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What To Do When A Move Goes Very, Very Wrong

in Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

Moving, even with the best most experienced mover, isn’t an exact science. Sometimes miscommunications happen and sometimes, accidents happen.

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Clearly, the best movers won’t have as many miscommunications and accidents as the *well* less respected movers, but the true test of a moving company is how they treat you after they collect your money, not before.

The beginning of the move should set up the entire experience. The crew leader should present you with some paperwork. Essentially, it’s a contract that allows them to move you. It might contain the estimate you’ve already received (always get an estimate beforehand, preferably in person, especially if you have a large home). It’s called an Order for Service.

If any of the movers are rude or disrespectful, call the company immediately. If the mover’s attitude doesn’t make a quick turnaround, ask that he be replaced. It’s possible that they might have to change that mover out with one on another job, so if it takes an hour or two, that’s okay. Just ask that that mover work outside instead of in front of you.

Odds are, you won’t find damages or misplaced items before a mover leaves your home. When you do find them, document them. Before turning to Yelp and other review sites, call the company. Most movers want their customers to be happy. While the odds are you don’t have full replacement value insurance through the mover (this is available through private companies and it’s highly recommended — discuss it with your consultant), good movers will try to help in any way they can. As when talking to anyone, though, remaining calm will typically get you the furthest.

If you feel you were overcharged, contact the operations manager. He or she will be able to go through each and every charge. You should have an exact start and finish time on local moves. On long distance moves, you should have a copy of the weight or the cubic footage of your shipment. Typically, extra charges come from unexpected packing. Compare the amount of packing that the movers did to the amount of packing they were contracted to do. Did you pack everything, including pictures on the walls, lamps and electronics? Your moving consultant should have spoken to you about each of those items, but the bottom line is, if an item isn’t furniture (and in rare cases if it is), it needs to be in a box to ensure that it’s well protected. Even your mattresses and box springs will need to be protected during a move. If you did all of that, then by all means, find out where the discrepancies are.

If your goods are delivered late, it’s usually due to circumstances not under the movers’ control. Usually. Ask for an explanation, and again, remain calm. Movers make money by freeing up their truck space as quickly as possible, so there’s no reason for a decent mover to keep your goods longer than they absolutely need to, unless…

If you’ve done all of this and discussed any problems with the company, all to no avail, it may be time to file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission, or the Federal Department of Transportation.

Featured image via Pixabay.

How To Deal With A Bad Move

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

It’s probably weird to see a moving company acknowledging the prospect of a bad move, but unfortunately, they happen. Despite the fact that we are the number one rated mover in Silicon Valley, we sometimes screw up. In fact one of the reasons we are rated so highly is that when we do screw up, we admit it and we take care of it.

Most moves get screwed up in one of four ways; either something is broken, delivery is late, movers are rude or the cost goes over the estimate. Of course, there are other ways, but those are the most common and the ones that even the best movers are sometimes guilty of.

If your move gets screwed up, the first thing you want to do is acknowledge it. I doubt there isn’t a business on the planet that hasn’t encountered a customer who seemed happy until they filed a report with the BBB or posted a negative review on Yelp. Heck, even I’ve done that. Sometimes it’s easier to express your feelings, unchallenged, in writing, than to confront someone, and sometimes movers are big and sound a little scary. Who can blame a person?

The truth is, though, that any good moving company wants the opportunity to make things right. They also want to correct potential bad habits before more customers are affected. The bottom line is, complain, but try to stay calm. Calm customers, of all businesses, tend to do better in negotiation than do irate customers.

If something is broken

Unfortunately, this might be the biggest sticking point between movers and customers. Most movers only cover your move by pound. In other words, your goods don’t even have a dollar value. There’s a good reason for that. A $5,000 dining room table is moved in much the same way as a $500 dining room table. Of course, good movers will take extra precautions with high value items, but the way the move is handled is not based on value. A college student moving from a dorm room deserves a quality move as much as their parents do. For that reason, most customers purchase extra moving insurance.

The best way to handle a damaged item is to contact the mover as soon as possible. They will want to know and they should offer you something, even if it is just $.60 per pound per item. Then, contact the insurance company. They will also contact the moving company.

Late delivery

This one is tough because sometimes there are things that are simply out of a mover’s control. The best advice is to be patient, but to acknowledge your specific inconveniences. If you are staying in a hotel room or if you are having to rent furniture, let the mover know. Depending on the circumstances, the mover might help defray or completely cover your out-of-pocket expenses. You can also ask for a small discount on your move.

Rude movers

First, remember that on moving day, emotions tend to run high. People are trying to deal with the movers, finish packing (if applicable) and often, deal with their kids. On top of that, complete strangers are occupying every corner of their homes. Who wouldn’t be cranky? Don’t put up with rude movers, but before you pick up the phone, ask yourself if you might be able to help rectify the situation on your own. Most movers have natural skills when it comes to relaxing tense situations, but sometimes, you catch someone on a bad day, or worse, you catch someone who should not be in any sort of customer service industry. Call the company immediately. Trust me, they will fix the problem, even if it means replacing the bad seed.

The cost went over the estimate

This is a tough one. An estimate, by definition, is just an estimate. The exception is if you receive a binding estimate. In which case, the cost should never go above unless you haven’t upheld your end of the bargain. The key is to make sure that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed before the move begins. Know exactly what you are expected to do. If you are supposed to pack everything, make sure everything, including pictures on the wall and mattresses are packed. Most people find it easier for the mover to do odd shaped items like that.

If you have upheld your end of the bargain, complain. Find out exactly why it went over. Perhaps there were unanticipated problems at the delivery address, like stairs or perhaps the elevator wasn’t available. Understand that reputable movers want to honor their estimates, even if circumstances are a bit different. However, when the move ends up being much larger or more complicated than originally planned, they do need to cover their own costs. This is a time to negotiate.

Unfortunately, the world is filled with bad movers. That’s why the industry has such a bad reputation, but the last thing you want to do is assume that your mover is just like all the bad guys if you were careful in choosing them. If you chose your mover simply based on price, there’s a good chance that they don’t care if you are happy in the end. If you did your due diligence and checked Yelp and the BBB, you probably have a good one and they will bend over backwards to make you happy.

 

 

 

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