Our New Orleans to Pittsburgh move - Armstrong

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Our New Orleans to Pittsburgh move - Armstrong

Postby br261 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:44 am

Recently we had a good experience with our move from New Orleans to Pittsburgh with Armstrong Relocation (United) of New Orleans. There were some glitches but overall we were very happy with the service and relieved that things went as well as they did given all we learned to worry about from spending time on this forum.

First the bad.

The driver, who turned out to be a last minute sub for the award winning driver we were told we were getting, didn't bring the boxes for 2 mattresses and 2 springs . He told us he would box them as soon as he got back to Baton Rouge. He didn't. I was told on the phone that the driver who would take the load to Pgh would be asked to check if they had been boxed and would do so if they weren't. They weren't and he didn't. That is, they arrived in Pgh 9 days later unboxed. I assume we got a refund for what we paid for the mattress boxing. ( more about the refund later).

One of the reasons we chose this company over the other 2 we considered, South Hills of Pgh and Moovers, was that they, being local to N O, could guarantee us a pick up day. That was pretty important to us because we were flying to Pgh and we wanted to get a flight for the next morning. Well, about 2 weeks before moving day we were asked to switch to either a day earlier or a day later. We were told that by doing this we would get an excellent driver. We were told we didn't have to switch and that our stuff would be picked up on the contracted date. I assumed that meant it would be picked by one of their local trucks and then moved to the long distance truck. Not wanting that and wanting to be understanding and cooperative and hoping doing them this favor would bring good karma, we agreed to move the loading up a day. With our flight already booked that meant an extra night on the floor of a bare apt. yuk. I googled the driver's name, Bobby Williams, and found that he had won one of United's driver of the month awards. So I was pretty pleased that at least we would be getting an excellent driver, along with our stuff staying in one truck, in exchange for moving the date up a day. Well, that didn't happen. I never was told exactly what happened, but on moving day, a different driver and a smaller truck arrived. Our stuff was loaded and would be taken to Baton Rouge where it would be transferred to the original driver's truck. Oh well, things happen.

The wait for our things was difficult and there was a period of a couple days when I felt we weren't given enough info as to when to expect delivery. Our contract stipulated June 2 - 5. They arrived in the late afternoon of June 5. Having moved our pickup date up a day to May 27 had made it all the tougher to get thru the waiting period. No real complaint here other than maybe that we found it a little difficult to get info about when to expect delivery. The driver did call on June 4 to tell us he would be there the next day.

One item was broken - a table leg. It is not our main dining table, but it has value to me because it has been in my family since the early 1900s. The driver was very apologetic about it. It happened at unloading as he was taking it down from where it was secured on the side of the truck. I'm just glad it didn't happen because of the switch from one truck to another. I was happy to finally get our stuff. I wasn't going to let one broken table bother me too much.

Now, the Good.

Just about everything else was good -- or great.

Let's start with the people.

Estimator -- Bruce Veenstra - very nice, friendly, personable, helpful with packing advice and with the free used boxes he brought us. He made sure we got movers and a truck from Armstrong when there had to be a last minute substitute for the pick up. He said that Armstrong Baton Rouge considered hiring a non-Armstrong local company for the loading. This was confusing to me because we thought we were only dealing with Armstrong-New Orleans, but apparently Armstrong-Baton Rouge handled our scheduling and move.

Office contact - Meredith Veenstra - always pleasant and helpful, seemed to really care that things would go well for us.

In 2006 when we were planning to move following Katrina, we were looking into using Paulk's, a highly rated New Orleans company. We found out that their N O branch was going out of business because so many of their employees had been displaced because of Katrina. At that time, we were strongly advised to find out where two Paulk people, the Veenstras, would be working and to seriously consider using that company because they were good. Our 2006 move did not happen, but 2 years later I remembered that advice and found the Veenstras at Armstrong. Glad I did.

Loaders: Driver - Harold Bouty with Michael ? and Lamont ?

Very nice group - hard working , efficient, helpful, easy to talk to. Our only disappointment was the mattress thing mentioned above. Other than that, we were very pleased.

Delivery : Driver - Bobby Williams with Darrell Ford, who was an Armstrong employee traveling with Bobby.

Except for the broken table leg, excellent. So good, in fact, that I wasn't upset about the table. I was impressed with how well they handled the heavy and bulky stuff. No scratched walls, etc. Very strong guys who knew what they were doing. Nothing was lost. Computer and TV's and everything else worked fine. What a relief. Both men were friendly, easy to talk to, and seemed to really care that the move was completed without problems.

Also, I was very pleased with the way Bobby maneuvered the truck into the driveway. I had been told by two Pittsburgh companies who were familiar with the building that they always used a shuttle. Sometimes too much info is no good. I needlessly worried that we would have the extra expense and time and reloading based on a shuttle. But Bobby was able to get the 53' truck in with no problem. Wonderful.

The move ended with us having a very good feeling about all 7 people we dealt with.

The Estimate, Weight, Refund ---

Bobby, the driver, showed me the weight tickets and said we would be getting a refund because the wgt was far lower than the estimate. I was not given copies of the wgt tickets. Is that normal? Just wondering.
Also, when I had questioned Bruce earlier about how much the cost could be lowered because of lower wgt, he was vague in his reply. The GTNE estimate was a simplified one with just a bottom line total plus a scary page listing many possible extras. The only variables were the mattress handling and the insurance I chose. I really tried to get the weight down by getting rid of stuff and I guess it worked because I was very pleased with the refund that showed up on my credit card 2 weeks later. But I would have liked to have had an idea in advance of how much money could be saved for various levels of wgt below the estimated wgt. I didn't press the matter because cost was not my main concern and frankly, I was dubious about whether weighings would be honest and whether a company would actually "give back" money based on wgt. Well, this company did just that. The refund was quite large and, I assume, fair. I recieved no detail on the refund. I assume some was for the mattess thing and some was due to a lower insurance cost which was based on wgt. I guess I could have called for more detail, but, believing that it was correct, I didn't feel the need.

Overall, we were very pleased with the move and we give high recommendations to Armstrong-New Orleans and United.

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Re: Our New Orleans to Pittsburgh move - Armstrong

Postby rydog444 » Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:05 am

Welcome to the neighborhood! Thanks for posting such a thorough review of your moving experience. As a fellow Pittsburgher, I know how some if not most areas can be very difficult to get a tractor trailer in and out of. What building did you move into? Anyway, yes, it is quite common that people get money back. With legit movers, you won't run into those issues. Also, providing you with a copy of the weight tickets is a part of the deal.

I am glad to hear your overall satisfaction with your move. It's nice to see that a couple glitches didn't ruin your overall view of the move. Some people would immediately put on the unhappy face, and there would be nothing a mover could do to erase it.

Are you from Pittsburgh? If it's your first time living here, I've lived here all my life and can let you know where to eat, what to do, etc.

Have a good one.
My job is to give the best domestic and international moving services to my corporate clients by using the best movers in the world, regardless of vanline affiliation.

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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Our New Orleans to Pittsburgh move - Armstrong

Postby Diane » Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:58 pm


Thanks very much for this detailed review. The glitches are sort of par for the course in the summer, but all in all it sounds as if Armstrong did well by you.
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