I asked him whether I could post our exchange of messages and he said yes. I am posting the whole saga because I think it could help others see the difference between quotes from scammers and quotes from reputable movers. Fortunately in this case there was a happy ending because Jake didn't go with his lowball estimates from a couple of scammers ($2700-$3000). The actual cost of the move with a reputable mover was about $5300.
JakeL wrote:7/23/05 - Hello, Diane, from reading posts on this site, it seems that you're pretty knowledgable about movers to NY. After coming across it today, I've been sorting through everything on this site, but the amount of material is somewhat intimidating.
I'm moving a 2 bedroom apartment from LA to Manhattan and have so far received quotes from Barron's Moving & Storage (based in LA), as well as Danielle's Vanlines (based in Newtonville, MA, where I used to live). Barron's came to my apartment, and after looking through each room, estimated $2700 and said it was a firm quote that could not be exceeded. Do you know anything about them?
Thanks in advance for the help.
Diane wrote:7/23/05 - Jake, Barron's was just fined for serious violations - http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/44006.htm Its "firm quote" means nothing. And Danielle's is also almost certainly a scammer, plus it couldn't have done an in-home inventory. See this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4598
Barron's is also rated F (the lowest rating) by the Los Angeles area Better Business Bureau - http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Busin ... &hAddrID=1
Danielle's has 20 complaints with the BBB over the past 36 months, which is quite high.
You need to start again. Don't try to find a moving company on the Internet. Do you have any idea how much stuff you have. For example, did Barron's say anything about cubic feet or pounds?
What is your budget for this move and when do you want to move?
JakeL wrote:7/23/05 - Thanks so much for your quick response.
Barron's was referred by a friend- they had moved her from CT to LA a few years ago without problem. I actually just found that same article that you just sent me- I'll definitley not be hiring them!
I'm hoping to move on August 5, and have my stuff delivered in Manhattan on August 15 (if at all possible). Barron's estimated 4000 pounds based on an inventory of the apt. As for budget, I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to get a reputable company. We want a full-service mover, not one where we'll load it ourselves or seperately hire people to do that. My frustration is that I can't tell who the reputable companies are!
My Dad found Danielles in a newspaper ad in Boston. After reading everything on the site, it seems that they follow many of the shady practices in the industry.
(FYI, Barron's charge was $2700 and Danielles was $3000.) Also, I just found on Barron's form that they based their 4000 lb estimated weight based on the 625 cubic feet of stuff to be moved.
Diane wrote:7/23/05 - Both companies' quotes are too low for a full-service mover because the rule of thumb is that it costs about $1 to move every pound of household goods cross-country. So you will probably have to pay at least $4000. Also, 4000 pounds is a little on the low side for an average 2BR apartment, so Barron's could have underestimated the weight slightly to get the sale. Or maybe your apartment is lightly rather than heavily furnished.
I see from your last PM that Barron's actually estimated 625 cubic feet. Well, you have to multiply that by 7 to get the pounds so that is 4375 pounds, not 4000, which I think is probably more like it. So you might have to pay around $4500 (just a rough guess) with a full-service mover.
Anyway, I think the first thing to do is call the independent companies Delancey Street Movers-LA and Moovers, Inc. to see whether they could move you. They each run only one or two trucks across the country each month, though, so it might not be possible. I like those two companies because your things would be delivered in the same truck they are picked up in, so I think you're less likely to have a long delay in delivery. They also tend to have reasonable prices. If you need contact information, search on Moovers and Delancey and you should be able to find it.
It's probably unrealistic to hope for a 10-day delivery interval in August. I think you may be looking at more like 21 days if you go with a van line agent. The smaller shipments like yours often take longer to be delivered and they may be held in a warehouse for a while before they're put on a long-distance truck. Some van line agents that have good reviews and comments here are Beverly Hills Transfer (Allied), Andy's Transfer (North American), and Gemini (United). Beverly Hills Transfer has two good reviews, I believe, and Gemini has one.
JakeL wrote:7/23/05 - Diane,
Thanks so much for the help! I'll contact all those companies tomorrow (or more likely they're closed until Monday).
I'm an extremely risk-averse student, so it's great to have your recommendations.
Diane wrote:7/23/05 - OK - let me know what happens.
Here are the numbers for Delancey and Moovers. Don't be surprised if they sound sort of unprofessional on the phone (they are ex-drug addicts and so on), but they are good people. Delancey has rave reviews all over the Internet. At Delancey, ask to speak with a supervisor because the low-level phone answerers may not know much.
Delancey Street-LA (phone 323-890-2300) - Aaron is one of the supervisors. No email.
The office number for Moovers is (925) 288-0630 and the email address is mcsrelocation @ hotmail.com.
You can simultaneously call the agents of the major van lines. Tell them you think you have about 4500 pounds.
If you're not comfortable with the idea of using ex-drug addicts, etc. just call the major van lines.
JakeL wrote:7/25/05 - I have Beverly Hills Transfer, Andy's and Gemini coming to give me quotes in the next couple of days.
I also had a North American agent called Southcoast Logistics recommended to me. Have you heard of them? They seem to have a good BBB rating (AA).
http://www.labbb.org/BBBWeb/Forms/Busin ... 062337&sm=
Diane wrote:7/25/05 - Jake - I will ask about this company and get back to you. I just think it's kind of odd that I haven't heard of it, and I live in the area.
Diane wrote:7/25/05 - Hi - people said not to go with that Southcoast outfit. They declared bankruptcy last year and stiffed all their employees and creditors, then reopened under a different name, which is why their BBB report looks so great. They will have the same rates as Andy's Transfer because they are both North American agents, so my recommendation would be to drop them and stick with Andy's.
Also, most major van lines aren't accepting new bookings to be moved before August 9th. You really ARE starting pretty late with this, so I would get going on it if I were you. I noticed that Gemini got a so-so report from someone today so maybe Andy's or BH Transfer would be better.
JakeL wrote:7/27/05 - Hi Diane. So, I got my estimates from Andy's Transfer and Beverly Hills Transfer. Andy's estimated 5000 pounds and is charging $5549 (including 1 hour of packing for my drum set), Beverly Hills estimated 5480 pounds and is charging $6542. Both prices include $30,000 of $0 deductible replacement value coverage.
Both companies said the price was so high because it includes roughly $1000 for a shuttle in Manhattan which they claimed is necessary, especially after the recent London bombings which have tightened security in New York.
I have Gemini coming out tomorrow, but so far, it looks like I'll be using Andy's. You were right, August 5/6 was wishful thinking. All companies have said that they can move me on August 9. 8-16 days transit time.
Are these reasonable estimates?
Diane wrote:7/27/05 - Hi - these quotes are about what I expected. As I think I told you, a rule of thumb is $1 per pound cross-country, and a little more in the high season. Interesting that you have a lot more weight than the scammers said, as I thought.
The only way you can avoid a shuttle is to use Broadway Express, because they will go into Manhattan and deliver you without a shuttle, but you said you didn't want a U-Pack move. All the major van lines insist on shuttles.
One important thing is what kind of estimate you have. Is the one from Andy's a GNTE (Guaranteed Not to Exceed) or is it a Nonbinding estimate that can go up if your weight is more? Is the BH Transfer estimate a TPG (Total Price Guarantee) estimate? Let me know, and if you don't know, call the rep to ask.
I caution you that I think the delivery spread they have mentioned (up to 16 days) may be somewhat optimistic. I hope I am wrong, but I think it could be up to 21 days at this time of year.
After your move is complete, I would like to post your saga (not using your name) so people can see how the scammers like Barron's and Danielle's give lowball estimates.
JakeL wrote:7/27/05 - Andy's Transfer's estimate is a "not to exceed proposal." It says total not-to-exceed cost is $5549, and "the shipment will be weighed and the charges for service will be based on the actual weight and services performed less the specified discount OR $5549, WHICHEVER IS LESS."
That sounds to me like GNTE- right?
BH Transfer's estimate is a TPG.
Diane wrote:7/27/05 - OK, then both are equal in that regard, because a TPG is the same as a GNTE. So, since Andy's quoted you lower, my feeling would be that you should go with it.
JakeL wrote:8/1/05 - Hi Diane, I've decided to go with Andy's Transfer. They're picking my stuff up on August 9. Feel free to post my saga online!
Diane wrote:8/1/05 - OK- please be sure to tell me how it all turns out because this will be our first review of Andy's.
JakeL wrote:8/24/05 - Hi Diane, I wanted to let you know that my move is finished. The whole process was very smooth. Andy's transfer- and the driver they sent- could not have been more professional. The driver's name was Tom. Tom called me several days before he was scheduled to pick everything up to let me know what time he would arrive on the moving day and to see if I had any last minute questions. Andy's called to verify the same. On moving day, 8/9, Tom arrived right on time with his nephew Wes. They treated all my goods with care and did a great job taking an inventory and loading.
Tom called me en route to give me an estimate of his delivery date. The delivery window that Andy's Transfer had provided to me was 8/17-8/25; I had asked Tom to try and deliver as early as possible. Tom told me that he would be in Manhattan on 8/19. It turned out that my apt would not be ready until the following Monday and Tom agreed to rearrange his deliveries so he could reach me the following Monday, 8/22.
I was not home when Tom arrived with Wes and a 3rd person to unload everything. My girlfriend, who was there, tells me that they were just as professional as when they picked everything up. I arrived home to find that every single thing we moved made it through completely intact!
The estimated weight was 5000 pounds. The actual weight I was charged for was 4600 pounds. [It came to $200 less.] 5000 was probably right on at the time it was estimated as I got rid of a kitchen table and UPS'ed about 150 pounds of stuff to NY before I left.
I could not be happier with Andy's Transfer or their driver Tom.
Thanks again for all your help with the moving process. As you know, it's a scary thing to entrust all your posessions to a stranger. Fortunately, there are kind people like yourself out there to make the process easier for everyone.
Diane wrote:8/24/05 - What a great report, Jake. . . . It was a pleasure to help you. If only all customers were as good as you were about abandoning the scammers' lowball quotes!