How to get an accurate estimate and a great move

Our open community forum is for general moving related questions, comments, and useful information about local and interstate moves.
AIC

Postby AIC » Thu Mar 20, 2003 1:15 pm

I did provide accurate information.

It was the driver/agent who lied about (i) needing to perform umpteen additional services (both on- and off- tariff); and (ii) how much the additional services, even if required (and they were not) were going to cost. Century then proceeded to exploit the "additional services" loophole and demand hundreds of dollars from me in cash (on top of the "guaranteed" quote), while holding my goods hostage.

By the way, my shipment was already 9 days late, and the movers knew that I had incurred about $1000 in hotel bills. ("Delay claim," anyone?)

A couple months after I sued, Century was sued yet again. This time, a shipper had gotten a "guaranteed not to exceed" quote of $1685 from Century for his move from Illinois to California. After his goods were on the truck, Century informed him his cost was now $2609.

The owner of Century (the one who was going to give me a "big discount" on one week's worth of storage and delivery) is Robert Fleming, former AMSA Board of Directors member and "certified moving consultant."

Harry O'Brien
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:18 pm
Location: New York
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Postby Harry O'Brien » Thu Mar 20, 2003 2:39 pm

On the additional charges on your move what were they exactly and why do you consider them not legitimate. You mentioned that you had a shuttle that would be a legitimate charge. You make blanket statments about a company ,but dont give the real details. Lets hear the details and I'll tell you if it sounds to me that something wasnt on the level.

You mentioned that your shipment was 9 days late.
Did you file a delay claim ?
Mayflower will reimburst 100% of your motel bill and 50% of your meals for everyday they are late. Did you take advantage of this policy ?

Also, did you read the "estimate summary" before signing your order for service ?

it states verbatim :


A. For a binding estimate, only services and quantities shown on the binding estimate are included in this bound amount. Additional costs may result if items are added or additional services are performed.

In other words your estimate being a binding type was not subject to the 110% which you seem fond of quoting. In your case having a binding estimate the mover could only collect 100% of the estimate unless as you stated they required additional services at destination(such as in your case a shuttle). Provided that these were valid services that needed to be done the moving company that you used were right both lawfully and morally to charge you additionally.

You mentioned a shuttle was used at destintation in this thread earlier.
And I did not get the impression that you felt the service unnecessary only that there was a charge attached to it.

What are the charges that you term "upteam" and not valid?

As far as the individual you mentioned that sued the same company that you used :

It would be improper to notify the shipper of a revised cost on a binding estimate after it is loaded. Unless an addendum(which revises the cost of the binding estimate if the customer adds items to be moved or packed) is signed "before" loading the mover cannot charge one penny more then the estimate. If the circumstances with this customer is true and they had called Mayflower Transit directly the agency and driver would have to honor the orininal price of the binding estimate.
If this was the case the consumer would be right lawfully to refuse to pay anymore than the estimated cost.


The best way is to not have these kind of problems in the first place.

Provide accurate information and you will get an accurate estimate.

Garbage in - Garbage out ( provide incomplete information and your estimate will never be accurate)

AIC

Postby AIC » Thu Mar 20, 2003 3:00 pm

The details are contained in my federal lawsuit against Mayflower. It'll all come out at trial.

What Century did here is no different than what Advanced Moving, Majesty Moving, and all the other Florida "scam movers" did. The arguments that the South Florida movers made while stone-walling the customer and justifying their hostage-taking are the same as those used by the "majors" when they overcharge their customers. As Edward D says, a major van line affiliation just allows the wolf to hide in sheep's clothing.

Tyrone
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:18 pm

Safety in, safety out

Postby Tyrone » Thu Mar 20, 2003 3:03 pm

I prefer to say "Safely in, safely out" (move it yourself and there is no chance of being held hostage for thousands in cash).

Mr. O'Brien, any argument predicated upon blaming the victim is simply invalid. The very nature of the crime is such that if it were preventable based on the preparedness of a reasonable person, then the crime would not work. So obviously, the scam is one that inherently cannot be defended against by a reasonable person.

A previous poster made the following analogy: based on your logic, the 9/11 hijacked plane passengers deserved their fate. All they had to do was research for a flight that did not have any alQaeda members on board.

Hopefully you realize the absurdity of your reasoning.

edward d
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:42 pm

Postby edward d » Thu Mar 20, 2003 3:16 pm

Hello...

I believe that our friend Harry is very genuine in his posts and the basic tennant he speaks to is very valid. The best estimate is going to come from the most complete information. The key information that I believe this site is trying to promote is that the mover is supposed to be the professional. The sales person should have a complete list of appropriate questions to ask so that all the pertinent information is factored into the original quote. The consumer is most often inexperienced and naive. The consumer should be able to trust the mover to do all the right work up front. That is what defines a professional estimator and a professional moving company.

What Harry and I both know, is that there are also professional customers. These customers will leave out very important details, will misrepresent furniture that is going, they won't pack everything they are supposed to, etc. But that is the risk we take being in this business. We must protect ourselves and take the risk of moving that customer or walking away using our experience as a guide that things just don't "feel right" about a certain move.

The goal as I know Mr. Walker has said, is to make this site obselete by having the proper protections in place so the consumer is not at risk. The AMSA is actively pursuing funding for AMPAC - this is the political arm of AMSA - so they can fight the legislation proposed by Rep. Petri. Even as a member of AMSA, I cannot in good faith contribute to this cause. The legislation is necessary to protect the consumer. The wording may need to be modified to maintain some decency in the levels of liability but there definitely needs to be a new law.

If we keep the lines of communication open we just may yet make these changes a reality.

AIC

Postby AIC » Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:08 pm

Well-said.

I'm all for universal niceness and honesty and smilin' on your brother. But if all people were honest, there would be no need for laws. And even though I'm sure "we're all the honest ones" here, that is no justification for exempting oneself from the rules as one sees fit. AMSA, in declaring that there is no cap on the final charges a customer must pay at destination on a so-called "guaranteed not to exceed" quote, is exempting itself from the rules (not to mention common sense). But I guess as long as the Carmack Amendment protects a moving company from paying any real penalty for this kind of deceptive and misleading practice, then AMSA will continue to claim that this practice is not just legal, it's appropriate.

People can follow Harry's advice all they want, but in the end, with the current lack of meaningful laws and the lack of enforcement of even the weak laws currently in place, anyone hiring a moving company -- any moving company -- is playing Russian Roulette.

The way for Tim W's goal to be reached is for the Carmack Amendment to be changed to allow for state enforcement authority. If AMSA has its way, Rep. Petri's bill will be completely gutted. Nothing will change, and if we're lucky, maybe in several more years there will be another Florida-style bust (after thousands more people get their lives destroyed).

Harry O'Brien
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:18 pm
Location: New York
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Re: Safety in, safety out

Postby Harry O'Brien » Thu Mar 20, 2003 4:09 pm

Tyrone wrote:I prefer to say "Safely in, safely out" (move it yourself and there is no chance of being held hostage for thousands in cash).

Mr. O'Brien, any argument predicated upon blaming the victim is simply invalid. The very nature of the crime is such that if it were preventable based on the preparedness of a reasonable person, then the crime would not work. So obviously, the scam is one that inherently cannot be defended against by a reasonable person.

A previous poster made the following analogy: based on your logic, the 9/11 hijacked plane passengers deserved their fate. All they had to do was research for a flight that did not have any alQaeda members on board.

Hopefully you realize the absurdity of your reasoning.


I am not blaming the victim. I am simply trying to shoe others how not to be a victim.

If someone who is moving follows my advice their estimate will be very close to their actual charges.

The 9/11 analogy is not valid because their was nothing that anyone could have done as a passenger to find out about every passenger.
Unlike with moving where I have outlined measures that can be followed to make your estimate more accurate.

If you move again Tyrone follow these guidelines.

If you give inaccurate information to the moving company you recieve your estimate from you will of course get an inaccurate estimate.

Everybody thats looking at this thread that is moving follow my advice.
I posted it to help consumers better understand how not to have an expiriances like some of the posters on this board.

"Do not be a victim of your own stupidity , do your homework "

Garbage in = Garbage out its that simple

Tyrone
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:18 pm

Postby Tyrone » Thu Mar 20, 2003 5:05 pm

Yuo are completely missing the point. The whole reason why the scam works is because is it completely undetectable until it is too late, even when someone "has done their homework" as you put it.

Why won't you admit that someone could follow every single one of your guidelines and still get scammed. That is the basic point here and the only one that really matters.

Attempting, in any way, to shift the onus onto the victim is but a smokescreen tactic commonly employed by the scammers.

And my 9/11 analogy still stands. Just as there was no reasonable reason for the passengers to have suspected that there would be an incident of that nature, there was also no reason for the average moving victim to have suspected the total ambush with which she was hit by the scammers.

Why are you having difficulty understanding: if the criminal intent of the perpetrators is detectable in advance, then the scam does not work!!! In many if not most cases, the victims provided accurate estimates, checked bbb records, closely read web sites, obtained references, received numerous contractual protections, demanded weight ticket veifications, asked intelligent questions and received responses of reassurance and guarantees, ALL IN WRITING, all of which were total fabrications and forgeries, or were summarily ignored once posession of the household goods was obtained.

Analysis of warning signs after the fact is a no-brainer. But the harsh realty, which you refuse to admit, is that there is simply no way to determine if any given moving company driver will scam you or not, until it is too late. As long as scam tactics continue to evolve, while laws remain impotent, the problem will not stop.

Harry O'Brien
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 5:18 pm
Location: New York
Contact:

Postby Harry O'Brien » Thu Mar 20, 2003 5:51 pm

Tyrone said"Analysis of warning signs after the fact is a no-brainer. But the harsh realty, which you refuse to admit, is that there is simply no way to determine if any given moving company driver will scam you or not, until it is too late. " <---Yes you can Tyrone follow my steps and you will protect yourself.

If my steps are followed you will avoid the problems I am guessing that Tyrone encountered personally.

It is not 20/20 hindsite the steps that I outlined will work if used with any of the major van line agencys and can be used before the consumer has his furniture loaded.

Tyrone the evolving scam tactics that you speak of are those of the fly by night criminal movers, not the major 5 Van lines.

I am trying to help consumers by passing along this wisdom I know that they will greatly benefit.

AIC

Postby AIC » Thu Mar 20, 2003 6:57 pm

Harry: Is it your position that the major van lines never engage in low-balling, bait-and-switch, and hostage-taking? Is it your position that, in every instance where a major van line is used, should a customer's bill come in higher than expected, the customer must have either overlooked something or purposely tried to cheat the moving company?

If it is, then you will have no more credibility with anyone here, even if your intentions are good.

edward d
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:42 pm

Postby edward d » Thu Mar 20, 2003 9:03 pm

Hello again...

I believe that Harry has good intentions for the most part. He relates the basic tennants of getting a good move fairly well. Bu ti believe he is missing the main point of this site.

The professionals are supposed to be the sales personnel and the movers supported by management that is working to bring a harmony between being profitable while providing an excellent customer service. When an estimate is being given, it should be the responsibility of the sales person to ask the pertinent questions. The consumer should not have to think into the future. He should be guided there by his sales person every step of the way. Consumers have a right to be at least a bit naive and still be treated with dignity and respect.

In the industry we do encounter the "professional customer". But they are by far the exception relative to the number of predatroial movers that consumers are faced with. Not to mention, a professional sales person should have the savvy to smell that customer out and wish them luck with another mover. My personal experience tells me that when one of my sales staff walks in and tells me certain key experiences on an estimate that we can afford to let someone else move a certain person.

The goal that Mr. Walker spoke of is admirable. To not need this site because the consumer has the rights and protections it needs from the predatorial mover - sounds nice doesn't it? The responsibility should go to the industry to self-police and to support appropriate legislation that will make a difference to the consumer. I know that the AMSA is soliciting funds to support AMPAC - the political arm of AMSA. These funds are to be used to defeat the legislation proposed by Rep. Petri. I can not in good faith support this request. The funds should be going to a combination of consumer lawyers and facilitating the meeting of minds to create legislation that truly supports the consumer without totally stripping the rights of the carriers completely. There must be some limits on liability without totally cutting off a consumer from recouping losses on a legititmate claim. And once a compromise plan is reached and written...the AMSA should fund it's passing, not try to bury it in filibuster and bribe money.

OK....I'll stop for now. We need to maintain this dialogue and I believe we will all make a difference sooner rather than later.

edward d
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:42 pm

Postby edward d » Thu Mar 20, 2003 9:10 pm

oops...I thought my last post did not make it because of the fatal error message. Please excuse my long winded redundancy. Edward D.

edward d
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 1:42 pm

Postby edward d » Thu Mar 20, 2003 9:22 pm

Sorry, I just encountered the turn this discussion took. AIC and Tyrone have a good point. Harrys suggestion that using a major carrier is "safer" is very overstated. And also, a side-step from the main issue which Harry and the AMSA elite would like you to accept. Simply put, yes you can follow the guidelines suggested by Harry to the T and still get ripped off. Why?

NO CONSUMER RECOURSE and every mover knows it....movers are hiding behind antiquated legislation with no relevance in todays market. There must be a happy medium. Movers are already facing soaring insurance premiums and increasing movers liability without some control will put most of us under the table. But at the same time, the scam movers are undermining the COD moving business and killing us from the other side. A lot more cooperation and a lot less hiding behind sanctity is the rule of the day.

Butinski

Postby Butinski » Sat Mar 22, 2003 7:58 pm

Give it up Harry. Some of the people on this board do not accept the concept of personal responcibility. They want the goverment to make everything idiot proof.
Tim is trying to do something good here. Some times his followers can not see past the party line.

Tyrone. You quoted that moron Robbed?? Come on. We really expected better of you then that.

Guest

Postby Guest » Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:32 pm

"Tim is trying to do something good here. Some times his followers can not see past the party line."

Wow, talk about buttering up the host while slamming him at the same time! Not unusual though -- we've all seen movers who talk out of both sides of their mouths.


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