On November 20, 2002, I contracted with Giant Van Lines via email and telephone conversations to move my furniture from PA to MA. My point of contact during all telephone conversations and email was Chuck Hayen, a Relocation Specialist for Giant Van Lines.
After a few emails and telephone conversations, I was asked by Mr. Hayen to give him an itemized list of all contents in my apartment in Pennsylvania that would be moved to Massachusetts. This was done verbally over the telephone. During this conversation, I explained the size of my apartment (a one bedroom apartment that essentially had a living room and one bedroom), listed all furniture and the other contents, ie, dishes, clothing, computer equipment, televisions, etc. After I gave this information to Mr. Hayen, he put me on hold to calculate the approximate weight for all of the items I listed. He told me that the approximate weight for all of the items would be 3,262 lbs. I asked him if he thought he needed to come to my residence to get a more accurate estimate and he said that this is his business and he does this all the time, and a personal visit was not necessary. He did, however, state that the weight may vary by a few extra pounds, give or take; but, it should not cause the price to increase or decrease by more than a few dollars.
After determining the weight of the contents, I asked Mr. Hayen many questions concerning the move. One very important question for me to find out was if Giant Van Lines used subcontractors. Mr. Hayen said that they absolutely do not use subcontractors. He went on to state that all moves are made with Giant Van Lines' own trucks and employees. In fact, he said, that all of the employees are put through a rigorous two-week training course, where they learn about moving, antiques, different kinds of furniture, etc. In addition to finding out about subcontractors, I asked Mr. Hayen if the team of movers who pick up my furniture would be the same team that would deliver my furniture. He assured me that this would be the case. After this conversation, Mr. Hayen quoted me a price of $1,174.32 for the move. Mr. Hayen stated that this price included wrapping all of my furniture with furniture pads, fuel, tolls, stairs or long-carry. I explained that upon arrival in Massachusetts, the movers would have to lift two items up through the deck on the second floor of my apartment (prior to living in Pennsylvania, I lived in this apartment and all of my contents that I have with me in Pennsylvania, came from this apartment in Massachusetts, so I am very familiar with the best way to move certain furniture in and out of the apartment). At this point, Mr. Hayen put me on hold to speak with the dispatcher. He came back and said this would not be a problem and there would not be any extra cost associated with this.
My next question was if I could confirm a pick up date and time and a delivery date and time. Mr. Hayen stated that he could confirm a pick up date and time; however, the delivery date would be 4-7 days after my furniture was picked up. I stated that this was not acceptable, because I wanted a next-day delivery on my furniture. Again, he checked with the dispatcher and said a next-day delivery would be possible; however, there would be an additional $150 fee. I said this would be fine. He also stated that he could now confirm a delivery date, but a delivery time, either morning or afternoon, could not be confirmed until the movers picked up my furniture. He explained that this was because the team of movers that picked up my furniture would be the same team driving to Massachusetts and they would have to determine the delivery time. I told Mr. Hayen that would be fine.
Next, Mr. Hayen explained that certain furniture items in my apartment would need to be boxed and, if I did not box these items myself, the movers would charge me an additional amount for boxes. The items Mr. Hayen was referring to was the mattress and box spring and the television sets. I asked Mr. Hayen if I could use my plastic mattress and box spring covers that I still had and he said no, it's a regulation that all mattresses and box springs must be boxed. I agreed to this and stated that I would need a box for my mattress and box springs as well as my 2 television sets. He said the mattress and box spring boxes would be $15 each. I said that would be fine. As a special promotion, Mr. Hayen informed me that I would receive 3 free wardrobe boxes. I asked if these boxes contained the bars across the top so I could easily move my clothing from the closet to these boxes and he confirmed that the boxes did.
After this conversation, Mr. Hayen sent me an email confirming the move date and time. He said that Giant Van Lines would require a $150 deposit (on a credit card), one half of the delivery amount in a personal check after the movers packed up my contents and the remainder of the money would be due after my furniture was moved into my apartment in Massachusetts in the form of cash or a money order. I agreed to this. Mr. Hayen stated that I would receive a telephone call from the dispatcher on the day prior to my move (Wednesday, December 18).
On Wednesday, December 18, since I was at work and in meetings, I called the dispatcher at Giant Van Lines at approximately 3 pm to confirm the move. He confirmed that the movers would arrive at my apartment between 9 am - 10 am on December 19; however, the driver would contact me when he was near my apartment.
At approximately 9:45 am on December 19, I did not hear from the driver, so I contacted Giant Van Lines. Mr. Hayen was not available, so I spoke with another Relocation Specialist, Mr. John McGeehan. Mr. McGeehan stated that he would have Mr. Hayen call me back. After approximately 30 minutes Mr. Hayen did not return my phone call, so I called Mr. Hayen again. This time, Mr. Hayen answered the phone and put me on hold for several minutes and finally transferred me to the dispatcher. The dispatcher put me on hold, stating he needed to talk to the driver. After a few minutes, the dispatcher came back on the phone and said they would be a little late. I asked what time the drivers would be able to get to my apartment and he stated they would get there around 5 p.m. At this point, I was very upset. I asked to be transferred back to Mr. Hayen. Mr. Hayen could not help me and transferred me to his manager "Ron". Ron stated that there was nothing he could do. I explained that all moves in my building had to be completed by 5 pm - that was a rule of the building. He then said, there was nothing he could do and they would not be able to pick up my furniture. During this conversation I became very upset and told Ron that I needed to hang up. It was now about 11 a.m. Approximately 15 minutes after this conversation with Ron, the driver called me from his cell phone to say that he was on his way to my apartment and he would be there in about 30 minutes.
The drivers arrived at approximately 11:45 am. They came up to my apartment to assess the contents, then went back to their truck to bring up the materials they would need. At no time during this day did Mr. Hayen call to check on things or apologize for the inconvenience. The movers finished packing and loading the contents of my material at 5 pm on December 19. I asked the driver if he would be delivering the contents to my apartment in Massachusetts the next day. He said he would be picking up one more mover (there would now be 3 movers) and he would be to my home in Massachusetts around 1 pm on December 20. After he was getting ready to leave, he brought out a piece of paper with the number of boxes and items packed. He said that he could not accept a personal check. I explained that was the agreement and he said don't worry, he would just collect the full amount in Massachusetts. It was some time during this conversation that I learned he and the other mover were not employees of Giant Van Lines. He said they were subcontractors and worked for Movers USA and ABC Movers. I was very confused and called Mr. Hayen. Mr. Hayen did not answer, so I left a voicemail; however, since it was after 5 pm I expected I would not hear back from him until Friday morning, December 20.
These movers left with my life in their van. I did not even know who they were or have any information on them. I was in a state of shock and confusion.
On Friday morning, December 20, I began to make phone calls to Giant Van Lines. Mr. Hayen did not return my phone call, but I got in touch with the dispatcher who told me that these were reliable subcontractors that he used all the time. The dispatcher told me I should be happy that I got somebody to move me yesterday! At approximately 12 pm on Friday afternoon, I received a call from the driver (a subcontractor for Giant Van Lines) who told me the moving truck was broken down and they did not know when they would get to Massachusetts. He told me he would call me by 2 pm. When I did not hear from the driver at 2 pm, I called him and he told me he still didn't know what was wrong with the truck but he would call me at 4 pm. I called the driver at 4 pm and, at this point, he told me he would not be able to deliver my furniture until Sunday afternoon, December 22. I immediately telephoned Mr. Hayen at Giant Van Lines. Mr. Hayen answered the telephone and when I explained all that was happening, he said he needed to put me on hold. I was disconnected. I called Mr. Hayen again and asked to speak to his manager. He told me his manager left for the weekend and would not be in the office until Monday, December 23. I told him I needed to get some answers from him. I stated the subcontractors, whom I didn't even know had my furniture. I asked him why he told me they don't use subcontractors during our original conversation. He said he didn't know, but he would transfer me to somebody who could answer my questions. I was disconnected again. I called Mr. Hayen several times after being disconnected and was unable to get through. By this time it was 4:50 p.m. Friday, December 20 and nobody at Giant Van Lines answered the telephones.
At 5 pm on Friday, December 20, I called the driver, since he was the only person answering the telephone, and he explained again that he would be at my apartment on Sunday, December 20. He also wanted to be sure that I had their payment in full. When I asked the amount he said it would be $2575. I was shocked and asked why, when the original prices I was quoted was $1,174.32, plus and additional $150 for next day delivery. He deducted the $150 for next day delivery and told me I would need to pay $2,325 in full before they unloaded my furniture. He told me that I used extra boxes, packing supplies (they charged me for wrapping my furniture). Also, they did not pack my mattress and box spring in boxes as Mr. Hayen said was a regulation, they used plastic wrap, which I originally asked Mr. Hayen if I could use, because I had it available to me. Additionally, the 3 wardrobe boxes the movers gave me did not have metal bars and when I wasn't looking, they moved my clothing from my closet and just piled the clothes in these boxes. I told them I would pay them half of that amount and give them the remaining amount when my furniture was delivered and unloaded to my apartment. He said that this not how they do business.
Although the price was more than $1,000 than I was originally quoted, there was very little I could do as it was Sunday and Giant Van Lines offices were closed. My furniture was delivered to my home in Massachusetts at about 4 pm on Sunday, December 22. I was told that I had to pay the entire $2,325 up front without having the ability to see any of my furniture. My furniture was picked up in PA in a truck without a name or writing on the truck; however, when my furniture was delivered to my house in Massachusetts, it was moved to a truck with the words "Movers USA" on the truck. Also, I was told by the driver of the truck that the money order needed to be made out to "Movers USA". I have no idea who Movers USA are - again, I contracted with Giant Van Lines, who stated they do not use subcontractors. So, I was very confused and reluctant to pay; however, this person had my furniture/my life and I felt the only thing I could do was to pay this person.
My furniture was delivered; however I am missing 2 boxes and some of my furniture was damaged. In addition to missing boxes and damaged furniture, there were several pieces of furniture that the movers refused to deliver. He told me that he doesn't bring up furniture that would require taking a door off a hinge, or removing a stair railing or bringing up something through a porch. Please note that I mentioned to Mr.Hayen on November 20 when I "contracted" with Giant that there were a couple of pieces of furniture that would need to go through the porch. He put me on hold, checked with the dispatcher and came back on the phone to say that would not be a problem and there would not be any extra charges for this.
Although I explained this to the driver, he didn't care about any conversations I had with Giant Van Lines, as he stated more than once, he works for Movers USA and they do not deliver furniture that requires removing railings, hinges, etc. If it doesn't fit, they don't deliver. They left the furniture they refused to move in the garage. I then had to hire movers the next day to move this furniture up to my apartment. I was charged a fee of $500 from a local mover I used for this move.
So, a move that was supposed to cost me $1,300 has now cost me $2,825 in cash!!!!
Floor lamp - broken
Mahogany nightstand - surface scratched - it was not wrapped
Television Armoire - scratch
Mahogany dresser - leg broken off
2 boxes missing (these boxes contain shoes and purses (2 Coach purses and 1 Fendi, amongst others)
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