Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

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twalker
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Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby twalker » Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:10 am

The question often arises, "why shouldn't I accept an estimate that is based on cubic feet?", so I want to answer it as directly as possible.

Before I begin, it should be noted that intrastate moves (within the same state) may be estimated differently than interstate moves.

While it is true that estimates based on cubic feet may be legal if they are in the company's tariff, the problem then becomes that they are using a non-standard tariff so who knows what else can be in there unless you get a copy of it and have your attorney review it. (A tariff is the moving company's pricing structure). Another problem is that there's no 3rd party verification; consumers, by law, can demand to have their shipment re-weighed at no cost to them but they have no right to have it re-measured.

Other problems with estimates based on cubic feet are that it is easier to bump cubic feet by using excess packing materials (also adding to the cost) or by packing the truck poorly than it is to bump weight. Also, estimates based on cubic feet are a known red flag for scam moving companies. They've been using that method for years because it is so easy to increase the costs.

There's an example today in a post about a company in Brooklyn by "first_time_mover":
Excel picked up my items in their own truck and told me that my items took up 800 cubic feet on the truck. [After keeping them in storage for me], they used a contractor to deliver the items, and the items appeared to take up significantly less than 800 cubic feet on the contractor's truck. I asked him how much space the items took up, and he told me that according to his paperwork, 400 cubic feet. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5120

But the customer had already paid the company to move 800 cubic feet for him (not 400) at $3.10 per cubic foot. The company apparently doubled the cubic feet on the sly so it could charge him more.

Here's another post by "Moving disaster" illustrating the same kind of scam:
When [Amerigo] began packing they said that the truck would hold 2200 cu ft and that it would be close (est was 1800) so they would bring another truck in case there was extra. After my entire household was loaded (at 8:30 at night) I was told that the total would be 3000 cu ft!!! Without any options (since my entire household is sitting on their trucks), I paid. When we unloaded the boxes we found a significant number of "under packed" boxes (ex a full dish box with only spice bottles in it and a LOT of paper, wardrobe box with only 2 kids chairs and a globe...) I measured the 2200 cu ft truck. It was only 1880. I figure they over charged by at least 30% (I had two estimates, actual surveys). -
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3713

Also notice this "confession" about how to fake cubic foot measurements by someone who used to work for scammers:
whodat1b wrote: 3/7/08 - One reason some people work for scammers is because of the bonus - the unwritten bonus. Most of them will give you a 5-7% bonus for a price change. That money goes to you after the trip they tally up all of the trips they see how much you adjusted the price. You get the bonus!

The customer was thinking they were going to pay let's say 3,000 for the move. You get there and adjust the price, extra boxes they don't really need . . . it's a wrap. One mover keeps the customer in the house the other mover builds a wall half way up, Then brings in a mattress and box spring to hide the fact that the wall is not to the ceiling of the truck - hence more cubic feet has been used by the customer.

The mover charges them 3,800 dollars, 5-7% over a 30 day or so period can REALLY ADD UP. You may do a move every other day or so. To clear things up that's 5-7% of the overcharge. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 663#104663

I hope that helps answer the question.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

Don't Shoot
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Don't Shoot » Thu Jul 21, 2005 1:24 pm

Tim,

If I could just add one note; Cubic feet DOES play a part in INTERNATIONAL shipments by acting as a factor in determining the density of a shipment.

Density is how much weight is loaded into a particular container. The higher the density the better the cwt rate.

Thanks...

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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby MusicMom » Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:57 pm

The newest reason Cubic Foot estimates should be avoided, they are now illegal!

New legislation signed in July contains the following provisions (summarized by the American Moving & Storage Association, the full PDF format can be viewed on their website www.promover.org , or by clicking HERE)

State attorneys general (A.G.) can now help FMCSA enforce federal consumer protection laws, but their enforcement is limited to federal consumer protection regulations related to the interstate delivery and transportation of household goods, and any civil action is limited to federal court. State enforcement was also intended to be directed toward unlicensed movers and movers who have had a license (from FMCSA) for less than five years; however, the legislative language needs to be clarified through a technical amendment to ensure that intent.

In addition to enforcement by State A.G..s, a State authority (a State agency that has authority to regulate intrastate movers) can enforce federal consumer protection laws related to the interstate delivery and transportation of household goods and it appears civil action can be brought in State court.

PAYMENT AT DELIVERY
The legislation maintains current requirements to collect at delivery no more than 100% of a binding estimate or 110% of a non-binding estimate; however, it also authorizes the collection of charges at delivery for additional services requested by a customer after the contract for service is executed that were not included in the original estimate. This provision will trump current FMCSA regulations that do not permit collection of charges at delivery for customer-requested services not included in the original estimate.

The legislation also provides for carrier-imposed additional charges not in an original estimate but necessary to complete transportation (impractical operations) such as shuttles, to be collected at delivery as long as the charges do not exceed 15% of all other charges due at delivery... Any remaining charges (in excess of 110%; shuttles in excess of 15% of total charges) are to be paid by the customer within 30 days after a carrier presents its freight bill.

ESTIMATING REQUIREMENTS
Written estimates are required as they are today, but they must be based on physical surveys of the customers’ household goods if they are located within a 50-mile radius of the location of the agent that prepares the estimate.... A provision in the legislation authorizes a written waiver of a visual inspection if signed by a customer before a shipment is loaded.
The legislation also contains a new requirement that charges under a non-binding estimate must be based on the actual weight of a shipment, subject to a carrier’s lawful tariff...

...(There are no provisions for waiving the requirement that the charges for shipments moving under non-binding estimates must be based on actual weight.)

REQUIRED PUBLICATIONS TO BE GIVEN TO CONSUMERS
The Act requires that when a written estimate is given to a customer, the DOT pamphlet entitled "Ready to Move" must also be given to the customer. This brochure can be found on FMCSA's website at http://www.protectyourmove.gov/document ... 14x8.5.pdf. .... Also, before execution of a contract for service, the carrier must continue to give the customer the Your Rights and Responsibilities booklet.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!
BROKER REQUIREMENTS
The legislation provides that if a broker gives a customer an estimate before entering into an agreement with a carrier to provide transportation, the broker is liable for a civil penalty of not less than $10,000. A similar requirement is contained in the current FMCSA Consumer Protection Regulations. Also, brokers are required to provide a customer with their DOT broker permit number, the Rights & Responsibilities booklet, a list of all motor carriers providing transportation on behalf of the broker, and information that states that the broker is not a motor carrier. The latter requirements are to be established within one year of enactment, and since there is already an ongoing rulemaking on these issues, these new broker requirements may well be finalized within one year.

PENALTIES FOR HOLDING SHIPMENTS HOSTAGE
As indicated under estimating requirements, collecting no more than 110% of the original estimate at delivery is still a requirement (plus charges for shipper-requested services and shuttle capped at 15% of the total bill due at delivery). A mover cannot hold a shipment hostage while attempting to collect more than 110% of the original estimate. If a mover holds a shipment hostage for such payments, a civil penalty of $10,000 for each day the shipment is held can be assessed and a mover’s authority suspended for as long as three years. Also, criminal penalties can apply for holding a shipment hostage by falsifying documents or demanding payment for services not performed or not necessary. A fine and imprisonment up to two years can be incurred.

TOUGHER LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
The legislation includes more stringent registration (license) requirements. The legislation will require new household goods carrier applicants to provide evidence of participation in an arbitration program rather than just checking a box.

Also, the applicant must identify the tariff it will use and the notice of availability of the tariff for inspection. An applicant must also provide evidence that it has access to, has read, and is familiar with the Consumer Protection Regulations and limitations of liability requirements. Lastly, an applicant must disclose any relationship with other carriers involving common stock, common ownership, common management, etc. This last requirement should make it more difficult for rogue movers to change their name through the DOT application process when another entity they control is feeling the heat from enforcement actions.


Enforcement of these new rules will likely take many months. But it is important that all moving customers are aware that they have a slightly higher level of protection. The three most important points are:

:arrow: The new estimating procedures (most legitimate movers already estimate this way) requiring the signature on a waiver of a visual estimate before loading. This will be tricky, since many movers who already estimate via phone or email are located more than 50 miles from their prospective customers.

:arrow: Cubic Foot estimates for interstate moves are now banned.

:arrow: Penalties are now in place that will affect the foremen of the scam crews directly, putting them in jail for the crime they are committing, and the owners will pay a high financial price for holding the load.

During the next year, while these legislations get settled in, scammers will almost certainly devise new trick for getting around the system. Please keep your eyes, ears, and minds open to anything that makes you suspicious while considering a moving company. Please read this article for great tips on how to wade through the miriads of movers.
http://www.movingscam.com/news/findmover.shtml
As always, if a deal is too good to be true, it is.
Last edited by MusicMom on Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guest

Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:18 pm

I was told to avoid moving based upon weight because the movers can claim at a weigh station your items weighed more. While cubic feet u can watch them load the truck and see exactly how much space the truck takes. Also upon getting your estimates, you will know approx how many cu ft you have.

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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Diane » Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:34 pm

I'm afraid that you are talking with a scammer, because this is their standard line to try to mislead people.

Legitimate companies can ALSO tell you how many cubic feet you have, but they convert it to weight (usually by multiplying the cubic feet by 7 pounds per cubic foot) before giving you your estimate. When you actually move, the weight can be confirmed with official weight tickets.

In contrast, no one can confirm cubic feet measurements because it depends how the items are packed (some scammers do what's known as balloon packing using excess packing material), how the truck is loaded, what foot markings are used (some are purposely inaccurate), etc. etc. I guarantee you that you will not be allowed on the truck to measure what the company has done.

I know that on the surface of things, it sounds like it makes more sense to estimate by cubic feet, but because of the way the laws (tariffs) are written, you have absolutely no protection from fraud if you go with a cubic foot estimate. Please, re-read the two examples given at the end of Tim's original post on this thread to see what can happen to you.

guest

Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby guest » Thu Oct 13, 2005 9:35 am

Absolutely disagree with Diane.
With cubic feet I knew exactly how much my move cost me before the truck left my house with my stuff opposed to weight where you do not know exactly how much your move will cost until the truck goes through the weight station.
If I move again I would only use a company who goes by cubic feet.period.

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twalker
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby twalker » Thu Oct 13, 2005 10:38 am

guest (mette),

You can disagree if you like but it's obvious from your other post that you work for a moving company. Now we know you work for one who gives estimates based on cubic feet (and one in Florida at that)! Readers of this thread should ignore the previous guest's post as it is misleading.

Readers should also know that as of 8/2/2005 it is illegal to give interstate moving estimates that are based on cubic feet.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

MusicMom
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby MusicMom » Thu Oct 13, 2005 11:12 am

So, Mette, how d you measure the cubic feet? Is there tape on the floor of your rented truck? Do you have your hired day laborers climb in there with a yardstick and hold it up to the teetering piles of random height? Or do you just look in and say to yourself "OK, this customer looks like they can afford three times the estimate, I'll go with that"?

Guest

Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Guest » Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:48 pm

Hi All,

A dirty mover cheated me by extracting more than double of the initial estimate. I have a signed copy of the bill that he gave me at the time of delivery. I also have his estimate in an e-mail. is there any way, I can take action on this guy??? Please advise.... BTW he gave estimates based on cubic feet and that too is there in the estimate and bill. The move happened on Oct 13th 2005. Please advise....

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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Diane » Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:59 pm

See this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6214 What seems to be important is to have a Binding or Binding Not to Exceed estimate in writing--an estimate that was not honored.

MusicMom
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby MusicMom » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:35 am

Guest, you should contact the DOT's hotline (1-888-DOT-SAFT) to report this. The main reason is that (see above) moves between states billed by the Cubic Foot are illegal now, and the DOT may be looking for their fisrst few test cases.

CRAZYJO199

Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby CRAZYJO199 » Mon Oct 17, 2005 6:26 pm

I have a question... everyone on this site recommends using BroadwayExpress (http://www.broadwayexpress.net/) However their Estimates are in Cubic Feet... So should I not use them than??

-Josh

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twalker
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby twalker » Mon Oct 17, 2005 6:31 pm

Hi Josh,

Broadway Express actually estimates by linear feet, not cubic feet. They are a freight-forwarder, not a full-service moving company, and linear feet is the standard shipping method in that part of the shipping industry.

I hope that helps answer your question.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

MusicMom
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Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby MusicMom » Mon Oct 17, 2005 7:15 pm

Linear feet is the number of feet back from the front of the trailer your load takes. Cubic Feet is the general amount of space in a truck your load will take up. Since BE and the other freight forwarders make a lot of their money from the freight loads they fill the rest of the truck with, they are more careful about getting the household goods load packed tightly and in a straight line across the trailer. Cubic Feet movers make money from claiming your load takes up an arbitrary number of Cubic Feet, usually by loosely packing your load all over the truck and "eyeballing" the amount of space it takes up. They have no reason to try and pack tightly.

See question #11 on the ABF/BE FAQ sheet at the top of the message board.

Guest

Re: Why Cubic Feet Estimates Should Be Avoided

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:31 pm

Crazy,

the main thing to keep in mind is that you are doing the loading, so if you pack tight you will save if you pack loose you will pay more.

Unlike the scam movers who will purposely pack loose and charge you more.


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