Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Movers.

I've mentioned before that Fancypants University is paying for all of our moving expenses. They've hired a pricey moving company. Let's call them Shady United. This company refuses to give me anything in writing. Most conversations go something like this:

"Hi, this is Vavoom. I'd like to confirm my pick up date."

"Yes, Vavoom, hi. We're coming the 28th."
"Okay, could you send me an e-mail confirming that date? I'd like something in writing."

"Well, just remember it's the 28th. We're very busy here. Besides, when the movers come and when your things arrive, think to yourself, 'It is what it is.'"

"I'm not one to live by 'it is what it is.' I need written confirmation."

"Oops, I've gotta go. Remember, the 28th." Click.

I've had this conversation four times with the same person. The first time, he said they're coming on the 28th. The second time, the 29th. Third time, 28th. This morning, he told me that they're coming on the 29th. I've sent him stern e-mails asking for a firm date in writing. I've asked to speak to his supervisor both by phone and in writing. No response. Given that plans are being made around the date he specifies, this has become a royal pain in the arse.

I have a friend that has used this company in the past. "Whoa, you're being moved by Shady United? Man, they lost my couch, my tools and they put a huge gash in my bed. My stuff arrived two weeks late. What a nightmare."

I've never moved across country and I'm asking you, my blogmates, for whatever advice you might have in dealing with moving companies. What safeguards would you put in place? Have you had experience with moving companies? How'd it go?


Blogger Fred said...

Here are a few things The Missus and I learned moving a few times:

1. Take pictures of everything on the digital. That way, if you have a claim, you can prove the before and after. When you get to your destination, you can erase the pictures.

2. Pack your own valuables. Bring those that are small enough to carry.

3. Take your important papers with you.

4. Make sure you have enough clothes to last until they arrive. Build in a buffer.

5. Check the liability insurance that your mover carries. It's important they have the proper coverage that will pay a claim, if need be. If they don't pay, will Fancypants?

6. Watch the movers pack! They tend to try and cramp too much into a box.

Sorry for being long-winded. Hope this helps.

3:09 PM  
Blogger FantasticAlice said...

Hmmm... I doubt that guy's stuff was "lost" those items are very easily sold to lots and lots of people.

I always got my boyfriend to move my stuff.

I would certainly say that Fred has some excellent points.

May the force be with you and good luck, that's the best I can do for you.... sorry.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Li said...

Wow, this guy you're liaising with sounds good. To get out of direct requests to both, set a date, and speak to a supervisor, he must be good. It take carefully crafted bullshit to achieve such a feat.

I see him as a Hannibal Lector figure who probably has your psychology sewn up. He probably even knows where you live.

I'd move if I were you.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

Don't take it personally, but I am so glad I don't have to this. Good luck V.

9:05 PM  
Blogger A Fashionista said...

Oh Vavoom, yuh shoulda let them pack for you. You need all your valuables documented and catalogued b/c when my friends moved across the country the company lost 4 boxes of valuables and thousand dollars plus worth of stuff was never replaced. They just said more or less well it's your word against ours etc. You need each box numbered and valued. You should have your valuables insured for sure. But ask them what their policy is should a box go missing.
You should catalogue your stuff yourself too. Box one. Plates. Box two CD's a-f etc. Very precise.
Make them answer your questions or threaten to report them to the BBB.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

Fred: Thanks for the great suggestions. All of them are gems.

Alice: Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. A sofa and some tools are easy to sell.

Li: Welcome to Tedrow Drive. Well, the guy does have a spooky voice and he did mention something about fava beans.

Moose: Thanks for the kind thoughts. We'll make it through this -- I hope.

Val: I hear ya. Fancypants University would not pay for the move if I stipulated that the movers pack. It's complicated... I had no choice. I had to pack. It sucks. Indeed, I will start a detailed inventory. You're right -- I think that's the only way I'll get all of my stuff back.

10:15 PM  
Blogger Merry Stitcher said...

V - THC and I echo Fred's suggestions. All good. We used Atlas, they were great!

One thing to add. We became "best buds" with our truck driver. We offered him lunch, lemonade, whatever...to make him happy while he loaded all our precious belongings, including the beloved THCmobile! Once we arrived in the Golden State, we were most accommodating...again, more lunch and lemonade.

Driver Dan is definitely your friend! Make it so, Vavoom!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

If you're worried about the movers "disturbing" the contents of your boxes, Write something completely across the packing tape and on to the box. It won't stop them from doing it, but at least you'll know which boxes have been disturbed, and what the contents were.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I'd go down to Shady Movers and stare them down until they gave me something in writing, but that's just me.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Jimbobb2 said...

I've made major moves a number of times. Texas to Boston, Las Vegas to Savannah, Boston to Atlanta. Each time with a "Reputable Major Mover". I added new words to my vocabulary with each experience...embezzler, grafter, abductor, hijacker, looter, plunderer, ransacker, bandit, highwayman, pirate, thief. You get the idea. Every time I have been guaranteed "no hidden charges". Every time I have watched the truck pull in (late) and the driver demand (x) amount of cash dollars to unload because of ("excuse", "reason", you fill it in, they have a million of them). You have few if any rights, almost no system for complaint resolution and if you aren't willing to pay right then, they can literally hijack your stuff and hold it hostage in a warehouse (charging you for storage) as you try to sort it all out. Google around to read some complaints and hints on what to avoid. If your apartment is in inner Boston, be prepared for extra delivery charges as they unload from the big truck to smaller trucks for delivery on the narrow streets, if you're upstairs, more charges will apply for each floor up...inclement weather? More charges. All due in cash, on demand and all "legal", all at the driver's discretion. Good luck.

6:50 AM  
Blogger thc said...

Vavoom: We've only made one cross-country move with professional movers, but the experience was better than could have been expected.

Everone from the packers to the carpenter (who crated up all of our glass tabletops) to the driver--everyone was courteous and conscientious.

Our driver arrived a day early and only 30 minutes behind us. A 2,000 mile move and only a chipped piece of plastic on the base of an old TV. Not bad.

8:52 AM  
Blogger GSR said...

I've done 2 big moves and neither was without problems. Best bet is to plan that there will be problems, damage and losses....at least then, you'll have no surprises...Good Luck, I'll be pulling for you and your household goods!!

10:21 AM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

People like that on the phone really do a good job of instilling confidence. Any other moving companies available? Did you pre-pay anything? Definitely detail what you have in the boxes and take photos. Also, consider numbering each box and take a notepad and write down that the dishes (detailed) are in box 1 and have digital photos. Evidence is good.

Moving is scary enough but to have someone sound that slimy on the phone... makes me want to cover my butt.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Rattie said...

I decided to sell or give away my stuff and whatever I couldn't part with I shipped via Greyhound. The moving companies I tried to deal with were pains in my butt!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous NMUFNPhD said...

I am also having a great moving experience. The movers told us that if we loaded when we wanted to(early enough to add a side trip to a move) that the stuff would get before we had the apartment keys on the first. So we have them load later and hurry over to our new location. Call them on the first delivery day. They say they have no eta and would call when they did. Called on the day they said was what we suggested as our ideal delivery date(No idea where this came from). Agent is not in but dispatch finds that our stuff has not even left the origin location. Also we had no driver even assigned. So 2 more days I call and get through to find out that we now have a driver assigned to take the stuff next Monday which means it might make it here next weds or thurs. Making it a week after its stated delivery date. All told we will be living in a hotel for like 2 weeks and sick of eating out for a while. I am interested to see how much of the stuff is missing after sitting in a warehouse for a week and a half.

7:23 PM  

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