Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

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sdhughes
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 8:53 am

Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby sdhughes » Tue May 11, 2004 11:44 pm

I've gotten four bids, and I have some more questions for the experts. : )

1) Atlas / Duggan
Weight estimate: 7,000 pounds
Cost with FVP of $35,000 and $0 deductible: $3,685
Cost per pound: 52.6 cents
Discount: 63%
Type of bid: Binding, GNTE
Subcontract: Driver may not be Duggan but will be Atlas.


Comments: The rep was prompt, professional and very friendly. Too friendly actually. Overly gratuitous and syrupy. It's not that big a deal, just that I get wary when people who have something to gain are so solicitous and false. He did send me my official estimate via email the very next day and made follow-up calls as committed. A very clean transaction all the way around.

He looked at the pics of my dest home and said there wouldn't be any shuttle or other charges for the lengthy distance from home steps, down the driveway to the street. (Driveway is too small for tractor trailer.) I provided the pics I have, and I'd guess the distance is 200 feet or so, but you can't really tell by the pics. He declined to contact a local agent for verification.

2) United / Humboldt
Weight estimate: 7,000 pounds
Cost with FVP of $35,000 and $0 deductible: $3,878
Cost per pound: 55.4 cents
Discount: 61%
Type of bid: Don't know.
Subcontract: Driver may not be Humboldt but will be United.

Comments: The rep was friendly and professional though she called at the last minute to ask for a 45-minute late start, and she arrived an extra 15 minutes later. Not too big a deal and I liked what she had to say about Humboldt. I also liked that her weight estimate was the same as Atlas.

She was the rep who volunteered to do the most initial legwork to make sure things would go smoothly. She said she prefers to call my condo assoc at origin to ensure what their requirements are (if any) for a big moving truck (rather than me calling them). She also agreed to contact the dest United agent to have them look at my driveway and let us know if a shuttle would be needed.

She promised to email me the estimate today but she didn't. : ( Maybe she's still tracking the info. But I didn't get a status call or email from her.

3) Mayflower / McLaughlin
Weight estimate: 6,600 pounds
Cost with FVP of $35,000 and $0 deductible: $3,703
Cost per pound: 56.1 cents
*Price adjustment for over/under weight: $42.40 per 100 pounds
Discount: 61%
Type of bid: Non-binding estimate.
Subcontract: Driver may not be McLaughlin but will be Mayflower.

Comments: This guy arrived right on time. He was professional and efficient. But he smelled distinctly of alcohol (at 8am). Maybe the way he smelled was from the night before (instead of during his drive over to my place). Regardless, that doesn't preclude McLaughlin from my consideration, but it does give me pause.

His weight estimate wasn't far off the first two, which was nice. And I liked the fact that he gave me an "additional services list" which (hopefully) covers anything extra they might want to charge me for. He declined to contact a local agent about my driveway and the possible shuttle requirement. He simply said that the driver would make the call on arrival. That particular service would cost me an extra $567.

4a) Allied / Wakefield
Weight estimate: 5,500 pounds
Cost with FVP of $35,000 and $0 deductible: $3,224
Cost per pound: 58.6 cents
Discount: 62%
Type of bid: Non-binding estimate.
Subcontract: Driver will be a Wakefield employee.

4b) Allied / Wakefield
**Weight I requested he provide estimate for: 7,000 pounds
Cost with FVP of $35,000 and $0 deductible: $3,900
Cost per pound: 55.7 cents
Discount: 62%
Type of bid: Unofficial
Subcontract: Driver will be a Wakefield employee.

Comments: This guy called me the night before he was supposed to come over for the estimate. He wanted to push his arrival time by thirty minutes and he wanted me to give him directions to my condo. OK, call me picky. But I'm hiring a moving company to take all of my worldly possessions 1100 miles away, and the moving company rep can't find his way to my local address? Isn't Mapquest just everywhere?

Nevertheless, he was very professional and efficient when he arrived. After he provided his estimate he asked me if I'd gotten other bids and how they had come out. I told him that the others had come in at much higher weights, so he gave me a second number to use if the weight actually turned out to be 7,000 pounds. (But that isn't on the estimate.)

About the driveway thing, he just said he'd add $150 to the estimate for a "long carry" at destination. He seemed surprised when I asked him if they use 400N. When he said they did, I asked him why the long carry charge and he said it was just a little something to "keep the driver happy." He actually wrote "Long Carry Dest" under additional services on the estimate.

This note is long enough. : )

Questions to follow..

By the way, thanks for sticking with me through all the gory detail. All my wordly belongings are at stake. 'Course you already knew that. : )

-Grace

23
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:47 pm

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby 23 » Wed May 12, 2004 6:18 am

Grace,

Throw Allied out of the picture right now. What he told you about the long carry charge is a blatant lie!

His weight was also very low, which leads me to believe he low balled you from the beginning!

If it were me, I would probably choose Atlas. They are a reputable company. Do you happen to have AAA? I think Atlas are the ones that give FVR for free to AAA members. (AAA membership is only about $40/year, maybe sign up to get the free valuation if it will save you money, plus you will get 2 free tows!)

Atlas is also doing a little better on the pricing that United and Mayflower and a 63% is competitive and normal.

Good luck! (One last thing, it won't hurt to ask for the sales rep to deliver you some used boxes for free)

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

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Diane » Wed May 12, 2004 8:46 am

I agree with 23 about Allied. I'm still a little concerned about Atlas (Duggan) possibly pulling the same thing at destination.
Grace wrote:He looked at the pics of my dest home and said there wouldn't be any shuttle or other charges for the lengthy distance from home steps, down the driveway to the street. (Driveway is too small for tractor trailer.) I provided the pics I have, and I'd guess the distance is 200 feet or so

What do the moving professionals think will actually happen in this case? Will the driver "happily" carry her stuff down the 200-foot driveway? If a shuttle has to be used, she will be billed for it after 30 days, right? So she shouldn't assume that she won't have to pay for a shuttle eventually, right? The GNTE doesn't say that any possible shuttle will be free. All she has is verbal promises, which I don't think would be legally enforceable.

Natasha Fatale

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Natasha Fatale » Wed May 12, 2004 10:36 am

I also agree with 23 about Allied. Keep in mind also that there is an Allied agent in the Atlanta metro area called Cathcart Allied Storage Company. It is owned by a man who has proven his anti-consumer attitude to all of us here. For example, he thinks that the rule requiring movers to relinquish the shipment upon payment of 100-110% of the estimate is unfair to the mover, and has suggested that he is not going to follow that rule if additional services are "necessary" at destination. You would not want his company to be the hauling agent or destination agent (or to play any part at all) in your move.

sdhughes
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 06, 2004 8:53 am

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby sdhughes » Fri May 14, 2004 1:16 am

Well, I can't put this off any longer. I need to commit to one of the movers. Thanks in advance for your valuable feedback.

I feel relatively OK about Atlas / Duggan given what I know so far. He did have the best discount. On the other hand, all four companies provided estimated pricing that I could live with. I'm not as concerned about what they've SAID they'd charge me as I am about:

- What they might ACTUALLY charge me.
- Whether I end up receiving ALL of my belongings at destination, in good condition.

(I'm not expecting perfection, I just don't want to be ripped off, or lose all my possessions, or have significant losses due to damage and theft.)

So... Here are the candidates:

1) Atlas / Duggan

I don't especially care for the exposure to shuttle fee at destination.

1A) Would it be realistic for me to ask the rep to add something like the following to the GNTE? "Shuttle at destination (if needed) - $0." Or "No shuttle to be used at destination. Street-to-door distance has been pre-assessed and pre-approved for carry." Given that the contract is actually the bill of lading, is that supposed to include all of the same info as the GNTE, including the fact that it IS a binding GNT contract?

I don't mind paying for shuttle if it's actually necessary. It's just that I'd prefer to know in advance. And I'd be able to make a more informed choice about which mover in the first place. For instance, even if the Allied "long carry" charge is bogus, paying $150 for that would be preferable to paying ~ $600 for a shuttle. 'Course they might end up trying to charge me for a shuttle anyway since the estimate isn't binding.

By the way, I've read Tyrone's article about the different types of estimates. Logically a binding GNTE seems the best way to go. But the Mayflower guy told me that he wasn't providing me a binding GNTE because "they never hold up." He said truck drivers don't like GNTE's because there's a risk they might not get paid enough. So under a GNTE, truck drivers at loading time go to "great lengths" to identify "any little thing" that wasn't included on the GNTE so they can "void" the estimate. As he was saying "any little thing," the Mayflower rep picked up my small ceramic Kleenex box holder as an example.

1B) Does this really happen? If so, what would the implications be if it happened to me?

1C) What kinds of things do I need to "pack" versus what's just considered "furniture" (that the movers would handle within GNTE)? For instance, there's a large mirror that's attached and part of my chest of drawers. If something like that unexpectedly comes up on move day that I thought was included in GNTE, but it isn't and I need them to pack it, could that void the GNTE? (They gave me a handy dandy packing booklet but things like the bureau mirror aren't addressed.)

I think my load will be lighter than the 7,000-pound GNTE. In that case, I'd want to know what refund should be credited to my credit card. I've read that I should ask the rep for weight-to-price formula.

1D) Is that the best thing? What if the rep won't tell me the formula? Do I have a right to know it?

1E) Is it reasonable for me to ask the rep for a comprehensive price list of additional services that might be required (and that aren't included in GNTE)? The Mayflower guy gave me a list that I liked, though I don't know for sure that it was comprehensive.

1F) At the bottom of GNTE there's the following verbiage. "Any Fuel Surcharge is determined by applicable DOE price and is subject to change." Is this typical and does it mean I might pay more than GNTE? I would undertsand the need for that increase over GNTE as long as I could independently verify DOE pricing. Any way for me to do that?

I asked the Atlas rep when he was here about a AAA discount. He said the discount he was giving me would be "better" than what I'd be eligible for with my AAA membership. Given what 23 said, I checked the Duggan and AAA web sites. On AAA there's nothing for Duggan, but there's this entry regarding free FVP:

Atlas Van Lines/Shetler Moving-Storage (Evansville, IN)
Service Description: In and out of state moving company
Offer Description: Save 40-50% on out-of-state moves. Full value protection at no charge.
Offer good at participating locations only.

2) United / Humboldt

The rep did send me her estimate, which I think is a binding GNTE, though it's not clear. She said when we met that the full estimate amount would be charged to my credit card 48 hours in advance. She didn't say 110%. But the only indication on the actual estimate form is that there's a section for "Non-Bound Charges." That's where she listed the FVP. I'd definitely confirm nature of estimate before making a decision for United / Humboldt.

The rep is still awaiting word from dest folks about shuttle requirement. I really like that she's checking on that. It would be very meaningful if she says I don't need a dest shuttle and she puts it in writing.

On the AAA site there's a member discount shown for Humboldt. It says "10% off total expenses, including hourly services and materials. Insurance fees not included."

2A) Given that the rep's estimate already shows a 61% discount, does this AAA thing really do anything for me?

2B) If I end up leaning toward United / Humboldt, would it be reasonable for me to ask the rep if she can match the 63% competitor discount?


3) McLaughlin / Mayflower

I've just heard too many disturbing things about Mayflower to consider these guys. And I don't like the fact that their HQ is just an administrative-type organization. I don't foresee getting any help from them if I had problems with the move or with the charges. I'd just be caught between McLaughlin and whichever other Mayflower agent actually ended up at destination. (I was really glad to see that RICO suit against Mayflower.)

4) Allied / Wakefield

Before I got your feedback, I was heavily leaning toward Allied / Wakefield. Believe it or not, I'm still considering them. I'll share my rationale and I'm sure you'll tell me if I'm all wet. : )

Yes, their rep was kind of pushy with me to hurry up and book with them, saying they might run out of capacity soon. And he did pull the $150 "long carry" thing on me.

But he promised me one thing that no one else did. And I really, really like it. Each of the other three reps said that my move would be handled by one of their nationally-affiliated agents (for Atlas, United or Mayflower), but they couldn't commit that one of THEIR OWN drivers would be doing it (Duggan, Humboldt or McLaughlin).

The Allied / Wakefield rep committed that one of the Wakefield drivers would handle my move, that he/she would show up at origin, load my things with Wakefield-employee helpers, never take my things off that truck, and later show up at destination with local Allied-employee helpers for unloading.

4A) Unfortunately I don't know if I can trust his commitment. I could ask for it in writing. But I probably wouldn't have any realistic recourse if some other agent's driver showed up with my things.

But this is a big deal to me. I'd have only one agent, one moving company and one driver to deal with. There wouldn't be any risk of falling into an abyss between two agents. There wouldn't be a destintion driver saying he doesn't know why things are missing / broken. There would potentially be less handling of my things (no moving things from truck to truck after they leave my place, for ANY reason).

So simple and nice: I see my things loaded onto the truck. I sign the bill of lading and wish the driver a good trip. I welcome the same driver at destination with my things still sitting where I last saw them, in the same truck. The driver and I both still have our same paperwork and we both see all the same things unloaded.

Plus if a Wakefiled driver actually does the delivery, the local, anti-customer Cathcart culture wouldn't be an issue.

4B) Can you see why I'm attracted? Am I missing something? Should I just ditch the pipe dreams given that this rep has already proven himself dishonest?

4C) By the way, even though this rep's estimate is non-binding, I don't see any big vulnerabilities. It seems I could just as easily get stuck with additional services charges on the other carriers' GNTE's. Or could I ask Wakefield /Allied for a GNTE? (Are they required to provide one if I want it?)


I plan to ask for a re-weigh regrdless of which mover I choose, so I shouldn't be exposed to weight bumping. In fact, there is one other thing that I especially liked about Wakefield /Allied. On the estimate form, there's a spot for me to indicate whether ot not I want to personally observe the weighing and whther I want notification of actual weight and charges. The rep said they'd do the before and after weighings on the same day that we load. It just seems like there's so much more protection for me in this scenario.

With the other companies it feels a lot like a potential shell game, where all of my worldly possessions are going from driver to driver, possibly truck to truck, agent to agent, etc, etc.. And we know where that would leave me if only part of my things make it to Atlanta, or the destination driver says I owe four times more than estimate, or some other total nonsense. Right. :cry:

I know that you folks can only provide a certain amount of support, that my decision will ultimately be mine, and that the consequences will be mine.

So, which mover should I pick? :wink:

-Grace

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

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri May 14, 2004 12:32 pm

I would definitely consider the agent that offered not-to-exceed estimates.

Ask if he has the additional services form that went into effect on May 5. Any charges that might possibly pop up should be listed as well as the charge.

If there is a possibility of a shuttle at destination, the charge for it should be clearly noted on the form.
"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: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Diane » Fri May 14, 2004 12:58 pm

Grace--I just spoke with BigLee for about 15 minutes and he agreed to come on here after me and offer his comments. Basically, both of us think that you should go with Atlas since they were the only ones who offered you a GNTE. 23 thought so too (see above).

sdhughes wrote:I don't especially care for the exposure to shuttle fee at destination.
1A) Would it be realistic for me to ask the rep to add something like the following to the GNTE? "Shuttle at destination (if needed) - $0." Or "No shuttle to be used at destination. Street-to-door distance has been pre-assessed and pre-approved for carry."

My opinion--yes, you should ask for clarification. Lee suggests that you try to settle the thing once and for all by insisting that Atlas get an Atlanta agent to go look at the driveway. He says they will probably do a long carry, not a shuttle, because it's a hassle for the driver to get the shuttle (drivers don't like to do it) and it would be more costly for you. He says that any cost for a carry of 200 feet should be folded into the "destination charges" line on your quote--you shouldn't be charged extra for it. He says that you should have received a price list for possible additional services with the estimate, since these are now the regs.

I don't mind paying for shuttle if it's actually necessary. It's just that I'd prefer to know in advance.

According to Lee, as of May 5 movers are supposed to give people a list of additional services like shuttles and the cost for each as you mention below. You may have gotten your quote before the regs went into effect.

Logically a binding GNTE seems the best way to go. But the Mayflower guy told me that he wasn't providing me a binding GNTE because "they never hold up." He said truck drivers don't like GNTE's because there's a risk they might not get paid enough. So under a GNTE, truck drivers at loading time go to "great lengths" to identify "any little thing" that wasn't included on the GNTE so they can "void" the estimate. As he was saying "any little thing," the Mayflower rep picked up my small ceramic Kleenex box holder as an example.

It could be that the Mayflower guy was simply trying to justify why he wouldn't give you a GNTE. If having a GNTE is bad and exposes you to extra charges, how would a lack of a GNTE be any better?

[b]1E) Is it reasonable for me to ask the rep for a comprehensive price list of additional services that might be required (and that aren't included in GNTE)? The Mayflower guy gave me a list that I liked, though I don't know for sure that it was comprehensive.

I commented on this above--according to Lee, the regs require that you be given such a list. Any additional services could be billed to you only after 30 days.

1F) At the bottom of GNTE there's the following verbiage. "Any Fuel Surcharge is determined by applicable DOE price and is subject to change." Is this typical and does it mean I might pay more than GNTE? I would undertsand the need for that increase over GNTE as long as I could independently verify DOE pricing. Any way for me to do that?

The fuel surcharge is based on fuel prices which are posted on the Internet on the 15th of every month. Lee can tell you where. He says yes, your cost could go up if fuel prices go up.

Lee and I both feel that you shouldn't obsess about having the same truck, same driver, and so on at origin and destination. Companies may promise this but in the end it doesn't happen for a variety of reasons. If you're really concerned about this you should go with an independent moving company like South Hills Movers in Pennsylvania which was recommended by "tendertush" on this board.

Hope this helps. Now let's see what Lee has to say.
Last edited by Diane on Tue May 18, 2004 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

BigLeeCalif
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Location: Escondido, California

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri May 14, 2004 1:16 pm

I'm kind of on a schedule today, so I will make this brief.

#1 - Verify the shuttle... If possible, ask the agent to check with a destination agent. You have a right to know yea or nay.

#2 - I think the Mayflower guy was a little unprofessional in his reasoning for not giving a nte. Estimates hold up quite well. There is an internal system of resolving issues when the estimate goes over. The drivers are fully aware of what the procedures are. They might ask you to pay more, but the issue can't be forced. If you elect not to pay additional, it becomes an inhouse situation where the driver STILL gets paid, but the agent takes the hit for the inaccurate estimate....The cube sheet is checked carefully, and the carrier does have a right to not take items not on the cube sheet if they suddenly add a lot of weight to the order.

#3 - The mirror carton would probably need to go in a "mirror" ctn, and unless delicate not a crate. There would be a charge, but it is less than crating.

#4 - The weight to price formula is inaccurate, because the cost changes with every 500 - 1000 lbs... So the formula for 4000 lbs would not be the same for 5000 lbs.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Natasha Fatale

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Natasha Fatale » Fri May 14, 2004 1:19 pm

Diane wrote:


1E) Is it reasonable for me to ask the rep for a comprehensive price list of additional services that might be required (and that aren't included in GNTE)? The Mayflower guy gave me a list that I liked, though I don't know for sure that it was comprehensive.

I commented on this above--according to Lee, the regs require that you be given such a list. Any additional services could be billed to you only after 30 days.


Grace,

The regs say that on a "binding" estimate, the most you have to pay to have the movers relinquish your shipment at destination is 100% of the estimate. Any additional services must be billed to you after the relinquishment, for you to pay within 30 days. That price list of additional services may be handy for you because you will know how big the bill you are going to receive will be. But the moving company CANNOT LEGALLY make you hand over more than 100% of the binding estimate as a condition of releasing the goods.

The regs require that a tariff setting out how the charges for your move will be calculated must be available for your inspection. Arguably, the additional services price list may fulfill this requirement (without you even having to ask for it).

FredW
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 10:29 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby FredW » Fri May 14, 2004 1:20 pm

Diane wrote:Lee and I both feel that you shouldn't obsess about having the same truck, same driver, and so on at origin and destination.

What do you mean when you say "truck"? Do you mean the tractor, the trailer or the combo? I was under the impression that you SHOULD have the same trailer at both ends unless you are using a shuttle or storage.

As a moving newbie, I don't think it matters if you have the same driver & tractor at both ends, unless it is somebody you specifically requested. If I like the driver at the load end, then I might wish I had him all the way through. If I don't like him, then I don't want him at the unload and I would worry about my stuff the whole trip, but whatcha gonna do?

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

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Diane » Fri May 14, 2004 1:27 pm

FredW wrote:What do you mean when you say "truck"? Do you mean the tractor, the trailer or the combo? I was under the impression that you SHOULD have the same trailer at both ends unless you are using a shuttle or storage.

You're correct, Fred. To clarify, I meant the tractor part (and the driver).

FredW
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 10:29 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby FredW » Fri May 14, 2004 1:31 pm

Diane wrote:You're correct, Fred. To clarify, I meant the tractor part (and the driver).


Cool. I am not trying to be anal or picky, just trying to make sure I don't make assumptions that could bite me. thanks for all the info, I am learning a lot.

Natasha Fatale

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Natasha Fatale » Fri May 14, 2004 1:33 pm

It would be easier to hold whoever does your move accountable if you had as few people as possible involved. If the Allied agent is going to "self haul" your shipment, with the same driver at origin and destination (and the driver is the booking agent's employee or is contracted with your booking agent), there is a chance of better service for you. Things are less likely to "fall through the cracks," and if they do, there is less capability for the movers to point the finger at someone else and give you the run-around.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4659
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri May 14, 2004 1:37 pm

Here is the link I told you on the phone...

I'm sure Tim has it posted, but just in case....



http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/factsfigs/rights.htm
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Tyrone
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2003 5:18 pm

Re: Boston to Atlanta - Part Two

Postby Tyrone » Fri May 14, 2004 2:08 pm

my load will be lighter than the 7,000-pound GNTE. In that case, I'd want to know what refund should be credited to my credit card. I've read that I should ask the rep for weight-to-price formula.


To understand this you would need a degree in calculus. The answer the movers tell you is something like "As the weight decreases, the rate of price decrease changes at an increasing rate of decrease..." it's really ridiculous. Basically, the "formula" ends up being a big table that factors in weight and zip codes and the price of tea in China. ( :wink: ) This information is hidden in a document called the moving company "Tariff".

1D) Is that the best thing? What if the rep won't tell me the formula? Do I have a right to know it?


You ARE entitled to view the tariff. Federal law explicitly requires the movers to make the tariff available for your review upon request and at no cost to you, prior to your move. But I've never heard of a mover actually carrying around the tarriff with them (even the "major" van lines). I guess this is yet another example where the federal laws are disregarded by arrogant movers who consider themselves to be above the law or feel that the law is too inconvenient to obey.

1E) Is it reasonable for me to ask the rep for a comprehensive price list of additional services that might be required (and that aren't included in GNTE)? The Mayflower guy gave me a list that I liked, though I don't know for sure that it was comprehensive.


Under the new rules (as of May 5, 2004), this is the ONLY honest way for the rep to do business. But the word on the street is that the reps are hesitant to comply because the list of potential charges causes a perceived price difference leading to "sticker shock" and could make the consumer choose a different company; one that hid the potential costs.

1F) At the bottom of GNTE there's the following verbiage. "Any Fuel Surcharge is determined by applicable DOE price and is subject to change." Is this typical and does it mean I might pay more than GNTE? I would undertsand the need for that increase over GNTE as long as I could independently verify DOE pricing. Any way for me to do that?


There are two answers for this. The first answer is, yes this is typical and yes, it means that you might pay more than GNTE. The second answer is, so far as I know this is ILLEGAL. I challenge the movers on this forum to cite the statute that exempts gas surcharges from the binding nature of a GNTE estimate. It's POSSIBLE that there is an exemption, but as far as I know this is just another area where moving companies ignore the law because "everyone else is doing it". While fuel surcharge increases don't add up to BIG dollars, you should be aware that a federal judge recently ruled that certain practices in place by the major van lines are designed to encourage "racketeering on a small scale".


By the way, I think your point about getting the justification and/or exact pricing for a shuttle agreed to in writing up front is an excellent idea. I would be shocked if a mover actually agreed to it. You should be aware that the general consensus among movers in response to the new rules is to try and work around the rules to evade the spirit and the letter of the new consumer protection laws, rather than to embrace and comply.

It all comes down to who you feel most comfortable with. ANY moving company driver can decide to tack on shuttle charges, long carry charges, rainy day charges, hot weather charges, ugly furniture charges, or truck-driver-needs-a-new-set-of-golf-clubs charges if they feel like it on delivery day. Diane pointed out that verbal promises are not legally enforceable. The reality is that, NOTHING is legally enforcable when it comes to an interstate moving contract, but that's another story...

My personal opinion would be to NOT use one of the UniGroup companies (Mayflower and United) because of the cowardly fashion in which UniGroup is handling the RICO charges they are currently facing. The MayFlower agent at the center of the RICO suit is now a United agent.
Last edited by Tyrone on Fri May 14, 2004 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dominus amotioni capitis e clunibus sum.


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