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

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

Postby spumoni44 » Tue Nov 16, 2004 3:01 pm

Well, I'm within a day of signing a contract, and I just want to be sure this all sounds OK and that I haven't forgotten anything, so all opinions and advice gladly received.

I'm going with Armstrong Relocation (United--in Elk Grove Village, IL).

The estimate is a binding not-to-exceed for 4,100 lbs, 2010 miles Chicago to west L.A. I haven't decided on insurance + deductible yet, so it only includes the $.60/lb valuation. Does include shuttle; packaging double bed mattress, box spring, etc.; 1 wardrobe; transportation/line haul, origin fees, destination fees, fuel surcharge, IRR surcharge. Charge after 61% discount of $3686.

I'm a bit confused by the agent's inventory/table of measurements--I can't match everything up (the items) and I'm trying to clarify that. And it concerns me that she seemed clear that I'm mailing all the books/tapes/etc. via Post Office's Media Mail, but her estimate is 4,100 lbs without them and my previous estimates of about 4,000 were with them included, but as the contract means the truck will be weighed and I'll just be paying for the actual weight, maybe I shouldn't worry about that.

Any input, PLEASE?

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 » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:25 am

I'm moving Monday Nov 29, still frantically packing--my only excuse for not posting this sooner. Must do it tonight--have to unplug PC in AM.

I am EXTREMELY GRATEFUL for this forum and for the help I've received in selecting a mover and getting through the process. I want to thank Tim Walker and Diane for their help.

And I especially want to thank "23"--he had nothing whatever to gain, but after Diane suggested that I send him a PM, he ever so kindly sent me his phone number and spent a good half hour on the phone with me talking about what he knew about the company I'd selected (Armstrong/United in Chicago--all good) and general information about contracts and procedures. He relieved my tremendous apprehension about signing the contract and was a real lifesaver.

A general note to the regular responders on this site: if someone presents their choice or plan and it sounds OK or good to you, respond and say so, please. While it's more important to stop someone from making a bad choice, it really helps to even say "sounds OK" when someone is unsure of what to do. This whole process is so scary, an "OK" is very valueble and helpful.

Will post on how it went later. THANK YOU PEOPLE.

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

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

Postby IMP » Sun Nov 28, 2004 10:47 am

Sorry - I must have been sleeping through this whole thing. Have a friend who works at that agency, and others who work at other offices of the A.R./United family of companies - so if there's anything I can do, let me know. As those of you around often know - I have no connection to United or Armstrong - financially that is. I do have friends who work there and respect them very much as one of the good guys! I'm confident that things will go well - but know that there are many of us here to help if there is a hiccup in the system.

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 » Sun Nov 28, 2004 12:23 pm

spumoni44 wrote:A general note to the regular responders on this site: if someone presents their choice or plan and it sounds OK or good to you, respond and say so, please. . . . This whole process is so scary, an "OK" is very valuable and helpful.

Hi - I'm glad that "23" was so helpful to you, but not surprised, since he has done many, many similarly generous things in the past.

As I said in one of my PMs to you, I'm 99% sure that you will be fine with Armstrong (your origin agent) and S&M (your destination agent). Both have excellent reputations, judging from what I've read on this board.

Just a note of explanation - it's that 1% margin of uncertainty that prevents some of us volunteers from weighing in with an unqualified endorsement of any moving company. Until there are adequate laws to protect us in this country, and until there is adequate enforcement of those laws, it's technically possible for any company to scam anybody without fear of consequences. (I used to actually put this as a signature line on all my posts until I realized that I was scaring people out of their minds.)

Instead of using that signature line, I now use qualifying phrases like "Judging from what I've seen posted over the past year," "I feel cautiously optimistic about this company," and so on. The fact is that none of us want it on our consciences that we recommended a particular company, or said it was OK, and then the customer was cheated in some way. That may explain why nobody stepped in to endorse your plan, even though the companies you are dealing with have excellent reputations. But I agree with you that we should try to say what we can to reassure people.

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 » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:37 pm

Sorry to take so long to update you on my move, especially after all your wonderful help. Several things are unresolved still, so I was waiting to post.

I moved at the end of November '04 from Chicago to L.A. with Armstrong Relocation (United) in the Chicago area (2195 Arthur, Elk Grove Village, 800-649-4341).

Compared to some of the horror stories you hear about moving, it wasn't too bad. However, I found a number of things unnerving about it, and I would choose a different company (and do many things differently) if I could do it again.

The first problem was being expected to sign and return a faxed copy of the contract which I could not read, even with a magnifying glass, and being made to feel that I was being unreasonable to expect that I should be able to know/read what I was committing to. However, with your help, Diane, I found someone who was able to read an original copy to me and explain things I didn't understand (thank you so much!), so I signed it.

Due to a number of unfortunate circumstances (including hurting my back the night before), I wasn't entirely finished packing the morning the van arrived. But I wasn't that concerned by this, except for the extra cost, because I had been told I could be billed for any packing that I needed help with (this had been discussed several times, regarding the packing of heavier things such as the microwave and the PC's CPU). So I just resigned myself to paying more.

But when the shuttle van arrived, I was told that this was not so, that because I had a "do not exceed" contract (which I'd gotten because I was sure the estimated pounds were way high and that made me nervous) they couldn't add on a charge for packing. I thought at the time I got the contract and from everything I'd read before or since that the binding only applied to the number of pounds to be moved. As far as I knew, any extra services were not "bound," so I was astonished and confused by the driver saying this. I had not been told that this type of contract changed possible packing charges, nor do I see why it should--I mean, if I expected them to do things not included in the original contract, how could they be bound about the new things? And if the street proved inaccessible for the van and a shuttle was needed in L.A., or if I suddenly produced a refridgerator to move or changed the destination, wouldn't that have been added on?

The other problem was that I'd ordered 1 wardrobe and been told that I needn't worry if I turned out to need more, because they always brought more. However, they had brought zero wardrobes. I had several boxes I hadn't used yet, but that was because they were dusty as could be. So instead of hanging my clothes in nice clean wardrobe boxes, I had to dump into several large dirty boxes armloads of clean clothes which mostly ended up needing cleaning (mostly dry cleaning) and pressing that could have been avoided otherwise.

While I was struggling with throwing things into boxes as things were being loaded into the van, the driver and I eventually agreed that he'd pack certain things, although he basically refused to use my carefully saved boxes built for these things, leading to odd things like the computer scanner going in with the microwave (no harm, no foul). But I was disturbed to find he'd broken off and left on the floor one of keys from my PC keyboard (still can't reattach it).

I had a lot of furniture and boxes for the room that they were going in, and I was thrown by their not bringing in all the furniture first and putting it where I needed it, as I expected, then filling in the existing spaces with boxes. This meant that some of my furniture wasn't in the right spots, and I required help in later days moving things I couldn't move alone. Some couldn't be moved for weeks because of where other things were. This made unpacking much more difficult and slower.

When I started to put my furniture together--putting shelves back in bookcases and storage units--I found that they hadn't removed all the shelves when they'd packed the van, as I'd been told they would, but I guess the van movement had jolted them loose, and the shelf support pins were missing from a number of things. The driver gave me one of the pins from my stereo cart, which had been found on the floor of the van. It was missing more pins and I was able to buy them at the hardware store, for very little money. A minor problem.

But I cannot find the shelf support pins that were lost from several other storage units in any of the large hardware stores I've tried; they are not a standard type or shape nor do any available fit the right way, so I have shelves that cannot be inserted because there is no way to hold them up. If I'd known this would be a problem, I would have removed the shelves and collected the pins in a safe place myself. I'd had 1 awful and 1 poor local move prior to this, and they never lost any of the pins, so I never suspected this would be a problem. This really bothers me--it's almost like having broken the shelves, because I can't really use them, or use the storage units as I would like. And I can't afford to replace all 6 matched units.

They also bent the arm of my one pole lamp and I can't bend it back to the right angle. (They got its shade dirty, too, but I consider that to be more my fault--I forgot to remove it and box it with the other lamp shades.) There were a number of small injuries to furniture, but nothing major. For example, the back of my chest of drawers came detached from it, but the driver was able to hammer it back on.

I found it very hard to deal with the moving-in process. I had to check off the numbers of the unloaded items, while trying to oversee the placement of things and check their condition. The latter proved to be impossible at the same time as the other things. Advice: have someone else do the checking off of things as the owner checks the things and where they go.

Several boxes that were obviously mine arrived without the United colored number stickers on them, but this was OK because they were clearly mine. However, the last thing they brought in was a box I didn't recognize, and they didn't think was mine. Unfortunately, I didn't insist on opening it due to exhaustion, and they took it away with them. It didn't have anyone's numbered sticker on it, but I think mine was the last load dropped off, and it was in the back of the van. Since then, I have discovered that I am missing some things that would have been among the final things packed. These are not of any value except to me, but they are things I wouldn't have missed when I packed or unpacked my things, including several things I made and used daily and was looking for (and cannot reproduce), plus a t-shirt that I wore regularly. And I've realized that they used some boxes of their own in packing up the things that were left over, and I didn't recognize at least 1 box that did hold my things. I called on Feb. 11 about this and have called several times since, but no one has gotten back to me about the "mystery" box, which I think probably contains my things. I find it disturbing that in 4 weeks someone couldn't track this down and call me back.

I leave it up to you if you find these things bad enough to look elsewhere or not.

One unrelated bit of advice. I cut down the cost of moving by shipping 14 boxes of books and about 8 boxes of tapes and records via the post office's Media Mail, which saved a good bit of money. However, the boxes arrived in horrible shape, with a number of things damaged. Unfortunately, my nearly-blind mother noticed nothing amiss, nor did the mail carrier mention it to her (I would have stopped sending them and added them to the inventory to send with Armstrong if I had known). And the box containing some of my favorite books, many of them out of print, never arrived at all. So be very careful about trusting the post office with these kinds of things.

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 » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:52 pm

Hmm. Although it wasn't exactly a disaster, I was hoping for better. One of the moving professionals who posts here (who doesn't work for United) has described Armstrong United in Chicago as "the best United agent in the United States." If that's true, maybe the industry is in more trouble than I realized.

I'm also horrified that the USPS could actually LOSE a box.

I would be interested in the moverpros' comments on this report that a bound estimate is not increased if additional packing is required.

Instead of spending time recommending themselves on this website under the names "Melissa" and "Jess," maybe the people at Armstrong Chicago should focus on finding this person's missing box and compensating her for the keyboard that the driver damaged.

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

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

Postby MusicMom » Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:56 pm

I'm also horrified that the USPS could actually LOSE a box.

This surprises you? :wink:

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

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

Postby 23 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:53 pm

I would be interested in the moverpros' comments on this report that a bound estimate is not increased if additional packing is required.

United's policy is simple: If the Estimate /Order for Service changes, a new estimate needs done before loading occurs. Due to the new consumer protections, if they had done nothing, they would of had to bill this lady 30 days after delivery for services she added (the packing). Why should they be penalized and have to wait to collect that money?

Spumoni,

Sorry things didn't go as smooth as you wished.

Guest

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

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:00 pm

spumoni44 wrote: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.

Guest

Re: your move to LA

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:04 pm

danimalector wrote: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

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

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

Postby MusicMom » Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:14 pm

Spumoni44 wrote: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).

Diane wrote:Regarding Samson Chicagoland, it has terrible comments and I can't imagine anyone writing in to praise it.


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