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North American Van Lines

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North American Van Lines

Postby ophelia11 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:32 am

I spent extra money to go with the reputable company and am getting the same problem as with scam movers. They were 1 day late to pick up the shipment (the salesman told me the delivery pickup was a 4 day spread with my estimated weight being under 4000 lbs but he could change it to a 1 day spread and make the estimate 4100 lbs with a guaranteed not to exceed estimate.) Then they were a day late. Ok, I could deal with that. The big problem now is the delivery was a 3-10 day delivery spread meaning I should get it shipped latest by 8-8-05 (pickup was on 7-30). The stuff hasn't even left the warehouse and they're telling me the delivery can be anywhere from 8-11 through 8-16. They say (both the Allen and Coles people and the North American central office) that there is nothing they can do -- not enough drivers headed that way. I stated that it was a legal contract and the lady said that the delivery is not guaranteed. But it says it right there on the contract (except they actually have 8-10 which I didn't notice). Is this the van line's fault or the local moving company's fault. What can I do?
Also, they charge $150 for mattress packing but this did not happen as they were out of boxes!!! They didn't shrink wrap my furniture because they said my staircases were narrow and it would be difficult. I ok'ed this but now in the context of everything, I'm getting angrier and angrier.
ophelia11
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Nancy » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:42 am

There are service failures among all major van lines during the summer season. It's a very frustrating information for everyone involved. The best way to describe the failures is that it is similar to flying commercial airlines over the Christmas holidays --- and a blizzard hits one city. Flights are canceled across the country, and failures occur. The moving industry has far more demand than anyone can handle. There are many fluctuations to deliveries due to customer's escrow changes, weather delays (thunderstorms across the midwest), etc. The company should be offering you a hotel stay and reimbursement for meals. Keep in touch with the local agent and the corporate office. It is happening to a great deal of people, we have had postings here with delivery delays from Allied, United and Atlas. It's the busy summer season and failures occur.

Definitely dispute the packing charged but not performed. That should be deducted by your COD amount due at destination.

You've got six more days before the delivery spread expires, something can still happen. After the expiration of the delivery spread, the corporate office should approve a hotel expense.
Nancy
 
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Shannon » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:13 am

Scam movers would probably not even give you atlernate DL dates or reimburse you for you inconvience. As Nancy stated, I am sure that corporate office will pay for hotel/ dinner for each day it is late.

I'm sure they recongize the service faliure and will do their best to correct the situation. I know it's very frustrating, but hang in there!
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby ophelia11 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:58 am

Thanks for both your input.
I will try for the hotel and meal reimbursement as my back is starting to hurt from sleeping on the floor and I have no chairs and need to study for an important exam.
I do understand your point but I wish they are upfront about this in the beginning (i.e. extend the delivery spread to 18 days from the beginning). That way, I could have chosen to move things myself with UHaul at the end of the month when I would have had more help with the move. It also completely destroys planning on the part of the customer.
They should not include the specific delivery date spread on the contract either -- it makes it seem so official.
ophelia11
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Nancy » Thu Aug 04, 2005 12:24 pm

You won't get a hotel authorized until the 10th, after the load spread ends. No where in the contract does it state that dates are guaranteed, they are just "Agreed Upon". They will make every effort to meet your delivery. I can only advise that you be patient and encouraging during this time. It doesn't do any good to be agitated towards the people trying to help.
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby ophelia11 » Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:21 pm

Just for the record...
As far as the delivery spread being extended to 19 days from the agreed upon 10 days ... no one contacted me about that. I was the one that initiated multiple phone calls and discovered this. And as far as service failures ... this does not compare to the airlines. My goods are still sitting at the site of destination 9 days after I moved (1 day before the date of my agreed upon delivery date) without a driver assigned. As far as I know, there has been no blizzard or thunderstorm occurring for 9 days. If the moving companies can't handle the demand, then they shouldn't have an agreed upon delivery date at all. Because, after all, I did not agree upon 19 days. I would have moved with a UHaul or Ryder or simply sold my furniture if I had known that I would be camping on the floor for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, I am spending lots of money on duplicate items and furniture. The local agent is trying to help but unfortunately, the corporate North American office hasn't even returned her calls. She told me she left 3 messages!! So, will I even get my shipment in 19 days ... who knows? It seems as though there is no plan yet as to move my shipment since there is no driver assigned.
Can any other business in America get away with this kind of behavior? I don't think so. There is something seriously wrong with the entire moving industry in this country. And though this website is helpful, we, as citizens need to contact our local, state, and national governments to institute a change.
ophelia11
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Fred0844 » Sun Aug 07, 2005 8:50 am

Can any other business in America get away with this kind of behavior? I don't think so.

Actually quite a few do every day. How often is your doctor's appointment on schedule? How many new homes are finished on the first day of the schedule? How many airlines over book on the historical data that there are "always" some last minute cancellations. It might not be right but it occurs.
Fred0844
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Jody » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:33 am

I just wanted to let you know that I sympathisize. I'm having a similar experience right now - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5041. I share your frustration about the lack of accurate information to aid in planning once everything goes wrong. Best of luck! - Jody
Jody
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Tyrone » Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:15 pm

Fred, the difference is that service failures in other industries lack the massive negative impact on EVERY aspect of your daily life for weeks at a time. With the possible exception of medical malpractice, no other industry's routine service failures can cause your daily life to come to a nasty and screeching halt -- and then have the gall to tell you you should have expected it, it's no big deal, stop being unreasonable, happens all the time, etc., etc.
Dominus amotioni capitis e clunibus sum.
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Diane » Sun Aug 07, 2005 1:02 pm

I agree with Tyrone that the argument that similar service failures occur in other industries is weak.

The most common reason for these problems is that the moving industry doesn't have enough drivers, and those that are around don't want to accept highly discounted loads. Fewer and fewer people want to become drivers. The net pay isn't that high, even for owner-operators, let alone company drivers, and the work is very difficult. Demand is highly seasonal, and what are the drivers supposed to do for income during the slower months? The companies and van lines try to keep them busy, but with varying success.

It isn't like the income tax preparation industry, which is even MORE seasonal, but where extra people can be trained relatively easily to handle the simpler cases and those extra people can find work in other clerical jobs during the off season. Learning how to be a good driver is complex and requires highly specialized skills.

Given the fact that the situation in the industry isn't likely to change anytime soon, what I've started doing is telling people (privately) to prepare for a 21-day delivery spread during the summer if they're going with a full-service mover. In other words, they should act as if they were going camping for three weeks. They should take basic cooking utensils, small lamps, towels, sheets, etc. with them in their car or on the plane. They should plan on buying an air mattress or thick foam pad at destination that can be used for guests later on.

I've started telling people (privately) that if they think they couldn't cope with a 21-day delivery spread, then maybe they should consider renting a van or using ABF or BE instead.

I think what many people, including Jody and Ophelia, are most upset about isn't the actual service failure, but the fact that no one at the moving company leveled with them about the risks before they moved. But that's only to be expected. Let's face it, if a sales rep ended his presentation with, "By the way, prepare for a 21-day delivery spread and just be aware that no one will let you know what's happening along the way unless YOU call US," no one in his right mind would move with that company.

It's true that, unlike a scammer, the van lines provide restitution to customers in the form of compensation for hotel rooms and meals, but I think most people would prefer to be informed of the risks in advance so they could make their own decisions rather than getting compensation for service failures later on.

Another problem, as I see it, is that once a service failure occurs, the customer doesn't know where the responsibility lies as between the van line ("corporate") and the agent. The posts by Jody and Ophelia provide ample evidence of that.

Finally there is the cost factor. When I used to shop at Filene's Basement in Boston, I didn't mind accepting garments with small flaws because I was paying 25 cents on the dollar for them. But when I went upstairs to the regular Filene's and paid full price, I wanted the item to be absolutely flawless. I think much of the frustration people feel is that they paid a lot in the hope of getting a high-quality, stress-free move as opposed to paying less and having to do more work with a rental van or freight company. And yet they're still having a lot of stress.

Having said all that, I have to hand it to people in the industry like Nancy and Fred who have the guts to post here, trying to explain things and taking all the fallout flak on themselves.
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Fred0844 » Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:52 pm

Code: Select all
the difference is that service failures in other industries lack the massive negative impact on EVERY aspect of your daily life for weeks at a time.

Tell that to the number of customers I have in storage who have been faced with constant delays in the construction of their new home. I have seen delays 8 months to a year. The stress that causes, living in temporary surroundings, or worse with relatives.
Tell that to the number of vacation travellers who booked their Easter Vacation travel plans with a company called Jetsgo. When they arrived to leave, the plains were grounded, company bankrupt, even though they were taking reservations the night before. They didn't care about the travellers.
Diane is partially right. One of the main problems in the industry is lack of qualified drivers and as the consumers push for higher discounts more drivers will leave the industry. It is not just the moving industry but even the freight haulers are having trouble finding drivers. Where the industry is going is anyone's guess.
Most service failures occur outside the "power lanes" (NYC to LA) and with small shipments. I have had an overflow of one chair in my warehouse in Toronto for a shipment to Las Vegas. There just has not been a truck going that direction.
I have been late on one shipment by one day so far this year on my trucks, hopefully I will be able to maintain that record.
Fred0844
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Tyrone » Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:29 pm

But there are delay penalty clauses carved in stone for home construction delays. And they don't try to make the consumer feel that it is somehow their fault for failing to expect delays.

And if they do default on the time table you can SUE them and recover damges.... which you can NOT do with a moving company... come on Fred let's not pretend to be dumb here... you know full well that the moving industry is unique among all industries in the manner that the current laws favor the movers.
Dominus amotioni capitis e clunibus sum.
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Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby ophelia11 » Sun Aug 07, 2005 4:30 pm

Wow, Diane. Well put!! Many excellent points were made in your message.
I am a planner. I like to know what I'm getting. I don't mind paying a little extra to get better service. As you said Diane, if someone had told me to be prepared for 21 days and to buy a couple of extra pieces of furniture -- then I wouldn't be so upset. If they frankly told me: Look lady, you don't have a lot of stuff and it's kinda inconvenient for us so either be patient or go elsewhere -- then I wouldn't be so upset. I wouldn't feel so out of control. I would feel like I knew what I was up for.
I recently went to my mechanic in Massachusetts who is awesome. Incredibly knowledgable about his work and not a bullshitter. He'll tell you upfront that it might cost a lot or that it will take some time so don't keep on calling him to see if the work is done. I appreciate his honesty.
But again, when they quote me 3-10 days, make me sign a form to that effect, and all of a sudden, I'm hearing it is 19 days -- I am not a happy camper (literally!!)
Again with the planning piece, I'm studying for the medical boards and I took 2 backpacks full of notebooks anticipating the latest being 10 days. But now that that may be extended, I'm going to need some of my other books. Honesty would have helped me plan for that. I can't go to WalMArt and purchase that with my own handwritten notes. So, I'm trying to have the local agent locate that box but it is turning out to be difficult.
As for service failures in other industries -- a doctor's office is different in that often people will be booked for 1 problem and it turns out to be something completely different -- even a life threatening emergency. Or, someone may have 4 separate problems but are only booked for 1 issue based on what they tell the receptionist. Even so, some of these things can be anticipated by the doctor and a well trained staff and some can not. And when they can not, an apology and explanation for running behind is in order!
And as for the other service failures like construction projects -- that is not appropriate either.
ophelia11
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Fred0844 » Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:25 pm

And there are escape clauses built in to construction contracts also.
This is not a legal matter but a question of personal pain and suffering.
This is not just " SUE THE @##$%$@@#%". It is trying to inform that problems do arise that cause disruption to the customer. It happens in every business, the problem is in this industry is the effect is at the most deepest personal level. For the amount of tonnage that is hauled, late arrivals of shipments is a very small percentage. Then there are mechanisms built in with the majors to compensate for the additional casts incurred by the shipper.
Some of the problems are the fault of the carriers but things occur beyond our control that snowball down the line. I know that that is not the shipper's problem but when I blow an injector in the middle of Idaho on a Saturday and the "mechanic" cannot get the part till Wed. what am I supposed to do?
The customer is blaiming an agent for problems that they might not be able to control and telling the world "never use .....". I think that is unfair.
Your concept, Tyrone, that the moving industry is the only industry in the world with customer service problems is unrealistic.
Fred0844
 

Re: Avoid Allen and Coles -- North American agent

Postby Diane » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:27 pm

Tyrone isn't saying that, Fred. But I think what you have personally achieved is truly remarkable:
Fred0844 wrote:I have been late on one shipment by one day so far this year on my trucks, hopefully I will be able to maintain that record.

I just want to go on record as saying that I agree with Ophelia about certain things, but I don't think this particular NAVL agent should be avoided because of this one incident. In fact, I think we should change the topic heading because if it gets picked up by Google, it could give the wrong impression of this company--that it is bad.

When I book with a moving company, I do want to know as much as possible about what can happen. I don't want to be treated like a child or told not to worry my pretty little head about such-and-such. One thing I like about the Broadway Express moves is the transparency associated with them. As the reviews show, glitches can happen with THEM, too, but the company seems better able to cope because the whole move is under the control of one entity.

Moves with a full-service company are highly fragmented unless the company is self-hauling the load (which would actually make it more like a BE move). Once the booking/origin agent has done its thing, it is for all practical purposes out of the picture. The customer is handed off to the van line, which then has to try to find a driver and so on. Ruges has drawn attention to another problem:- the discount level.

I think what Ophelia is objecting to most is the feeling that she has been blindsided. If she had known that there could be a delay, she would have kept more of her medical books and notes out of the shipment. Not having those things could affect her career. She is in a profession known for attracting highly independent people with high expectations. Having someone else automatically extend her delivery window adds insult to injury.
Diane
 
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