Off to a Worrysome Start...

Our open community forum is for general moving related questions, comments, and useful information about local and interstate moves.
Sweeby
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:02 pm

Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Sweeby » Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:54 pm

My elderly mother is moving from northern CA to TX, and hired a local branch of a large chain to pack and move some (not all) of her belongings. (She's mentally competant, so I wasn't involved in hiring the movers.) I've found the local agent on the 'Who's Good and Who's Bad' list, and the comments were "Not Good" but not 'scammers' either...

The packers showed up when promised (Thursday morning), worked dilligently and appeared to be capable -- no complaints. Then at 5:00 pm, an agent for the moving company calls and says the driver had to cancel for Friday (the next morning), but that they had found a replacement driver who could pick up the following morning (Saturday) between 8:00 and 9:00 am. Of course, at 5:00 pm on the day before the move, there's nothing my mother can think of to do about it, so she reluctantly agreed. I immediately call back to discuss other options -- but it's 5:02 pm and nobody answers the phone. Since we had nonrefundable plane tickets leaving Saturday morning, the mover's delay meant we could not be there to supervise the loading. I discussed my concerns with the agent on Friday, who was apologetic but noncommittal. We arrange to have a neighbor sign the loading papers.

So we spent all day Friday sticky-noting every item indicating whether it was to stay or go. On Saturday, the truck shows up 3 hours late and a crew loads the truck. They left an inventory with my mother's elderly former neighbor, who just forwarded it to us.

I'm very concerned for several reasons:

1) Every single item of furniture is described as soiled, worn, damaged and/or scratched. Now, these items aren't new, but they're not exactly 'trash-heap' either, and I don't feel those descriptions are accurate. With damage notes like those, the movers could trash everything she owns and there would be no way to substantiate a claim for damages. (We're NOT lawsuit-happy -- just concerned.)

2) Several items that were sticky-noted to be packed and located in a room clearly-labled "Pack Everything!" do not appear to have been listed in the inventory. Of course, had we been there to supervise, we would have assured they got loaded. Other items may have been loaded by mistake, bumping the costs for the move for things Mom didn't want.

3) A call to the national company reveals that 6 days later, the truck is still in their California warehouse with no driver assigned, so now even the last day of their delivery window appears questionable. They've offered to put Mom up in a mid-priced hotel if they miss their delivery time, but that's not really the point... She has important papers in that truck and wants her stuff!


I know we've made some mistakes (not staying to supervise the loading) -- but really, I'm wondering what to do now to help assure the best outcome. Do I make a PITA of myself? Or is it better to play nice until she gets her stuff? Should I document my concerns about their 'condition' disclaimers in advance of delivery? Or does that smack of someone looking to file a claim? Call MovingRescue to yank the stuff? Or cross my fingers? And do we have any financial recourse for errors and ommissions because they didn't show when promised?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Diane » Sat Jun 30, 2007 12:55 am

Sweeby,

Everything depends on what company you are talking about. What is this "local branch of a large chain"? After you tell us, we will be able to answer you better.

Sweeby
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:02 pm

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Sweeby » Sat Jun 30, 2007 7:27 am

Sorry - Didn't want to 'bad mouth' the movers or leave a possibly troublesome paper trail if it wasn't necessary.

The local branch is Valley Movers based in Concord, CA, and the national company is North American.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Nancy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:21 am

Where is your mom moving to?

In regards to the delay, unfortunately service failures happen at this time of the year. There is way more demand than all van lines can handle. Sometimes shipments get picked up by the local agent and held for a van line driver.

They aren't charging you more money, and they are offering a hotel for the delay. So it's not a scam or a bait & switch. It's just a failure and delay in delivery.

As for the details on the inventory, unless things are BRAND NEW, just about every item gets a notation. It's standard. If and when there is a claim for damage, the van line would send an inspector. They can normally discern the difference between fresh damage and normal wear & tear. I would just hold tight on that judgement until the goods get there.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:04 am

As for the things that appear not to have shown up on the inventory, every single item won't be separately listed, unless an obvious furniture item. if they were small things, they were probably packed with like items, and shown as a particular size carton, and the type of items contained inside.

Valley North American is a very good agent, and it's no surprise that a possible agent pickup has occured. I'm in Southern California, and we book military orders for Wheaton, Andrews, and several other Van Lines beside our own Unigroup family, and all we have done this week is to pick up orders other carriers couldn't load.

Of course they don't sit long, because we have a policy... If we have to pick them up, then we will haul too.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Sweeby
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:02 pm

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Sweeby » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:07 am

Thanks Nancy -- Your reassurances are very reassuring! I'll take a few deep breaths and cross my fingers, and assure my mother that at this time, there's no real need to worry.

I'm in a service business myself, so I do understand that things happen and sometimes service failures occur. I guess it's the 'powerlessness' of our position at this time that leaves us feeling vulnerable.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Nancy » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:18 am

The van line will be financially motivated to get this moving when they can. It's an extremely challenging time of the year. The last two weeks of June were the busiest all year.

Sounds like they picked your mom up at the end of the 1st week, and now at the end of the 2nd busy week, it's still at origin. I'm sure the delivery spread has another week on it.

I wouldn't hestitate to call regularly for updates, but at this point, don't get too frustrated if they don't know anything.

If the papers your mom needs are quite urgent, you could ask Valley to pull them from the shipment and FedEx them to her. Are they dependent upon a home closing? If so, they may do that for you.

Otherwise, it's just a rough time of year to be moving or to be in the moving business. I tell our customers that it's like flying the airlines at Christmas and having a flight canceled. It's horrible, and a service failure can take a while to recover from, but they WILL get it there.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:31 am

I didn't know it had to be seasonal for flight cancellations... Looks like Northwest pilots are flying so many hrs they cancelled 1000 flights.

I feel you on busy Nancy. This past week we must have moved over 300,000 lbs.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

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

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Diane » Wed Jul 04, 2007 6:16 pm

Sweeby,

Please do post the final outcome of your mother's move because we have no reviews of Valley as yet. Was this the Concord office?
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Sweeby
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:02 pm

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Sweeby » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:32 am

First off, Yes, this was Valley out of Concord, California, and I'll post my review here as well as on a separate thread with Valley - Concord, CA in the title so searchers can find it.

In the weeks since my original post, we have followed up with North American every few days, and all they were able to tell us was "waiting for driver to be assigned" -- day after day, week after week. Our 5-day estimated delivery window came and went. North American corporate responded promptly and politely to our numerous follow-up calls, but weren't able to give us any useful information. Earlier calls directly to Valley were returned in 24-36 hours with instructions to call North American corporate for further information or to check a certain web site. The web address Valley gave us was wrong, but I was able to find the correct one.

It wasn't until 2 weeks AFTER delivery was supposed to have been completed that we got word that a driver 'might' finally have been found and would 'probably' be able to leave CA on the 16th or 17th, 'possibly' arriving here on the 23rd, depending on the driver's other stops. And yesterday, 3 weeks after the start of their estimated delivery date, my mother's furniture was finally delivered.

Website checks over the prior week showed "en route", but no other information as to whether or not the 'possible' delivery on the 23rd would happen. Early in the morning of the 23rd, we got a call from the driver letting us know he was 2 hours away, and that he would be ready to deliver as soon as he found people to help unload. He apologized for not calling earlier, but explained that Valley did not provide him with our phone number until that morning. He also asked where the address was -- a good thing because despite 3 prior corrections with NA, it was still wrong. I gave him directions and three contact phone numbers, none of which he had.

The driver was waiting for us when we got to the building and I showed him the loading dock and Mom's apartment. He explained that he would begin unloading as soon as his helpers showed up, so Mom and I went upstairs to wait. Fortunately, we each had some good books, because it was fully two hours later when he came upstairs with four helpers and the first pieces of furniture. I asked if North American had been able to provide helpers or if he had needed to use day laborers and he told me his helpers were day laborers and that he had ended up with four people because the first two couldn't find the place (huh? - high rise at a Major Intersection) so he called two more. The driver and all four helpers were careful, polite, professional, and spoke good English. (Adequate English is unusual for day labor in Houston.) Unloading proceeded quickly and without any major problems.

There were two small unlabeled items from another shipment that did not belong to us, which we promptly returned, and one box (containing items of low monetary value) was missing from our shipment. Halfway through unpacking, nothing appears to have been damaged or broken, and only one box (containing "papers" and labeled as such) was crushed in one corner.

Mom had agreed to a guaranteed charge, had arranged to pay by credit card, and had provided the card information to Valley prior to pickup - so well over a month ago. We'd heard no indication of a problem and knew that the card was good and had sufficient available credit. When the driver called Valley at the conclusion of the move for the approval code, he was informed that the card had been declined. We spoke with Valley and corrected the card's expiration date, and Valley said they would re-call the CC company for approval. Over the next hour and a half, the driver called Valley three times trying to get the code, getting increasingly frustrated.

He apologized for inconveniencing us and mentioned that he had heard about problems with Valley from several different NA drivers, and that several drivers he knew wouldn't agree to take shipments from Valley because they'd had so many frustrations with them. (Makes sense to me now, given how long we had to wait for Valley to get a driver...) He mentioned that the contact at Valley was rude to him and had consistently provided inadequate and inaccurate information, and indicated he would no longer accept work from Valley since they had been nothing but uncooperative and incompetent in all his dealings with them. He did say that this was not at all typical of North American, which was a very good company in general.

I don't know where the line is between Valley's responsibility and North American -- Hopefully someone here can clarify. But I'd have to say I wasn't very impressed with Valley. While the individuals actually doing the physical work were polite, diligent and competent, the people running Valley's office seem to have dropped the ball at every possible opportunity. In short, for a full-priced moving company, I think you could do better.

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

Re: Off to a Worrysome Start...

Postby Diane » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:27 pm

That is what I was told about Valley as well, although "BigLeeCalif" seems to think they are good (see above). Thanks so much for this detailed review, which I've posted on the Superlist linked to below my name.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.


Return to “Open Community”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests