Questions about a surprise invoice

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aidan

Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:06 pm

Hi there,

To begin, I started the moving process here in MovingScam, and it saved me thousands by warning me away from crooked movers and guiding me to better places to look. To everyone involved, thanks.

I got a few in-home, bound estimates and eventually chose to go with a Mayflower/United agent in Houston called Holman Moving Systems. They also go by Atlantic. I chose them because their price was right, their facilities (I visited) appeared clean, organized and well-run, and their people were polite, helpful and informed. I also researched the company as described in the essays on this site, and everything checked out.

Here's the thing; the moving experience was actually quite painless. The pickup crew were efficient, as was the dropoff guy (the driver himself). No problems there. I paid the driver with a cashier's check, the exact amount that I was told that I owed, and I thought everything was over with. Today, I received an invoice from Holman for an additional $372.46.

After crunching the numbers a bit, I discovered that the additional costs are based on three things. My question is about the legitimacy of these charges.

First, the paperwork that I signed was a "bound estimate" for 1650 pounds. The charges on the estimate were based on this weight. Apparently, my goods actually weighed 2760 pounds, and the actual charges on the invoice are based on THIS weight. I thought that a bound estimate meant that I didn't have to pay for extra weight - that this was the risk taken by the moving company. Should I have to pay the charges based on the actual weight?

Second, the company sent a 30' truck to pick me up, claiming that they had been told that I was moving out of a mini storage. The new invoice is charging me $750 for this "additional service", even though I never requested it. I lived in an apartment which is fully accessible to the street; the woman who did my in-home estimate saw this, and even warned me to make sure that there would be enough room on the street in front of my building for a 70' truck (which I did). Looking back at the paperwork I initialed at the very beginning of the process, I see where the mistake is - it says that my pickup location is a mini storage. In actuality, my DROPOFF location was a min storage, but there must have been a mixup somewhere. Either way, I didn't notice it at the time (probably saw "mini storage" and thought everything was kosher). I'm going to call and talk to the guy in charge of the operation on Monday, but I'm curious if I have any recourse. As icing, I signed off on the "additional services" once the movers had everything on their truck. I even asked about it, and they said it was standard, and wouldn't be an additional charge. I shouldn't have believed them, I guess.

Last, they charged me to pack my bed and a mirror, but I don't really mind that; they told me about that and I agreed to it - not an issue.

So two questions, I guess: Do I have to pay for extra weight? and: Who's fault is the Add'tl Services charge, and should I have to pay for it?

There's more, but I'll leave it at that, for now.

Thanks for reading this,

Aidan

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twalker
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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby twalker » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:23 pm

Hi Aidan,

First of all, you shouldn't have to pay for any additional weight on a binding estimate. As far as the additional services goes, don't take any crap off of Unigroup about this. Their headquarters have already heard from the FMCSA about this and they should know better than to try to bully you into paying for additional services that you did not authorize.

To explain this a little bit, you're probably talking about the "Additional Services Price List" that was provided to you (and you were asked to sign) at pickup. The list probably had a paragraph that said the following:

Important Notice to Shipper:The following potential costs for additional services may be incurred while en route or at destination. The estimated charges would be collected at the time of delivery if these services are performed at your request or are required to accomplish delivery of your shipment.

We have reviewed with you (the customer) those services that may be requested by you or required to services your mover while en route or at destination. While you indicate to the best of your knowledge no such services are required at this time in order to provide you with an estimate of what the cost may be of certain services, listed below are potential services and charges should they be required to accomplish delivery or be requested by you.

These services and their cost are based upon the tariff issued in accordance with the regulations of the Surface Transportation Board of the Department of Transportation.


The FMCSA has told Unigroup that this is not legal and Unigroup has since agreed to change the language. No matter what, just by signing that piece of paper, you in no way authorized the additional services and they would only be able to charge you for the additional services if you had signed a separate addendum authorizing specific additional services.

In other words, this whole bill that you received sounds like trash to me!

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:33 pm

In other words, this whole bill that you received sounds like trash to me!


I think it is too early to judge myself! I would actually like to see the original estimate/order for service and the final Bill of Lading. I would also like to see the additional bill.
Last edited by 23 on Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:37 pm

As icing, I signed off on the "additional services" once the movers had everything on their truck.

Tim, this is not the same form!

Does it have a number such as AR-23 at the bottom or top? This is the form they use to put packing, extra stops, and every other additional service that is an extra charge! This form has been used for at least 10 years!

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twalker
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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby twalker » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:40 pm

23,

If that's the case then I'll eat my words (how often does that happen?).

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

aidan

Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:43 pm

Thanks for the quick reply - but beginning to feel a bit sick...

I think I may have signed such an addendum, unfortunately. I can't find anything with the wording on it that you quote. The form that I signed is titled "Additional Services Performed" and specifically lists 2 pieces of a double bed, a mirror (both correct) to be packed by the moving company, and "2 men, 1 bobtail" under the "shuttle" category.

The kicker is that the pickup driver lied to me when I asked him if signing to authorize the shuttle would incur an extra charge. He said that it was just a record of what equipment they had used. He even admitted that they had made a mistake and brought the wrong truck. Stupid me, I guess. They had my stuff! (sigh)

So the extra weight charges are crap, though? Is it as simple as pointing to the Rights and Responsibilities book and correcting them? Should I quote something specific?

On top of this, they lost a couple of my items. Fortunately, I was very careful about the inventory when they delivered and noted everything, and they have admitted that they have no idea where my items are. All of the paperwork on this point is good, and I'm about to file a claim (they have directed me to do so, and have actually been very friendly about the whole thing.) This may be an aside, but can my contesting the new invoice have any effect on the claims process?

Reading a lot of the horror stories on this site, I feel like I got off easy. Still stings, though.

Thanks so much for you help,

Aidan

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:50 pm

Aiden,

Please either fax the forms to Tim or myself. I am not sure what form you signed. There is no reason at all that you should have gotten an invoice without a phone call from your sales rep first.

Does your form have a list of packing boxes on the top left hand side? There would be about 14 different size boxes listed.

What date were your items loaded? What was your order for service #?

aidan

Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:51 pm

23,

Thanks for taking such a keen interest. I'm afraid I'm not near any fax machines at the moment - maybe I can send them tomorrow?

By the Original Estimate/order for service, do you mean the paperwork generated when I scheduled the pickup (laserprinter, black and white, inventory) or the carbon form I signed at pickup?

Also, the Add'tl Services form I signed doesn't have AR 23 anywhere on it. I think it's official, though. I think I was conned into signing something I shouldn't have. By the letter of it, I think I agreed to pay the extra charge. Trouble is, there was no need for it in the first place.

Thanks again,

Aidan

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:55 pm

Aiden,

Look on your BOL, you should have an order for service # in the top right hand corner.

Can you register? I think I can help resolve this for you.

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby MusicMom » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:59 pm

This is taken from the Rights and Responsibilities book, current version:

When you receive a binding estimate, you cannot be required to pay any more than the estimated amount at delivery. If you have requested the mover provide more services than those included in the estimate, the mover must not demand full payment for those added services at time of delivery. Instead, the mover must bill for those services later, as explained below. Such services might include destination charges that often are not known at origin (such as long carry charges, shuttle charges, or extra stair carry charges).

So I understand that the shuttle charge would be debated under this, but the weight should not change the price.

Other requirements of binding estimates include the following eight elements: ....
4. If, before loading your shipment, your mover believes you are tendering additional household goods or are requiring additional services not identified in the binding estimate, and you and your mover cannot reach an agreement, your mover may refuse to service the shipment. If your mover agrees to service the shipment, your mover must do one of the following three things:
a. Reaffirm the binding estimate.
b. Negotiate a revised written binding estimate listing the additional household goods or services.
c. Add an attachment to the contract, in writing, stating you both will consider the original binding estimate as a non-binding estimate. You should read more below. This may seriously affect how much you may pay for the entire move.

5. Once your mover loads your shipment, your mover's failure to execute a new binding estimate or to agree with you to treat the original estimate as a non-binding estimate signifies it has reaffirmed the original binding estimate. Your mover may not collect more than the amount of the original binding estimate, except as provided in the next two paragraphs.


Since the driver did not renegotiate the estimate, isn't it still binding? I knew this would come up at some point.

aidan

Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:59 pm

23,

To answer some more questions,

There ARE about 14 box sizes listed. (Are you psychic? LOL)

My pickup date was May 25th, and everything (short two items) was delivered on June 8th.

My order for service number does not appear anywhere on my order for service. Where should it be, and where else might it appear?

Thanks, A

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:02 pm

That is the AR-23 (maybe old lingo for us lifers)!

Your order for service # should also be on your inventory sheets done by your driver. Top right corner I believe, it should look like this: 123-2233-4

Does that help?

aidan

Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:03 pm

It appears that my Order for Service number is either 999 000764 (from the top right corner of the BOL) or 999-76-4 (from the instructions from the moving company on how to file my claim).

I'll register now - thanks!

Aidan

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Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby 23 » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:07 pm

Aiden,

Was a shuttle at destination ever mentioned by you?

same aidan

Re: Questions about a surprise invoice

Postby same aidan » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:15 pm

Hey there,

Never mentioned a shuttle at destination - DID mention a mini storage at destination, but always agreed to find one with access for a semi. Didn't end going into a mini storage, and they didn't charge me for it. (The charge appears on my original (PICKUP) BOL but not on my final (INVOICE) one.

Just registered.

You guys are terrific...


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