Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

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EvanB
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:02 am

Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby EvanB » Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:40 pm

Many of you were extremely helpful to me when I asked for advice about my move this summer, so I wanted to let you all know how it turned out. This will be a long post so let me start by saying it was a mixed bag, overall. Some good stuff and some bad stuff. How bad they are overall I leave to the experts here to judge. Also, since this is so long, let me say thanks here to all of you who helped me so much. My move was stressful and not perfect but it would have been MUCH MUCH worse without you. I'm truly grateful for the help.

My move was complicated. I needed to have my stuff out of my apartment in NY by July 23, but I wasn't going to arrive in Louisiana until August 12. So I needed some storage. A-1 offered me a BNTE estimate and threw in the storage, more or less. They estimated me at 3000 pounds, though they told me that their true estimate of my weight was 2200 pounds. They asked for a $300 deposit, which I sent and which for the longest time they never deposited.

They showed up exactly when they said they would. There were three people there, two who did the heavy lifting and a third who supervised. It didn't take them long to clear my stuff out of my apartment.

The problems started once they left. Though I had the arrival date of 8/12 in writing, the A-1 people were extremely vague with me about when they would ship my stuff. They told me on the phone that there was a good chance it would be "pretty late."

On 8/9 or thereabouts, I started calling every day. The manager would say things like, "Let me check to see if we have a driver for you yet. Hmmm that's strange, there's no driver. Let me look into it for you and I'll call you back." Then, of course, he wouldn't call me back. On 8/11 we called 4 or 5 times, which seemed to jog them. On 8/12 (the day I left), he left a message that he'd made arrangements with Atlas to have someone from Atlas (he never specified who) ship my stuff. None of this made any sense to me, but I didn't care because I was just glad my stuff was coming.

As it turned out, my stuff wasn't all that late. It arrived on 8/17. That morning a woman called from an Atlas agent in Shreveport, LA. She was extremely nice and helpful. She told me that my stuff had arrived. But she also told me that there'd been damage to my stuff. She expressed outrage over the way A-1 had packed and stored my stuff. Somehow a lot of my boxes were soaking wet. My bed (mattress and box spring) wasn't packed correctly, apparently, and was both wet and dirty. Other furniture (end table, CD case, kitchen table) was chipped, cracked or worse. A lot of my boxes were in terrible shape. Fortunately, most of them held books which weren't damaged beyond the water damage. A box of dishes was mangled pretty badly, but I'd packed the dishes well enough inside to protect them. The Shreveport Atlas agents were extremely sympathetic and apologetic. They told me that Atlas is a professional mover and that they'd called Atlas about my NY movers. They also said they'd taken pictures of the damage to my stuff for my claim.

Aside from the damage, the strangest thing was that I asked the Shreveport Atlas agent what my stuff weighed. She said that strangely she couldn't find any record of the weight, but she did have a price. This should have alarmed me, but I was so relieved to have my stuff I didn't question to price she quoted me. It seemed to be less than the maximum, and so I just put it on the credit card.

It was a few days later that I realized that they had charged me the maximum, for 3000 pounds. I'd forgotten about the deposit I'd sent at the start, which they'd since deposited into their account. I called A-1 First Class and demanded to know the weight of my stuff. At first I was told they couldn't find any record of the weight, but that it didn't matter because I'd agreed to a binding estimate. I told them no, I'd agreed to a BNTE. They said they'd look into it and get back to me.

Of course, they didn't get back to me, and so the next day I called again. This time I got the truth. Yes, they now saw that I'd agreed to a BNTE, not binding estimate. And yes, they had the weight of my stuff: it was only 1340 pounds. They'd overcharged me by more than $1000.

To make this extremely long story a little shorter, it took awhile (about 5 weeks) but I did get my money back. After more than a month and several phone calls to Atlas, my credit card was credited with what I was owed. I was waiting for that to happen before I reported on this site about my move.

Let me say thanks again to all of you for the help. Please feel free to ask if there's anything worth knowing that I left out of this story.
-Eb.

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

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby Diane » Fri Sep 24, 2004 12:24 am

This is the third serious complaint received here recently about A-1 First Class. The others:

1. From Alex, moving NJ to San Francisco - August 2004 - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2425
Alex wrote:We did end up w/ a binding contract from A-1 First Class. Once our shipment arrived in CA, they tried to charge us an extra $1,500 claiming that we had more "items" than the in-home estimator had estimated.

I thought the point of a binding agreement is that that quoted amount is your final price??? I also felt that the amount of "items" could vary greatly depending on the size of boxes you use during packing. It took many calls and some threatening words from them - and I settled on a price that was $400 above the contracted agreement. I did this in order to get my items rather than face a ransom-type situation.

Our shipment arrived today, and they are still in the process of unloading. The driver stated that many items are damaged, and asked us if the movers on the E. Coast were rough w/ our furniture.

[Followup post] I did overpay by $400, and am in the process of trying to recover from Atlas.

I did have numerous items damaged and am filing a claim w/ Atlas as well.

The driver who deliver my items and drove it across country for Atlas stated that when he picked up the items there was some obvious damage.

Here is how it goes down according to him:

A-1/First Class/Viking truck and movers pack and pick up from my house in NJ.

They unload and delilver it to a wherehouse in NJ. Where they or the wherehouse people remove the packing materials. Furniture pads, etc...

When the driver from Atlas came to pick up the furniture from the wherehouse. He re-packs all the goods and loads them on the truck and drives them to me in SF.

The driver for Atlas stated that when he saw my furniture(un-wrapped and packed) it was damaged.

He claimed that it was most likely the people in the storage facility who damaged it. Not the shuttle people. He claimed that he sees this happen all the time and said that it was "probably the Rusians," refering to the people at the stoarage facility.

I had no idea this all would even happen.

I will post a full report about A-1 and Viking when the dust settles
.


2. From Frustrated Mover, moving to Florida - August 2004 - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=20397
Frustrated Mover wrote:Hello,
I'm hoping someone can help me.
I moved from one state to another about 4 weeks ago. I have been frustrated beyond explanations with all the problems I've faced with this move. First, they said I'll have my items in 2-8 days, and now it's 3+weeks later and I only received part of my move (since they went ahead and SPLIT my move!)
I requested a weight certificate and all they faxed me is this pathetic paper with just numbers on it. Shouldn't a real weight certificate have more information than that?

I'm supposed to get the rest of my belongings between today and tomorrow. I want to know what can I do to try and negotiate paying a lower price, I received a "not to exceed" estimate for about $4K and I was told that if the move weighs less, I will pay less, but now they said it weighed more, so I should be "happy" not to be paying for the overage.

HELP!! any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Gabriella

[Followup post] Thank you all so much for your advice.
This moving company did not provide me with that book, nor did they supply me with the proper weight certificate. I plan to report them to the better business bureau, Atlas, DOT, and post their name on this website as well.
They are A-1 First Class Viking Moving an Atlas Van Lines company, located in Brooklyn New York.
I finally received the rest of my things yesterday and I was able to negotiate a $500 reduction, not what I wanted, but I guess it's better than nothing.

Companies like this one should not get away with doing this to their customers
.


To which the company responded:
A-1 First Class-Viking wrote:We apologize for the delay in your shipment to Florida. We do recognize that the shipment was many days over due, and that some of your shipment had to be put on a second truck, as it did not fit on the original trip.

Unfortunately, we do face delays and overflow situations. Although we strive to avoid them, delays are many times unavoidable. We are aware that this fact probably does not give comfort to you, and for this, we are sincerely apologetic.

As a responsible moving company, we felt that it was our obligation not only to honor our Guaranteed Not To Exceed pricing structure, but to offer a price reduction to compensate you for the delay in your shipment.

We have also instructed our local weigh scale to ensure that the proper information is included on each scale ticket. We do recognize that your name was not indicated on the scale tickets. We strive to make our shipment weighing processes as fair and open as possible, and encourage customers to view the weighing, if possible. If a question of the accuracy of a shipments' wieght does arise, we will happily reweigh a shipment at destination.

Once again, our apologies that your move did not go according to plan. We hope that you will still consider A-1 First Class-Viking and Atlas Van Lines for a future relocation.

Sincerely,

A-1 First Class-Viking
Agent for Atlas Van Lines


To which IMP replied:
IMP wrote:A-1: Did you comply with delay claim procedures? If a 2-8 day window was in the Order for Service yet the first delivery took more than 3 weeks, did you compensate the customer reasonable & customary accommodations plus 50% of meals up to and including the full amoung of the linehaul charged?

Have you retrained your sales representative to distribute the R & R booklet at the time of each and every single solitary estimate that he/she performs?

Have you turned yourself in for not complying with that regulation?

Have you yet provided this shipper with accurate weight tickets so that the customer is able to determine for himself/herself whether or not the $500 was sufficient for the actual weight of the shipment?

Your words were well written - but in my opinion have not gone far enough.


This is a pattern that at first glance appears to go beyond service failure, and I am concerned about it.
Last edited by Diane on Wed May 18, 2005 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twalker
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Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby twalker » Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:40 am

Evan,

Please make sure that you file an official complaint with MovingScam.com. You can do so here:

http://www.movingscam.com/fileComplaint.shtml

Thanks!
Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

John

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby John » Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:30 pm

I hired A-1 First Class-Viking to move my entire contents from my apartment in Queens, New York. The contents included a platform bed, mattress, two night tables, a large glass computer desk, a long dresser, and other cumbersome delicate belongings.

They instructed me to purchase freight via the BTNE agreement. So I did. I was scheduled to move into my new home in Dallas, Texas on the 1st, but A-1 never made it on time. In fact, they were more than 5 days late.

In an effort to restore some semblance, I phoned the company numerous times to inquire when they would be making the delivery date. I left messages and even phoned the manager, Lawrence, on his cell phone.

Lawrence was extremely unhelpful and rude. He told me my stuff would be arriving but never gave an exact date. Furthermore, when I asked for a concession for my inconvenience, Lawrence insisted A-1 did nothing wrong and that I should take them to court. So I am!

PLEASE DO NOT HIRE THIS COMPANY FOR ANY MOVING JOB!

Regards,
John

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby MusicMom » Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:30 pm

Have you contacted Atlas HQ about all of this?

Furthermore, when I asked for a concession for my inconvenience, Lawrence insisted A-1 did nothing wrong and that I should take them to court. So I am!


I love that the manager said this, already knowing there's not a lot that John can do in court. John, if you haven't yet read the homepage about the Carmack Amendment, please do so before spending too much money on a lawyer. Sorry to tell you this...

Guest

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby Guest » Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:05 am

Dear John,

We did handle one shipment this year from Queens, NY to Dallas, TX under a different name, however. If this is the same shipment, the shipment was picked up on 3/25, and delivered in Dallas, TX on 4/5. The shipment weight was 760 lbs (17 items), and under the Tarrif 400N, the shipment was rated at a 1000 lb. minimum. The shipment was released from A-1 First Class-Viking warehouse on 3/29.

The actual delivery date of the 5th is approximately 11 days from pickup, whcih is well within the standard delivery spread of 4-15 days for that small of a shipment going that distance. The Order For Service does not specify a guaranteed delivery date of the 1st. It would be difficult to coordinate with our van line a guaranteed dilvery date on a shipment this small.

A-1 First Class does not self-haul to Texas, but we do apologize for any delay that you may have experienced. We apologize that we did not have the information regarding delivery date and time when you had reaquested it. However, we give information out as we get it from our van line dispatchers, and it is possible that when you spoke with Lawrence, he did not have the information you were looking for.

A-1 First Class-Viking has had the unfortunate pleasure of being mentioned several times on this site. However, if you review each case, A-1 First Class-Viking has looked to take care of our customer with a fair settlement, with either financial compensation for delay, or invenstigation into shipment documents to make sure errors are corrected. Sometimes, our reviews are not instantaneous, as our documents are immediately sent to van line headquarters, but we feel that we make good on making sure our customers are treated fairly.

Furthermore, we extend an invitation to Diane to spend some time with us at our Brooklyn, NY location so she can get a first hand look at our operation. Our management staff looks forward to this meeting.

Thank you,

Darin @ A-1 First Class-Viking

23
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:47 pm

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby 23 » Mon Jan 03, 2005 11:23 am

Professionally handled Darin!

John,

Is this the same move he speaks of?

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

Re: Follow-Up: My move with A-1 First Class Viking in NY

Postby Diane » Wed May 18, 2005 3:21 pm

In the interest of being fair, I am re-posting a message posted on another thread on 1/5/05 by Darin, who is a son of A-1's owner (Michael Laby). In his post, Darin gives an update on how the above situations were resolved by his company:

dlaby wrote:So far, A-1 First Class-Viking has had the following jobs listed on the site:

1. EvanB- 1340 lbs., New York to Louisiana
2. Alex-- NJ to San Francisco
3. FrustratedMover-- 6000 lbs. New York to Florida
4. "John"- 760 lbs. New York to Texas

I submit the following as follow ups to these stories, as it is important that the conclusion of each shipment is shown:

1. EvanB-- After receiving a complaint regarding a possible overcharge, A-1 First Class-Viking facilitated the refund to EvanB's credit card to reflect that he was quoted an "Assured Price Protection," not a Binding estimate. An Assured Price Protection is a type of Binding Estimate that allows a customer to pay less if the acual weight of the shipment is less than quoted. EvanB's job was incorrectly registered as a Binding price, and his credit card was incorrectly charged for 3000 lbs, rather than his actual weight of 1340. In terms of possible damage, EvanB was quoted in our claims management system as saying that the damage was not at all as bad as he was lead to believe before delivery. No subsequent claim was filed.

2. Alex-- Alex was compensated as per the valuation selection for his claimed damages. Unfortunately, to protect Alex's rights, the exact amount must be kept confidential. In addition, repairs were made to the damaged furniture. We apologize for the damage, and hope that the settlement went a long way in helping him recover.

3. FrustratedMover-- FrustratedMover was given an Assured Price Protection quote of 6000 lbs., with 111 items on the pre-move survey. The actual weight was 7660 lbs, with 197 items listed on the actual inventory. All items were delivered, albeit late, and with an overflow because we unfortunately did not have room for the additional weight. The customer did not pay more than her original quote for 6000 lbs. Also, instead of paying the entire COD amount at delivery and then filing a delay claim due to a late delivery (which we admit to and are sorry for), we reached a settlement iwth the customer for a $500 reduction off the Bill of Lading charges. Sometimes, customers feel more comfortable handling claims at delivery, and if the customer wishes for an immediate settlement, we try to accomodate it, even if it is more costly to our agency.

4. "John"--- Was delivered 760 lbs. from New York to Texas in 11 days, and the price was as quoted-- 1000 lbs. minimum under Tarriff 400N. No other information was received on this. I am not sure as to why this is listed as a "scam."

In conclusion, I submit that A-1 First Class-Viking is a respnsible moving company operating in the New York City area. We don't think any of the above situations constituted a scam. Instead, I think they represent what a responsible moving company should do in situations where there is a problem with a shipment.

While I understand that due to numerous scams operating in the New York area, Diane and others are on high alert. While we are not 100% on time and damage free, I think we handle complaints and concerns in a responsible manner. Diane, based on the above situations, we ask you to review your "ALERT" status on our company.

Respectfully,

Darin
A-1 First Class-Viking
-
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3215

I did remove my formal warning about the company after talking with Darin on the phone shortly after he posted the above.

Although I continue to be concerned, I agree with Darin that since A-1 is doing a very large number of COD moves (I believe he said that it is among the top 10 Atlas agents nationwide in this category), it stands to reason that it might have more complaints than a company that does a smaller number of such moves. In addition, I believe that its quality scores with Atlas show nothing alarming. And I agree with Darin and "23" that there is nothing about John's move that would justify any kind of legal action against A-1. John's very small shipment was delivered in a timely way.

I will just add that in my opinion it's better to prevent problems than to mop up after they take place, and I'm sure that A-1's management would agree with this. Moving companies have to understand that on MovingScam.com our first priority is to protect consumers at all costs. I want to state clearly, however, that I do not believe that A-1 is anything remotely resembling a scammer.


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