Pretty sure Gold Standard Moving & Storage has scammed me...

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Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 3:49 pm

Pretty sure Gold Standard Moving & Storage has scammed me...

Postby FGianino » Mon Aug 02, 2021 6:43 pm

I wish I had found this website a few months ago, before I booked my move. Having read some of the other stories on here, my dealings with this awful company are pretty much straight out of the textbook. :( I figured I would share my ordeal here so that other people can avoid this company, and also so that I have a place to keep track of everything that's happened/happening still. Maybe some other folks who have dealt with moving scams will be able to give me some advice moving forward.

On May 23, I started calling around to request quotes for an upcoming move from Ames, IA to Notasulga, AL. The quotes I received over the phone were all in the range of $10,000-12,000, which was way outside anything that I would have been able to afford. I started looking into "van line" companies at this point because I had been told that they were significantly cheaper than "dedicated" moving companies due to the fact that they consolidate several moves into one truck, etc., etc. The downside of course being that your stuff can take longer to arrive at your new place since the truck might have to make multiple stops along the way.

On May 24, I reached out to several more "van line" companies for bids. I received a call back from the first company with an estimate of $3,000, but ultimately decided to pass on it because I didn't trust the guy who spoke with me over the phone (he kept contradicting himself when I asked about what was included in the price, how soon they could do the move, etc.).

On May 25, I received another call back, this time from Olivia at Gold Standard Moving & Storage. Compared to the first company that had called me, this one seemed pretty professional (albeit a bit pushy, but I was expecting that out of a salesperson). Olivia was very friendly, had answers to all my questions, and even chatted with me for a bit about why I was moving and about her family. She asked me to go over an inventory of everything I would need moved. I hadn't yet started packing, but gave her the best estimate I could. For good measure, I told her that we had just moved the year prior and had fit all of our belongings into a 20 ft U-Haul truck with room to spare (the trucks have roughly 1,000 cu ft capacity). She gave me a quote of $4022.12 to move 504 cu ft at a price of $4.50 per cu ft. I was told that this price could not increase as long as the inventory I gave was accurate, and that Gold Standard would call me again 1-2 days before my scheduled pickup date to confirm the inventory list once I had finished packing everything. I asked if the price would be adjusted down if the movers got here and discovered that we had fewer cu ft to move than was in the estimate and she told me that yes, the price would be reduced to reflect the actual volume as determined by the movers. I signed the estimate and paid the deposit of $1797.00. My scheduled pickup date was to be between July 5-7. I was also told that based on the mileage to my new place, my items would be delivered 5-14 days after pickup.

On June 28, I had finished packing all of my belongings and had made an extremely thorough inventory list. There were only one or two medium sized items which I had forgotten to mention during my original conversation with Olivia (a floor lamp and a small electric fireplace). At the same time, I had about half as many boxes as were included in the original estimate, had removed a microwave, a twin mattress (which would be coming with me in my car instead), and a few other small misc. items. I called Gold Standard customer service at 9:00AM to give them my updated inventory list and was on hold for over 30 minutes before I finally got a rep. I was told that someone from the "Quality Assurance" department would need to update my inventory and that they would call me back around 11:00AM to go over it with me. By 1:00PM, I had not received a call. I contacted Gold Standard customer service again (and was again on hold for over 30 minutes). Finally spoke to a rep who patched me through to "Quality Assurance." At this time, I was told that I would need to make an appointment for them to call me back to go over the inventory (even though I was already on the line with one of them?). The soonest they could get back to me was June 30 at 3:00PM, so I agreed to that time.

On June 30, I received a text at 2:19PM from Robert at Gold Standard reminding me about my appointment. He also asked me to "confirm that the inventory on the original estimate is correct." It obviously was NOT correct, which was the entire reason I had reached out in the first place. I texted Robert back to say that the inventory would need to be changed, that I had made a revised list (including dimensions for the furniture items) which I could email to him, and that I would be available by phone as well. I received a reply which was just Robert's email address. I emailed the inventory list to him at 2:40PM. At 5:30PM, Robert finally called me. He said that with the new inventory list, the estimated volume had gone up to 922 cu ft and the cost of the move was now $7272.41. I asked him how this was possible when I had removed nearly half of the boxes from the original estimate as well as a handful of other items including a mattress. Robert had some excuse about how the previous agent (presumably Olivia) had "mis-guessed" the sizes of some of my items in her original estimate. I once again asked if the price would decrease if the movers found our actual cu ft to be less than 922, and was once again told that yes, they would adjust accordingly. At this point, my pickup date was fast approaching and I was outside the 10 day grace period where I would have been able to cancel the move and get my deposit refunded. I also would not have had the money or the time to arrange for a different company to handle my move, as I needed to be in my new place by July 15. I paid the additional $1,200 that was now needed to cover the increased deposit.

On June 31, I spent the day painstakingly labeling (with my new address) and measuring every single item I had that would be going onto the moving truck, taking photos of each item, etc. In the end I had a total of only 469.22 cu ft of stuff, and that was even with me VERY GENEROUSLY rounding all measurements up to the nearest inch. I understand that moving companies that are not going to physically see your items before moving them need to leave themselves some wiggle room, but giving me an estimate that was TWICE my actual volume is absolutely ridiculous.

On July 5, I got a text at 8:44PM from Ray with "Pro Movers" asking if he could come by the following day between 8-10AM to pick up my items, which I agreed to.

On July 6, Ray arrived at 10:21AM with a crew of two other young men to load the truck. They were all very polite and respectful. After Ray had looked over all the items to be moved, I told him that I had measured all of the items and that I had closer to 469 cu ft as opposed to the 922 cu ft on the estimate. He agreed with me that even "eyeballing everything" he thought that Gold Standard had "way over-estimated" the volume. I asked if he would adjust the final price based on that information and he told me that he "wasn't allowed to change the estimate price." When I answered that Gold Standard had told me the price would reflect the actual volume as determined by the mover, he said that he didn't know why they had told me that, and that the movers "have always had to follow the estimate." At this point, I would not have had time to send them away and try to find new movers, so I was forced to pay $2,250.20 (half of the total "moving cost" that was due up front). At the very least, I was pretty happy with the way Ray and his crew handled my items. They were very thorough about wrapping my items in packing blankets (which was included in the cost of the move), asking about which boxes might have more fragile items, etc. Once the truck was loaded, Ray asked me for my earliest delivery date. I told him July 9, which would give us time to make the 2-day drive to Alabama in our car and have a day to settle in before there was a chance of our things arriving. He reminded me again that it might be "up to 15 days from today" before my things arrived, which I said was fine. We had packed accordingly and could live for a couple weeks without the rest of our things.

On July 20 (14 days since pickup), I still had not heard anything from Gold Standard or from "Pro Movers" about my delivery. I called Gold Standard customer service and was on hold for over an hour waiting to speak to a rep (whose name I didn't catch at the time). I told him that it had been 14 days since my belongings were picked up, and since the following day would have been the upper end of the estimate I was given for delivery, I wanted to check in and see where my belonging were as I had not heard anything. The rep put me on hold for another 20 minutes while he supposedly called the carrier. He then told me that they were "planning to deliver on Sunday, but would be there no later than the following Wednesday." He also informed me that the 15 day delivery estimate was counting from the earliest delivery date I had provided (so July 9), and NOT the pickup date as I had been told by Olivia AND Ray). This was a frustrating (and I think deliberate) miscommunication, but not the end of the world.

On July 25 (19 days since pickup) the delivery did not come. I received no word from Gold Standard or the carrier about the delay.

On July 28 (22 days since pickup) I still had not received word about the delivery. I called customer service again and was on hold for 45 minutes to speak to Tiffany. Recounted my story to her and asked again for an update. Tiffany put me back on hold for another 45 minutes while she supposedly reached out to the carrier. She came back on the line to tell me that the carrier couldn't be reached, and that she had left messages for "3 other departments" within Gold Standard including the dispatch department trying to get answers. She assured me that she would personally call or email me as soon as she heard back from anyone about my delivery and that it would likely take "1-2 days." After this, Tiffany gave me yet another version of the delivery time frame estimate, saying that it was 15 BUSINESS days from the earliest delivery date I supplied. This would mean that July 25 was only the 13th day, and so I shouldn't expect the delivery until Friday. She also stated at this point that I would be entitled to a $30-35 refund for every business day the delivery is late after the 15 days are up.

On July 30 (24 days since pickup) I had not received word from the carrier, nor any update from Tiffany. I called customer support again, on hold for 30 minutes to speak with Mark. Told him that I was expecting a call or email from Tiffany about my delivery. He put me on hold yet again for 15 minutes while he too supposedly tried to reach the carrier. When he came back on the line he told me that he tried "two to three times to reach them" (how hard is it to count to two or three, Mark?) but could not get through. He said that he "left a message for his dispatcher" to get an update and this time promised that HE would call me back soon with an update. I asked Mark how to go about getting my $30-35 per day refund since July 30 was the 15th business day since my earliest delivery date. At this point Mark gives me yet another story, saying that the carrier legally has 21 business days from the earliest delivery date before they have to start reimbursing me. This at least aligns with what I have now read on the DoT website, but there is no doubt in my mind that this company has been deliberately misleading me about this information from the start.

On August 2 (27 days since pickup) I called customer support again to harass them for an update. This time I was on hold for 45 minutes to speak to "JJ" who once again put me on hold so he could pretend (I suspect) to call the carrier. Big surprise, he "wasn't able to reach them." I was told once again that the dispatcher has been contacted for an update and that someone will call me as soon as they get more information.

Update on August 5 (30 days since pickup): I still had not heard anything from anyone at Gold Standard about my delivery as of this morning, so I reached out yet again. This time I spoke to David, who told me that the carrier had finally updated them (at some point this week I assume, although no one ever bothered to let me know despite at least 3 reps claiming to have "left notes to get back to me ASAP with any updates"). The story now is that the carrier is "planning to deliver on Tuesday, August 10," and that I should hear from them on the 9th with a time for the delivery. Fingers crossed that they actually come through.

Update on August 8 (33 days since pickup): I finally got a call at 7:30PM from "Andrea" with Pro Movers. She said that they will deliver "at some point in the next 3 days" and that the driver will call me tomorrow to schedule a specific delivery date and time. She also asked if I knew what my payment options are. I told her that I had paid the first half of the bill using Zelle at the time of pickup. Andrea claims that they are no longer accepting Zelle payments "now that COVID is over" and that my only payment options are cashier's check or postal money order. She stated that she would send over the info on what entity I would need to make either form of payment out to. After I got off the phone with Andrea, I waited for an hour and a half for her to either text or email the info. At 9:00pm, I still had not received it. I sent a text to her asking that she send me the info ASAP as I would like to get the money order made up tomorrow morning, but I've received no reply.

Update on August 9 (34 days since pickup): Still no word from Andrea with the info I need for the money order. I tried calling at 10:00AM, 11:20AM, and 1:20PM but went to voicemail all three times. I left a message once again requesting the info ASAP. Explained that I have limited access to transportation at the moment and that my local post office has reduced hours due to COVID (they haven't consulted with Andrea for her to tell them that the pandemic is over, apparently). For these reasons I have a very small window to have the money order written up, especially if the driver comes tomorrow like I was told last week. I'm also unable to do a web search of this business to get the info I need, since googling "Pro Movers" returns about a dozen different results, so I have no idea which company I'm actually dealing with. Attaching the phone number Andrea used to call me returns zero results. So at this point, I guess I'm at her mercy, hoping she gets back to me before the movers show up. The driver also never called me to schedule a delivery time.

Update on August 10 (35 days since pickup): Andrea still will not answer her phone and has not returned my calls and voicemails from yesterday. I was able to purchase the money orders from my post office without needing to provide any information about the payee, but was advised that I would need to fill out a valid address for "Pro Movers" before the orders can be cashed. Still no word from the driver to set up a delivery time either.

Update on August 11 (36 days since pickup): No word from Andrea or the driver. At 2:20PM I tried to call her again, and again was sent straight to voicemail. Couldn't leave a message this time as the inbox is full, so I sent an SMS message instead, although I already know I won't get a response. Immediately after, I called Gold Standard to see if they could get through. I spoke to Travis, who also tried to call the carrier and got sent to voicemail. Asked him if he has any alternate phone numbers to try and he said that they only have the one number. Travis claims that he sent the carrier an email to ask for an update on a delivery date and of course I got the same empty promise that "he'll call as soon as he hears back." Asked him if he has an address for the carrier or any other info, and was given the USDOT #, which is supposedly the only useful info Gold Standard has for these people. When I look up the number (USDOT-3429574), it returns a company called "ABLE MOVING AND STORAGE LLC" and says that the carrier's operating status is "NOT AUTHORIZED." I'm not sure what I should do with this information at this point. I'm hesitant to start filing any kind of complaint with the DoT/etc. in case this company decides to hold my things hostage. How long do I give them to come through on this before I'm forced to take some kind of legal action (and possibly never see my things again anyway)?

Update on August 12 (37 days since pickup): I tried yet again to call Andrea at 1:20PM and was met with a full VM inbox. At this point I even tried to call the phone number associated with "Able Moving and Storage" that I had found through looking up the USDOT# given to me yesterday by Travis. The phone number seems to have been disconnected, as I just get a generic Verizon automated message about how the party I'm trying to reach is no longer available. At 4:12PM I sent yet another text to Andrea asking her to get back to me with an update. Shortly after, at 4:39PM and getting desperate, I dug back through my text threads to find the messages I'd received from Ray (the driver that loaded my things in Iowa). I sent Ray a text explaining that I had been trying to reach Andrea and that I was unable to, that I didn't even know if he would be the driver handling the delivery, but that I would be thankful for any help he could provide in getting a hold of someone from Pro Movers who could give me an update. Within 2 minutes, Ray called me back directly. He said that he also has been having trouble getting a hold of Andrea for days, and that yes, he will be the one delivering my things. Ray also told me that he's currently stopped in Tennessee for the night and that he will be at my house between 3-5PM tomorrow to deliver. He said he will call me an hour before he arrives. At this point, I'm just very grateful to have finally talked to someone who's answered my communications and given me some kind of an update.

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