University Van Lines reviews (Rahway, NJ)

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Guest » Sat Jan 22, 2005 5:25 pm

It was a University truck and and driver.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Sat Jan 22, 2005 7:58 pm

Thanks. Judging from what I've read on this site over the past two years, I think that moves usually go better when an agent uses its own trucks and drivers and helpers, although some moving company people have disagreed with me on this point.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:40 am

I just want to update this thread with a couple of recent reviews of University Van Lines.

"bpgoz" used them for a move from NYC to SF and was very pleased:
bpgoz wrote:Just wanted to provide some feedback on my recent cross country move from Brooklyn, NY to SF, CA. I went with University Van Lines in NJ and these guys did a great job. They were on time, extremely professional, courteous and seemed genuinely concerned about getting it right. The same could be said for the guys at the CA end. It was the easiest and most seamless move I've ever had and these guys get a huge kudos from my end.

Bill at University did give me a GNTE estimate that ended up being a lot lower than his quote. In all honesty, I figured it probably would be but I wanted the assurance of knowing it was never going to go above what was ultimately quoted.

I had a full service move where they did the packing, and so far I have unpacked about 70% of the boxes and NOTHING is broken. I'm impressed.

"kyuss1" said she was very happy about their estimator Bill Quigley for a move from NJ to Los Angeles, but I don't know what company she finally chose:
kyuss1 wrote:I researched companies very thoroghly in north jersey using this site and various other scam sites,, the BBB site and's site. The cream of the crop came up to be University Van Lines, Wade Odell and Wade and Holman Moving Systems. all 3 came out for an estimate and they were all quite courteous and professional. Here's my take thus far on all:

University Van Lines
Bill Quigley sales rep

Bill was awesome and the best IMHO of the 3 sales reps though the other 2 were very good. He was right on time, courteous, professional, seemingly very honest and open, and very personable & likeable. He gave me great tips on packing, encouraged me to pack all myself, showed me how, did a very thorough inventory and was the most detail oriented. He asked a lot of questions which other didn't. He also was the only agent to offer to come back out a few days before the move to do yet another inventory and write up a GNTE estimate. He was the most outstanding sales rep I've ever dealt with in all the moves I've made. I'm extremely comfortable with him and University atm.

My only concerns with University are these:
*Not members of the BBB
* averages 2 stars on Atlas Van Lines while United averages 3 stars

This makes a total of 9 very positive reviews and comments about University Van Lines (Rahway, NJ) on this website--all unsolicited. That is more than any other moving company except for the freight companies ABF and BE. See earlier posts on this thread for the other 7 reviews, by:

"Patricia in Portland"
"Alex nj"

I am just bringing these reviews together so people can find them easily if they're looking for a moving company in the NYC area.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Tue May 17, 2005 9:34 pm

UPDATE: Unfortunately, “kyuss1” DID have a problem with his move, which went into the Atlas Van Lines system. (He was a man, not a woman.) He posted on 4/23/05 that some components were removed from his boxed computer and that some other things had damage. He stressed that Bill Quigley (and his brother Jim, a co-owner of University Van Lines) were good guys but strongly advised people to move themselves with ABF or Broadway Express rather than using a van line -

It should be noted that this was a problem that occurred on Atlas’ watch. It did not occur on the watch of University Van Lines, which only booked the move. Nevertheless, Bill and Jim Quigley did intervene to try to help “kyuss1.” At last report, Bill told me that he had advised “kyuss1” to ask for arbitration on his claim.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:09 pm

Two more favorable reviews of University Van Lines were posted here on 7/15/05, bringing the total to around 11:

Tina wrote: NYC to Charlotte, North Carolina with University Van Lines

Juan, Danny and Andy arrived on June 22nd at my upper Manhattan apartment on time; in fact they were a little early. Juan took a quick walk-through my 3 bedroom/2 bath coop as I pointed out what was going and what was not. He took charge immediately and the three commenced to carry all of my worldly goods to their truck. Being a single parent, I didn’t quite have everything packed and even ran out of boxes. They provided extra boxes and offered advice in packing some of the items.

Two bookcases I have, had to be manually taken apart. It took quite a bit of time as no one anticipated how many screws and parts there were. The two largest parts of the cases couldn’t fit in the elevator and had to be taken down by stairs from the seventh floor (makes for slight grumpiness from the movers…but then, who wouldn’t be?) One small piece was left behind but, no biggie, I put it in my suitcase to bring with me.

It took them about six hours to haul everything out including 30 minutes for lunch that I provided. Juan made a final walk through with me as he opened cupboards and closet doors and asked about items still in storage. I’m glad he did. There were seasonal items I had completed forgotten about that would have been thrown out or unhappily given away. Juan and his team were polite, courteous, friendly and professional. He told me not to worry and that my stuff was its way to “Jimmy” in New Jersey. Juan and his guys assured me that “Jimmy” was a good man. (Juan and Co. “shuttled” my stuff from Manhattan to NJ)

Throughout the day, Juan was in contact with the main office, especially with Monica. Monica is All-Things-University-Van-Lines. (Juan spoke her name with reverence and awe). Apparently Monica is the office administrator, moving coordinator, public relations manger, human resources supervisor and general hand-holder for the nervous client. In other words, Monica is the captain of her ship: she seems to runs a tight one and she keeps everything in check. She was the person I spoke to after the initial walk-through with Mike Carolan. I found her to be very professional and to the point.

After my arrival in Charlotte, Monica advised me of my final charges. They were $1,200 under the initial estimate. How cool is that? That gave me a good feeling about University and my stomach churned less.

Throughout my wait, I advised Monica or her staff with my new contact information while they updated me with delivery information. It ended up that my goods would be delivered on the far end of the date range which was July 13th. As the date grew closer (with my imagination running rampant with scenes of “hostage” situations and broken and lost items), I continued to call the office to confirm the actual delivery date. On July 12th, sensing the panic in my voice, a staff member advised my stuff would arrive July 14th but couldn’t be absolutely sure. The date, again, had to be confirmed by the truck driver. At 9:00am, July 14th, I called the office again. This time a male staff member called the driver and called me back with news the driver was within two hours of Charlotte. He was on the money.

Jack and Jaime arrived about 10:30am. I showed Jack where I wanted the majority of my items and he and Jaime started immediately. While they were professional and courteous, they were more the “strong, silent types”. I provided cold water but they politely refused sandwiches preferring to finish the job. They took care in removing my items from the truck and were diligent in checking for every last item. After everything was taken off the truck Jack went over the inventory list. Each item or box had been “flagged” earlier by Juan with a numbered red ticket. There were a few items without tickets which Jack added to the list as delivered. I paid with my VISA and the whole process took just under 4 hours.

Being the ultimate Nervous Nellie, I have to say I was pleased overall with University Van Lines. They were professional all the way. My only annoyance (a small one) was communication about the delivery date. I could have planned my week better if I could have had a confirmed written-in-blood delivery date.

I’m still opening my boxes but so far, all is well. There is an antique display/book case where the glass was removed on one side and I’m still trying to figure out why. Again there is only me, myself and I to open all of the boxes so it will take a while. I could have had the larger bookcases reassembled but opted not to since this stop is temporary (can you believe I have to do this again in six months?!) But so far I give two thumbs up (especially to you skeptical New Yorkers) for University Van Lines.


mizrach wrote: ATLAS/UNIVERSITY

A continuation of this thread:

Here, at last, is the story of my move from Brooklyn, NY to Tallahassee, FL. I hope it helps. And good luck to all.

Since alternate side of the street parking rules would be in effect that day, the move was scheduled for Monday morning, June 13 . If they got there early enough, ATLAS/UNIVERSITY would have the entire block to park a truck of any size without worry. Even better, they could literally park right in front of the doorway. Bill Quigley seemed pleased with this arrangement and told me they would most likely get the interstate truck that would be making the trip for the load-up in Brooklyn. Two days before the scheduled move, I discovered that the parking regulations were to be canceled due to a Jewish holiday. There went my plan. However, out of pure luck, I was able to park my car, and a friend’s car right in front of the building. With the two fire hydrants guaranteeing a large no-parking area right up to my car, and now with my car and my neighbor’s car positioned until the movers showed up, I secured the space needed for a 70 or 80 foot interstate truck to park in front of the building. I didn’t want my stuff shuttled, and, parking regulations in effect or not, I wasn’t going to let that happen.

Needless to say, one day before the move, someone from the company called me up -- Bill Quigley said it was brother, the owner, but it may have been someone else entirely -- to tell me that they would be arriving a bit later than discussed and that they would be using a much smaller truck to shuttle my stuff. This was exactly what I did not want. I told him the story of the parking drama, how I was able to provide enough room for the interstate truck, how parking wasn’t an issue now, how my street was wide enough, how trucks like that have driven in that area, and how Bill Quigley told me they would be using just one truck. “Well,” he said, sounding like he’d just woken up andI was the one to have awakened him, “That’s my call, not Quigley’s.” “

"I’d heard horror stories." I said, and "I really would prefer if my possessions were not shuttled. Besides, Quigley assured me there was no need to shuttle..." but he cut me off.

“You’re just going to have to live with it," he said.

Excuse me? Come again? Live with it? Wow, you're not exactly a customer service professional, are you?

I don’t know how I was able to keep my cool but I did and calmly hung up the phone and called Bill Quigley. He said that I wasn’t going to be charged for the shuttle and that my stuff would be fine.

It should be known that I still had the option to back out of it. I could have told the “Live with it” guy to screw off and that I was no longer interested in moving with ATLAS/UNIVERSITY but, in the end, it was a good thing that I kept my mouth shut.

The movers, three of them including the driver, arrived and began loading the smaller truck. Within just a few hours, they had everything packed up and ready to go. I was surprised how quickly it all went. And how quietly. Their inventory list matched mine perfectly. They were professional and decent and again assured me that the shuttle was no big deal.

The next day, after sleeping in my now empty apartment, they called me to explain that they’d weighed the truck. Here was the moment of truth. How accurate was Quigley's estimate? How protected was my guarenteed not to exceed? Well, turns out I was a thousand pounds under the estimate. Yup. A thousand pounds lighter! The best part: I would be charged a thousand dollars less than the original quote. I was surprised. I was pleased. My faith in ATLAS/UNIVERSITY was renewed!

Anyway, the move window was something like two weeks or so, kind of a pain but, whatever, life goes on. Bill Quigley told me I would receive a call letting me know when the truck was slated to leave and when it was to arrive in Tallahassee. After a few days and a few calls on my end, a few unreturned phone calls from Bill, he finally called and told me when the truck would arrive.

So, we left.

And after a night on the air matterss (they suck) in our new Tallahassee home, they arrived.

It was just one worker and the driver and within a few hours they unloaded the truck, placed the boxes where I wanted, and took another inventory that, again, lined up perfectly with mine.

And that, thank God, is that.

Now, would I recommend ATLAS/UNIVERSITY?


Was the estimate fair?

YES. Keep in mind estimators are salesmen and that means what that means. They're smoothies. They kinda stretch the truth. They work on commission. But the estimate, as you can see from the other thread, was fair and in the end much less than I thought.

What about their estimator, Bill Quigley?

After all is said and done, Bill Quigley was a good person to deal with. He was honest. Sure, he skipped out on a few calls. And, yeah, he kept me waiting a bit. Ok, perhaps he is a bit too enthusiastic about his rep on this site. But, all in all, I trust him and that's what counts.

Final thoughts?

Yes. Pack well.
Nothing broke with our move -- and I mean nothing at all -- and I attribute that to my incredibly thorough packing job and ATLAS/UNIVERSITY's gentle touch. But, I did pack like a bubble-wrap fiend. Use it. Buy more of it. Keep everything valuable wrapped up in it. Then recycle it.

Do you plan on moving again?

I sure as hell hope not.

Anyone you'd like to thank?

Yes. Diane, first and foremost. I dont know who you are but you are a great help. Also, this site admin and all the folks here who make their little karmic deposits by helping poor, ill-informed fools like me.

Is that it?



Goodnight! -

I added:
Diane wrote:. . . what any skeptical New Yorker reading this should take away from this is that you trust Bill and University Van Lines did right by you. Do you realize that you got a full-service move for less than what you would have paid to the freight company Broadway Express? Here's what you posted in one of your prior threads:

BROADWAY EXPRESS (spoke w/Trent)
PHONE ESTIMATE: $2231-$2346 @ 15-16 lin ft

So, if you paid $1000 less to University because you had 1000 fewer pounds than estimated, you paid only $2351. You would have had to pay people to load and unload with BE, taking the total cost well above that. In fact, I would say that you made out like a bandit.

. . . It's very reassuring that University honored its GNTE and you did get money back when your weight was less than the estimate. Others have said that the same thing happened to them.
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Sun Aug 14, 2005 3:56 pm

Another favorable review of a move with University Van Lines from NY to FL has just been posted here:
AR811 wrote:8/13/05 - My mother had University Van Lines come and give an in home estimate. Her GNTE quote was $3,877.35 for 4,400 Lbs and $25,000 of Full Value Protection coverage with a $250 deductible. That was the only moving quote she got because I felt that University Van Lines would be the best since they have people who drive their truck from NY to FL without handing her things over to another agent from their van line.

University Van Lines . . . came at 9am on Monday morning August 1, 2005 because that was the day we were all flying back to FL so we needed them to come early so we can catch our flight. They were there bright and early on Monday morning with happy faces and they were extremely nice, 3 people. I believe the got back to NJ just in time to put my mothers things on the truck that was about to go down to FL. She received her things on Thursday August 4, 2005 around noon. It took just about 3 days to receive her things. I was really impressed by them.

University Van Lines is an amazing company. There were 4 guys who moved the boxes and everything into my mother's new apartment and she was telling them where to put it and they were very helpful and courteous. We couldn't have asked for anything better. . . .

8/14/05 - I forgot to add that the weight on the moving truck came out to around 2,600 Lbs so the price my mother had to pay was lowered to $2,649.16
. -

I just want to point out to people reading this that I think we are seeing a pattern here. University Van Lines is giving high GNTE quotes (many companies in the NY metro area won't give them at all), but in many cases the actual weight has been lower than the estimate and therefore people have paid up to $1,200 less than the estimate.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:31 am

Another good review of University Van Lines for a move from NJ to NC has just been posted:
Charlene wrote:9/29/05 - Hi all prospective movers! I hate moving..(who doesn't)! Done it countless of times, but this time we had to use professionals. Since it was our 1st time, I thankfully stumbled upon this site.. read the Lessons Learned, Recommendations, and tips on how to pack yourself, visited other sites..and found this one to be the most informative. I got 3 estimates,-- all close in cost. University was the highest (within $100) but I went with them, in part because of reading others positive experiences on this site. Bill Quigley was able to not only establish a rapport to the degree I want him to come for dinner.. but he is knowledgeable and very upfront.. he recommended how we could reduce our moving costs and gave us his cell number just in case..
Our furniture was treated with kit gloves, the moving staff -courteous, and professional.. The unloading staff: Professional, approachable, and FAST...Bill the driver unloaded our items with diligence and care..his staff..jiffy quick and professional. We did have our floor speakers break: they were blanket wrapped, but the switches to control the bass/etc were snapped off. I contacted Atlas, and they settled the claim within the week..and we had a check within 10 days.. Otherwise, all our furnishings arrived without any real marring or damage.. I recommend them OUTRIGHT. What a professional moving company SHOULD and COULD be! -

Also, within the past month two people posted that they had reservations about University's newest estimator, Scott (they thought his quotes were too high and there were other issues) - However, on another thread someone moving from NYC to FL posted that Scott was great -
Jessica wrote:9/9/09 - I just met with Scott from University Van Lines. I accidently locked us out of the house! He was very kind about it and quite funny. He began telling me about the company before we got into the house so by the time we got inside I felt quite reassured.

Anyway, he was extremely thorough and had a lot of helpful information. He told us how to pack things, how certain things should be wrapped, what the company would provide, etc. The grand totals came out to 7300lbs for $5900. This is with them doing partial packing (the fine china, all the glass, etc).

I think he might have overestimated the weight but he said he preferred to have nice surprises than bad ones and I agree. He was also quick to mention that if we decided not to take anything or to pack something University was supposed to pack, he would not charge us for it. He said it would be a University truck that does the move unless something comes up. We do need a shuttle though. One thing I did forget to ask about were the flights of stairs. I'm going to call him back sometime today to ask about that.

My estimate from them was NOT GNTE but he explained that that was because we were not able to see my grandmother's house. That's perfectly fine with my family.

Oh and he mentioned many times and he even said that they were opening a new office in Brooklyn because of all the buzz this site has generated. He was very impressed with my knowledge (that I got from this site lol) so I think University will treat us well just because they really care for their reputation. -

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:36 pm

Another good review of University Van Lines has just been posted for a move from NJ to FL -
junkmanj wrote:10/8/05 - Just wanted to post a positive feedback message regarding University Van Lines - Rahway, NJ.

Our move was from Union County to St. Petersburg, FL. All went relatively smooth from begin to end. Mike Carolan our sales guy was very flexible, patient and complient as were both the shipping and receiving crews. Our move consisted of two households. We opted for a cost not to exceed estimate which was 10% higher then the non-guaranteed estimate. In actuality, the total cost was about 10% below the non-guaranteed estimate.

Again both crews were careful for the most part and definately were experienced. My only minor quibble was the shipment arrived one day later then the stated timeframe. For us it wasn't a big issue, especially in view of our overall high satisfaction.

I would very much recommend University Van Lines for their very good service and responsiveness. Everyone at the office seem to have a conscientious attitude. One of University's owners ( Mr. Quigley) called prior to the move to advise the time the pack crew would arrive at both households. They were right on time as was the driver (Mike) on the receiving end. Mike also called ahead. In short, great communications in a pro-active manner. . . [and] we were pleased to see that University did use their own van. The same van our contents were loaded on was used on the trip down. -

Note that once again, a high GNTE was given but the customer ended up paying substantially less--in this case, about 20% less (see bold face).

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 07, 2005 1:46 pm

Another good review of University Van Lines has just been posted by someone who used them as a booking agent for a move from NJ to CA:
jayK wrote:9/17/05 - My quote from Victory [the United agent Victory Van Lines on Staten Island] was $7726 for 7000 lbs., and my quote from University was $7578 for 8200 lbs. . . . I felt much more comfortable with the University sales rep (Bill Quigley), so I'll be going with them. . . .

11/6/05 - University Van Lines picked up my belongings (all 250 boxes) on Oct 20. They were delivered Oct 31...there was minor damage to one table, but other than that there were no issues. Overall, a smooth experience. -

However, another person who also booked with University for a cross-country move had a bad experience with the Atlas hauling agent:
rwreynard wrote:10/25/05 - I went with University and Atlas because of this site's recommendations but the Atlas agent who actually moved me across country was very poor. University did a decent job at the NYC end but several pieces were damaged in transit and 2 valuable paintings never got delivered and I'm still waiting for them (a month late now). They're promised, so we'll see. My claim pay out will be about $600 which will cover a couple of things but not all damage by any means.

. . . it's a CRAPSHOOT who you get to actually drive your stuff across and unload at the other end. You can't control that.

I'm planning a full write-up when the saga's finally over. . . If there's any way on God's earth you can move yourself, MOVE YOURSELF. I'm amazed at the low standard of move $8000 bought me. -

In a followup post she stressed that this was not University's doing or under its control. I will update this report when she posts again. She has promised to post the name of the hauling agent after things settle.

People using any van line agent should keep in mind that the booking agent has almost no control of the move unless the shipment is self-hauled. The agent can request that certain companies be used or not used as the hauling agent, but this may or may not happen.

Just a side note that another person has posted that she liked University's Mike Carolan as an estimator:
ashear wrote:10/19/05 - I liked him and he seemed quite thorough and very nice. He was the first estimate so I had a lot of questions, all of which he answered. When I asked about doing a partial pack he said we'd just pay for what they packed (he was the only one who actually printed up a partial pack estimate for me). He said once we decided which we wanted (full or partial) he would do a GTNE. -

However, once again University's quote was the highest of three estimates. As I noted above, this seems to be a pattern with University, but the final price to the customer is often much lower.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Fri Nov 25, 2005 5:44 pm

As she promised, "rwreynard" has posted the outcome of her move from NYC to Seattle that was booked by University:
rwreynard wrote:11/22/05 - . . . my lost box with precious paintings has finally found its way to me, only 2 months later, so I, at least, have all my stuff now. Not all of it in 1 piece and working, but oh well. I only paid $8500 to move a 1 bed apt, obviously that wasn't enough to ensure reasonable care - I feel robbed. :(

The company who moved me across (picked up from University and trucked it over and unloaded it) was Security Storage Company out of Charlotte, NC. . . . if you're moving with University and there's any way of finding out who's picking your stuff up, if it's these guys, ask Atlas/University to be put on the next truck. -

She stressed again that although she had a "miserable" experience, it was not University's fault. Apparently the long-haul driver for Atlas Van Lines damaged her things moving them out of University's warehouse.

Also, earlier this month I visited University in NJ and talked at length with the co-owners (Jim Quigley and Bill Dolan), the office manager (Monica Nichols), and two of the sales reps (Jim's brother Bill Quigley and Mike Carolan). All of them except Monica have been drivers and Bill Dolan still drives for University, which is good because most people think that you can't really understand the moving business unless you've worked on the trucks yourself. I also met a nice guy they call "Uncle Bill" who runs the warehouse and is related to the Quigleys by marriage (wearing a light blue shirt in the truck photo below). I was very favorably impressed by everybody, but especially by Bill Quigley and Mike Carolan--different personalities, but each extremely likeable in his own way.

Below are photos of the sales reps Bill Quigley and Mike Carolan, co-owner Bill Dolan, Monica, and Mike Carolan.
Image<--Bill and Mike...Bill Dolan-->Image...Monica Nichols-->Image...Mike Carolan-->Image

Here's a photo I took of some of the warehouse people showing how the trucks are marked "Pass" on one side and "Fail" on the other, and also a photo where Jim Quigley (owner) was showing how a strap with e-clip fits into the e-track in the trailer. Above him you can see a cargo bar/load bar clicked into the e-track to hold a canoe wrapped in a moving blanket. The cargo bars can also be used as supports for plywood decking.

Image<--Pass/Fail.....e-track demo-->Image

Here's hoping that University will continue to do a good job for people and that there will be few problems of the type that "rwreynard" experienced with the van line. I know that Jim Quigley cares very much about the reputation of his company because he told me, "My reputation and my word are all I have." University does a lot of moves for schools and libraries in the Rahway/Linden area, a good sign. It also does origin agent work for two of the four blue-ribbon international freight forwarders mentioned on our International Moves sticky.
Last edited by Diane on Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby ufgrad98 » Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:17 pm

I wrote this on another board, but I think it deserves to be here:

I moved from NJ to NC in August and did A LOT of research on the moving companies. I got estimates from 4 different companies (all of them highly recommended on this website). University Van Lines was my top choice based on these recommendations. They came in at the highest estimate but I had a GNTE and was pretty happy with them otherwise.

The Friday before my move (I was moving on a Monday), I received a telephone call from a CT Atlas agent saying that he was the one that was actually moving. University Van Lines had given me over to them and they would be handling my move. Although both are Atlas agents, I was unable to find information about this CT agent and only went with Atlas due to University Van Line's reputation. Since it was 4:45pm on Friday and I was supposed to move on Monday morning, I had no other choice than to stick with Atlas.

Monday morning comes along and the truck was supposed to be there around 9am. By 12pm I'm panicking because they aren't there yet with the truck and I have to be out of my house by 5pm for the closing. At 1pm, the truck (from the CT agent) finally shows up with ONLY ENOUGH SPACE FOR 2500 pounds of my stuff. My estimate was for 8000 pounds and they sent a truck that was so full of everyone else's stuff that it could only hold 2500 pounds of my stuff. I was furious. After screaming at University Van Lines and Atlas for quite some time, it was decided that the CT truck would take as much as it could and would get it down to NC in 3 days and a University Van Lines truck would haul the rest of my stuff to storage and move it down whenever it could. This was definitely NOT what was supposed to happen and I have to say that University Van Lines dropped the buck on this one and took so little responsibility for any of it.

I finally got the second part of my furniture about 8 or 9 days later, which is not too bad considering how long it could have been. But, the actual weight was definitely more than the estimate weight was. Thank goodness for the GNTE. When the moving men from the second load brought my stuff, they were very unprofessional and ruined all of my landscaping when they brought my furniture in. They didn't read off the item numbers so I could check them off. So I didn't actually know if I got all of my stuff (I still don't since we have a lot of boxes to still unpack). But the kicker is, I received several items that weren't mine and when I brought it to their attention, they said that since it was with my shipment it must have been mine and I must be mistaken!!! They wouldn't take it back.

I found a box of books the other day that was also not mine and I called Atlas headquarters to alert them and they wanted to know if I would like to return them to Atlas. I told them that they aren't mine and I don't want them and that the person missing them would probably appreciate it if they were back. But the lady at Atlas said nobody had made a claim for them and if I really wanted to, someone from my local Atlas office could come pick them up. I told her to please have someone come, but nobody has called me to arrange this yet.

I would NEVER use University Van Lines again, nor would I use Atlas. All of the people at University Van Lines were unhelpful and kept passing me off to someone else.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:42 pm

In the interest of fairness, I'm re-posting my response to this complaint, which was originally posted under "Report a Scam."

Diane wrote:ufgrad98,

I'm really sorry about what happened to you, but I don't think University Van Lines was at fault, as I'll explain below. (This is one of your prior posts that explains the background of your move, which was from NJ to NC last August - )

It looks to me as if University couldn't self-haul your shipment because of the summer crunch so they asked Atlas Van Lines to assign a road driver to haul it. This is perfectly legitimate and in fact quite normal during the summer. However, the road driver (from another Atlas agent, Kaster in CT) who was supposed to pick it up filled out his truck unexpectedly and had room for only part of your shipment.

University apparently tried to help by sending one of its own trucks to bring the rest of your shipment to its warehouse until the van line could figure out a way to deliver it to NC. I don't think University was required to do that, because it was the van line's responsibility to find a second truck. I believe that University's responsibility stopped once the move was assigned to the hauling agent.

The fault as I see it is with the van line, the other Atlas agent, the summer season, and just plain bad luck. Once again we see that when there's a problem with a move booked by University, it's the van line or another agent that has screwed up, not University. University did not drop the ball; it actually did more than it was required to do. In addition, it probably didn't make much on the move because your weight was greater than the estimated weight and you had a GNTE. (This is unusual, by the way, because University's weight estimates are usually high.)

The full-service moving industry is based on a series of documented hand-offs of responsibility for people's goods. This is not well understood by the general public, which thinks that the booking/origin agent will babysit their goods through the entire move. Not so, unless it is also the hauler. University has actually gone much farther than most booking/origin agents do in trying to help customers whose moves it has booked. Most of the time the van line system works OK, but there are cases like this one where it does not.

:arrow: If a person wants true babysitting where the driver who picks up the shipment will almost always be the driver who delivers it, and if there's not enough room on the truck a second truck will usually be sent the next day, that person has a better chance if he goes with Broadway Express rather than with a full-service moving company. When BE books a move, it takes responsibility for that move from start to finish. To put it bluntly, booking/origin agents for the van lines are not required to do so and they usually do not do so.

Maybe this parallel will make it clearer for women at least. When you gave birth to your first baby, you may have thought that your obstetrician was going to be interested in that baby--how it was progressing during the first weeks and months, and so on. But you probably found out, as I did, that responsibility for the baby had been handed off to the pediatrician and the obstetrician was out of the picture, perhaps after posting your baby's photo on his bulletin board. So it is with the full-service moving industry.

The reason that I myself try to guide certain customers toward full-service companies like University Van Lines that have performed well for people posting here is that those customers have stated that they want and can afford a full-service mover rather than a self-move. If that were not the case, I would be guiding everyone who comes here toward Broadway Express. (I think ABF, although very good, is a little too bare bones for many people.)

Bottom line: this move booked by University Van Lines went badly but it was not a scam.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby ufgrad98 » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:25 pm

I did not want to make it seem as though University Van Lines pulled a scam on me....that was definitely not my intention. I only wanted to relate my experience so that others who are considering using this agent will have as many opinions on them as possible. I don't believe they scammed me....I do believe that they were unhelpful and unreliable and I would not use them nor any other Atlas agent again for a subsequent move.

Since I explicitly told the estimator man when he came to my house that the reason I chose University Van Lines was based on their reputation on this website and that I wanted them to move me, I think that they should have at least told me that there was a chance that they themselves would not be moving my stuff but another Atlas agent might be. I never was told that and it would have made a difference with whom I went with to move me. As far as the truck not being able to hold all of my stuff, I was told that they knew it would be a problem before my moving day, yet they made no contingency plans as to what to do with my stuff until I told Atlas (headquarters and University Van Lines) that they better come up with something because I had to get out of my house in a few hours. So it was definitely not the case that the "driver filled out his truck unexpectedly and had room for only part of your shipment." Atlas was well aware there would not be room for my stuff and actually told me this on my moving day while I was fighting with them about who was going to haul my items.

Furthermore, University Van Lines demanded that I pay IN FULL when the first shipment was delivered, despite the fact that the majority of my items were still in their storage and I had no estimated date of delivery. That came straight from Monica who said I was required to pay for all of the moving costs even though I hadn't received my stuff yet. I did eventually get this straightened out by calling corporate, but when I spoke with Bill from University regarding this first, he reiterated what Monica had told me and that I had to pay the first driver for everything.

I just feel that University Van Lines did a poor job of handling my move and I wanted to post my experience so that someone considering using them knows that, despite all of the great reviews, there are times where customers have been unhappy with their service.

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:01 pm

OK, I hear you, and your comments will stay here for a long time to warn others about what can happen with a van line move. I don't think that sales reps routinely tell customers that their shipments may be moved by another company, just as they don't say that there may be delivery delays. I have posted this fact all over the website ("Remember that you are choosing only the booking/origin agent" etc. etc.) but I don't think it really sinks in until people read something like your experience. So, by posting this, you are helping to educate a lot of people. I'm also very sorry about the hassle you went through. Obviously no one WANTED to do that to you, so there must have been a communications screwup somewhere along the line, and because your move was scheduled for so close to the time when you had to vacate the premises, it was a near-disaster. Again, I'm so sorry. (Note to people moving in the future: it may be best not to schedule your pickup for the very day that you have to get out of your residence.)

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Re: V. Santini / University Van Lines (Atlas)

Postby Diane » Sat Dec 31, 2005 4:57 pm

I'm reposting a good review of University that was posted under the topic title "Yet Another Good Review for University Van Lines" - Because the review was so long, I've eliminated some of the less important details.
Newlyblond1 wrote:12/17/05 - I promised to write back after my move from NY to FL was completed and (thank God) its finally over.

After reading so many good reviews for University Van Lines of Rahway, NJ on this website, I decided to scrap the three others I had spoken with and went with them. I previously posted my positive experience with Scott, their salesman from Brooklyn. I had wanted them to pick-up on Nov.30, but they couldn't accomodate me on that date (I booked them only two weeks in advance) so I agreed to Nov. 29. Scott voluntarily provided me with a GNTE, binding estimate of $5400.00. This included the optional insurance which came to about $300.00.

On Nov. 28, John called me to let me know that the moving crew would be at my house between 9:00am and 9:30am, depending on traffic. Cesar and two others (I regret that I didn't write down their names) arrived promptly at 9:15am and got right to work. I asked Cesar if he knew whether my load was to be carried straight through by University, or whether it would be transferred to another agent enroute. He assured me that University would be carrying it straight through, and that once loaded on the truck it wasn't going to come off again until it reached my new home in FL.

I decided based on this to forego the optional insurance. I had learned from reading posts on this site that the chance of damage is FAR reduced when the same agent carries straight through. A lot of damage occurs in moving freight from truck to warehouse (and back) and by secondary agents along the way. I called Scott and he balked initially. He said that since this insurance and since the loading was already in progress, he didn't think I could back out. I reminded him that he had told me I could change this up until the moment they arrived on my doorstep, and they had only just arrived. A quick call by Scott to the office solved the problem and they emailed me a waiver to sign and hand the driver and that ended that.

Cesar and his crew were wonderful! They not only wrapped every piece of furniture in a blanket and secured it with tape, but then they shrink-wrapped the entire bundle in plastic to protect it. Neither my husband nor I had ever seen a mover do this before, and it did a lot to reassure me. The three guys worked hard until around 12:30 pm, at which time they stopped for a few minutes to eat the sandwiches I had run to the deli for. In between wrapping items they would amuse us with anecdotes about the moving business, or about their personal lives. I brought them bottles of water once or twice (they never asked - I had to offer). Our large computer desk wouldn't go through the door so they totally dismantled it and expressed the hope that the driver on this end would be able to reassemble it. It was either that or leave it behind, though. As it was a cheap (Ikea) item, I wasn't losing sleep over it.

They finished up around 5:00 pm and I handed the tip for the three of them to the one guy who remained in the house (the other two were outside securing the items in the truck). The others made a point of coming back inside to thank us which I thought was a nice gesture. . . .

The next day (11/30), Monica called me to tell me that the weighing had taken place and that my actual bill was $3,626.00 (almost $1800.00 less than the estimate)! Of course I was ecstatic about this. Even though I had dropped the optional insurance, that is still a $1500.00 difference (not to mention that a wall unit that I was going to sell I had ended-up taking because no buyers came forward in time).

DO NOT be afraid when you are given a high estimate if it is a GNTE estimate! The salesman will include everything he sees in your house whether it is going or not (to cover the company in case it ends up going) and my experience is proof that the actual will be much less. Use the estimate only as a "worst case scenario" because that is what it actually is intended to be. . . .

[There was a delivery delay, but] on Tuesday, 12/13 I received a call from Phil, the driver who had carried my furniture and he confirmed that he was in FL and that he would be delivering to me on Thursday, 12/15 (the very last day of the date spread). He promised to call me the next day with an actual time. On Wednesday, Phil called again and told me he'd be at my house between 11:00am and 12:30am. I asked him if he'd want some lunch when he got here (because of the late arrival I wasn't sure of the protocol) and he thanked me but said it wouldn't be necessary. I asked him how many helpers he would have (to gauge how much of a tip I should withdraw from the ATM) and he told me "just one".

Phil and his helper (whose name I never got) arrived on Thursday around noon and started the unloading process. I had gotten labels which I affixed to each box that said "kitchen", "bedroom", etc. and this was a great help because the boxes could go right to the area where I'd need to unpack them. They brought everything in first (calling off the numbers to me so I could check them off of the list) and then began the process of putting together my bed (pier wall), my wall unit, and the infamous desk. I have to say that although both of them were outstanding, Phil did the bulk of the assembly work. His helper got a lot of personal calls on his cell phone and kept going outside to talk. I didn't mind since I wasn't paying by the hour, but it really wasn't fair to Phil. To his credit though, the calls were kept brief.

I had originally planned to tip the delivery crew less than the crew that picked up for the simple reason that the unpacking process is faster and less of a hassle. I changed my mind when Phil went above and beyond. First, the helper noticed some minor damage to my wall unit (a joint at the top had come loose). I asked Phil if Atlas would repair that under the standard 60 cents per pound insurance, and Phil said "That's easy - I'll fix it myself". He got out his drill and a screw and voila, he fixed it. This was certainly not his responsibility and I was grateful. Next, the two of them hooked-up my television to my DVD player and cable TV. Once the wall unit is assembled, it is impossible to do this (you'd have to take everything off and pull it apart to get to the cords in back). I was grateful for this also.

Finally, the two of them (with a little coaching from me) figured out how to put together the desk that had been taken apart down to planks. Phil said that actually Cesar was supposed to just leave it behind if it couldn't fit through the door since once they disassemble something they are responsible for reassembly at the delivery end - which can take hours. Since Phil was handy though he figured it out in no time. I ended-up tipping them more than I had the first crew even, but handed the entire tip to Phil to divvy up. I hope that he kept the bulk of it for himself because he earned it.

So that is the long and detailed story. If I had it to do again, I would use University again in a minute. With the exception of that small wall unit problem, I have not discovered ANY damage and every one of the boxes arrived intact. Even the . . . long wait was well worth it to save the $300 for the optional insurance and most of all to know that University was going to take it straight through. They are an exemplary moving company!

"Newlyblond" was initially upset that Monica charged her credit card on loading day (16 days before delivery), but Nancy commented as follows:
Nancy wrote:You actually were done a great favor by them charging your credit card AFTER load and actual weight. Industry norm is to charge the entire GNTE on your card the day before your load, and refund about 3 to 4 weeks after delivery. So you would have had that $1800 on there for a couple more weeks.

It just isn't possible to charge credit cards at delivery. Moving companies have to be sure the funds are available. If there is some issue with your credit card at delivery, it would be horrible to then force the customer to find certified funds. It is challenging for consumers to get large cashiers checks with a brand new bank, or in the midst of transfering funds from escrow accounts (assuming a homeowner buying/selling homes simulataneously). We have also run up against people using Visa debit cards, and they unknowingly have $500 or $1000 limits. Seriously, lots of folks think they can charge high amounts on debit cards until they try to charge a move. In those cases, we charge the card the limit daily until it is hit.

So, there are many issues surrounding credit card payments. That is why the industry can only do certified funds if the consumer wants the right to pay upon delivery.

"Newlyblond" added:
Newlyblond1 wrote:12/19/05 - . . . the actual weight of my shipment was 6,060 lbs. Scott had estimated 8,400 lbs.

I commented as follows:
Diane wrote:12/19/05 - OK, thanks. This is what you posted about your other three estimates, which were all Nonbinding:

Flatbush estimates 5200 lbs. and the quote totals $3,115.37 without the optional insurance . . .

A-1 First Class (Atlas) 5103 lbs. (which would make sense because they did not include my 4- piece wall unit which I'm hoping to sell and Flatbush did). They include the optional insurance at $150.00 and their total comes to: $3,407.38.

White Glove (Bekins) who also did not include my wall unit but DID include insurance came to a total of $3,353.00 but I don't know the weight they used to arrive at this figure.

So the other three estimates were low, but not exactly lowball, unless maybe Bekins was. . . .

12/20/05 - This is what "Newlyblond" posted about her sales rep Scott Micalizzi on another thread:

I found Scott to be extremely knowledgeable, informative, and personable. He put me at ease right away because he offered the GNTE quote immediately - something that I didn't expect nor did any of the other companies offer. Scott, like some of the other principals of University, is also a former driver. This is a big advantage because he knew everything that was involved in the haul and thus could give the most valuable tips about packing items in the way most likely to avoid breakage, etc. I found myself rushing for a pen and paper as soon as Scott left so as not to forget any of his valuable packing tips! Granted, I was already predisposed towards University because of the great reviews on this website, but Scott certainly reinforced that feeling of confidence.

If the only criticism is that his quotes are high, I would advise others to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. University gives a GNTE (binding) quote where all three of the others that I met with gave non-binding quotes. There is a world of difference! Scott included everything that he saw in my house in his quote, regardless of whether I told him it was coming or not. If he saw it, he wrote it down. So what? A GNTE quote ensures that there is a cap put on the total price but as many of the reviews state, the final is usually much less because people tend to be truthful for the most part about what is going and what is not - ergo - the final weight is usually much less than what is estimated.

Any mover giving a GNTE quote would be crazy NOT to include everything they saw. They could potentially get burnt otherwise. I understand this completely. What good is a low, non-binding quote if when your furniture arrives at the other end it ends up costing double because some over-eager salesperson intentionally low-balled the quote on the front end to get the deal? Thats the kind of nasty surprise I can do without! Back to Scott - he was wonderful!

. . . I wish everyone understood the issues as well as "Newlyblond" does! Maybe University can refer potential customers to this thread in the future to reassure them.

"Newlyblond" responded:
Newlyblond1 wrote:12/31/05 - I have unpacked 90% of my boxes (and that includes the fragile things) and not a THING was damaged or broken! It is almost expected these days that something will break during a move, and I am delighted that I chose to be brave and forego the optional insurance and that it turned out to be the right decision! University carried my furniture straight through and that peace of mind was worth the price. Thanks to Diane's warnings about the probable high estimate at the onset, I was not at all alarmed when it happened. Without a doubt I would use University again!

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