new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

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Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:15 pm

Sorry this will be long, but first posting and I need input of Josh and other experienced folks.
I have been reading the postings by philip and responses thereto, as well as the postings on Movex. I'm moving from Washington, DC to Miami, but need to drop about 2/3 of my stuff just outside of Savannah, GA. I'd originally planned to rent, load and drive a truck myself, with a departure date of 1/15. When I realized the truck I'd reserved was too small, the rates had gone up so much that it would cost almost as much to do a "you pack, we drive," so I went online.
I found Movex and the woman there sent me a testimonial in which a customer said he'd researched them on the moving scam sites. It was the first time I'd heard of such sites. I felt reassured and also under the gun to keep to 1/15 departure date, so when they sent the contract, I signed, even though that was the first time I learned that they couldn't give me a guaranteed delivery date -- it was a six-day window.
I can still cancel the contract and had decided to do so even before I started reading the postings here. I can delay my move by two weeks, which I'll almost certainly have to do, as I'm only now doing the research I should have been doing weeks ago.
My question is the same as Philip's -- why does Josh say the van lines like United, Atlas, etc. are more reliable? I have seen even in these postings where they contract out to other, smaller companies, which can be scammers. I think I recall Mayflower being mentioned. I'm not sure about United. And aren't their rates going to be a lot higher?

Josh
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Josh » Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:55 pm

Arline,

Welcome to the site. You have plenty of time since this is the moving slow season. I would bet that scammers are out preying now harder than they do in the summer.

Let me try to answer some of your questions:

Your move is going to be either based on weight, if you decide to go the full service route, or by linear feet, if you usa a pack, load, move type of service.

Here are some things to consider when using a full service mover:

Lets say you ship like you said hyou were going to ship with 2/3 going to GA and the rest going to Miami. Lets say your total shipment weighs 5000#, you are actually paying to ship all 5000# to Miami with an extra stop in GA which will add about $50. This might end up being more than you have budgeted. Has anyone come out to do an estimate yet? If you could find out how much weight you have, I would be able to tell you better about what the costs would be.



And aren't their rates going to be a lot higher?

It depends what you are comparing them to. If you are comparing our rates to a scammers estimate, then yes they would be higher, if you compare them to what you will end up paying with a scammer, then no, they would be lower.

why does Josh say the van lines like United, Atlas, etc. are more reliable? I have seen even in these postings where they contract out to other, smaller companies, which can be scammers.


I haven't said more reliable, but more reputable. The odds of you being scammed by a major are a lot less than with an internet company. We also do not contract the work out to smaller companies.

I think you are on the right track. If I were you, I would try to get a couple of in home estimates this week that way we know what type of weight you are dealing with. Let us know if you have any other questions.

Josh

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sun Jan 04, 2004 12:51 am

I've had one home estimate so far. He came up with 5600-6000 lbs and gave me a quote of $2,950 over the phone but has not yet followed it up in writing. He said he was giving me a 60% discount because a) it was winter and b) they were penny-backing my shipment on that of one being paid for by Uncle Sam (a military family being transferred). This guy did not give me the Rights and Responsibilities brochure, nor the DOT number or references I requested. I didn't know about the brochure or asking for the DOT number until coming upon this website.
Strangely enough, one of the internet replies came up with 6500 lbs from my detailed inventory (I told them how many boxes of books, giving average weight, exact measurements of bookcases and that they were composite wood, not real wood, etc.) Their quote for full service was a bit beyond what I was expecting.
I had originally insisted on getting quotes in cubic or linear feet--all because in my only previous experience moving my stuff I had gotten a nasty surprise when the shipper charged me several hundred dollars more than his estimate because my boxes of books weighed more than the the same number of "normal" boxes would have. It was only after reading articles on this site and other moving scam sites that I realized I had almost painted myself into a corner. Thanks for saving me from myself.
BTW, I'm still not certain exactly what I'm looking for when I check the insurance of a carrier on the DOT site. I know enough to make sure that they have coverage for cargo and that they're not in danger of revocation (one carrier I was considering was, which put the kibosh on them real fast), but what else? I've seen policy dates as far back as three years, so I guess that as long as it says "yes" under "covered" or whatever, I should rest easy?
Also

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sun Jan 04, 2004 10:01 am

Josh, I also meant to ask you about this,

Josh wrote:
I haven't said more reliable, but more reputable.



If the majors aren't reliable, who is? This whole business is enough to make a woman want to find one place and stay there until she turns to dust!

Josh
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Josh » Sun Jan 04, 2004 12:27 pm

Now you are playing with my words.

You quoted me as saying more reliable, I corrected you because I said more reputable. Now you are saying we are not reliable, which that is not true.

United's On Time Pick-up 99.1% and our On-Time Delivery is 98%. I think that is pretty reliable.

Which company came out to do the in-home estimate and did he include the extra stop? I would actually like to see your estimates once you get them in to make sure they have everything included. Your move is exceptionally vulnarable for excuses on why the cost went up so much after they get your shipment loaded.

Josh

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:19 pm

I'm not trying to play with words, seriously. I just feel totally overwhelmed by this whole thing. I decided not to drive myself because to hold all my stuff I needed a truck bigger than I felt comfortable driving and I couldn't find real insurance coverage -- only the damage waiver offered by Penske, which only goes up to each state's minimum. Also, I realized that loading the truck really was beyond my sister and myself (our helpers' schedules became unreliable at the last minute).

So I went on the internet at pretty much the last minute, found out that was a mistake, and now I feel so under the gun. Like I said, I feel overwhelmed, so when you corrected me and said "not more reliable" I just interpreted it as "no more reliable" and thought, "Oh, God, what do I do now? Am I back to plan A, except with a bigger truck?"

As to which company did the estimate -- Quality Services Moving in Lorton, VA. He included the extra stop, but has only given me a quote over the phone. He did not call or fax the quote on Saturday (Friday?) as he said he would, so I don't have it in writing. I sort of get a used car salesman feeling from the guy himself. That was even before I went online and found out about all the scams perpetrated by moving companies (I don't watch much TV--like I said, I have a lot of books). He started seeming better after I read the horror stories and realized that he had done the right thing by coming out and viewing all my stuff, counting boxes, looking in all the closets, seeing all my storage bins. And basing the estimate on weight and not feet.

I did ask him to specify on the estimate that there would be two drop-off points. I didn't yet ask that it be a binding estimate. I've only heard from him once since my "Movingscam.com 101" education started. That's when I asked him for QSM's DOT number, and he seemed miffed about that.

BTW, I've found a way sometimes to backdoor a company's DOT number if you want to research them over the weekend or at 2:00 AM. Go to safersys.org, enter the number of a company that you know doesn't have insurance (I discovered one that I almost was going to entrust my stuff to), then click on the insurance filings link. You'll come up with a screen that has only the DOT number, but no name. Erase the DOT number, then enter the company's name under legal name and select the state. If if comes up no match, try entering the company name under DBA and, once again, the state. About 50% of the time I've been able to find the company's DOT number that way. Yes, it's much easier to get it straight from the company, but when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep worrying about your move, might as well do something productive.

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

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Michael » Sun Jan 04, 2004 7:37 pm

Arline,

I think most people in the industry are miffed when customers ask for their DOT or MC numbers for the simple fact it isnt a usual question to ask. Most of those people miffed are not alert to the industry and "what" can happen, or for that fact what has happened.

I have been coming here for over a year and a half, and when I first came on I found it hard to believe that "CRAP" like this actually happened. No way, not in my industry. I thought everyone was honest. I thought everyone followed the same rules, tariffs and such. But Tim, Tyrone, Scammed, AC and others brought a whole new light to an industry, that I hope, Josh, Biglee and myself have brought a whole new light and attention to detail to for our van line, our employees, workers and drivers. I think that shows in the work we do and help we provide to this forum on our own free will!

One thing Josh did fail to mention is the cost of your move will be more then just the $50.00 for the extra delivery. Like he said you still get charged for the full 5000 pounds to Florida even though your dropping it off 2/3 in GA. We call it total weight total miles. Thus your mileage is a little longer then a straight shot, thus your linehaul (transportation charges) will be higher then if just going from Point A to Fl.

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

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:29 pm

Yes, I realized that I would most likely be charged for the full weight the entire distance no matter who I used. When I got a quote from Movex, they gave me one that, essentially, was two different quotes added together -- one for 16 feet from DC to Savannah and one for 16 feet DC to Miami. I'm rethinking how much I really need to take to Miami and might make it just a Savannah drop, leave even more there and carry the bare minimum to Miami by car and rental van (I expect to be moving myself and my mom back to Savannah in about a year).

Another thing I discovered during my sleepless nights this weekend -- and this might apply more in DC than other places -- the trucking companies used by the larger van lines need to be checked out carefully under their own DOT numbers. E.g., one large company listed an agent who, on their own DOT form (I found their number the backdoor way I described because the DOT number in the phone book was for the large company, not the carrier) the local company did not have an X next to "Household Goods," only "General Freight." This company also had "yes" next to "Revocation Pending." This same large company had another local carrier (once again, I backdoored the DOT number) whose "out of service" numbers were vehicle 37.5% vs. 22.9% for nat'l avg and driver 33.3% vs. 7.21% for nat'l avg. I have no idea why out of service is important, but since "How to Find a Reputable Mover" says it shouldn't be significantly higher than the natl avg, I figure these guys are out. Their DOT form didn't even list the number of power units or drivers, so I have no idea if the 2 crashes over the last 2 years is a significant number or not.

A question for you guys in the moving/trucking industry. Is the authority revocation history important? What about previous insurance policy cancellations? I ask because one of the companies I'm considering has a notation "MC-##### & all subs authority revoked per decision 7-19-83," then later on I see, "Authority reinstated 9/9/2003," which would indicate they've not been doing common carrier stuff for the last 20 years? On another, I see a number of insurance policy cancellations, which, to me, seems to indicate either that they have trouble paying their bills (which might lead to bad things) or they have too many accidents.

Josh
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Josh » Sun Jan 04, 2004 8:48 pm

Arline,

I am not sure if I can answer your questions. Without knowing who you are talking about, I would say avoid the company that has a high driver out of service and vehicle out of service.

I don't think an agency has to have their own DOT # but if you were able to find it, that is good. For your move, it has to be registered with the van line, so that agent probably won't be hauling it anyway. I would also be careful in selecting someone who has had many insurance cancellations. That is not a good sign.

Which van line was this or which agents are you referring to.

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Sun Jan 04, 2004 9:19 pm

The van line was North American. The agent with insurance cancellations, high out of service percentages and no numbers for power units or drivers was Relocation Systems in Virginia. The agent with no "X" next to "Houshold Goods," an "X" next to "Revocation Pending," an involuntary cancellation of their common authority 12/4/2003-1/27/2004 (I didn't mention that in my previous posting) and their surety cancelled 11/05/2003 (nor that) was Kane 3PL in Maryland.

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:06 am

Just an update. I did, in fact, cancel my Movex contract first thing Monday morning (the Penske reservation is still there just as a backup, though I'll probably be cancelling that very soon since I dread the very thought of trying to get it loaded and unloaded).

I've had several in-home estimates (to be honest, more than the recommended three), from both "local" and "major" movers now. The first one (a local), once he got back to his office and plugged my inventory into his computer, revised his weight estimate upward a bit, so most of my estimates came in at 6,200-6,500 lbs. There is one that I haven't received the estimate from yet and one whose estimate was way out of whack.

I've received the money estimates from most of them, but even though their weight estimates are very similar, their money estimates range from $2,861 tp $3,256. But my first choice mover was the last one to come out here, so I'm waiting on her estimate and quote before I go any further.

I'll give names of movers and reasons for their elimination in my final update. Some of it I've already posted, such as the Customer Complaint info from the Better Business Bureau report not being in the packet sent out by JK Moving (I posted that as a reply on another thread, I'm not sure whose). I didn't eliminate JK solely for that reason. I had an appointment with the estimator and I was impressed with some of the things he said, so I went to my room and got the two versions of the report and asked him about them in a very non-confrontational, hoping he could reassure me way (honest, I had thought of one plausible explanation, such as the BBB report they copied had come out before the Customer Complaint info had been added). He said about two words (I don't remember what, then went back to talking about being the first ones in Washington to do random drug testing of their drivers and all employees. Typical Washington, DC spin-away-from-the-question-and-hope-they'll=forget-it answer.

Soo that's it for now. Keep you posted.

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:14 am

One other thing I forgot to mention because I was interupted by an instant message. The message board volunteers are not kidding about the scammers coming out of the woodwork when you fill out even one inventory form on the internet. I filled out about three, and I have gotten at least ten e-mail messages from companies I never submitted forms to using the same incomplete inventory, as well as more than half a dozen phone calls from other unkowns, once again often using the same inventory. Boy, have I learned my lesson. DON'T LOOK FOR A MOVER ON THE INTERNET :!:

consumer advocate
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Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby consumer advocate » Thu Jan 08, 2004 9:38 am

Arline,

Glad we've driven that point home...NEVER look for a mover on the internet. If we don't get any other message across, I would hope we get that one across. Do keep us posted on how your move goes. It helps to have updated information from someone who has just gone through the ordeal of moving.

Arline
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2004 11:37 am
Location: Miami

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Arline » Fri Jan 09, 2004 9:25 am

Okay my friends, this will be a long post, but here is my update on what moving company I have settled on. Let me preface it with telling you that if I were a man I would wear a belt and suspenders. Probably two pairs of suspenders. I discovered this site only on Thursday, I think, New Year’s Day. (Can so much have happened in such a short time?)

I tried to set up appointments on Friday and Saturday, only set up two, both with locals. I was still thinking that I couldn’t afford one of the “majors.” One local asked me if I’d had anyone out to my home and asked what the weight estimate had been. I told him and he said he’d give me an estimate from that. I said I’d call him back--it sounded too much like an internet estimate for my taste.

I didn’t start researching the majors until Friday night, when I read Josh’s message on someone else’s thread about them being more reputable (and my interpreting it as “more reliable” -- sorry Josh). By then, it was the weekend and most moving companies were closed. What else to do?

So I pulled out the Yellow Pages and began researching other local companies as well as agents for major van lines listed there. I also went online under the various van lines that Josh mentioned, clicked on “find an agent,” and found a few that weren’t listed in the phone book. That’s how I found the one that I ultimately settled on, so make sure, if you’re even considering going with a major van line that you don’t neglect this step. They weren’t listed in the yellow pages and I would never have found them otherwise.

I made a separate page in a little notebook for each local trucking company I was considering, entering their local info. I checked all the possibilities on the BBB site and recorded the results on their page. But a lot of the companies did not list their DOT numbers, and the ones that were agents for a major van line usually listed that van line’s DOT number. How could I check out their DOT form?

Earlier in my research on the companies I had been considering hiring from the internet, I had found one that did not have insurance. That’s when I discovered my “back door” way of sometimes discovering a moving company’s DOT number. I entered this company’s DOT number, went to the insurance page, wiped out his DOT number and entered the name of the company I was interested in under legal name, as well as the state. Sometimes I had to make an educated guess as to what state they might be registered in (do some i-net research). I was able to find the DOT number for most of the companies I was interested in.

After that I checked them out on the FMCSA toll-free number. By Monday morning, I had narrowed my candidates down a bit.

Anyway, as I said in my previous posting, I got more than the recommended three estimates. Okay, I’ll ‘fess up, I got eight, but only because the mover I really wanted couldn’t see me until 4:30 Wednesday and I figured I might as well try to schedule others in the meantime, hoping maybe someone else could help.

Most of the weight estimates were coming in between 6200-6500 lbs, and Josh was quite helpful here. He ran some numbers for me and told me what I might expect. Since six of the eight weight estimates were clumped so closely together (and Josh’s numbers were actually based on 6,500), I took his number as a benchmark.

And guess what? You should go with your gut in these things (that is, if your gut is usually right, which mine often is). From the start, when I saw XXX Van Lines, I somehow knew they were the ones for me. I checked out their BBB record -- it was satisfactory. I checked out their DOT record--they have over 600 trucks and have had only 5 crashes over the last two years (2 injuries, 3 tows), while their Out of Service record of 12.5% for vehicles and 5.6% for drivers is the only one I’ve found that was below the national average (22.9% and 7.21%--I discounted the ones that were 0% and 0% because that’s gotta mean they hadn’t been inspected).

Finally, I called the FMCSA number. They had no complaints against them, which seems amazing to me. I respelled the name to verify, because I figured with 608 trucks, they would have to have a few complaints, but the woman verified that their were none. She suggested I check the BBB. I said, “No, I checked and their record is satisfactory.” She then suggested that I go to Movingscam.com!!! How do you like that? Even the Feds know and endorse this site!!! I told her that was how I learned about the FMCSA number and I guess that means I can use my first choice company, which is also the one that gave me the best quote--(sorry folks, I’m just a Southern storyteller at heart)-- McCollister Transportation.

These are the quotes I received (not counting two that were way out of whack):

Able Moving (Atlas) 6350 lbs. 2,861.17 binding not to exceed
JK Moving (local) 6,500 lbs. 3,241.00 binding
McCollister (United) 6200 lbs. 2,814.45 binding not to exceed
Paxton (Atlas) 6300 lbs. 3,150.65 binding not to exceed
QualityMoving(local) 6250 lbs. 2,950.00 binding
Victory Van (Allied) 6200 lbs. 3,256.73 binding

all prices are without cost of valuation, which varies from mover to mover.

The McCollister quote doesn’t even tell the whole story, because it includes boxing my queen mattress and box springs, queen futon mattress and 4-foot round mirror. Only the Paxton quote included the same. But it’s still better than the nearest quote by $45.

None of the three locals (there’s one not listed) gave me the Rights and Responsibilities brochure or the Gypsy Moth form--all the majors did.

Have I ever gotten an education! For those of you who don’t know what “binding not to exceed” vs. “binding” means, ask Josh, Michael or BigLee--this posting is already overlong.

Now I just have to set my moving date (probably Jan. 22) and finish packing up my last few things. I close on my apartment Jan. 13 and I’m pretty tired of living out of a suitcase. Sorry this is so long. I’ll update as milestones are reached, but I don’t think other updates will be as lengthy.

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

Re: new member move from DC to Savannah/Miami

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 09, 2004 11:32 am

Arline,

Thank you so much for your careful research and for reporting back to us in such detail. As I mentioned to you previously, this is how we learn! Keep on spinning those stories, hon . . .

I'm just going to pull out a few of your statements to comment on or ask questions about.
Arline wrote:I also went online under the various van lines that Josh mentioned, clicked on “find an agent,” and found a few that weren’t listed in the phone book. That’s how I found the one that I ultimately settled on, so make sure, if you’re even considering going with a major van line that you don’t neglect this step. They weren’t listed in the yellow pages and I would never have found them otherwise.

Good point. Since we're always looking for reputable companies in the D.C. area, which is a hotbed of scammers, could you please post the name and address of the particular McCollister agency that you settled on? We have already heard about Security Moving and this would give us the name of one more agency to keep in mind.
But a lot of the companies did not list their DOT numbers, and the ones that were agents for a major van line usually listed that van line’s DOT number. How could I check out their DOT form? Earlier in my research on the companies I had been considering hiring from the internet, I had found one that did not have insurance. That’s when I discovered my “back door” way of sometimes discovering a moving company’s DOT number. I entered this company’s DOT number, went to the insurance page, wiped out his DOT number and entered the name of the company I was interested in under legal name, as well as the state.

Very good tip. This is similar to the "back door" method that I use when safersys.com turns up nothing on a particular company. People can find it if they do a search on this site on "Trojan" as in Trojan horse.
Finally, I called the FMCSA number. They had no complaints against them, which seems amazing to me. I respelled the name to verify, because I figured with 608 trucks, they would have to have a few complaints, but the woman verified that their were none. She suggested I check the BBB.

I remember Tim saying something to the effect that when you call the FMCSA number, they simply refer you to the BBB. Could someone clarify whether the FMCSA actually has independent information on companies that it gives out? - Also, I know that Arline knows this, but we should remind others that the BBB reports have only limited usefulness--if a company has a satisfactory rating, it can still be disreputable. Only the unsatisfactory ratings can be relied on to let you rule out a company.

Arline, keep on reading those books and please do let us know how your move goes. And if I were you, I would tell JK Moving that one of the reasons you didn't choose them was that they concealed the truth about the BBB report. They need to know how their deceptiveness backfired and affected business. Furthermore, now it will be forever enshrined on this website.


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