Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

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shaas
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 1:51 pm
Location: Iowa City

Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby shaas » Sun May 23, 2004 1:58 pm

I will be moving to Bosotn from Iowa City at the end of July. I have already receieved comparable in-home NB estimates from United and Allied, Mayflower is coming soon.

We have a complicated move. We need to move out on a specific date, we will then be out of the country for for a week at which time we will have to drive to Boston.

Does anyone have any experience with this type of move? or recommend any companies going out of Iowa or to Boston to avoid?

Thanks

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Diane » Sun May 23, 2004 2:04 pm

The moving professionals here always recommend that people get a Binding Not to Exceed estimate if possible. Is there any reason why the companies haven't given you that kind of estimate? Are your things going into storage?

Please post the exact names and locations of the companies that you're considering and we may be able to give you some feedback on the individual agents.

Guest

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Guest » Sun May 23, 2004 9:30 pm

from shaas: We are new to the paying people to move our crap game. Previously we have U-hauled it. So far the two companies United (Lint) and Allied (Maher Bros.) have only given us non-binding estimates. We are also going to get estimates from Mayflower, Global, and North American. When we decide on a company then we will have them give us a binding estimate.

Our stuff is going to be stored briefly (7-10 days) on the front end of our move. We have a two bedroom apartment with little furniture.

So far United has estimated 3931 lbs at $2324 from Iowa City to Boston (this does not include any storage fee). United's pricing system seemed like a real black box; they charge you some out ragious price and then give you like a 60% discount. What the hell is that all about? :?

Allied has quoted us 3450 lbs at $2544 This price includes a $350 charge to store our stuff temporarily in their wharehouse.

Neither of these estimates includes any of the optional insurance or other crap they try to get you with like shuttling because the truck can't get to your apartment or a "carrying fee". Again what the hell is that crap? :x isn't the whole darn thing a "carrying fee" otherwise I'd be moving my own stuff up 5 flights of stairs. As for the insurance we have been told to simply get a rider policy from our renter's insurance company but they do not offer such policies. Any recommendations on the company's insurance? :roll:

Any ideas which of these companies is more reputable honest? I was reading reviews on epinions.com and few people had anything good to say about any moving company. Though I guess some of that is because only the really pissed off people get riled up enough to take the time to post a review.

IMP
Posts: 1034
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby IMP » Mon May 24, 2004 9:23 am

I do not work for United or any agent of United, but I used to. As an agent to agent relationship, I had difficulties with Lint from time to time. That is the only comment that I can make regarding the companies you mentioned.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Michael » Mon May 24, 2004 9:37 am

GUEST,

IF YOUR WORRIED ABOUT ALL THE CRAP, DO IT YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

Guest

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Guest » Mon May 24, 2004 12:49 pm

isn't the whole darn thing a "carrying fee" otherwise I'd be moving my own stuff up 5 flights of stairs.


That's the irrationality of the system for you. Unfortunately, if you are going to hire a moving company, you are forced to play by their irrational rules.

Did one of the moving companies say it was going to charge you a fee for the stairs? If they're using the 400N tariff, they're not supposed to do that.

shaas
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 1:51 pm
Location: Iowa City

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby shaas » Mon May 24, 2004 2:15 pm

Michael- my references to the "crap" simply reflect the frustration that comes from being a new comer to this process, hearing nothing but negative comments about almost every moving company available (this web page and others like it), and dealing with businesses that are supposed to be in the customer service industry that often couldn't give two hoots about either the customer or service. I would have thought that members of this community would understand that, but I guess not. :(

For example, I mentioned United's highly opaque method of calculating the "Cost" of the move. Highly inflated price followed by 65% discount. Do they really think I am gonna buy that I am getting anything near a 65% discount. :x

Allied on the other hand seemed like a very straight forward approach: This is how much stuff you have * this is how far you want us to move it=the price. Now how hard is that? This even included a printed inventory. :D

My guess is that the estimation process and the presence of all of the hidden fees and costs are all deliberate mechanisms to downplay and hide the costs up front and then maximize them once they get your stuff as a hostage. This is nothing new it is classic bait and switch. Now some companies like those on your black list actively seek scam their customers. However, from what I see even the most reputable of the national companies are less than clear about their pricing. So while they may not be out to directly scam you they are certainly trying to maximize their profit in ways we would never tolerate from other industries. Can you imagine UPS or FedEx charging you an extra fee because you live on the third floor?

I have also read elsewhere that ever since the industry was deregulated in 1995 (I think) that the number of customer complaints about the industry has more than doubled. As I understand it the primary effect of this deregualtion was to ostensibly allow companies to compete on price whereas previously they could only compete on service (because prices were relatively fixed).

So they come and give you a low ball weight estimate, let you believe that you are getting some really good discount (the appearance of price competition), then try to recoup this by charging you for seemingly minor things like say "carrying fee" because they can only get the truck within 20 feet of the door as opposed to 10 feet, or charging you to go up stairs. I would think that at least 2-3 flights of stairs should be considered reasonable and standard and I can totally see charging someone extra if they live in a 8th floor walk-up.

All I want (and I don't think this is unreasonable) is for a reputable company to come to my home at a mutually agreed upon day/time, remove my belongings in a curteous and concientious manner, transport them with as much care as is possible to my new home on or about a desginated day/time, and charge me a fair, clearly derived, previously agreed upon price. I know that in moving thousands of pounds of stuff across the country there are bound to be externalities that arise (time delays, the impossibility in getting a giant truck through Manhattan etc.) but these are almost always predictable and should be built into the price up front.

As a consumer I know I have to do my homework, which seeking the advice and expertise from this forum is all about. It sounds as though IMP may or may not think the local Iowa City United rep (Lint) can satisfy these conditions and I certainly appreciate this feedback (as subtle as it was). :wink:

Am I correct to assume that the local reps in Boston would be responsible for coordinating and handling the delivery of my belongings? :?: in Which case does anyone have any experience with local reps of the majors in Boston that I might want to keep my eyes open about? :?:

I really appreciate any info/tips that this community can provide and I apologize if this posting seems a bit like a rant but the last thing I wanted was to come to a community of people designed to help others avoid problems with unscrupulous movers and be told to just "do it myself".

IMP
Posts: 1034
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby IMP » Mon May 24, 2004 2:26 pm

When you use a major, most of the time, and more likely in the busy season, you will work with many agents for the van line. One of them will come to your home and do the survey and provide an estimate. They are the booking agent. As they are probably the closest to your home, they will probably also be the origin agent - the agent who prepares for the move by doing the packing, arranging for appliance servicing, etc. The hauling agent may or may not be the same agent. If that agent has the capacity (truck space) to do it, they probaly will. The hauling agent loads and drives the shipment. They probably get labor from the origin agent, as the hauling agent's truck usually (lots of adverbs here!) carries driver only, though some do travel with helpers/laborers. The hauling agent will probably get labor in Boston from the destination agent to help unload the truck and deliver your belongings into your new home and if requested (and paid for) the destination agent will provide unpacking services as well. Are you confused yet?

Many here suggest that you want to work with an agent at your origin location. I may be the lone voice crying in the wilderness who says that if you can, go with an agent at your destination side. Why, you may ask. Good question I would respond. Though it seems almost logical - - - if you have a problem with your shipment, you will know about it most often when the shipment delivers. The destination agent, by definition, is at destination. Therefore, you can literally walk into their offices to talk with them. Now, the destination agent will not be the one to do a survey for you - that's why the major van lines have these agency alliances - the destination agent can have the origin agent do the visual survey. The destination agent gives you the estimate, and if they are able to be the hauling agent they will. The more pieces of the puzzle (booking, origin, hauling, destination) that an agent can serve as during the move - you guessed it, the more money that agency earns.

All of that said . . . there are some great van line agencies located in Boston. If you go to each of the major van lines web sites, they will have an agency locator option - - - start with that and I hope that it helps!

Good luck!

Tyrone
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:18 pm

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Tyrone » Mon May 24, 2004 3:49 pm

Shaas,

You are 100% correct about the artificial pricing/discount tariff system being a complete load of B.S. That very topic has been discussed here a number of times.

A RICO judge recently ruled that the tariff system as implemented intentionally misleads consumers and is designed to promote "racketeering on a small scale." That landmark case (the defendants are part of the UniGroup corporate umbrella) is set for trial this October.
Dominus amotioni capitis e clunibus sum.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Diane » Mon May 24, 2004 6:58 pm

IMP wrote:I may be the lone voice crying in the wilderness who says that if you can, go with an agent at your destination side. . . there are some great van line agencies located in Boston.

IMP, thank you for one of the most informative posts I've ever seen here. I would be interested in whether you yourself have personal knowledge--good or bad--about any agent in the Boston area. I gather that you didn't think much of your interactions with Lint. If you know anything about Maher, please say it; I'll take the flak if need be.

Shaas, if you decide to look for an agent in Boston, there are four threads in particular that I think would be very useful for you to look at. One is at http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1547. The other three were all started by the same person. One is at http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1425. The other two were started by "sdhughes." Search on that as authorname. These four threads discuss movers in the Boston area.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Michael » Mon May 24, 2004 7:40 pm

Shaas,

Actually deregulation took place in 1980, the ICC (interstate commerce commission) was disbanded in 1995. At that point you started to see more and more scam companies get into the industry. It wasnt like the majors turned the industry upside down. Even before 1995 the van lines followed a tariff, so the tariff isnt anything new either.

In my opinion of where to go to book your move, I agree with IMP and I agree with others. To me it just doesnt matter. Do you want the immediate help on the front end or the back end?

In regards to why cant you just get your weight and get your number, is exactly what most scam companies pull over the internet. They give you a weight and number, and you have no clue as to what your paying for or what that includes. When I am charged for something I want to see all the numbers, not just the bottom line price and not have a clue as to what that price includes.

In regards to stairs, United does not charge for stairs or long carries. So that point is mute. But in regards to shuttles. Think for a second a large 70 ft vehicle pulling up to your street. This is a large vehicle. Its not your minivan or sports sedan. A vehicle is not a vehicle is not a vehicle. Not all trucks fit into the same slots. Therefore, the new tariff includes in its pricing a origin and destination fee. Its the driver that makes the call on the shuttle, or the sales person if he/she is definite a large truck cannot access origin. Sometimes its not rocket science to say for sure a large truck cannot access a particular sight. Other times its a close call and other times drivers can be just out right lazy and state they cant make it (gggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr). So parking 20 ft from your home is not an issue.

There are more honest companies out there then there are scammers. Not every sales person will be as detailed as others, more thorough then others, more honest or upfront then others. But like you said, you just want the price and weight.

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

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

shaas
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun May 23, 2004 1:51 pm
Location: Iowa City

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby shaas » Mon May 24, 2004 11:48 pm

Michael

I think you are misinterpreting my call for transparency and clarity in pricing for a simplistic "I only want the cheapest price view". Quite the opposite. I (and I suspect many others as well) would indeed be willing to pay a substantial price premium for quality service in which I can reliably expect all of my belongings to arrive to my new destination in exactly the condition in which they left.

From my admittedly limited experience the problem is that there is no clear mechanism in which to judge to relative quality from company to company (or between agents within companies for that matter). I can't seem to find a J.D. Power type of independent rating system for the industry. It is only through collecting info from sites like this can a consumer even begin to be informed on relative service quality enough to make a judgement based on it. So I can totally understand how some folks get caught up in scams. Because it takes a heck of alot of time to do this (extensive background search) and the results are sketchy at best. So price is the only seemingly clear (though this is itself only illusory) thing on which to make a decision.

The only full service company that I have consistently heard good things about is 2 men and a truck but they only do local moves.

What I want is for the pricing system to make sense and be tractable. To me the pricing system that seems to prevail is certainly neither of these. It is needlessly and deliberately complex and that is all I have to say about that.

While United may not charge a carrying fee for stairs or having to carry materials a short distance from the truck, my understanding is that is not the norm in the industry. I am not a fool and I know that some times it is not possible to get a giant truck into large cities or portions of them. I can even see how this may necessitate added charges. It just seems to me that this is a knowable problem that can be accounted for when one is giving an estimate. It should rarely be a surprise is all that I am saying.

But all of this is a bigger question than my little ole' move.

IMP, Diane, Tyrone

Thanks for the info I will check out those Boston threads, It is certainly an interesting question as to whom to cozy up to (origin or destination agent).

Once we decide on a company we will certainly be getting a binding not to exceed estimate. Though can someone please explain how this varies from a "gauranteed" or "binding" estimate if at all? :?:

I am getting estimates tomorrow from Mayflower and Global and I am already much more well informed for these visits than I was last week for United and Allied. Thanks a lot for all of your help and watchdog vigilance. If I get a chance I will post info on our descision and experience.

Smdsac
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:09 pm
Location: WA State

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Smdsac » Mon May 24, 2004 11:53 pm

I'm sorry - I have to ask some questions here. I am still trying to get my stuff straightened out from Sacramento to Seattle and am having no luck. So I really sympathize with guest as being a layperson at a total loss with this. I had the situation where I read booklet, had told the salesperson that I wanted insurance (or rather valuation); but the day after when he came over to sign the docs with my husband and I can't be there, he tells him that he's sure our homeowner's covers it. Some of our belongings were damaged signifcantly by the actual packing - not moving - and a surly driver who ripped apart an antique armoire and assembled it the wrong way at destination. The cost to fix - $500. The damage wasn't in transit. So those of you who are knowledgeable, this sounds to me like something that should either be turned over to a lawyer in California where the deal was done, or put to arbitration. I have a faint feeling that this company sends in the salesman who says "oh but of course your homeowners covers it!" In this case, the guy KNEW I wanted the valuation, and I wonder if this is a business practice these guys have. Then you send in the min. wage packers (hey guys - it's a no insured job...) and they just throw your stuff around.

Home office of movers who sold the deal will have nothing to do with it - sent it to Missouri-Unigroup who says it's .60/lb per my husband and that's that. (And so, I guess if they want to trash your stuff packing, it's our fault for being ignorant...) It looks like it's on to complaints and all that jazz. Any other suggestions, or more to the point, has anyone ever heard of this type of thing happening - with a major?? -Sue

IMP
Posts: 1034
Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby IMP » Tue May 25, 2004 10:48 am

Sue - I am sorry that you had this experience. While it won't help you, maybe it can help someone else that after you've signed the order for service, you still have a chance to change your valuation declaration - on the bill of lading. Yes - this is an extra expense, but I think that Sue would agree it's worth it.

While we are on that topic - please do not let someone else tell you what the value of your possessions is. You should either reach your own deternmination as to the total value of your belongings, or check with the insurer who covers your renters or homeowners policy and ask them what the "contents" declaration is. Yes - it is costly, but if you go with a deductible it helps - and in the long run it can save you peace of mind, not to mention money, if there is a claim to be dealt with. Each carrier will have a formula - for example - $5.00 per pound and then levels of $10,000, $20,000 and up. If you have a 7000 pound shipment, that would be $35,000 - do you need more coverage for ALL of your belongings if you had to replace them all?

Back to Shaas - a couple of things you asked. Know what tariff your estimators are using. If it is 400N then you should NOT be seeing separate charges for steps, elevators and long carries, period. As for your question about binding v. GNTE - binding is just that, binding. If the weight is less, you pay the binding estimate. If you have a GNTE - then if it weighs less you SHOULD be charged based on the actual weight.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Iowa City to Boston-any recomendations?

Postby Diane » Tue May 25, 2004 11:34 am

"Binding Not To Exceed" (BNTE) = "Guaranteed Not To Exceed" (GNTE). As IMP says, "Binding" is different, and less favorable to the customer. You may want to read the article about Estimates on the Links page of this website.


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