In Tears, Vulnerable, And Victimized By Her Movers
The other day I witnessed the underhanded and deceitful way in which the traditional moving industry operates. Read on.
A woman hired who she thought was a moving company to complete the mover of her 900 sq. ft. home from Southern NY to Northern FL. In actuality, she had reached and was contracting with a moving broker. There is a big difference, a broker will take the money from you and then contract out your work to a company that will ultimately pick up and deliver your items, maybe. That delivery company may also contract out to the final delivery company. So back to the woman in this story. She contracts with this broker who informs her that the cost of the move will be $3,000. Thinking that this sounds fair she goes into contract. Like most she doesn’t read the fine print of the contract, this is exactly what the industry plans on.
The day of the move comes, the company moving the items shows up and tells her that it will be an additional $3,000 dollars because she has more cubic square feet than initially anticipated. These are professionals how did they undercalculate by so much? This begins the hostage negotiations that the traditional moving industry has perfected. She agrees, what other option does she have. She sold her house, she has to get her belongings out, and she herself is leaving in her car that same day.
She gets to her destination in Florida ahead of the movers and anticipates they will be there in the seven to ten days verbally promised by the broker. Verbally is the keyword, go back to the fine print in the contract. By the way the broker will tell you each time you call to read that contract you just quickly scanned.
Ten days come and go, still no belongings. She invests in a few more items needed and hopes to see her items soon. Soon means different things to different people but I would venture to say that the average person would think soon means a couple of days. After another week goes by, and despite several calls to the broker, they have not called her back. She is now worried. By the way, the broker has been paid, that was the initial $3,000, he has no reason to rush and call her back, he is too busy swindling another unexpecting victim.
Forced into extreme measures the woman calls the DOT and informs the broker she has done so, this begins the actual movement of her belongings. The broker who she has tried to contact for days, immediately calls her to let her know that her belongings, still in NJ, will be there the next day.
Excited with anticipation she awaits her delivery.
The company that the broker outsourced the move to, shows up late in the afternoon with a 26' foot truck. To her surprise they demand the final payment of $3,000 before they lift one item off the truck. She refuses because she simply wants to ensure all her items are there prior to the final payment. By the way, her items take up only about 65% of the truck, the other 35% belong to someone else (for over a total of $6,000 she did not have a dedicated 26' foot truck). This back and forth between the woman and the mover goes on for some time, with the owner of the actual trucking company telling her that if there are missing or broken items she can file a claim. I am not sure about you but at this point, I would have very little faith that I would have any luck with a claim of any sort. While the contract states the payment is due upon delivery, what this really means is payment when the truck arrives. You don’t get to ensure that the items being delivered are yours, that they are all there, and that they have arrived unscathed.
To add insult to injury the movers tell her that they will put her items in her garage, on the lawn, or in her living room but they will not put the various items in the rooms (bed in the bedroom, couch in the living room, dining room table in the dining room, etc.). Though the broker told her the bed would be put together, the movers say no. Now the woman is in tears, vulnerable, and victimized by the entire process. However, mustering the strength she has left she tells them she will not pay until she can confirm all her items are there.
The truckers leave. Now the threatening calls from the broker start, they are yelling at her and telling her she will now have to pay additional fees for the delay, and that they are going to call the police on her (she should have given them the number to the police).
Waking up the next day she decides that she just needs to get her items. Forced into submission just at the moving company expects.
Unfortunately, this story is not atypical.
What can you do? Start by reading the contract carefully, every word matters, and then ask a lot of questions to the person you are contracting with, such as:
- Are you a broker or the actual mover?
- Who is the mover? Can you have the mover's contact information?
- What is the final cost? Will there be additional fees on top of this? (Have them put all final numbers in the contract)
- When will the items be delivered? (Have them put the actual delivery window in the contract)
- What recourse do you have if the delivery is late? (i.e. do you get a discount)
- Will your items be stored in a warehouse(s) and for how long? Your items may be moved to multiple warehouses make sure you know how many, this is where items are lost, stolen, or broken.
- When will your final payment be due? (Have them put this in the contract)
- Will you get to inspect your items before the final payment is made? (Have them put this in the contract)
- What happens if items are missing or damaged? (Have them put this in the contract)
I can guarantee you that the broker will never put any of those above items in the contract.
However, you have do have an option, Rented Truck Driver. We can check all the boxes and answer any questions you have. Your items go on the truck you rented, they will never be offloaded or combined with someone else’s items. The final number is on the contract. The contract is straightforward and doesn’t contain legalese meant to confuse and deceive you. All costs are clearly itemized on your contract, and we will talk you through each one. You will have contact with your driver prior to your move date. Once the driver has your items, he will have daily contact with you to let you know where he is at. Our delivery window is exact, not days and weeks.