Victory Van Lines Lies, Lies and More Lies Rockville, Maryland
When my daughter was moving from Norfolk to Alexandria, VA, to accept a new job, but found herself with a minimum amount of time in which to prepare, I took over the moving company aspect to relieve her of one task. I contacted several companies -- some of whom I spoke with and some of whom my daughter spoke with. We received several estimates but, when weighing them, decided to go with Victory Van Lines -- not based on their price -- but on my conversation with their salesman, Michael Heffernan.When I spoke with Mr. Heffernan, he assured me of his company's reliability, although he did indicate, as others did, that the final price would be based upon the exact weight. As I explained to Mr. Heffernan, since most of my daughter's furniture was IKEA purchased, it was simple enough to get the weight of the furniture (@ 1,000 lbs.). There was to be added her books, clothing and household goods but, since she was moving from a very small one bedroom apartment, with no appliances such as a refrigerator, air conditioner, wash machines, etc., the weight could hardly be excessive. Based on answers to questions, they guesstimated the move at 3,500 lbs.On or about July l15, I paid a $200 deposit and we arranged for the move for August 3, with pickup between 8 and 9 a.m. in Norfolk and delivery in Alexandria later than day. I indicated that my daughter was in a very tight time frame and she had very few choices as to when she could move. He said it was not a problem -- that they could handle it. I spoke with Mr. Heffernan concerning the remainder of the cost of the move. He told me that I would be called once the truck was weighed to get a final price. He also told me I could even speak to the person weighing the truck if I so desired. He explained that most people get a certain amount in a cashier's check and then add on in cash and, although they preferred not to do so, they would accept a credit card. He said that the funds would be payable after my daughter did an inventory of the delivered items in her new apartment. A few days before the move, I checked with Mr. Heffernan to see if, in fact, we could purchase a cardboard wardrobe from them if need be since my daughter was a bit behind in her packing. He assured me that the truck (a 46-footer) would have at least five of them on the truck and we would be charged $22 for each wardrobe used, with an additional $7.50 if the movers had to pack it. I also indicated to Mr. Heffernan that my daughter's Norfolk apartment was a third floor walk up, he said it was no problem. I was feeling very reassured that this would be a totally professional move.Late in the afternoon of August 2, my daughter received a message on her phone saying that the move could not take place until August 4, with a pick up sometime between noon and 3:00 p.m. I immediately called Mr. Heffernan. I told him that my daughter received a call saying that the move was not happening until the 4th. He said he didn't think that's what she was told but that I needed to speak to Mei, since he had nothing to do with that.I did speak with Mei and, after some communications problems, insisted that I speak with a manager. She said her manager wasn't there, but that she would have him call me. About an hour later, I got a call from Mei, saying that she spoke with the manager and that the move would be as scheduled, except the pickup time was moved to between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m. At 9:54 p.m., I received an anonymous e-mail that stated: We are sending an Express Moving crew to make the job done on one day. Pick up is to be 10am -12 noon and delivery there after the same day.Starting at around 10:30 a.m. on August 3, my daughter started receiving phone calls from the driver of the moving truck, asking if it was a house, was there a driveway, etc.; obviously having received none of the information I had passed on to Mr. Heffernan. They finally showed up at about 11:30 a.m, with a small Penske truck, rather than the 46-foot van I had been told would be coming.My daughter reports that the two movers spoke very little English, making communication somewhat hard. We were told that the cost of the move included them wrapping her furniture in blankets. The movers, however, without asking her, proceeded to shrinkwrap everything -- this was a student's apartment -- with the exception of one picture (which she asked to have packed but which was not and left behind, although they did pack her posters in inexpensive poster frames as though they were original works of art) -- most of the furniture was very inexpensive and she had already moved by car anything of significant value. Certainly, I would not have paid $18 to shrinkwrap a small Home Depot cabinet that cost $19.99 two years ago! Ultimately, the move from her apartment took 7.5 hours! My daughter indicated that the movers would disappear for periods of time and would be sitting in the truck. They inventoried 50 boxes of assorted sizes, listed all but one piece of her furniture as being scratched and damaged, etc. They did not have the wardrobes as requested and my daughter was forced to pack her clothing in boxes at the last moment. By the time, the movers were ready to go, telling her we owed an additional $400+ for packing materials, my daughter was an exhausted nervous wreck and still had to drive 3 hours to her new apartment. The movers then informed her that they would not deliver her furniture the same day, but would deliver it the next morning between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m.I received a call later that evening from Mei, who proceeded to tell me that the weight was over 5,900 lbs. She complained that it was a third floor walk up, that there were fifty boxes, that the movers had a hard time fitting everythiing into the truck, etc., etc. and then told me that, rather than an additional $1,400, the cost would be an additional $3,200+ payable in cash, which included $500+ for packing materials! I told Meii that I already had a cashier's check for $1,300 and she proceeded to tell me how much cash I needed to give the driver when they arrived. When I questioned the difference between the packing material cost quoted to my daughter and what she told me, she said it was only as estimate.I received another call before the movers arrived from Shariff (sp?). When I indicated my displeasure thus far, he told me that people pay thousands of dollars to have their furniture protected as they protected my daughter's and that money was payable before a single thing was brought up. When I told him what Mr. Heffernan said, he said no moving company in the world would do such a thing. He told me that if I paid all in cash, I could reduce the bill by $42 and some change. I said forget it and promptly went to the bank to get everything in a bank check rather than any cash.Two different movers (we were told there would be four on the delivery end) showed up at around 9:20 a.m. and, after asking me to sign the documents when they arrived (which I refused to do), they proceeded to bring up the furniture and boxes. They brought in the furniture and left it wherever they chose; they brought in boxes (fragile ones clearly marked upside down; larger boxes stacked on top of smaller boxes) and simply put them down wherever they found room, never trying to stack them so we could maneuver around the apartment and try to restore some order. They left the elevator key (for which I was responsible) unattended in the elevator, they left empty water bottles in the otherwise immaculate building hallway, they were in no way professional movers. One gentleman spoke some English; the other appeared to speak none at all, which made communication again all the harder.With the exception of the bedroom, where they did put furniture in place, it was a disaster area, with boxes and furniture in no order. We had to go through the bedroom, out onto the balcony and in another door in order to get through the apartment.When they got to the bedroom, the leg on a standing wardrobe was broken off and took part of the furniture with it (a single screw holds each leg -- a professional mover would have simply removed them); her memory foam mattress had been folded in half and shrinkwrapped and, when unwrapped, resembled a roller coaster ride. The movers put the bed together, but failed to properly attach the midbeam and we were forced to take it apart again to reassemble it properly.When they finally got the last of the furniture up, I insisted on copies of all documentation. The driver did allow me to go across the street to the management office to have copies made.After they left, I called Victory Van Lines and asked to speak with a manager. I was connected to Sean Yanuzoff who must be very practiced at dealing with irate customers. At no time was I abusive or impolite although I was obviously very angry. Mr. Yanuzoff tried to tell me that even IKEA people will tell you their furniture is not movable. (One mover from whom we received a quote specifically disclaimed liability for pressed wood furniture; Victory Van Lines did not.) He tried to tell me that they didn't know it was a third floor walkup, that there were heavy boxes, etc., etc. He even tried to tell me that the tape they used (since my daughter had several rolls of packing tape sitting out for the movers' use, if necessary) was special, although my daughter reports that they would wrap one item with the tape and take a new roll for the next item regardless of what remained on the prior roll. Finally, after a rather long discussion, he offered to send a crew the next afternoon to help us move the boxes and furniture. I told him that that would do us no good since her time was very limited and we could not lose the rest of the day. He offered to pay $100 for the wardrobe and return the cost of the shrinkwrap and paper. He said he would review the paperwork and call me the next day. He asked me to e-mail him a picture of the broken wardrobe.I did not hear from Mr. Yanuzoff the next day, but when I sent him the picture when I got home on Saturday, he indicated he would call me Monday. When he did not call Monday, I sent him an e-mail saying I could best be reached at work between the hours of 9 and 5:30; I received no response; I sent him other e-mails, still, no response. Friday, August 12, I called and left a message indicating that I presume wrongly that he was acting in good faith.I heard nothing until Monday, when I sent him an e-mail indicating that my patience was at an end and I would proceed to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and with the websites where I found such wonderful reviews. Mr. Yanuzoff called me within minutes and said he would call me sometime later in the day or in the evening. Again, I heard nothing.I called Mr. Yanuzoff again today; he just a few minutes ago sent me an e-mail inquiring as to the amount we agreed on. We had agreed on nothing.Had Victory spoken to either myself or my daughter on the 2nd, we might have been able to work out an alternate date the following week. While I cannot reasonably argue with the weight (since I do not know how to read the weight certificates from two different private weigh stations), I find it hard to believe that there was 5,900+ lbs. She had 16 boxes of books (banker's box size), but many of the other boxes were far smaller and filled mostly with bubble wrap, since my daughter went to great extremes to protect anything remotely fragile. She did not bring any groceries and the other boxes were filled with clothing, kitchen items and various personal belongings. If the 50 box count was correct, and since I know the furniture weighed approximately 1,000 lbs, each box would then have to weigh @ 100 lbs, and both my daughter and I would have been unable to lift them. I might note, here, that inside the truck, there was a sign that said Payload not to exceed approximately 4,300 lbs, although the weight certificate made no indication that the truck was overweight. Given the good faith Victory has shown throughout this whole ordeal, I wonder how legitimate the numbers are.In any event, this was a ripoff of the highest degree. There was not a single iota of truth to what I was told. The move was anything but professional and, frankly, had I know the cost and aggravation, it would have been far easier to rent a U-Haul for her personal belonging and simply discard the furniture and buy new, better furniture -- probably at a lesser cost. I sincerely wish I had seen an earlier Ripoff Report on this same company posted earlier this year. This is definitely a company to avoid at all costs!