Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Highway Robbery!

Having a little more distance between our moving company's successful attempt at robbing us on Sunday night, I think I am ready to share how this crime went down.

After blogging for nearly a year now, I have become quite the internet geek. Consequently, when it came time to find a cross-country mover, I did a google search, located a Moving Company search engine and was immediately contacted by 15 moving companies, all guaranteed to be licensed, insured, and reputable moving companies. After filling out enough forms to load a truck (!), I received 15 moving estimates and narrowed our selection down to two companies. I identified all of the inventory to be moved, size and shape of each item and methodically reviewed this process with both contacts more than a dozen times! Seriously! Dozens of emails were exchanged and a multitude of phone conversations ensued. I thought I had this covered; moving company was selected, estimate signed, deposit paid and a time secured (and guaranteed) for us to meet the moving truck on January 29th--9:00 a.m.

We arrived at the apartment at 8:45 a.m. Wouldn't it have been just too easy had the truck actually met us there at 9:00 a.m? That wouldn't have been interesting!

9:15 a.m. I phoned my contact at the Moving Company; she explained that she is just the sales contact, now that the move was in the system, she had no access to our account and tranferred me to the Dispatcher. He casually, and without concern, informed me that the truck would not be there until between Noon-2:00 p.m. Noon! (Deep Breath!) Hubby and I will just go have breakfast.

11:45 a.m. We're back at the apartment

1:30 p.m. Moving Company Dispatcher phones--drivers are delayed--they won't be at the apartment until between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. (Another deep breath). Hubby and I go see a movie, Freedom Writers. (This is a great movie! Worthy of more attention in another post)

3:45 p.m. We're back at the apartment

4:30 p.m. Moving Company Driver calls to say that they are still in the middle of a very large project and will not be at the apartment until between 8:00 and 9:00 p.m. (Deep breathes are no longer helping!)

After a quick trip to our hotel room to freshen up and watch some TV to ease our deep frustration, we grab a lite dinner and return to the apartment after Eli, the Driver, calls to announce--Good news...they would be there by 7:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m. Back at the apartment; we meet Eli and an unnamed cohort. Eli is equipped with pencil and another truckload of papers to review and sign before they will begin to load the furniture. While the unnamed cohort begins to move the ten boxes we had so dutifully packed, Eli began to match the inventory list with the actual furniture and items in the apartment. There were only 19 items blogging friends; including one queen size bed and one sectional. I had forgotten to mention 3 TV trays and 2 laundry baskets. Eli said, no problem, he would add them to the inventory list and began to recalculate.

7:45 p.m. Recalculate? It's three small TV trays and 2 plastic laundry baskets--I'll throw them out or go down the hallway and knock on a door and ask someone if they'd like them! To which Eli replied that we would need to recalculate anyway because while we had told them we had a queen size bed, it was thicker than they estimated and that both the bed and the sectional would have to be wrapped in plastic and taped for the move. Furthermore, Eli explained, the original estimate only indicated one piece to the sectional--we had two. Correct me please blogging friends, but isn't it generally understood that a sectional is more than one part????

8:00 p.m. Well, YAH! Of course there is more than one part to a sectional! And, YES, movers (with integrity) generally wrap mattresses and sofas when traveling across country! Shoot, when we last moved to our new home--these things were wrapped and a blanket hung over them for a six mile ride.

8:15 p.m. Adding two plastic laundry baskets and three TV trays, wrapping the mattress and 2 part-sectional, the estimate had been recalculated to nearly DOUBLE the original estimate. No dramatic-blogging-fodder here read that right--DOUBLE!

8:16 p.m. The words, Highway Robbery are first uttered.

After waiting all day, we were told, nearly 12 hours after their guaranteed arrival time, that the move would now cost double the original estimate. After some restrained dialogue (I was so proud of hubby!), it was decided we would try to call the management. But alas, it was 8:30 p.m., management was long gone. Options? What options did we have? Eli said we could simply not have them take our things and pay them for their time. (I'm not joking blogging friends--these words came out of his mouth.)

Here was the problem with Eli's option: we needed to have the apartment emptied by the end of the month and hubby and I each had early morning flights--hubby to Miami and me to Minneapolis. In the darkness of the evening, no Women's Shelters, Teen Challenge facilities, or Charitable Organizations were even open to call to see if they would like a donation of a small studio's worth of furniture! Geesh--for the cost of this move, we could have donated the furniture to a worthy cause, received a tax deduction, and felt really good about our donation. Options? No--we were being robbed, we were held hostage in the late evening hours with no workable options.

Keeping in mind that these two men would be handling our furniture from Orlando to Minneapolis, hubby and I eventually agreed to "bite the bullet" and get this move on the road. Eli agreed to reduce the unreasonable recalculation by $200 and gave us the number of Carla in Customer Service, so we could call her the next day. (We have tried to reach Carla numerous times the last two days--to no avail). Hubby and I sat outside in our rental car and waited the 1 1/2 hours it took for the crew to load our inventory. Not to worry though--our two plastic laundry baskets and three TV trays made it safely to the truck.

I have tried to break this outrageous fraudulent event into manageable (and interesting colors!) Sadly, there really is no way to make an unethical practice look pretty. It is--what it is: Highway Robbery! We were guaranteed that our furniture would be in Minnesota within 5 - 7 business days--same guarantee we had that based on our inventory the price would be $$ and the time of pick up would be 9:00 a.m. I'm not holding my breath.

While I am not holding my breath, we will be composing letters to the State of Florida's Attorney General, Orlando's Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau with a copy to GlobusVanLine Management. This newly tranformed computer geek will also be looking for a way to relate this hold-up online; so the next person who does a google search on GlobusVanLine will have the opportunity of options. Options that include that when a Company says it will do something, it does. When a Company agrees to move 19 pieces of inventory for an estimated price, the actual price will not increase by 100%. We are not stupid people, we know that there will be some increase cost with an estimate--10%, maybe 20% on the high end, necessary for those unexpected expenses (like a couple of plastic laundry baskets for crying out loud).

Before you feel like I am holding you hostage--with this lengthy post--I will get this post....on the road and hit the publish button! I'll keep you posted as to any resolve we may get....but in the meantime....don't hold your breath! I think we're in for a long ride!


Spookie the Warrior said...

Well that is just appalling and so disappointing. I think you handled the entire situation extremely well by going to breakfast, a movie and diner while waiting SO long for the truck to arrive.

Well done, you are a good role model for many of us to look to.

Sema said...

Oh man, what an ordeal! The nerve of that Eli guy! He should get fired or something! Well I hope your son's belongings get there in one piece.

Dawn said...

Good grief!! The next trauma is waiting for it to arrive in Minnesota and hope everything is there and okay. What a crock!! You're doing exactly what I would do - and would "enjoy" doing every piece of it until they get what's coming to them and you get some money back. GO DIANE!!

C. H. Green said...

rolls her eyes....that's crazy!

Morning Glory said...

Oh..My..Word!! That is astounding! I truly, truly hope your stuff arrives -- all of it. I'll be waiting to read the next part.