Summit Van Lines will begin any move with an on-site estimate which seems very professional. The gentleman they sent to my house was very polite and gave me a great deal of information about the company. I was impressed at this point and decided to use Summit for my move.
Since Summit charges a high amount for the materials they offer, I decided to buy my own materials. I called Summit one week before the move and spoke to a representative named Daniella to let her know I would be buying my own materials. She told me that this was fine and that any materials that were quoted and not used would be deducted from my final bill.
On moving day, Summit sent three men who spoke very little English. I think Eastern European, but cannot be certain. I didn't mind this so much, but it was very difficult to give instructions since they couldn't understand what I was telling them. The foreman was the only person who knew any English and everything had to be relayed through him.
Everything was moved fine - I cannot complain about anything being broken, etc. The packing job was done well and the men were quite efficient. The problem came upon arrival to my new home. The men came inside to take a look at where things had to be placed. Two of the men started to unload the truck while the foreman came inside with me to fill out paperwork and obtain payment. When the foreman handed me the paperwork, the final amount was exactly what was stated on the estimate. First off, the estimate claimed a total of 7 hours for the move - the men had only been there 3 hours until that point and clearly only had about 1 hour to go. Second was the issue with the materials.
I didn't even complain about the hours at that time - I assumed that travel time accounted for something (even though the men had told me they didn't travel far). the materials, however, was a much bigger issue. $1080 of my cost was in materials and I had bought all my own. Summit did use a few boxes of their own, which I had asked them not to do, and left many of my own boxes behind not even using them. I told the foreman immediately that this was not correct. He called into the central office to let them know of my complaint. He hung up (without allowing me to talk to anyone) and told me that all materials were used and that I must make final payment in order for all additional items to be moved off the truck. He then instructed his men to stop unloading the truck until payment was made.
I asked him to count the boxes for me multiple times, but he either couldn't understand what I was asking or was pretending to not understand. Finally, he did make a comment at one point that the truck was too full and that he couldn't count them but that once payment was made and they unloaded I could count them and dispute anything back through the main office.
My mistake was paying Summit. If anyone decides to read this and still use Summit - DO NOT PAY until you are sure everything is correct. Make sure you have the police out to your house and file through your local court system to have your belongings kept in the truck and not moved until the issue is settled - this may have worked if I threatened this at the time.
I contacted Summit two days after the move (they were closed the following day) and let them know of the problem. I was offered $380 in a phone conversation which I accepted at the time just so I didn't have to argue any further. Summit them sent me an e-mail with a form to fill out to recieve $330. I contacted Summit again and told them that the $330 amount was incorrect, that they offered $380 as a settlement. They denied this and sent me a list of all the materials they had used with the charges. This was their mistake as they had everything incorrect. They were charging different amounts on this list than what they had in their estimate; they tried charging for things like Shrink Wrap which was not at all in their original estimate (since it was a free item); they tried charging for items that I had a coupon for originally but now they did not want to honor it, etc.
After going through the list, it was clear that they really owed me $660 which was far more than they originally claimed to owe me and much more in line with what should have been the case given that I bought all my own materials and the orginal estimate was $1080 for materials. Summit refused to acknowledge that these numbers were correct. I then brought my case to the BBB and to my bank for reversal of the portion of the charge that was incorrect.
Summit then started making statements claiming they only offered me the $330 because I begged them since I was on a budget (I make good money and never claimed such a thing to them). It almost seems unbelievable that they'd even state this since I have e-mails from them where they admitted to owing me $330 due to their material calculations being incorrect (though I disagree with this amount).
They also claimed that I threatened them and tried blackmailing them. My second e-mail to them (at which point we were still discussing the $330 refund and there were no hard feelings yet), I stated very clearly that I wanted all communication to be done through e-mail or in writing in some way - if I made any threatening or blackmail remarks they should have e-mails showing this yet they cannot provide any since they were never made.
The only thing Summit is relying on is the signed invoice by me. That remains their main argument and is likely the reason my bank continues to reject my chargeback. Once Summit admitted that their count was incorrect, however, I believe that the signed invoice became void as Summit broke that contract when they filled out incorrect material counts. Since Summit has admitted this, I believe I have a legal case against them. Moreover, I will be filing a suit against them for Libel and possible fraud. If anyone else has has a similar experience with Summit holding belongings until they are paid, please respond to this and I will be happy to open this up as a Class Action against them. If not, I will file as an individual.
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