Very Confused

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twist22
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:55 pm

Very Confused

Postby twist22 » Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:18 pm

Hi All,

Doing a state-to-state move from NY to CA in the months to come and have been trying to do some preliminary research so as to NOT get scammed. However searching through the webite has resulted in conflicting reports to my own searches according the "How To Find A Reputable Mover" article on this site.

I've checked out DOT and ICC/MC numbers and double checked BBB records, which then come up clean. Afterwards I'll check out this forum and some of the companies that come up clean have been reviewed poorly here. After throwing my hands up with my own picks I checked the board for companies that someone else recommends. Problem with that is most postings deal with problems and complaints and no one I've seen yet can say anything positive about moves. Some end in unknown or mixed results since the person doing the move is probably just happy it's all over with and doesn't post their final outcome.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel here when so many others have already come before me. I'm aware this site doesn't make any official recommendations, but doesn't anyone out there have any good experiences to share about the results with a moving company, or at least point me in the right direction.

Even more frustrating is visiting movingadvocateteam.com. They say right off the bat to just throw in the towel and do it yourself. I appreciate these forums and all the advice you get from them, but what am I supposed to do with that if I really need to use a mover.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Very Confused

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Feb 12, 2004 3:40 pm

Hi Twist.

While many scammers will come to you the second you put your information on the internet, most reputable movers still rely on the old tried and tested word of mouth.

You should ask friends, coworkers, and relatives that may have moved, and ask them who they would recommend.

If you don't know anyone has moved, then pick up your yellow pages and take a trip through the movers there. You can use your own powers of recollection there. There should be movers there that you might recall through name association or having seen their trucks.

While no van line or company can guarantee up front you won't get scammed, you might consider Allied, United, Mayflower, Wheaton, Graebel.

Find out which companies are willing to come out and give you a free inhome estimate. Do not talk to any that insist they can give you a binding estimate over the phone.

If any mover quotes you either by feet or cubic foot, tell them to measure the distance back to your front door, and note it on their way out.

All reputable movers will base your charges on weight. If you point out exactly the same items to each sales estimator, your weight estimates should be within or less than 1000 lbs. If you get one that's out of line, ask that sales person what his figures are based on.

The other thing to caution you is that if you move after May 15, you will be in what is peak season for movers, and the rates generally increase by 10% or so. Ask the mover if they will waive that Peak Season fee.

Depending on where you are in NY, if you're in the city, note whether or not a tractor trailer can access the front of your residence ok. Remember, you should measure off 70 to 80 ft, which is the size of a full length conventional tractor-trailer, with adequate space for pulling in and out.

You might also ask for estimates with, and without packing, so you get an idea of how much you can save if you do it all yourself. And it will give you an idea of how many cartons you might need for your packing.

Once you get estimates, you can come back and we can go over them with you... Remember, that estimates are only good for 60 days, so you might want to consider your approximate moving date when you schedule your estimates.

Lee

P.S.
I'm in Calif if you require any assistance on this end.

twist22
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:55 pm

Re: Very Confused

Postby twist22 » Thu Feb 12, 2004 5:40 pm

BigLeeCalif,

Thanks for the input. The only people I know that have moved to LA have basically made the trip themselves, so I don't have recommendations for that.

I've read the recommendations for doing research that this site offers and have already let my fingers do the walking. As I've mentioned before, most of the places I've found have been contradicted here. I've seen nothing but warnings and very few if any recommendations. Mainly you're suggestions for places like Mayflower, United, and Aliied seem the most consistently posted, but then again I think I've read where you say you work for one or both of them and am concerned about bias in the opinion:

http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... os+angeles

I'm also a little warey of large companies because frankly they are so large and often have agents or sub-contractors working for them which I've been warned against. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on this point. (BTW, I'm not really clear on what the difference between the two are.)

Regarding in-home estimates, they've all agreed to that so far. I guess my point for searching this forum is that I'd like to know that I've already got some respectable companies coming to do my in-home estimates before they come to my home and then find out later they're scammers. Isn't that part of the value of a site like this? It seems like trying to sift though all this contradictiry information, make sense of it, hope you've picked the right one, (because at this point it all seems like a shot in the dark) is a litlte backwards.

I've done the checks, the research, followed the advice and still I find myself asking the same thing:

I don't wan't to reinvent a whole process that people have already been through and found good answers for. And why should I? is it really that hard to suggest or recommend legitimate moving companies that people know are reliable? I've already looked at:

Scanio
Liffey Van lines (Allied)
First American Moving & Delivery Services
Cross America Van Lines
Nassua World Wide (United Van Lines, Charles Wolf)

I'm hard pressed to find one that doesn't go by Cubic Ft, except for Liffey, and some check out well with the DOT MC/ICC and BBB, but get slammed here.

consumer advocate
Posts: 1945
Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:52 pm

Re: Very Confused

Postby consumer advocate » Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:20 pm

DO NOT use a mover that charges by the cubic foot. It's much easier to scam you that way because they don't have to supply certified weight tickets verifying the weight, which they have to do if your estimate is by the pound. In fact, I think it may not even be legal to charge by cubic foot for an interstate move. (Could another volunteer verify that?) Also, don't rely solely on BBB reports. The BBB is simply a business to which other businesses pay dues in exchange for a satisfactory rating, so they're hardly unbiased. They're really only useful in helping you eliminate companies...not in helping you decide which one to actually hire. Also, many scam movers operate under several names...one name under which to maintain a clean BBB record and other names under which they operate their scam. One option for you might be the You Pack/We Drive companies like ABF and Broadway Express. There are several reviews of their service on this site. There may be issues about parking the trailor in a place like New York though, depending on where you live.

Of the ones on your list, Cross America Van Lines (DOT#1059024) does not look good. They're showing one driver and one truck; that's hardly likely for a mover that is supposed to do interstate moves. It could mean that they plan to broker or sell your move to another company and you definitely don't want that. Also, their driver out of service record is 25%; the national average is 7.21% so that's not a good sign either. They had a revocation of their operating authority by the DOT back in June and their insurance shows several cancellations in the last couple of years both things, less than reassuring. First American Moving and Delivery(DOT# 872667) doesn't look good either. They have a driver out of service record of 26.7%. They've had five involuntary revocations of their operating authority by the DOT and they've had many insurance cancellations. Here's the information on Scanio: (DOT#537054 ) They're showing only two trucks and two drivers. Their driver out of service record is 50%. They've had four involuntary revocations of their operating authority and many insurance cancellations.

You're absolutely right that trying to hire a mover is akin to shooting in the dark. The moving industry is unregulated and any mover can scam you at any time; you have to hope for the best. That's the other function of this website...working for legislation that will help the consumer fight back against scam movers.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Very Confused

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Feb 12, 2004 6:25 pm

Twist,

All movers should be estimating using the cubic foot formula, BUT THE ESTIMATE ITSELF should be based on the weight.

If you get one that says you have xxx cubic feet, and your cost is xxx, or xxx per cubic foot, that is not a good thing.

You might hear me mention Mayflower and United, because, yes they pay my bills. But I am no more biased that Josh or Michael, who often will tell you about other options. I will, in the same sentence, advise you to get estimates from other van lines as well.

As far as drivers being independent contractors, you are absolutely correct. Many of the van lines have divested their hauling fleets, and the drivers are generally drivers of the agents in the agency family.

That does not mean that those drivers are of lesser quality, because it is totally untrue. Drivers are constantly monitored by the van lines, including safety, tickets, logs, etc. All the things that control a drivers quality. And, drivers are carried on the van line insurer, and their agent is charged back for the premiums. Also likewise for workers comp. So you can see that the van line will not keep bad drivers when their poor performance is going to drive up their costs of maintaining them.

Remember also that most van lines now have satellite tracking, so when your shipment is aboard, utilize that feature to keep abreast of the driver progress.

This might not be nothing, but among the movers you listed, I am just a bit leery of First American and Cross America...

Just say that being here has also made me think like a customer, and I have noticed a lot of scammers like to use patriotic sounding names, America, USA, American, etc. Maybe I am getting paranoid too, but I would take the time to go check out their facilities. If they are located in a storefront, start without them.

I always say, though I can't recommend specific movers, go with someone who has a track record in this business. Companies that have been in business for many years haven't stayed there by scamming...

Lee

twist22
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:55 pm

Re: Very Confused

Postby twist22 » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:00 pm

Lee and Advocate,

Track records are good advice. Liffey has been around since '75, but this site's feedback had somewhat conflicting feedback on them and the guy who used them never reported back on whether they worked out.

Scanio has been around since '41 according to the BBB, but got slammed with bad feedback hear. I would be happy to follow through on checking out store fronts and other info if I can just get past the initial process of finding a few good companies that at least a few people can say they liked. Otherwise I can checking out store fronts and trucks till the cows come home.

It just doen't seem to be so on this forum or Moving Advocate.

I might need to read this over a few times, but the explanation of cubic ft. vs. lbs. is still a little unclear between what you and consumer advocate said.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Very Confused

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:20 pm

Hi Twist...

The way cubic feet are determined is fairly simple....Every mover in the land (theoretically), if using the same calculations, should come up fairly close in calculating cubic footage.

Each item in your home has been assigned a predetermined cubic foot ratio. For instance, a book box is listed as 1.5 cubic feet.
A refrigerator might be listed at 30 cubic feet. A chair 7 cubic feet. See where I'm going.

So what happens is when the estimator has calculated your cubic footage, he then transforms it in to weight. The first thing he would do would be to eliminate cartons that might contain books or other heavy items.

Based on the weight factor of 7 lbs per cubic foot, he will transform say 500 cubic ft into 3500 lbs. Then he would factor in the density of the cartons, and add the weight of those to the 3500 lbs... that is where you would end up with a total weight. The total estimated weight is supposed to be what the estimate is based on.

If, after all that, they still say they are going to charge you based on cubic feet, tell them to get lost.

And C.A. you bring up an interesting point of the legality of using cubic feet for charging for interstate moves... While I don't think it is illegal, per se, don't quote me.. But I am going to find out whether or not it is, and if it is legal, what protection does one have against inflating the cost if no one can verify how many cubes were actually used.

Lee

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Very Confused

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:40 pm

Twist,

I hope you understand the cubic feet in determining your weight. The only place you should see cubic ft mentioned on any paperwork you come across is on the inventory the sales rep does. If it is mentioned anywhere on the estimate, then drop them like a hot tamalie.

When doing an inventory, as Lee mentioned, as a sales rep, we cant physical weigh everything, piece by piece while we are at residence to get a weight. Therefore we utilize the cubic ft/weight factor (7) in trying to be as close as possible to what we think your household will weigh. Its not an exact science, but its very accurate if the sales person is thorough in his walk through.

Arline came back last week and mentioned a mover she was satisfied with as well as a few others. My suggestion is to stick with the big names, for getting quotes, for the simple reason they have the support systems in place for the distance your traveling.

One thing to keep in mind about the phone book. This seems to be a good place now for the rouge movers to hide. Here are the simple facts:

United Van Lines............24.1% of the market share of HHG moves.
North American..............17.7%
Allied.............................14%
Atlas..............................11%
Mayflower.......................9%

Give or take a percent, these are your largest movers in the USA. Dont be fooled by the web sites that others claim to be the biggest and have more trucks and do more moves then any other carrier. Because it simply isnt true.

Moving isnt as scary if you do your homework and stay off the internet for quotes. Its still stressful no matter how you slice it. And yes, I say this for the purpose of the others, you still have no guarantee's. But thats what we are here for, to HELP!!

Keep giving us names and we can shoot them down as we research them further for you if needed. Once you have your quotes, give us the numbers and we can lead you through them too.

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

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

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

Re: Very Confused

Postby Diane » Thu Feb 12, 2004 7:43 pm

I can offer the observation (NOT A RECOMMENDATION) that within the last 90 days, two people posting on this board have reported having a very good experience with University Van Lines of Rahway, NJ, an Atlas agent. The people posted as "Rob" and as "atticmouse" and you can see what they said about UVL if you do a search. Both of them were moving to the South rather than to California.

twist22
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:55 pm

Re: Very Confused

Postby twist22 » Thu Feb 12, 2004 9:59 pm

OK, now we're making headway, as I AM looking for GOOD experiences that I can follow up on and do more research. If anyone else has GOOD experiences that they'd like to pass on please chime in. It helps everyone on this forum to know.

Also, thanks to all that have clarified the cubic ft. definitions as well as how to figure in the big movers and market shares of HHG moves. Very helpful.

I will definintely throw some names out as I keep researching and see what you think, however even with the big companies, for instance Mayflower, I've read some not so nice things about people sueing, bad moves etc. Not feeling confident when I read strings like this:

http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... =mayflower

Michael, to follow through on your invitation I'd like to close the book on Liffey and Scanio.

Scanio: They're located in NY and told me they've been in the business for 63 years. The USDOT Number: 537054 and MC Number: 93512. They have a satisfactory rating on BBB for what it's worth. Do we really dislike them based on this string or have opinions changed at all:

http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... ght=scanio

or is thier 63 year rep worth something?
Address:
1664 THIRD AVE
NEW YORK, NY   10028

Lastly Liffey. This one sounded pretty decent, but both strings were inconclusive:

http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... ght=liffey
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... ght=liffey

They're DOT Number: 663326 and they use Allied's MC Numbers: 663326, 76235, 15735 and rate well on the BBB with 36 months of no complaints.

Address:
429 STILLWATER ROAD
MAHOPAC, NY   10541

Thanks

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Very Confused

Postby Michael » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:17 pm

Twist,

Well if you wouldnt have reminded me I wouldnt have known. But let me be brutually honest. I am not a fan of Mayflower. That doesnt mean they dont have some great agents out there, cause they do. And with their leadership under the Unigroup flag they are making some headway. But my seven months as a cross rep for United/Mayflower, didnt do anything for me to change my opinion. And keep in mind, my particular agency (again cross rep capabilities) is the largest hauler for Mayflower. So no bias there on my part. 63 years or not, I think Rebels research and numbers speak for themselves.

As far as Liffey, I have no info on them, nor have I heard much about them. I understand they represent Allied.

Twist, the thing with recommending good companies is not a problem. But what may have been a good experience for one person could have been a horrible experience for another. Heck I think every move I touch will turn to gold, but sometimes that just isnt the case. Maybe I am nieve, but I feel people should be able to tell who is sincere and who is filling them with a bunch of crap or things they think the customer wants to hear. So its your job to get these people out, interview them, ask them questions. See if they educate you on the industry. Or if they rush through and have little time for you.

So get some quotes and get us names and numbers that you get back from them.

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

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

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

Re: Very Confused

Postby Diane » Thu Feb 12, 2004 10:51 pm

It has been a persistent problem for us to find full-service companies that someone could actually vouch for in the New York area. I don't know whether you are in the city or in upstate New York. Anyway, my advice would be to get a quote from University Van Lines since two people liked them. And rule out Scanio. Any company quoting by cubic feet is no good, and someone from the company wrote a bogus post praising it in broken English. If you would consider a U-Pack, We-Drive mover, people have been very happy with Broadway Express at www.broadwayexpress.net.

twist22
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:55 pm

Re: Very Confused

Postby twist22 » Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:36 am

Diane,

Rigggght, the Happy Customer comment on Scanio. Almost forgot about that. A bit transparent on their part. The U-Pack and other options you mentioned sound like good alternatives that I'll also look into.

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

Re: Very Confused

Postby Diane » Fri Feb 13, 2004 11:24 am

You may also have seen the post by a Liffey employee boasting that their movers are "full of the blarney" . . . not sure that is evidence of integrity but to each his own.

I was dredging my memory for other companies that have been recommended in the NY area and I recall seeing a post by a former employee of Holman Moving Systems in NJ that sounded fairly convincing. Search on "Holman Moving" and look for comments by JCR and another person who posted named Rubin Kurtz. JCR said that the company has been in business since 1947.

Also, you could go the other way and hire a company based in California. I don't know what part of California you're moving to, but one person posted that she had used Marin Moving & Storage (Northern California) in the past and was so pleased that she was going to hire them for a move to Canada even though she now lived in South Carolina. Search on "Marin" for this one.

Both of these companies are United agents. Again, I stress that I have NO personal knowledge of either company but am just pointing you to what people posting on this board have said so that you can investigate further. Also, in my opinion you don't have to be afraid that the United employees on this board will mislead you, but naturally enough they are most familiar with their own agencies so they tend to mention them more often than others.

The CHEAPEST thing you could do is to hire a company like Broadway Express since you would be contributing your own labor to the mix, and in my opinion your chances of being scammed by them are very low. I didn't mention ABF because I don't think they service New York City, but if you're in upstate NY that's another company you could consider.

Yvonne

Re: Very Confused

Postby Yvonne » Sat Mar 20, 2004 4:34 pm

Twist-
In your postings you mentioned that you are moving to CA fron NY as well. So are we. We are planning to move the last week in April and we are relocating to LA. Did you find a company to go with? What have you found is the cheapest but yet reliable company or method. If you would like to further discuss you can also email us at rory@foundation-graphics.com
Thanks
Yvonne


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