Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

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spumoni44
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:37 pm

I feel so lost. I'm moving from Chicago to Los Angeles, hopefully by the end of November.

I've had 2 on-site estimates. A man employed by Boyer-Rosene to do estimates only ( he works for a different company) estimated 4,000 pounds in late October, but the woman from Boyer has not called and won't return my calls, so I have no price quote. Throw them out, of course.

But the breakdown of what weighs what made no sense: I'm not big or strong, but I can carry over my head each of the 3 armchairs said to weigh 60 lbs.; the hollow pseudo-brass headboard that I assembled myself can't weigh 70 lbs, etc. etc. (Does a double bed, good mattress and box springs, truly weigh 420 lbs??--I can turn the mattress myself, but I couldn't budge the file cabinet said to 70 lbs.) Almost all my furniture is lightweight, the put-it-together-yourself kind, with the exception of the 2-drawer file cabinet, the teak dining room table, and the teak bookcase. But I do have a lot of stuff.

Someone from Hollander Storage & Moving (United) also estimated 4,000 lbs. using a cube rate, I think (a factor to multiply by?). His list also looks odd to me--I don't have any end tables--where are these 2 end tables? etc. Some things are on it that I can't identify (maybe they have different labels to count them as closer to their actual weights??) and others are missing. It's a "No Surprises Move total price" (which means no additional if shuttle is needed in L.A., which I think won't be needed) of $3750. Includes Chicago shuttle, 4 wardrobes, $20,000 value of shipment with no deductible. Don't see the wrapping/cartoning of the mattress and springs on here. He said that if the pounds estimate was high, I'd be reimbursed less than the per pound estimated price--can't find my notes, but I think he said I'd get back $39/lb, not the $80+ that I'd be paying upfront. This sounds very wrong to me.

I scheduled both of these estimates before reading negative things here about these 2 companies. I also got a phone estimate, based upon the 4,000 pounds, of $3760, from Armstrong United (800-643-4341). Includes Chicago shuttle, 4 wardrobes, $20,000 value of shipment with no deductible. Don't see the wrapping/cartoning of the mattress and springs in my notes on this either (will have to clarify). Now, I know that Armstrong in Chicago has been recommended here, but I'm not guaranteed that it would be Armstrong drivers or trucks, am I? So how safe should this make me feel?

A man at a well-respected firm put me on to Betsy's Trans-Pack, a local broker, when I originally thought I was under their minimum (!). I know she's well-regarded on this site, and I find her very straight-forward, and she seems dependable. She's gotten 3 quotes for me, based upon the 4,000 lbs. North American Van Lines, with whom she's done 40+ moves this year, quoted $4100, with the shuttle, bed wrapping, and 4 wardrobes. Only thing I can find on the company is Epinions negative reviews (of course, they don't like anyone except the do-it-yourself places, but NAVL ranked worse than United etc.). I'd prefer United, I think.

Betsy also got quotes from 2 local movers she highly respects, and I've found nothing against them (although I'm not sure I'm using the whole SAFER site properly). J&P Moving in Lombard Il (USDOT 690535) quoted $3675 with no shuttle needed (smaller truck loads and takes to California), 4 wardrobes, and insurance. Not having the extra transfer of my stuff appeals--it's not worth much, but it's mine!

Also Town and Country Moving Co. from Elgin IL (USDOT # 341218) quoted $3100 with a pre-Thanksgiving pick-up (help!), Chicago shuttle, don't remember about wardrobes. Flat rate, whether it weighs more or less. The man intends to visit family between Chicago and L.A. over Thanksgiving, so it fits in with his plans.

My gut feeling is to go with one of Betsy's smaller movers, because I trust her and I know specifically who would be moving me, the lower priced one if I think I can get it together before Thanksgiving or the other if I think I can't. Otherwise, I think I'd take my chances with Armstrong and hope to get their people and equipment.

The only other wrinkle is that, if I'm going at the end of November, with Armstrong, I will try to ship the estimated 750 lbs. of books, records, VHS, etc. off by U.S. post office Media Mail, which would be a savings (I figure I can do 25 lb. boxes at least, and they are .37/lb with Media Mail).

What do you experts think? Advice? This whole thing scares me to death.
(Doesn't help that my last 2 local moves were bad--Midway Moving and Storage was awful--left stuff behind, lost things, suspiciously disappeared my VCR for a week or so, etc. etc.) Thank god for the internet, and being able to ask people who know more than I do.

danimalector

your move to LA

Postby danimalector » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:42 pm

I just moved from Chicago to St. Petersburg FL and I had a disaster on my hands.

Anyway, long story short. My friend hired Sampson Movers. They are rated #1 in Chicago by many news sources and customer satisfaction according to consumer reports (this was a little over a year ago).

I would contact them about your move to LA.

Dan

my e-mail is casino_man_dan@yahoo.com

spumoni44
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:17 pm

Thank you for the info, Dan, but I don't know--all the numbers, such as DOT# and MC#s, that I can find on Samson (correct spelling) show up as "inactive" on the Dept of Transportation SAFER database. This means that aren't currently licensed as long-distance movers, doesn't it? And their site, http://www.samsonmovingandstorage.com/index.html
sounds very local ($/hr charges).

Besides, I don't know if I still have time to get more quotes.

Who was your disasterous move with?

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:38 pm

Spumoni,

I went to the website of the IL Commerce Commission at http://www.icc.state.il.us/hg/hglist.aspx and looked up the two small companies that Betsy's Trans-Pack put you in touch with. That website lists number of moves performed and number of complaints, but only for moves within IL. However, I think the data could be one indication of the overall quality of a company.

Town and Country isn't listed as having done any intrastate moves in 2003. J&P Moving Services is listed as having done 437 intrastate moves with only 2 complaints, one of which was determined to be unfounded. So I would tend to go with the latter company if you choose one of them, especially since they say they won't have to use a shuttle. I checked both out on safersys.org - Town and Country isn't listed as having any trucks or drivers, and I don't know what that means. J&P says it has 2 trucks and one driver, probably the owner.

Actually people on this board weren't all that happy about Betsy's, especially since she is an apparently unlicensed broker. For the life of me I can't understand why people would go through such a person to book with North American Van Lines, since they would be adding an extra layer of complexity and cost.

If you've read around here on the website, you know that someone was poised to use Betsy's a while back (Ronna). Unfortunately she isn't registered, although she promised to come back and tell us how it went. You probably also know that I'm a big fan of Broadway Express, a freight company in Effingham that I think would do a good job for you. You could hire temporary laborers to load and unload. But you don't seem to be leaning that way, and I don't want to push you.

Regarding Samson Chicagoland, it has terrible comments and I can't imagine anyone writing in to praise it. Regarding Midway, thanks for giving us one more piece of evidence that it should be avoided.

If I were you I would mail the boxes to myself and go with Armstrong United, even though you don't know exactly who the interstate driver will be. You are taking somewhat of a chance, in my opinion, if you go with a smaller mover such as those that Betsy recommended, and the cost is almost the same. You could ask Armstrong to do a real in-home estimate minus the 750 pounds. Be sure to get a GNTE estimate.

As for Epinions, in my opinion the problem isn't so much that they favor self moves as that the reviewers usually don't tell which agent of a particular van line they used, so the bad and the good cancel each other out and you can't really tell very much. With ABF and the rental van companies you know who they are talking about, at least.

spumoni44
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:51 pm

Diane, I'm confused: you yourself got a glowing review from "the Executive Director of the Illinois Movers' and Warehousemen's Association" who began with "Betsy's Trans-Pack is fabulous." And I find no complaints about her on any forum.

Yes, I do wish Ronna had reported back on her experiences. It would be nice to know, but don't you think she would have, if it had gone badly?

I hadn't tried to check out Betsy as a broker. How do you check out a broker? Who licenses and reports on them? I should pursue that.

I don't think I'd use NAVL with her anyway, more expensive. I just wanted to give the full picture of her info.

I am totally incapable of using BE or something like that. I can't figure out where I'm going to put everything when it's packed even--getting it out of here and coping with hiring MORE people, etc. is so beyond me now. I wish I could--it would save money.

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

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:07 pm

Hi - I don't blame you for being confused. After I got that glowing review about Betsy, I was initially relieved, but then I realized that her company wasn't even licensed, and that gave me pause. You should call that person who recommended her (I posted the phone number) and question her about the licensing issue. I wouldn't try to investigate Betsy on your own. It's the companies that she's recommending that you should be more concerned about at this point.

If you want to use one of the small companies that she recommended, I suggest driving to wherever they are to meet the owner (it will probably be a residence, judging from what I saw on safersys.org). I can see that you are tempted to go with the lowest price. I can understand that, but just urge you to be careful. Who is actually going to carry your things from your residence to the moving van? Try to find out more about what you are actually getting into.

spumoni44
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:34 pm

Diane, thank you--I'm in such a state I didn't even think of doing the obvious and calling that woman. I'll do it tomorrow.

Could I make an unrelated suggestion? It would be nice if the forum page (Open Community) gave the time the site is officially using. For those of us in other time zones, it's hard to relate to those numbers and know what time it is "now," as we look at the page.

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

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:38 pm

We'll have to kick that request up to Our Revered Webmaster, Mr. Timothy A. Walker. Ever since the time changed a week ago or whenever it was, it appears to me that the official time zone of MovingScam is somewhere out in the Atlantic east of NYC. At the lower right of the screen it says that the time zone is GMT minus 5 hours.

twalker
Site Admin
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Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby twalker » Mon Nov 08, 2004 11:57 pm

Whoops... fall back right? Okay, the time zone should be set to Eastern time now. If you're registered you can set the time to be your own time zone. Sorry for the confusion!

Tim

spumoni44
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Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:57 pm

I spoke with someone else (Kim) at the Illinois Movers' and Warehousemen's Association (Patricia McLaughlin was in a meeting) about Betsy's Trans-Pack. She also said only good things: she's reliable, does an excellent job, trustworthy, and has helped a number of people in difficult situations. They usually get only bad feedback on companies, but a number of people have let them know that they were very pleased with Betsy.

She was not concerned that Town and Country Moving in Elgin, recommended by Betsy, had no Illinois moves on the ICC database--she says she knows him to be conscientious and to have made interstate moves during that time period.

She said I could check out Betsy's license (504385) on the SAFER database but I'd have to plug it in as a "docket" number, not a DOT number. Haven't figured out how yet--can't find a search screen with a place for a docket number. Still working on it, unless someone else knows how?

twalker
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Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby twalker » Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:14 pm

spumoni44,

After reading your last post (and then pulling myself off of the ceiling) I called and talked to Patricia McLaughlin at the Illinois Movers' and Warehousemen's Association. I explained to her what you were told, and she was very helpful in clearing up some misunderstandings that I have had.

First of all, Town & Country is licensed to do both interstate moves (DOT# 341218, MC# 216112) as well as intrastate moves. Patricia told me that he mainly does interstate moves which most likely explains why his intrastate ICC record is empty. In addition, his interstate authority was granted in 1989 with no revocations. It's nice to see a good record like that after seeing so many bad ones. :wink: I would feel comfortable getting an estimate from Town & Country.

To answer the questions about Betsy... You can seach the FMCSA Licensing and Insurance web site here:

http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/p ... c_carrlist

Patricia told me that they had contacted Betsy and let her know that she needs to be licensed and bonded in order to perform broker services. Betsy is in the process of doing this, and unless the FMCSA rejects her application then she should be legal to do so.

Normally I would be ranting and raving about brokers at this point, however Patricia also told me that Betsy has moved some of Patricia's own family members. Of course, when you're moving the family member of the Executive Director of the Movers' and Warehousemen's Association you might be extra careful, but I do trust Patricia's word so I wont try to steer you away from Betsy. A lot of people seem to have good things to say about her.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

spumoni44
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:41 pm

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby spumoni44 » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:19 pm

Tim, I must be missing something: why did you have to "pull (your)self off the ceiling" about what I'd been told?

I hope I haven't done Betsy any harm--if the low quote from her wasn't so soon, I would still go ahead with it.

Thank you for the link and your help--that showed me what you were saying.

Unrelated point: this is the first time I've realized that the whole thread/topic is on the bottom of this 'post a reply' screen--I've found it difficult several times, when I thought I couldn't look, at the same time, at what I was replying to while I was writing the reply. Maybe it's obvious to everyone else, or maybe you could put something up near the reply box to tell other people who've never gotten that far down the screen and seen it?

twalker
Site Admin
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Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby twalker » Tue Nov 09, 2004 8:36 pm

spumoni44,

The reason that I had to pull myself off the ceiling was that I was still under the assumption that Betsy was still completely unlicenced, and I couldn't believe that a professional association would recommend that a consumer use an unlicensed broker. Sorry for the confusion. It wasn't anything that you're doing. :wink:

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

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

Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby Diane » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:33 pm

I still wonder why it would be necessary to use a broker to book a move with North American Van Lines. Possibly Betsy acts as a consolidator for them, combining moves smaller than their minimum and thus saving money for the customer.

twalker
Site Admin
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Re: Chicago to L.A. move in November--don't know what to do

Postby twalker » Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:42 am

I agree Diane, I would be wondering what the advantage of using a middle-man (middle-woman) and paying for their fees would be as well, especially when hiring a major van line.

Tim


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