After getting some estimates from moving companies online and selecting one that was not the least expensive, but appeared to have an upfront honest image, we decided to go with them for our cross Country move from Scottsdale AZ to Ft Lauderdale FL.
Little did we know what nightmare was about to unfold in the coming weeks.
I will start by describing the estimate process which we were not used to as it is not everyday that one moves across Country with their entire household.
I had asked Moving Services of America to have somebody come out to take a look at the items and give us a binding estimate as we did not want any surprises when arriving in Ft Lauderdale.
Sherry the consulatant assuerd me that she had been in the business for many years and due to the detailed, itemised list of goods to be moved, there was no need for that.
She assured me that the estimate more than covered the items and actually included about 300 lbs additional space in the event we had forgotten something.
This sounded good and I gave her the required deposit by card over the phone.
We were supposed to be moving on 3/18/2011 and on the Monday 03/14 I received a phone call asking us if we could possibly move the date up to 03/16 as they had a truck going that way and did not want to come back for our items as this would add to their costs.
I mentioned that our hotel was booked and paid for with the set dates and that would mean that we would need to pay for another 2 days which we had not planned.
I was told they would get the extra 2 days by discounting our move by 2 nights accomodation and so we agreed to accomodate the moving comppany with the 03/16 date.
They arrived as agreed on 3/16 and loaded the items of furniture without making any comments on anything that was not according to their agreement.
We then discovered that they were going to be adding some significant costs to the estimate for some shrink warap which they said was norm al if we did not want our furniture scratched.
We agreed to this and they added another $400 for some shrink wrap and a couple of card board boxes which they tore open and wrapped around some items.
Once loaded up they exclaimed that they were running late for their next pick up and asked me to quickly sign the list of items thay had on the inventory.
I did not want to delay them by reading through everything and initialed and signed where they pointed to.
I also provided them with a bank certified check for the full balance of the entire move except for the new costs of the wrapping materials which they said we could pay for when they delivered the items.
They left after asking for a tip, before I had a chance to give them one, which I had planned to do anyway.
We left on our cross Country road trip, with the 2 cats and other personal items in the SUV.
The entire trip with 2 cats and stopping off often to medicate one of the cats who was sick at the time took us 8 days, which was not one we would like to do again under the circumstances.
After about 3 days of travel we decided to check our email at a hotel guest computer and were shocked at what we found in an email to us from the moving company.
They had quoted us for items which they assured us would not exceed 6,000 lbs and suddenly have an adjusted final price of about $3,100 extra proclaiming that the new weight was now over 10,000 lbs.
This was absurd as we only had a 1 bedroom/ living room /patio set / dining room set and boxes we packed ourselves of kitchen pots,pans, etc.
There were no appliances except for a washer/dryer, that's about it!
We immediately called and were unable to reach the consultant but left numerous messages for her to call back.
We did call another very expensive reputable moving company and spoke to one of their senior managers who have us some sound advice.
He said that an entire 4 bedroom home would not usually come out to over 10,000 lbs and certainly not our 1,343 sf town home.
He adised us to insist on a weigh receipt relfecting the new weight and insist they deliver the furniture for the agreed to price plus 10% if our contract was not binding and that we could battle the rest out after the delivery.
We emailed the consultant that did not return our calls and insisted on the delivery with a copy of the weigh receipt.We adives her that we were very unhappy about this new price after she had ensured us that she was so experienced that they did not need anyone to come out to the home to do the estimate.We did say that we would pay what was required by law which was the additional 10% above their contracted price and then would discuss the balance after we had reviewed their reasoning.
We did get a response which was not what we wanted to hear.
Sherry told us they would not deliver our goods until we paid up the total new amount which was more than double their original quote.
We sited the Federal regulation and insisted they abide by it, but this did not seem to bother them at all.
We were now supposed to have received our delivery on 04/01/2011 and our accomodation at the hotel had run out.It was high season at the hotel in Hollywood FL and the rates were now almost $200/day.
After extensive research work online we discovered a DOT site with all the regulations and contact # to file a complaint.We called and evetually got hold of Mr Dubose in DC who is the only contact person in the entire department that deals with hostage situations that involve moving companies.
We had to fax and email all our paperwork to him and then an official comaplaint would be logged.
We did this in record time after staying up all night makling copies and getting the hotel to assist us with copies, as well as faxes which cost us a lot of money.
The following day the DOT attempted speaking with the company and after a few conversations it was discovered they did not havethe necessary licenses.
He asked for their address and then got the run around and no return phone calls from them.
We in turn had researched the # and address information which we called and gave to DOT.
They had an in field agent go to the registered address to find out that it was a bogus address and belonged to some salons ina strip mall where nobody had even heard of this company.
We really started to panic as they had all our belongings and personal effects which amounted to our entire life in their truck.We did not want them to panic and run as we would never see our goods again, so we tried calling and left messages that we would negotiate a settlement.
The delivery date of 4/1 had come and gone and we were now paying an additional $200/day for the hotel which was not budgeted for.
On 4/5 out of the blue we received a call from them asking if we would do an extra $1,500 and I refused but offered them an extra $700 (take it or leave it).
They said they would call back shortly, which thankfully they did and agreed to deliver the following day, 4/7/2011.
We informed DOT in DC and they had a Federal agent standing by in Ft Lauderdale to observe the truck.
They arrived as agreed with plent of attitute and after getting their bank certified check for the extra money started offloading the furniture.
The agent was parked under a tree taking photos and observing until just before they completed unloading and then presented himself to them.
They really got pissed off and calls were made back and forth for a couple of hours before they resumed the delivery.
Now they really banged the furniture around and dropped boxes, etc.
They refuse to move any furniture to any of the rooms and just shoved a paper under my nose demanding that I sign for the delivery.
We just wanted them gone and signed the papers to get them out of the house.
The Federal agent called us to say that he had followed them to their large rig as they had refused to give him their details of their tractor trailer, since they had transferred the items to a U-Haul truck which was part of the original estimate as the HOA did not allow large rigs in the community.
He did get their information and submitted to DC for their action.
What ever you do, NEVER use this company and warn everybody else that is thinking about moving to avoid them like the plague as they are really just no good RIP-OFF artists.
We are still recovering from this Hostage Situation, both mentally and financially.