as far as their records were concerned I only owned them $560.34 as my remaining balance. Finally, late Wednesday, I received a call stating that my balance as $845!! Where did this balance come from? Even, if I agreed to the extra materials used it should not have been more than $710.34. At this point, my things were basically being held hostage and just wanting to get this over with and my life back on track; I went to the bank and received a cashier check (no personal checks or credit cards are allowed for the remaining balancenow I know why).
Thursday morning after leaving the bank, I began to call Best Price about expected delivery. Well, as you can imagine, I got a lot of run around and lies. The driver just made it back last night; we will call you, yada, yada, yada. Finally, completely tired of this whole ordeal, I called angry and reminded them of their promise of no later than Thursday. I no longer wanted to hear any more excuses from them and then I hung up.
About 30 minutes later, I received a called from Best Price stating that they only time they could deliver my things would be from 2p-4p that day. Because they were totally booked. (Whose problem is that? They should not overbook moves when they have yet to accommodate the moves they currently have) Otherwise it would have to be next week sometime. One hour later, a truck appeared (not Colonials and not Best Price Moving). They had contracted someone with a truck and 4 people. They were totally unprofessional with their only goal to get rid of my things as quickly as possible! They were dropping my boxes on the floors, rolling my boxes, muttering and complaining. At onepoint, I had labeled a large box fragile, one the guys was carrying it upside down and when I called out to him to be careful, he started talking in Spanish. Little did he know, I am not entirely fluent, but I do understand some of his words; and they were mean spirited even if being used in this mans personal life.
Suffice to say, I incurred losses due to damage of crystal and dinnerware, so of which were wedding gifts many years ago.
Colonial Van Lines has a website full of misinformation and testimonials which I find extremely hard to believe. They make any promise necessary to secure client business. Once they have received a signed contract, you might as well be null and void as they dispatch you to the side and reach out to obtain their next victims.
Now, looking over my contract with Colonial, and what was charged in the original estimate; there is no way I should have been charged for additional materials. In fact, I should have received a credit back for my shipment. Everything was packed by me and ready to go, except for the TV (mirror box was already placed in estimate figure), and my armoire. I approved 4 wardrobe boxes for odd items which I could not place in regular packing boxes, and one additional box which held three pictures. Yet, in the original estimate $613.00 was placed in the original estimate fee of $1954.56 for binding, etc. My armoire and stepper exercise machine was my only real furniture. The armoire was wrapped, but the stepper was not. The rest were boxes: large, medium and small with most of them being of the medium and small variety.
These two moving companies are unethical in their business practice, they deceive and downright lie to get business. Knowing that once clients have signed the contract and place a nonrefundable down payment); they have the client and belongings under their thumb. They know nothing about customer service, and any company that truly is all about customer satisfaction would at least make sure that customer service email address on their website is correct.
I reach out to all potential customers, who have a stressful move ahead of them: STAY AWAY FROM COLONAL VAN LINES AND BEST PRICE MOVING COMPANIES!