When choosing an interstate mover, there are some possible pitfalls you can encounter if you don’t do your homework. Interstate moves can be subcontracted or “brokered” meaning the person you talk to and book with initially may not be the mover that actually performs your interstate move. The following is a real story sent to us about a negative moving experience with a brokered move. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and/or guilty. The story is told by the person who was moved in the first person. After the story, we’ll cover some points of interest.
IHAVE BEEN FIGHTING WITH x moving company, WHO GAVE ME A GUARANTEED QUOTE, HOWEVER SOME “SCHLOCK” COMPANY NAMED y moving company SHOWED UP. THE TRUCK HAS THE NAME OF THE COMPANY ON THE TRUCK WITH WHAT APPEARED TO BE LARGE BLACK MARKING PENS. THEY ARRIVED 3.5 HOURS LATE, SO WE KEPT CALLING moving company x…..WHO BY THE WAY NEVER TOLD US IT WOULD NOT BE A moving company x.
WHEN THE DRIVER ARRIVED, HE WAS UPSET WITH US BECAUSE WE HAD CALLED TO COMPLAIN THAT HE DID NOT ARRIVE AT THE TIME WE WERE TOLD HE WOULD, 7 AM. RATHER, HE ARRIVED 10:30 WITH “ATTITUDE” WAS TOTALLY DISHEVELED AND VERY “ROUGH AND COURSE” IN HIS LANGUAGE TO NOT ONLY US BUT THE “OTHER” (QUESTIONAL) MOVERS. AS THE DAY PROGRESSED IT BECAME VERY CLEAR AS TO THE TYPE OF “OTHER” MOVERS HE HAD APPARENTLY EMPLOYED LOCALLY. ONE WAS A FORMER DRIVER WHO LOST HIS LICENSE BECAUSE OF A DUI, OTHERS HAD BEEN IN PRISON, AND OTHERS HAD ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE AND WERE NOT BEING SUPERVISED IN ANY WAY.
WE HAD TOLD moving company x THAT WE HAD BOXES IN EXCELLENT SHAPE FROM THE PREVIOUS MOVE, YET THE DRIVER ARRIVED WITH TONS OF BOXES, TAPE, PACKING MATERIAL ETC. WE ASKED WHY? HE STATED THAT “NO ONE HAD TOLD HIM THAT WE HAD ANY OF THIS STUFF” AND THIS WAS “JUST ONE” OF THE REASONS THAT HE WAS LATE.
HE WAS BUSY PACKING AND DID NOT SUPERVISE THE OTHERS, IN ANY WAY, THUS THEIR BOXES WERE PACKED WITH ONE ITEM AND TONS OF PAPER AND TAPE. WE HAVE MOVED MANY TIMES AND ARE WELL AWARE OF THE EXACT WEIGHT OF EACH MOVE. NOTHING NEW HAD BEEN PURCHASED, NOTHING HAD CHANGED, AND EVERYTHING WAS EXACTLY THE SAME. YET, WHEN HE CALLED FROM THE ROAD, HE GAVE US A VERY EXAGERRATED WEIGHT AND WE IMMEDIATELY QUESTIONED IT, ALONG WITH ALL THE BOXES, TAPE AND PACKING MATERIAL THAT HE HAD (RANDOMLY) JUST LISTED ON THE PAPERWORK. WE CLEARLY TOLD moving company x, THE PERSON THAT WE RECEIVED THE GUARANTEED QUOTE FROM, THE WEIGHT WE KNEW OUR MOVE TO BE, THAT WE HAD ALL OUR OWN BOXES, and ETC. THAT THE WEIGHT THAT THEY WERE NOW….QUOTING US WAS NOT CORRECT. THEY SUGGESTED WE TALK TO THIS “moving company y” THAT WAS WRITTEN ON THE SIDE OF THE VAN.
PURCHASING A NEW HOME, THE FINAL CLOSING PAPERWORKS WERE SCHEDULED FOR CLOSING 7 DAYS LATER. THUS, THEY TOLD US WHILE ON THE ROAD, THEY WERE HEADING BACK TO NEVADA TO DO A JOB AND WE ASKED WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO OUR THINGS WHICH FILLED THE TRUCK. THEIR RESPONSE WAS “DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT”. WE DID. WE CONTACTED “moving company y” AND TOLD THEM THAT WE WERE EXTREMELY DISPLEASED WITH THE WEIGHT ESTIMATE, THEIR “LOW CALIBER” MOVERS, THE SUPERVISOR, THE PACKING MATERIAL QUOTES, ETC. NONE OF THESE MATCHED THE QUOTES FROM moving company x. WE TOLD THEM THAT WE WANTED TO MEET THE TRUCK AT A WEIGH STATION NEAR THE NEW HOUSE, BUT INSTEAD, THEY NEGOTIATED ON THE PHONE WHAT THEY WOULD CHANGE IT TO. WE STILL WERE NOT HAPPY WITH WHAT THEY SAID THEY WOULD DO, BUT AT THIS POINT THEY WERE HOLDING THINGS “HOSTAGE”. THEY WOULD NOT…………GO TO THE WEIGH STATION! THEY WERE RUDE, CONDESCENDING AND “READY TO BE DONE WITH US” WE WERE TOLD.
WHEN THE TRUCK FINALLY DID ARRIVE, ONCE AGAIN THERE WERE “LOCAL HANDS” WHO WERE NOT AT ALL HAPPY WITH THE DRIVER AND TOLD US THEIR FIRST…. TRIP INTO THE HOUSE WITH WHAT WE COULD WERE CRUSHED BOXES, SCRATCHED FURNITURE, BOXES THAT THEY DID NOT CHOOSE TO CALL OFF ANY NUMBERS ON TO ASSURE THAT WE RECEIVED ALL OF OUR BOXES. (WE USUALLY HAVE MOVERS THAT HAND US THE LIST AND CALL OUT THE BOX STICKERS TO ENSURE THEY HAVE DELIVERED ALL OF OUR FURNITURE. THIS DRIVER SAID NO…… AND JUST STARTED DROPPING THINGS ALL OVER THE HOUSE. AS THE DELIVERY CONTINUED, THE DRIVER AND THE “LOCAL” WERE FIGHTING AND YELLING AT EACH OTHER. TWO OF THE “LOCAL” WERE BROTHERS, (THE OTHER BROTHER TOLD US) AND STARTED TO SCREAM AND CRY.
AS MY WHITE SOFAS WERE BROUGHT INTO THE HOUSE I NOTICED BLACK GREASE MARKS ALL OVER THE SOFAS, THE ENTERTAINMENT CENTER WAS NICKED AND DINGED, THE KING SIZED MATTERESS HAD THE SIDE HANDLES PULLED OUT, THEY JUST SHRUGGED AND KEPT MOVING THINGS.
IT WAS A TERRIBLE EXPERIENCE AND THE MOVE WAS THE WORST THAT I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. AS I STARTED TO “OPEN BOXES” I SAW THAT MANY OF THE LARGEST HAD ONE ITEM IN THEM WITH TONS OF PACKING PAPER AND TAPE. ONE THING! I FOUND ITEMS THAT WERE DENTED, BROKEN, SCRAPPED, FORCED INTO BOXES, MANY THINGS SCRATCHED, SCRAPED, DESTROYED, ETC. AS BOXES CONTINUED TO BE OPEN IT WAS CLEAR THAT ITEMS WERE MISSING, ITEMS THAT CLEARLY NEEDED PROTECTION AND WRAPPING WERE MERELY SHOVED BETWEEN EXPENSIVE DECORATOR PILLOWS. THE BANG AND OLUFSEN RECORD PLAYER AND SPEAKERS WERE UNBELIEVABLE! THE NEEDLE HAD BEEN BROKEN OFF AND TAPED TO THE TURN TABLE, THE ENTIRE TURN TABLE FELL OUT OF THE BOX BECAUSE IT WAS PACKED UPSIDE DOWN! THE ELECTRICAL CORDS FOR THE SPEAKERS WERE NOT WRAPPED, IN FACT THEY WERE WOUND AROUND OTHER UNWRAPPED THINGS IN THE BOX, AND THEY ARE SPLIT, PULLED APART, BROKEN AND WE CANNOT USE THEM IN THE SCRAPPED, FABRIC TORN SPEAKERS THAT ARE STANDING ON CRACKED AND DAMAGED STANDS. PICTURES WERE SHOVED INTO BOXES, WITHOUT ANY WRAPPING, AND ANTIQUE FRAMES AND COLLECTIBLE HAND FANS WERE NICKED,DAMAGED, SCRAPED, GLASS BROKEN, PUSH IN, BACKING WERE SHREDDED, ETC. GLASS “CRUETS” FOR OIL AND VINEGAR WERE IN SEPARATE BOXES UNWRAPPED WITH POTS AND PANS, UNWRAPPED! SO THEY ARE “CHIPPED”, ETC. ITEMS FOR THE KITCHEN WERE LAST MINUTE, APPARENTLY, SHOVED INTO BOXES MARKED GARAGE….. BOXES THAT HAD BEEN IN THE GARAGE HAD UNWRAPPED DESIGNER PILLOWS SHOVED INTO BOXES FOLDED IN HALF, ETC. ETC. ETC.
IT WAS FINALLY DISCOVERED THAT A “COLLECTIBLE” DIAMOND BACK PICTURE, SIGNED BY ALL THE TEAM MEMBERS, UPON WINNING WAS “TOTALLY MISSING” IT WAS NOT IN ANY PICTURE BOX; WHILE MANY OF THE PICTURES AND ANTIQUE FANS WERE IN BOXES UNWRAPPED WITH BROKEN CERAMIC ITEMS. WHEN ALL THE UNPACKING WAS DONE, WE IMMEDIATELY SAT DOWN AND DOCUMENTED IT TO THE BOTH THIS “SLEAZY” moving company x and moving company y.
PICTURES WERE TAKEN (48 OF THEM) AND WERE SENT TO THEM TO SHOW THE DAMAGE, BUT WHAT THEY DID WAS TRY TO “DECLINE” THE CLAIM. (I WORK OUT OF COUNTRY, THEY WERE TOLD OF THIS FACT AS I WAS LEAVING ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE HORRIFYING MOVE. THEY ACKNOWLEDGED AND AGREED TO WAIT FOR THE PICTURES, AND WHEN I RETURNED MONTHS AND MONTHS LATER THEY ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIVING THEM.
WHAT THEY DID WAS “DECLINE THE CLAIM” ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THE CLAIM VIA THE INTERNET AND THE FACT THAT THEY ARE WELL AWARE THAT I TRAVEL OUT OF COUNTRY FOR WORK.
I WROTE TO THEM, moving company x ANSWERED THAT THEY WOULD TRY TO GET THEM TO REOPEN IT AND EVERYONE WAS……….AWARE IMMEDIATELY OF ALL THE DAMAGE AND THAT FACT THAT I WAS OUT OF COUNTRY. Moving company x, NOT moving company y SENT ME A NOTE THAT moving company y WAS REOPENING THE CLAIM, I WROTE TO THEM AND THEY SENT BACK AN EMAIL, THAT YES, IT WAS REOPENED.
15 MONTHS LATER, AFTER CONTINUES CONTACT ON MY………………..PART, CONTINUOUS FOLLOW THROUGH, ON MY PART……….. WITHOUT ANY SATISFACTION OR CONTACT INITIATED BY moving company x or moving company y, I CONTACTED A LAW FIRMS. 19 MONTHS INTO THE PROBLEM, THEY TRIED TO SEND ME AN ABRITRATION FORM, WHICH I DECLINED, AS ATTORNEYS, PUCS AND ATTORNEY GENERALS HAVE BEEN WATCHING. I STILL HAVE NO RESOLUTION, NOR HAS ANYONE EVEN TRIED TO SETTLE THE MATTER. (WHEN I RETURNED 2 WEEKS AGO, I WAS SENT BY MY MAIL COLLECTOR SERVICE AN ENVELOPE WHERE “xxxxx CLAIMS” IN ARIZONA SUGGESTED ( APPARENTLY IN MAY, 2010) VIA A FORM LETTER THAT THEY SUGGESTED THAT WE BE PAID $60.00!
I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERALS, BETTER BUSINESS BUREAUS, ATTORNEYS AND PUCS ( OF EACH STATE INVOLVED) BUT I SEE NO RESOLUTION. I DID EVERTHING AND MORE TO ATTEMPT TO GET THIS MATTER RESOLVED…….THEY HAVE JUST IGNORED ME.
I HAVE FOUND, THROUGH INTERNET SEARCHES OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN “SCREWED” ( EXCUSE ME) BY moving company x and moving company y. I WAS NEVER TOLD, I REPEAT, THAT I WAS NOT GOING TO BE WORKING WITH AND REPRESENTED BY moving company x. I HAVE EVERY SINGLE EMAIL THAT I HAVE SENT TO BOTH COMPANIES, AND CAN SEND THOSE TO YOU. YOU WILL SEE THAT I DID ADVISE IMMEDIATELY ABOUT THE PROBLEMS YET………..TODAY 21 MONTHS LATER I STILL SIT HERE WITH ALL THE SAME PROBLEMS AND THEY JUST “IGNORE ME”.
I WILL NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU. ALL THEY HAVE OFFERED IS $60.00! UNBELIEVABLE, CAN YOU ASSIST, ALSO, IN GETTING THESE “SHARKS” IN LINE AND OUT OF BUSINESS. THEY ARE “THIEVES” AND “LIARS”….. WHO WON’T GO CLOSE TO WEIGH SCALES WHILE HOLDING ITEMS HOSTAGE.
The story has been left as original as possible in reference to grammar, sentence structure, capitalization, etc.
We have not taken any sides since we have not heard the opposing parties side, but the customer does have rights, and this was our response to our customer:
Just a couple of the moving laws that are on your side.
http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp (this is where you can submit a complaint against a household goods mover). They may go out and investigate the company, sometimes they don’t do anything if the company has only one complaint against them, but they should be able to assist you in the direction you should go. If you are not able to do anything, you should be able to file a civil suit locally.
Just a couple more moving laws that are definitely on your side:
FMCSA regulation 375.513 :http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=375.513 (you must give the shipper or person responsible for paying the right to observe the reweighing of the shipment)
You must give the individual shipper or any other person responsible for the payment of the freight charges the right to observe all weighings of the shipment. You must advise the individual shipper, or any other person entitled to observe the weighings, where and when each weighing will occur. You must give the person who will observe the weighings a reasonable opportunity to be present to observe the weighings.
FMCSA regulation 375.515 (a shipper can demand a reweigh)
375.515 May an individual shipper waive his/her right to observe each weighing?
(a) If an individual shipper elects not to observe a weighing, the shipper is presumed to have waived that right.
(b) If an individual shipper elects not to observe a reweighing, the shipper must waive that right in writing. The individual shipper may send the waiver notification via fax transmission; e-mail; overnight courier; or certified mail, return receipt requested.
(c) Waiver of the right to observe a weighing or reweighing does not affect any other rights of the individual shipper under this part or otherwise.
Part 375 App A to Part 375 Your Rights and Responsibilities When you Move:
Your mover must have an arbitration program. There should be some type of arbitration program offered by the mover.
I would recommend contacting the FMCSA, if you are unable to get anywhere with this, you should proceed with filing a civil suit with the state you are currently residing in, especially since these laws are on your side.
So the moral of the story is to do plenty of research on the company you contract with to do your move. This can help you head off these types of problems before they start. If you do however run into a problem with an interstate household mover, you can file a complaint with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) at 1-888-368-7238 Monday – Friday (9am-7pm EST), you can also visit www.protectyourmove.gov .