*Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experiences?

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PatriciaSmith

*Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experiences?

Postby PatriciaSmith » Fri Nov 10, 2006 8:28 pm

Hi,
I am planning a move from San Francisco to Miami, hoping to have my stuff arrive either on Dec 24th weekend or Jan 2. I have about 2000 pounds - not much. I got an in-home estimate from AMS Bekins for $2250. Two people I know moved with Bekins and had good experiences, but I don't know if they used AMS or not. I wonder if anyone has any advice?

Also, I got an in-home quote from Allied/ NorCal for $2560 to ship my stuff with their Special Products Fleet, which would mean that the delivery window is much smaller.

I also considered ABF -- $1706 for a relo-cube door-to-door --- but the price differential didn't seem large enough to justify having go move big pieces of furniture by myself (or rather, finding and paying people to help me do this at the origin and at the destination), and hassle with buying the packing materials and making sure I packed everything correctly. I would've thought that their service would be less expensive.

Your thoughts?

farrah7031
Posts: 4619
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Tallahassee, FL

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby farrah7031 » Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:17 pm

Another great mover to use would be Moovers. They're based in SF, there's over 50 good reviews on this site, and would definitely self-haul your goods,

Bekins is not a well-liked Major Van line. I would stick the the bigger ones. Did you check out Diane's Superpost of Movers?
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 7565#57565

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

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Diane » Sat Nov 11, 2006 6:41 pm

Patricia,

Although Tri-Valley Bekins seems to be a good company, AMS Relocation (Bekins) has so-so comments here with people commenting that it gives very low quotes. See my Superlist linked to below. Generally, you get what you pay for and it's true that Bekins doesn't have a very good reputation, especially for paying on claims. I would tend to avoid that company.

I suspect that Nor-Cal would be sending your shipment in a container via common carrier (a freight company like Overnite or Roadway). Nothing wrong with that, but it accounts for the price being similar to ABF's since the packaging and method of transport are similar.

I agree that the work involved in moving with ABF has to be considered in thinking about the difference in price. You might want to call Moovers, Inc. as Farrah suggests since they are a full-service mover with dozens of rave reviews and their price for a non-container move might be similar to or lower than the NorCal quote.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

PatriciaSmith

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby PatriciaSmith » Tue Nov 14, 2006 10:30 pm

Hey, thanks for the reviews on Bekins. I just got a really low quote from Hercules Van Lines for the same move -- $1660 -- a binding not to exceed quote. This was without an in-home estimate, but based on the two weight estimates I received from Allied and Bekins (2200 lbs). Hercules sent me a bunch of emails and letters from previous customers that were all positive. However, the Better Business Bureau gave their LA branch a "D" rating, and it gave their Hayward, CA branch (this one is closer to me in San Francisco) a satisfactory rating.

I will check out Moovers.com right now. Too bad about Bekins, their in-home estimator seemed like a good guy.

Dave

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Dave » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:21 pm

Bekins has undergone a major reorganization in the last few years. They were owned by an international shipping firm that was sucking the money out and were in a tight cash squeeze. The local agents have since bought out the van lines and are in the process of straightening out the quality issues which are still clouding their reputation. I work for one of their agents, (not one involved in this thread), and hope they can pull off the turnaround.

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

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Diane » Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:29 pm

Hi - I can see where you are posting from. Thanks for this information. I know that Bekins used to be probably THE most highly respected van line in the industry, years ago, and it's sad to see how it has gone downhill.

What is the name of the international shipping firm that owned Bekins?

Is it ALL the Bekins agents in the U.S. who banded together to buy out the shipping firm or only a few agents?

human bungee

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby human bungee » Wed Nov 15, 2006 9:08 pm

I don't have experience with AMS but we moved from the Bay Area (Berkeley) to the Seattle area (Bellevue) with Tri-Valley Bekins in July 2006. If AMS has anything in common with Tri-Valley I would say that Bekins is a company in transition. Our move was acceptable but not great. Having used an absolutely stellar local moving company (Stu Miller) for our previous two moves within the Bay Area, I was disappointed, but it wasn't a disaster.

Tri-Valley sent a very nice estimator out (we also got estimates from Northstar in LA and Moovers), who offered a GNTE quote for our two-bedroom house at 5760# for ~$3100. All three companies estimated about the same weight, but my husband did not like the estimator from Moovers (I didn't meet him) and Tri-Valley offered a lower rate for the same weight and a GNTE quote, which we didn't get from Moovers. Because we were facing some time constraints on our move out, we were able to get an early pickup time, and the two movers they sent out to our house in Berkeley were very careful and professional -- they protected the tile stairs, covered all the hardwood floors with paper, did a great job wrapping the upholstered pieces, kept the boxes marked fragile on top, etc.

Things started to go downhill after that. We had a guaranteed delivery window spanning five days. Despite our repeated calls, we were unable to get information about the delivery date from Tri-Valley until the last day of the delivery window (a Friday), when they finally called to tell us that the driver wouldn't be arriving until Monday afternoon. The driver, when he arrived, brought two assistants who were pretty obviously temporary summer help -- they dropped some boxes, piled heavy boxes on top of fragile boxes, and had no idea how to reassemble our bed, a service included in the move (my husband eventually showed them what to do). After the move, we found minor damage to two legs of our dining room table and a broken drawer on one of our end tables. Fortunately everything valuable and fragile had been professionally packed in Berkeley so none of it suffered damage.

To Tri-Valley's credit, they compensated us for both missing the delivery window (100% of the cost of lodging and 50% of the cost of meals) and for the damage to the two tables, although it took some time. Also, when they weighed our shipment it was actually 4760#, so we received a refund for coming in under the estimate. We wouldn't move with them again, but I don't feel like we were gypped.

(Still unable to log in for some reason, but registered as "humanbungee")

Baxter

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Baxter » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:14 pm

I think the earlier post by Dave was referring to the global freight forwarding firm Geologistics which owned Bekins at one time and sold the company to a management group composed of its agents. This happened in 2002 I believe. I worked for a Bekins agent for awhile in California after the sale and the service was pretty bad then - I hope it has improved. We used to joke: "Bekins wants to move everybody - once!"

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Diane » Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:44 pm

humanbungee,

Thanks very much for this review, which is the first we have of Tri-Valley Bekins. When you get registered I would like to ask you some questions in a PM about your pre-move experience with Moovers.

Also, could you elaborate on your moves with Stu Miller? That's a company I haven't heard of before.

human bungee

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby human bungee » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:00 am

Hi Diane,

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about Moovers, although the answers may be secondhand from my husband.

Stu Miller is an independent local mover operating in the Bay Area. I believe he advertises in the Yellow Pages as "The Mellow Mover" which is dead-on. You can find several short reviews from people who've moved with him on the Berkeley Parents Network, all of them glowing. The hardest part of moving with Stu is availability; he is booked way in advance. He has his own truck and always moves with a four-person team, charging by the hour. They do not provide packing services, but will work with independent packers.

Our first move with Stu was in January 2002. We had been living in France and while we were away had subletted our furnished apartment in Oakland. Unfortunately our subletters left on short notice, so we were forced to arrange a mover sight unseen to move our belongings to a local storage unit, a truly awful experience. It was in June 2001 on short notice and we found out later they did a terrible job -- we were still finding the damage well into the next year. When we returned we hired Stu to move us from the storage unit to our new apartment. This was a morning move (he had another job in the afternoon) and we discovered on arrival that the storage unit had disabled our access until their office opened, meaning that we could not get into the unit until 30 minutes after our scheduled start time. Stu decided he shouldn't charge us for this time, which was unbelievably kind given that he had another job to do later. When he began the job he had us inspect the truck to make sure it was empty, then his team began loading the truck from the storage unit, noting existing damage from the previous movers (depressingly extensive). When they arrived at our apartment he walked through it with us and his team mapping out where we wanted the furniture and boxes. Then they put down paper on the wood floors, padded all of the corners and doorways, and started bringing in our things. At one point during this move we realized why he was called the Mellow Mover -- they found out as they were moving the washer into our apartment that the previous movers had left a few gallons of water in it, and it started pouring all over the floor. He said, "Oh, it's no problem," asked us for a towel, and cleaned up everything. When they were done moving he had us inspect the truck and then stayed behind for a few minutes with a furniture touch-up kit he had handy and was able to repair some of the damage that the previous movers had done. He had estimated the cost of the move sight unseen and his estimate was within $100 of the final bill.

Our second move with Stu was in May 2005. We had been kicked out of our apartment through an owner move-in eviction; to make matters worse, I was pregnant and on modified bed rest. As a result, it was impossible to do more than the minimum amount of packing on our own, let alone moving. We thought we would not be able to hire Stu because he does not do packing or unpacking, but when we called he suggested we talk to Family Packers, an independent business, but one he works with sometimes. They were great and are used to working with Stu; they also charge an hourly rate, but a nice bonus is that all packing materials are free if you hire them for both packing and unpacking. We found a time that both of them had a free day (fortunately we had some flexibility about move date because the owner was understandably reluctant to go in front of the Berkeley Rent Board to complain that his pregnant tenant on bed rest whom he was evicting without cause wasn't moving out quickly enough to suit him), and they coordinated their schedules on the move day. This move was just as smooth and professional as the first one; in addition to padding absolutely everything, even some of the walls, Stu and his team put new felt protectors on every piece of furniture as it came into the house, and even cut a piece of spare carpet he had handy to cover the base of our cat tree, which he was concerned might scratch the wood floors. We bought them lunch and tipped generously but it still didn't seem like enough.

I really can't say enough good things about moving with Stu; I only wish that his business was national in scope. Those two moves were stressful for a lot of reasons, but hiring Stu made the experiences way more manageable -- I know this sounds ridiculous and woo-woo California, but he is such a mellow guy that everything just seemed less stressful when he was moving us -- what's more, in both cases our furniture came out of the move in better shape than before the move. We would move with Stu again without hesitation. The way things are going lately, we might have the chance, too.

(still humanbungee)

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

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Diane » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:14 am

Wow . . . does Stu also do windows? Is he single? :lol:

I'll distill this somewhat and make an entry for him on my Superlist. If you could post contact information for both him and Family Packers, it would be great.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

humanbungee
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 15, 2006 7:13 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby humanbungee » Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:52 pm

Contact information for Stu Miller:

phone: (510) 848-9395

Contact information for Family Packers:

website: www.familypackers.com
phone: (510) 893-6896

PatriciaSmith

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby PatriciaSmith » Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:54 pm

Hi,
Okay, for some reason, I am still tempted to just use AMS Relocation (the Bekins agent located on 1873 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA) for my San Francisco - Miami move. But, I want to make sure the contract is right.

The in-home estimate guy was really nice and is trying to work with me to get me a good quote. I know 3 people now who have moved with Bekins, and said it was fine (I don't know if it was with AMS though, 2 of these people moved into SF, not out of SF, so it probably was not).

Now, I just want to make sure everthing is included in the price quote:
$2356 for total estimated weight of 2191 lbs. Includes blanket-wrapping.

Questions:
(1) This written quote says "Total Item Count: 50." Does this mean that if my stereo was counted during the estimate as 1 item, and then I take the speakers off it it and it becomes 3 items, I will be charged extra? As a side note, the weight estimate for AMS came in a bit lower than other weight estimates I've received.

(2)This is a "binding not to exceed" quote. I have been told that in these kinds of quotes, if every little thing is not included, then I will be charged extra. True? If so, should I get a flat rate quote instead?

(3) This quote includes 1 flight of stairs at origin ($20), 1 elevator at destination ($28), 1 long carry ($19) and a shuttle service ($240) because I live on a busy street (however, I think it would be cheaper if I just got a parking permit myself so that a shuttle would be unnecessary).

(4) I don't know what the "tariff" is on this quote. I've seen a lot of talk about tariffs on this site, but don't know what it means. Is this something I should be paying attention to? The section on Transportation states "65%" (fuel surcharge, ATC (?), etc)

(5) Anything else I should be looking at? I am still looking for an apartment in Miami, so not sure whether that place will have stairs/elevator, etc.

Thanks so much,
Patricia

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

Re: Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experienc

Postby Diane » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:40 pm

Hi Patricia,

I can see why you are tempted - the price is very low. Did you ever get a quote from Moovers? It might be similar and we know they are reputable. Unfortunately, the sales rep being "really nice" and "trying to work with you to get a good quote" means diddly-squat in the moving business.

1. Judging from the reviews I would be afraid that the price WOULD be increased if you have more than 50 items. Please read the reviews again, carefully.

2. Same answer. "Binding Not to Exceed" means that your cost won't increase above what was quoted but it can go down if your weight is less. It protects YOU, not the moving company. A "flat rate" quote would be a Binding quote where your cost can't go up or down regardless of the weight. You are better off with a Binding Not to Exceed quote, assuming that they don't try to claim that you have more than 50 items, etc.

3. Yes, get your own permit and it will be cheaper. Also, you will probably be dinged for extra charges in Miami for stairs or whatever. You could try to get an estimate now for what they would charge for that so it won't come as a huge surprise.

4. Bekins uses the 400M tariff (price list), which allows them to charge separately for stairs, long carries, etc. My understanding is that this money goes to the driver.

Personally I would not use the company, but if you go ahead with it I don't think you will be scammed in the usual sense. You might get rather poor service, though, and forget it when it comes to claims. Reportedly Bekins has a 120% driver turnover every year.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

coratang
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:43 am

Re: *Bekins Van Lines- AMS Relocation -- Any Recent Experien

Postby coratang » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:27 pm

Just for everyone information:

Thanks for your interest in Moovers Inc. Due to the high volume of
request we are unable to transport vehicles as part of the shipment any
longer. We have a 2,000lb minimum for our moves so I attached an estimate
for that weight. Please give us a call @ (800) 248-0251 with any
questions you may have.
Thanks,
Jayson Berger
Moovers
Inc.


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