Spartan Moving System, Inc. Professional Scammers and Shakedown Artists Miami Gardens Florida
This is an edited version of a complaint originally filed with the Department of Transportation (complaint ID #100096119) against Spartan Moving System, Inc (DOT #2093720, MC #729779). The short version is this. Spartan used a number of tricks to squeeze me for as much money as possible. First, they asked for a deposit to lock in a binding contract and move date that looks like a great deal. However, they intentionally omitted items from my estimate and called me back just before my move to confirm the shipping list. Once I gave them the correct list, they jacked the price up for a new contract, saying that I could either agree or lose my deposit.Spartan demanded 70% of the delivery fee in cash when they arrived. The driver refused to show me ID or proof of insurance. I called the company asking for proof of insurance, and it did not arrive for days after my shipment was collected. At this point, the driver told me I could pay in full on delivery, which I agreed to.Next, Spartan loaded belongings onto a truck, then afterwards told me that the (second) estimate is no longer valid. They went so far as to tear it up and throw it away, and said I can either sign a new contract or they will take everything off the truck. After much yelling, I finally gave in and signed this even higher contract. They told me my shipment would be delivered a few days later, and drove off.On the day that my shipment was supposed to be delivered, I called Spartan to confirm. They told me (in a very rude and aggressive manner) that my stuff will not, in fact, be delivered unless I wire money to their bank account amounting to 70% of the highest estimate that I had signed. I refused to do so, because I had been told I could pay on delivery. I waited for over a week before I was told (by a lawyer who has dealt with Spartan before) that if I do not pay them soon, they are likely to start charging me pricey storage fees. Eventually I gave in and wired the money. When the movers finally showed up, they were from a different company. I paid them the remaining 30% by postal money order, and they brought my stuff in carefully and respectfully.In total, the price of my move went up 73% from the original estimate that caused me to place a deposit with Spartan. Don't give these people your business!If you want the long version with all the detail I can remember, here it is:This is a complaint in regards to Spartan Moving System, Inc (referred to as SMS throughout this complaint). I requested a quote through an online service that apparently blasted my contact info out to a number of moving companies. I received a call from Daniel, a sales rep at SMS, and was asked to provide the list of items in my move, as well as the pickup and delivery addresses. I read a list of items and Daniel emailed me his computer generated estimate. When I received the estimate, it was lower than the others (for a total of $1200.53, see file First estimate, june 30 2017) that I had received and so I said that I would use SMS. While still on the phone with Daniel, he asked me to e-sign the binding estimate so that I could put down a deposit of $360 to reserve my pickup. He informed me that if I cancel within 3 days of my scheduled move date, I would not get my deposit back. Without reading the itemized list in the estimate, I e-signed it and provided my credit card info to place the deposit.Two days before my move date (within the window where I would lose my deposit if I cancelled), I received a call from Todd at SMS asking to verify the list of items in my move. He read back the list from the original estimate, and it became apparent that Daniel had left numerous items out of the estimate. I provided Todd the correct list, and he informed me that my new estimate would be higher. He sent a new estimate for a total of $1459.90 (see file Second estimate, july 13 2017) which I also agreed to and signed electronically. At this time I also agreed to a higher deposit, which was to be charged to my credit card on file at pickup.The movers, Chris and Steve, arrived shortly after 9am on July 15, 2017. When they arrived, I brought them up to the apartment. Chris provided me with a number of documents including a Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet. He then asked to collect the remaining balance due at pickup (which he informed me was $667) in the form of cash, personal check, or money order. I asked him to see his identification before turning over the cash. He refused to show me any form of identification, and instead pulled out a wad of cash from his pocket saying something along the lines of, You want ID? Here's my ID. I then called the main line for SMS listed on the documentation and spoke with a dispatcher named Tasha. She told me that the drivers will not reveal any personal information. I then asked her if she could send to my email some proof of insurance for SMS to make sure they are a legitimate company. She put me on hold and told me that I would receive it to my email shortly.While waiting for the proof of insurance, I left the movers at my apartment with my roommates and family to pick up a personal check from the bank. While at the bank, Chris called me and said that they would take payment in full at delivery, with the exception of a $65 long-carry fee that I would pay him in cash before he left. He told me that since there was a truck going to the area near my delivery address already, my shipment would be delivered the evening of Monday, July 17th. I agreed to this and returned to the apartment. After confirming with Chris what we had discussed over the phone, I handed him the $65 in cash and proceeded to look over the documents.After most of the items had been loaded onto the truck, Chris asked me to sign some paperwork. He presented me with a document explaining my insurance options (see First valuations selections, july 15 2017) and informed me I must sign option 2. I knew that I was entitled to two options based on the info in the Rights and Responsibilities booklet, so I said I would like to sign option 1. He told me that he was instructed to get me to sign option 2 and that he was just following instructions. I called the SMS line again and spoke to Tasha. She told me that SMS does not offer option 1 and the driver would not take my shipment unless I sign option 2. I attempted to amend the document as SMS had not provided me with a Dollar Estimate of the cost of my move at Full (Replacement) Value Protection, and signed option 1. At some point while I was not looking, Chris took that document and tore it up, then threw the pieces out in a bin away from my apartment. My brother saw this and retrieved the pieces from the bin, which I later taped back together in order to provide here.Once all of my belongings were loaded onto the truck, Chris informed me that the estimate for $1459.90 did not cover enough cubic feet of space and said he would not take my shipment unless I signed a new estimate for $2076.90 (see document Third estimate, july 15 2017). We argued, as I said the original document that he had come prepared with (see First bill of lading, july 15 2017), along with the estimate that I signed electronically was binding and I would not pay the higher price. He yelled at me repeatedly, telling me he had other customers and that I was wasting his time, and proceeded to tear up the original bill of lading contract that he had arrived with. After a long period of heated arguing, I signed the higher estimate after writing on the document, Assuming verification of size on delivery. He did not allow me to keep a copy at my request, so I took a picture for my records. I also signed the revised bill of lading contract (see Second bill of lading, july 15, 2017). I was then informed by Chris that I needed to sign the insurance paper again because I was not allowed to write on it. I signed this document under option 2 as Chris instructed (see Second valuations selections, july 15 2017). I thanked Chris and Steve for their hard work, provided them each with a $12 tip (hoping that they would not damage my goods out of frustration with me as they were both visibly angry - however Chris was the only one that had shouted and intimidated me), and they drove off with my belongings.On the morning of Monday, July 17, 2017, I checked my email to see an invoice from SMS (see First invoice, july 16 2017), sent the previous day, and a request for payment in the form of a wire transfer (see First wire transfer request, july 16 2017). I also saw an email from the SMS billing office with the proof of insurance that I had requested on the 15th. I called the SMS office multiple times and received no answer. I tried to leave voicemails but all mailboxes of the different extensions I tried were full. Eventually after numerous attempts, I reached Lacey Smith at approximately 12pm on July 17th, 2017. I explained that I was informed by Chris that I could pay in full on delivery, and that I was happy to pay in whatever form they like at that time, however I can't in good faith send a wire transfer to a bank number without knowing where my belongings were. She said, Sir, we don't want your things. That is nonsense. We will not put your stuff onto a truck until you send payment. You agreed to pay at pickup and you did not, you signed a contract. So until we collect the money that is due, we will not deliver your shipment. I asked her if she knew where my belongings were located, to which she replied, Of course, let me pull it up. Then, she told me that in fact she did not see it in her system and she would get back to me. She hung up and I immediately received another email demanding that I wire transfer money to their bank account (see Second wire transfer request).Eventually, I sent a wire transfer in the amount of $1,033.93. Finally, my belongings arrived on the morning of Thursday Aug 3rd, 2017. There was little or no damage on my things. The men who delivered my shipment were from a different moving company and were very friendly and sympathetic to my story, even going so far as to say, Yea we hear this sort of thing about Spartan all the time.Thank you so much for your help!