Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

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Cate1

Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Cate1 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:00 pm

Dear Moving-Scam Community:

My husband and I are moving from the DC area to Los Angeles. I've been reading your posts, and I, like many here, started researching movers on the internet, not knowing the pitfalls. One I spoke to - 'Smooth Move' in Jessup, MD - suggested I look at this website. That made me feel better, until I saw that some of you said that this is a tactic and they are probably not to be trusted. (I should have been suspicious just by their name!)

Then I checked into ABF U-Pack movers. Since my husband and I don't seem to have a whole lot of stuff, we think we can manage this method of shipping, plus your community seems to be comfortable with this organization.

Here's my question though: I just made my reservation, and they wanted a credit card to secure the reservation. I asked when they would charge my card. They said that they would charge my card "in transit". It seems to me like they should charge the card after our belongings have arrived.

Does this sound weird to anyone? I would have felt more comfortable if they'd have said that they charge half "in transit" and the other half when our belongings arrive safely.

Thank you for your advice,
Cate

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twalker
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby twalker » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:06 pm

Cate1,

It's not unusual for a company to charge your credit card prior to delivery. It's one of those quirks in the industry - if you pay with cash, you don't pay until they show up, but if you pay with a credit card they charge it in advance. I never really did understand that since they can simply place a 'hold' on a certain amount without actually charging your card. When is ABF dropping off the trailer?

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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby consumer advocate » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:12 pm

Cate,

Glad you avoided being scammed by Smooth Move. One of our volunteers here, Diane, actually used ABF and she can tell you about her experience with them. I expect she'll post something soon.

Diane
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Diane » Tue Mar 30, 2004 8:07 pm

Cate,

I've posted in excruciating detail about my own move both here and on www.epinions.com, so I won't annoy anyone by repeating all that. I assume that you've looked at the dozens of reviews of ABF on Epinions.

With regard to the credit card charges, my understanding is that the major van lines also charge the card before delivery, and even before the goods are actually loaded, I believe. One of the "moverguys" posting here (Nancy?) explained once that it could be very embarrassing for all concerned if the shipper didn't have enough "credit" on the card to pay for the move and the goods were already on the truck. Maybe one of the moverguys will jump in here to explain further. I agree with you--it seems weird--but ABF's parent company has been in business since around 1920, I believe, and I really don't think you have anything to worry about.

Are you set on ABF? Their trucks are smaller than the ones used by Broadway Express, which is better for tight access in congested areas (check out today's post by Seth), and they have more trucks than BE. However, BE's trucks are air-ride, equipment such as a ramp, dollies and moving blankets is provided, and the driver will help you load for a small fee or tip. You might get a quote from them as well, just for comparison. Hope this helps.

Cate1

Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Cate1 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:34 pm

Thank you, Diane for your information. I did read your post about ABF, both here and on epionions. I checked out Broadway Express, and since I live in downtown Washington, DC - I am concerned about finding space for a huge truck. I actually saw one of ABF's in my neighborhood today, it looks smaller than the average tractor trailer.

BE's online quote was less expensive - $1430 for 10 linear feet, vs. around $1650 from ABF for only 7. Plus, like you say, the ramp is extra for $75 on both ends. Plus no help from the driver. I'm a bit worried about figuring out the bulkhead, but maybe he'll explain it to me.

I've made the reservation for the trailer to be dropped off on Monday, April 12th, and they say it'll stay there until Wednesday the 14th.

I'll let you all know how it went!

Thank you for your help.

Cate

Diane
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Diane » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:56 pm

Cate,

The ABF driver at origin helped me (and the guys I had helping me) put up the bulkhead, and the driver at destination helped me (and the guys I had helping me) take it down. They are motivated to help with this because otherwise they can't get the show on the road, so I don't think you'll have much of a problem. They will also help you set up the ramp, which is very heavy. Just act helpless . . . you know the deal! The drivers are extremely nice.

Read as many reviews as you can on Epinions, because many give very useful loading tips.

Several people have said that there is a $50 off coupon for ABF in the US Postal Service change of address packet.

They charged me $75 for the ramp only at origin, not at destination. It may have been a mistake, and I confess that I didn't bring it to their attention!

Several people have said that ABF will match competitors' prices. Although it's a bit late, you might give it a try, using BE for comparison.

If the trailer they send is dirty or if there's anything else wrong with it, call the terminal right away and ask them to send another one. The trailer should look clean inside.

Be sure you can park the trailer legally for the two days.

Although the ABF trailers are half the length of BE's, you'll be surprised at how huge they seem inside. Picture being in a room with a 9-foot ceiling and having to fill it to the top to minimize your cost. How are you going to fill that last foot of space near the roof? It's virtually essential to have a stepladder available to increase your density.

Be careful of abrasion of your furniture against the sides of the trailer. Use moving pads liberally. There is a LOT of jouncing up and down. Ask the driver who delivers the trailer for loading tips and what kind of damage (if any) he has seen from improper loading.

Good luck, and let me know if I can help you further.

IMovePeople

Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby IMovePeople » Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:13 am

I cannot speak for all movers, only the two that I have worked for in the past on the credit card issue. Both companies put a "hold" on the credit card for the amount of the estimate, or the amount of the estimate plus 10% - moving lingo - but since you're moving with ABF that part doesn't matter. This is done for exactly the reason that Diane (I think) explained - if we find out at delivery that there is not sufficient credit available - then certified funds or cash are required. You are in a brand new town and may not have yet established a banking relationship - it may be difficult for you to pay us in cash or certified funds without that banking relationship. We put the hold on but don't actually charge until delivery. O.K. - but once again - we are REPUTABLE companies, and I cannot speak for all movers.

I do wish you success with your self-move.

Diane
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Diane » Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:21 am

IMovePeople wrote: Both companies put a "hold" on the credit card for the amount of the estimate, or the amount of the estimate plus 10% - moving lingo - but since you're moving with ABF that part doesn't matter.

Welcome to the messageboard, IMP. I was just curious about the above statement. Are you implying that ABF would never charge the customer 110% of the estimate--that it would always hold to its original quote? Because some people posting here feel that there is SOME risk of additional charges (and even hostage freight) with the freight forwarders as well. I don't think I agree, but would like to hear your views.

WestCoastBound
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby WestCoastBound » Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:41 am

Hey Cate1,

I'm looking at an identical situation to yours (downtown DC - Logan Circle) to LA. Very, very surprised to read that you'll be getting a trailer delivered and left in the district. Are you sure that it's okay with the city? Did you have to get a permit from the police/local authorities? Please let me know!

Thanks,
WestCoastBound

Diane
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Diane » Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:48 am

WCB,

I share your concern, which is why I mentioned it to Cate. Even apartment complexes sometimes balk at having a trailer left in their lot for two days. I suspect that it might almost be easier for her to have the Broadway Express 70-foot truck there on the street for four hours than to have the ABF trailer (without the tractor part) for two days. People have said that you can get police permits for about $100 in San Francisco, for example, to have big trucks park for a few hours to load. Since the BE driver stays with the truck, he can always move it if necessary; but with the ABF trailer that isn't possible.

IMovePeople
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby IMovePeople » Wed Mar 31, 2004 12:05 pm

Sorry, Diane - when I said "both companies" - I meant the two movers for whom I have worked have handled it that way. I was not referring to ABF or to BE and how or when they charge the credit card of the customer.

There is a 110% collection option available to movers - could get very longwinded and if anyone wants to know the explanation I'll be happy to explain - but my point was that does not apply in this situation because the shipper/customer/person being moved is not using a professional mover but rather an ABF type of organization.

Again - apologies for the confusion.
Movers are People, Too!

Tyrone
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Tyrone » Wed Mar 31, 2004 2:00 pm

While there has been no shortage of discussion on the "true" meaning of the "110% rule" I would love to hear your view of the rule as you understand it. Being that you are a newcomer to this site and an apparently honest individual, I would very much like to know your opinion on this topic.

NO PEEKING at any of the previous threads on this topic (until after you post your own view -- I wouldn't want your post to be 'colored' by the previous discussions). :wink: :wink: :wink:
Dominus amotioni capitis e clunibus sum.

Cate1

Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Cate1 » Wed Apr 07, 2004 10:24 am

I wanted to answer "WestCoastBound"'s question about the truck being on the street for two days.

I went to my local police station, and asked for those "emergency - do not park" signs, and he gave them to me with no problem. He said to call there 72 hours beforehand so they can put it on a list, and then put them up. He said it wasn't a problem for the container to stay there for two days.

Even though I live on Capitol Hill, during the day, in the middle of the week, the street is relatively free of traffic and parked cars. So I'm not too worried about finding a spot for the container.

So the big move is Monday the 12th. I'll post and let you know how it went!

Cate

IMovePeople
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Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby IMovePeople » Wed Apr 07, 2004 11:53 am

Tyrone - didn't see your question until just now . . . please don't think I've been spending my time researching an answer to your question.

The way that I explain this to my customers, and the way I truly believe it works in reputable moving companies (hush now peanut gallery!) . . . .

The 110% collection option is put in place as a protection to both the mover and to the customer. The mover is protected in that verifiable charges remain the responsibility of the customer. Protection to the customer is that the mover cannot demand payment for more than 10% above the estimate or hold your belongings hostage if you refuse to pay more than that at the time of delivery. There ARE exceptions to this rule. If, for example, you show me a 4 bedroom house but 2 of the bedrooms will be "sold" before the move and I base my estimate on that information - then on move day you tell me you didn't get the price you wanted so you're now moving the furniture, or if you had planned to pack but then had a family emergency and now we will be doing the packing - you have changed the parameters of the move and must pay for the actual charges at the time of delivery. If the cube sheet/table of measurements prepared during the survey is exactly what you move, but the weight was higher for whatever reason, though - you pay 10% more than the estimate and we all have 30 days to work out the difference.

O.K. - that's my speech. Let's have a little reality check for a minute though - the BAD companies that are intentionally lowballing - are they providing a written order for service where - albeit tiny print - this is explained? Are they giving the customers their Rights & Responsibilities where it is explained? Are their sales people giving the same speech? Probably not. But then, I wouldn't work for them, either.

And just for giggles - - - thanks for recognizing me as an "apparently honest" individual.
Movers are People, Too!

Cate1

Re: Scared to hire movers - ABF U-Pack question

Postby Cate1 » Mon May 03, 2004 11:56 am

So I wanted to follow up and tell people how our experience went with ABF-Upack.

We had hired two guys to help move the heavy boxes and furniture, but they did not have any experience with loading household goods, and neither did we. So the biggest problem we had was how to load our stuff on the truck to utilize the space allotted and protect our belongings from damage.

I had originally signed on for 7 linear feet at a cost of about $1600, based on the fact that we had a small townhouse with one bedroom. I thought that would be more than enough space on the truck.

At first, while the guys were loading they weren't using the height of the truck, and we were using double the amount of space I had planned to. So I asked the guys to re-arrange the boxes, to utilize the height of the truck. So that involved stacking furniture and boxes really high in the back, and stair stepping down to the front. Then we couldn't figure out how to utilize the height of the truck without the high boxes flying down onto the lower things during the drive.

So all this re-arranging took many many hours, and involved stepping on the boxes below to get to the boxes above, and alot of them got smushed by our weight. Then despite our best efforts at economizing the space, we ended up using 11 linear feet, at a cost of about $2300.

When the truck arrived in California, it seemed as if a few of the high boxes did fall down. We tried to put our not fragile boxes on the top, so that if they fell it wouldn't matter too much. We haven't unpacked yet, since our stuff is in storage, so I don't know the extent of the damage.

So, in the end, the best thing I can say is that it got the job done. It ended up costing me more than I thought it would, but I guess, still not as much as a full service mover. I think I wish I'd used Broadway Express, because from what I've read on this site, and from talking to their dispatcher, their driver will help load your stuff, or at least give advice as to the best way to load. That was our biggest problem, and biggest time-eater.

Cate


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