Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

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ToniCA
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:37 pm

Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby ToniCA » Fri May 28, 2004 10:44 pm

I posted a few times about a month ago as I began my adventure in moving from the SF Bay Area to southern WA (near Portland, OR). Thanks so much to those who posted answers to my questions and to those who replied to private messages.

In hopes of helping other moving novices, I thought I would summarize of my experience so far. My move is not yet complete since I need to store my stuff for about a month before it is delivered into my new house. So, so far I have experienced gathering estimates, deciding whom to choose, and have had my belongings packed up, loaded, and delivered to storage in OR. I have not yet visually inspected my belongings since they were loaded so I can not yet comment on how well everything fared during transportation.

We interviewed four companies to do our move: Chipman United, Cor-o-Van North American, Peeters Atlas, and Stevens/CA Movers Express. After some serious consideration, we decided to go with Stevens.

We decided on Stevens for several reasons. First, Robyn Visser knows her stuff and was very responsive to our questions and concerns. So responsive, in fact, that I wonder if the woman ever sleeps! She also came in with the highest estimated weight but NOT the highest estimated cost. We felt the extra weight gave us a nice buffer for a Not-to-Exceed estimate and were confident our weight would come in lower. Robyn also worked with us to get the non-peak season rate even though our load date was the first date of peak-season rates. She also provided us two estimates: one for storage in CA and one for storage in WA. Although this sounded straightforward at first, it got a little tricky since in one case it was a local move to storage followed by an interstate move and the other case was an interstate move to storage followed by a local move. Robyn guided us through our options and helped us make the best decision given our circumstances. And lastly, we really appreciated the posts and consideration Chuck gave to his decision to go with Stevens. His positive experience factored into our decision as well.

On Moving Day, 2 packers from CA Movers Express showed up at 8:00am to pack up our dishes and glassware. The Stevens van showed up at about 9:30. During that time, Robyn called to make sure everything was going OK and to alert us that the van was on its way. While the van was there, Robyn showed up at our house to again make sure everything was going OK. That completely surprised and delighted us. It meant a lot to us that Robyn took time out to come out on site and make sure we were happy with what was happening. By 3:00, the van was loaded and heading off to OR. We were impressed by how efficiently the driver (Wally Rivera) worked with his crew and loaded up the van. We were stunned when they finished before 3:00. Our only concern was that Wally showed up with his wife and brand new baby and his wife was to be in charge of the inventory. We were initially concerned that her attention might be focused on her baby instead of on our inventory and perhaps someone else would be better for the job. However, Wally immediately took over inventory duties as needed and I stayed close by to make sure everything got tagged and noted. In the end it was not a problem.

In terms of the weights, we came in much lighter than most estimates. The estimated weights were: Stevens = 12,107 lbs; Chipman = 11,375 lbs; Cor-o-Van = 10,651 lbs; and Peeters = 9,450 lbs. The final actual weight was 9,500 lbs. The range of estimated weights and the utter lack of a clue how to judge them made the weight one of our biggest stumbling blocks while evaluating the bids. Granted, we did end up moving a few more things ourselves than originally planned but we were still surprised by the large disparity between estimated and actual weight.

So far we have been very pleased with our move and are impressed with the service and attention we have received by Robyn Visser, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, and California Movers Express. The baton has now been passed to the local (OR) storage facility contracted with Stevens, so we have high hopes that our experience will continue to be positive.

MusicMom
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby MusicMom » Fri May 28, 2004 10:51 pm

Thank you for this great information! You really did your homework. Give us another update when it's all over.

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

Re: Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby Diane » Fri May 28, 2004 11:08 pm

ToniCA wrote:So far we have been very pleased with our move and are impressed with the service and attention we have received by Robyn Visser, Stevens Worldwide Van Lines, and California Movers Express.

This is so nice to read. When Chuck first told us about Robyn Visser, I had a feeling that she was a winner. Please do give us a final report so we can feel completely comfortable recommending this company to others. You might also want to PM Chuck to tell him that his effort to post everything he experienced was helpful. Just as an aside: people should be very careful not to confuse California Movers Express (good) with California New York Express (very bad). Thank you, Toni, and congratulations on your excellent service, Robyn!

ToniCA
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:37 pm

Re: Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby ToniCA » Fri May 28, 2004 11:29 pm

Great idea, Diane! I just sent a PM to Chuck thanking him. And I absolutely will post again after we get moved in. This site has been invaluable.

Toni

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

Re: Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby Diane » Sat May 29, 2004 12:09 am

Toni, I didn't know that you were reading about Chuck's move and Robyn Visser's high-quality service, but this kind of thing is part of the dream I have for MovingScam. Rather than just protecting people from scammers, I would like for the website to enable a community of like-minded people to help each other find good companies--self-move companies like ABF and Broadway Express as well as full-service movers and rental van companies. To that end, I encouraged Tim Walker (the founder of this website) to develop high-quality search capability that didn't exist before. We need to be able to learn from others and to share good as well as bad experiences, and the search engine is what makes that possible. Your positive report is a sign that my dream may be coming true. Thank you.

ToniCA
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:37 pm

Re: UPDATE Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby ToniCA » Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:39 pm

Hi everyone!

It took a few months, but I am finally moved in, settled, and can give the final update on my move with Stevens/CA Movers Express. Overall, I had a few bumps but I would still recommend Stevens without hesitation.

To briefly recap, we moved from the SF Bay Area to southern Washington (near Vancouver). We needed to store our possessions for what turned out to be 44 days. We used Stevens/CA Movers Express to pack up our stuff and move it into another Stevens affiliate in Oregon. That affiliate was Willamette Express (WEX). WEX stored our possessions and then did a local move to our new home when we were ready.

Everything with CA Movers Express was fantastic. In addition to what I have already posted about them, I can add that the van made record time and our stuff arrived in Oregon at WEX 2 days faster than estimated. If I hadn't been paying daily for storage, I would have sent them flowers. :)

I spoke to the folks at Willamette Express several times to make sure everything arrived and was in great condition. I was assured everything was fine. Everyone on the phone was polite, friendly, and professional. When it finally came time to schedule the delivery, everything went smoothly and as promised. We ended up with two smaller trucks, 3 guys, and they showed up on time.

With our awesome experience with CA Movers Express, we expected a similar experience with Willamette. They were OK, but not great. The 3 guys just didn't strike us as professional and experienced as the guys at CA Movers. The two trucks looked haphazardly packed. I got frustrated as I tried to check off things on my inventory list as they came off the truck. The movers’ emphasis was to get in and out of there as fast as possible. My emphasis was to make sure all my stuff was there and in the same condition as I last saw it. I had to ask them to slow down a few times which I think frustrated them.

In the midst of unloading the truck, we discovered there was damage to two pieces of furniture. There was a gouge in the base of a mahogany china hutch and an indentation on the top of a cherrywood dresser. When we alerted the driver, he said that Stevens would handle it. With the research I did on movingscam.com, I knew I needed to note the damage on the inventory. However, I was instructed by the driver twice NOT to note the damage. He assured me that Stevens corporate would take care of it and that I wasn't supposed to note it on the paperwork. This just didn't sound right but I made the mistake of questioning my research and thought maybe the rules were different since this was a two-stage move with storage by a second affiliate. I didn't note the damage. However, I did pick up my cell phone while the Willamette movers were in ear shot and I called Robyn Visser back at CA Movers Express. I told her about the damage. She told me to alert the Stevens Corporate offices first thing the next morning. As it turned out, it was OK that I didn’t note the damage since the claims adjuster later stated that it was obviously fresh damage. However, I still regret not insisting that notes be made on the inventory.

After everything was unloaded, we also discovered an item was missing (Lesson Learned: ALWAYS check off items on your inventory list!). A 32 foot extension ladder was nowhere to be found. The guys said they remembered seeing it back at the warehouse and would arrange to have it delivered in a few days. Oddly, this time the driver DID allow me to note the forgotten ladder on the inventory. It was noted as being left at WEX.

First thing the next morning, I called the Claims Department at Stevens corporate. They were friendly, helpful, apologetic and professional. I was told forms would be sent to me ASAP. In the meantime, a search would be officially opened for the ladder that was left at the Willamette warehouse. Just part of their policy.

It turns out, the ladder was lost. It took several phone calls to Willamette Express for this to be determined. Bob at WEX could not explain how the ladder - listed independently on the inventory - was not in his warehouse. I got the feeling that as items move in and out of storage, they are not necessarily carefully itemized against the inventory.

I went through the process to file a claim with Stevens. Stevens was very prompt in their reply and sent out an adjuster. After that, I did not hear anything back from Stevens for a couple of weeks, so I called. Turns out Stevens didn’t have a copy of the adjuster’s report. They immediately called him and he resent it. Three days later I had a settlement check from Stevens. We were very pleased with their settlement for the furniture. However, there was some confusion about the missing ladder as it was a specialized contractor’s ladder that is no longer manufactured. It took about 3 weeks of back-and-forth but we finally got a second settlement check from Stevens to cover the ladder. It was very fair and we are pleased with the resolution.

Overall, we were thrilled with CA Movers Express and very pleased with Steven’s claims process. We were concerned that we would get caught in the middle of the two Steven’s affiliates figuring out who was responsible for the damage and missing ladder. Instead, we felt like Stevens corporate just took care of it and worked out the details with the affiliates separately. This is how it should be; we were just pleased it was how it actually happened. We were less impressed by Willamette Movers. Although they started off strong, I am bothered that I was incorrectly told not to note damage on the inventory and that they needed to be prompted to admit losing the ladder. If we had to do it all over again, the only thing we might do differently is to try to check out Willamette Express. However, since they were a Stevens affiliate and the move was being coordinated by CA Movers, we might not have had any say in that part of the move.

The most important part of this experience was finding and using this website. You guys are absolutely awesome and I know my move wouldn’t have been as positive an experience without your advice and input. I’ve made a donation as thanks. Keep up the fantastic work!!

Toni

blue
Posts: 274
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 10:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: Impressed so far with Stevens/CA Movers Express

Postby blue » Fri Sep 24, 2004 4:48 pm

For the record, absolutely makes notes of any and all delivery exceptions right on the inventories (in addition to calling the local agents office to report same). If a driver tells you otherwise, he's wrong.


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