Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

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bee

Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby bee » Fri Nov 12, 2004 12:08 am

Wow, am I glad to have found this site!
Any advice on the following situation would be appreciated.

We are helping my in-laws "settle" their bill with Graebel/Denver Movers, Inc. They moved in late June of 2004 from Denver to Wisconsin. They expected their belongings to go straight through and arrive on July 5. I have a billing report from Graebel showing a load date of 6/29/04 and delivery date of 7/5/04. The truck did arrive on 7/5/04 but the driver wasn't able to get the truck unloaded because they couldn't locate movers in a small town right after July 4th. At least that is what they told my in-laws.
So, the driver took the truck to Wausau for storage. My in-laws never asked for storage and didn't want. Nor was any cost mentioned.

A driver delivered the truck and there were movers available on July 8. At that time, my in-laws paid for $13,259 for the cost of the move. Graebel says they owe an additional $5,726. From what I can tell, almost all of that is storage. Over $5K for storage in a town a few hours away for a mere three days.

This seems like highway robbery to me. Since the storage was needed due to planning problems on the company's side, I don't think they should have to pay it. Does anyone know what happens in this sort of situation? Is this a scam?

To further complicate matters, my father-in-law has since passed away and was the one dealing with the details of the move. I really don't have a lot more information to go on.

Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

neiman
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:57 pm
Location: Pac NW

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby neiman » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:03 am

Just wanted to post under my username. I posted the above as a guest.

tma1974
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:26 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby tma1974 » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:43 am

The company is to blame for the items being put in SIT not your in-laws. If your in-laws were not ready to take delivery then it would be a different story and they would be liable for the storage charges. I suggest that you get a copy of the publication Your Rights and Responsibilities when you move. It will answer your questions regarding the situation and give you some ammunition against the company to get the situation resolved. The company by law should have provided your in-laws with a copy of this, but if they didn't or if it has been lost you can view it here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/rights.htm Most companies count on the fact that the consumers do not know the regulations so that when they make a mistake they can charge the customer for it and it is time that we put an end to those practices.

Michael
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Michael » Fri Nov 12, 2004 11:11 pm

Just to reiterate, any time a mover, reputable one at that, does something at thier convinence the shipper is not liable for charges.

Just because the driver could not find labor is not an issue of yours. That driver should have preceded to unload your goods by himself then.

And lastly, Graebel should have known better then to give you a spread so close to the 4th.

I would not pay the charges and would fight it til the end.


Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

neiman
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:57 pm
Location: Pac NW

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby neiman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 12:35 am

Thanks so much for the suggestions and support. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Michael
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Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Michael » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:17 am

If you must go above everyone's head, call Ben, Bill or David Graebel. They are in Denver.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

blue
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Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby blue » Mon Nov 15, 2004 10:26 am

Neiman, did the driver or agent ever secure a signed addendum approving storage and the subsequent charges from any family member? Did the driver ever actually offer the shipment for delivery on the July 5th? If the answer to both these questions is no, Graebel needs to retire this invoice and close the file. Good luck.

neiman
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 11:57 pm
Location: Pac NW

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby neiman » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:06 pm

No, they do not have a signed addendum approving storage -- and they don't need one. That's what Graebel told me this morning. re: the driver actually offering delivering on July 5; that is an open question. If you ask Graebel, they would say that the driver did offer delivery on the message he left.

I spoke with the collection guy from Graebel this morning. This is what he said he learned upon "extensive" research. He states that as of July 5, Graebel had no delivery address. The driver tried to contact my in-laws and left a message. The driver also called customer service in Denver. Since they did not have a delivery address, the driver headed for storage. My FIL called Graebel early on the morning of July 6 and was told the delivery there was no time to get a crew for July 6 and that no one would be available until July 9. My FIL said that was ok since he didn't have a cashier's check. Graebel has offered to drop the storage charges for the 2nd and 3rd days -- a whopping $142 off the total of $5549. (Some of this I don't entirely believe but this is what he told me).

I called my MIL for her understanding of the situation. She was very surprised that Graebel did not have an address since they had rented the townhouse (and had the address) since early June. She thought Graebel had the new address when they were loading the truck in Denver. She does not recall the address being the reason for not receiving the delivery as expected and recalls the driver saying it was because Graebel hadn't planned for the July 4th weekend and didn't have labor.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything from Graebel showing the move-to address (except an invoice sent long after the move date). It's not on the Bill of Lading -- the delivery address is W/A and the town and zip.

Any thoughts? How much room for negotiation is there? I honestly don't think they should pay for this but I don't want this to drag out forever. And I don't think that Graebel or my in-laws have much proof one way or the other regarding how this happened. :?

blue
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby blue » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:33 pm

It's not on the Bill of Lading -- the delivery address is W/A and the town and zip.


W/A would indicate "will advise". So at least at the time Graebel printed the bill of lading they had no official record of a destination address.

re: the driver actually offering delivering on July 5; that is an open question. If you ask Graebel, they would say that the driver did offer delivery on the message he left.


Did your in-laws receive the message and call the driver back on the 5th?

Most van lines have internal procedures for authorizing storage, intended to prevent this very scenario. Normally, the booking agent would get a call from the hauler or the destination agent wanting authorization for placing the items in storage. The booker would then attempt to contact the customer to approve storage and secure a signed addendum. It sounds like they followed most of what would be considered 'normal' van line protocol.

Unfortunately, with the passing of your father-in-law, some critical details have probably been lost. I would suggest contacting the individuals posted by Michael and pleading your case. Wish I could offer more help. Good luck.

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:35 pm

I'm not blaming anybody but I just wondered whether charging more than $5,000 for three days of storage--even though I guess the shipment was quite large--is the norm in the industry. Could it be that you were charged for some kind of "minimum" (such as a month) even though it was stored for only three days? I realize that there was labor involved in unloading and reloading the truck.

Nancy
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Nancy » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:53 pm

Diane, It depends on the weight of the shipment, but it COULD cost $5,000. In essence, you are adding an additional move when you go into storage. They had to unload the long-distance truck and place the goods in a warehouse. Then, a couple days later, loaded the goods onto a local truck and did the local delivery. The original price ONLY included unloading the goods off the long-distance truck, and not warehouse handling, re-loading and local delivery.

What was the weight and delivery zip code on this shipment? I can check if the charges are based on the tariff, but it seems like it is close to 20,000 lbs?

Also, the issue that knocking the storage off only creates a credit of $142 sounds realistic as well. The majority of the charges on storage are the labor coming in and out. The daily rate isn't a huge factor in overall costs.

Guest

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Guest » Mon Nov 15, 2004 7:35 pm

What was the weight and delivery zip code on this shipment? I can check if the charges are based on the tariff, but it seems like it is close to 20,000 lbs?


It was 31,000 pounds. The delivery zip code on the shipment is 54751.

The storage charges are as follows:
Storage (first day): $1,290
Storage (day 2 &3): 143
Storage delivery: $3,708
Insurance surcharge: 148
Fuel surcharge: 260

As far as I can tell, all other charges are related to the original move. I think that first day of storage is really high and wondering if there could be some negotiation on that. I agree that the storage delivery charge is related to labor costs and not as flexible.

Did your in-laws receive the message and call the driver back on the 5th?


I don't know. My FIL is the one who would have and they said he called the morning of July 6. My MIL doesn't think they called (but my FIL was sort of the one in charge of the move).

Unfortunately, with the passing of your father-in-law, some critical details have probably been lost.


Yes, in the case and a few other things I am trying to figure out. At the time of the move, he had not yet been diagnosed but I think he was starting to slip a little and some of what Graebel has said could be true (although some of it just doesn't "sound" like my FIL). If my in-laws did screw up, I can understand the inconvience and costs associated. :( Except my MIL is convinced that this is all Graebel's fault and isn't about to pay a cent. Ack.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Nancy » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:06 pm

Do they show you a discount level?

The first day of storage also includes warehouse handling. It is the labor to put the goods away in the warehouse.

Guest/Michael

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby Guest/Michael » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:31 pm

Guest,

Graebel has a protocal for Customer Service Coordinators to follow on every single move. This generally starts with an introductory call, a 72 hour pre call to move, a 24 hour call prior to pack/load, call on the days of pack and load, call on delivery and a 48 hour follow up call. It is very disturbing that during this whole protocal that Graebel sells as a strentgh of theirs failed to ask a simple question about your destination address. Some companies wont accept shipments if they do not have a destination address.

I personally find it very disturbing, that a shipment of your size, that the coordinator and the SALES person, let something as simple as a destination address slip through the cracks thus costing you thousands of more dollars. The charges based on the weight seem very legit, so I dont think they are asking for any more or less then what is the norm based on the tariff. It would be interesting to know what discount they applied to the cost. Most likely 45%.

Another thing I find disturbing, and this is something I have stressed wth Graebel Van Lines here on this site, that the driver, carrying 31,000 pounds had no labor set to help unload from the destination agent. And didnt bother to call this in ahead of time, knowing of the July 4th weekend.

Lastly, I am surprised Graebel let your delivery date end on the 5th and didnt try to get a few extra days because of the 4th.

In my opinion, I feel both parties are at blame, but a lot more on Graebels side then on yours. It could and will be argued like you said that nobody gave them destination info.

neiman/guest

Re: Seemingly bogus storage in transit charges

Postby neiman/guest » Mon Nov 15, 2004 8:49 pm

I agree about the address and was surprised they would drive out without an address. I have the rental papers and know that my in-laws had the address they were moving to.
My MIL did say that it was frustrating to call Graebel because "they never seemed to contact the right person." Who knows? Maybe they gave the address to the wrong person and it didn't get to the right place? But still, wouldn't the driver have asked about it before leaving?

My husband is the legal guardian of my MIL and therefore pays her bills, etc (with her funds) so that is why we are the ones dealing with it. At this point, I would be willing to split the difference but I don't know if Graebel or my MIL will go for that!

btw -- storage discount rate is 55%; delivery and all other is 67%.


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