Our excellent experience with ABF

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Our excellent experience with ABF

Postby Diane » Mon Jun 30, 2003 11:12 am

ABF (“Arkansas Best Freight”) is a very large freight company that has branched out to move household goods as well. It can be regarded as a U-Pack, We-Drive mover. The company delivers a 28-foot semi-trailer to your residence and then parks it and drives the “cab part” away. You have at least two days to load the trailer with your things depending on what day of the week the trailer is delivered. You can rent a ramp from ABF for $75 to make it easier to load the goods (a necessity since the bed of the trailer is almost four feet off the ground). After you finish loading, you install a vertical wood or masonite bulkhead (provided) to partition off your household goods from the commercial freight that they will add to fill the rest of the trailer.

You call ABF to pick up the trailer, they add the freight and drive to your destination, and you jointly schedule delivery of your goods at your new residence so that you can remove the bulkhead and offload. You can either have them leave the trailer for another two days, locking the trailer at night with an extra-long-shank padlock that you provide, or you can offload while the driver waits (in our case they allowed us an hour to do this without imposing a charge). If the driver waits, you must be sure to have people standing by to help you offload quickly.

Importantly, your things never leave the trailer in which you loaded them. They are also divided from the other goods in the trailer by a secure bulkhead rather than by rope or cardboard (some other companies I spoke with said they did the latter). And since you have control over how your things are packed, you have control over how many linear feet you use in the trailer, measured from the end next to the cab (this linear-foot measurement plus distance is how you are charged for the move). You also have a lot of influence over whether your things arrive undamaged, since you are the one who packed them. The price is much lower than for a full-service mover. We paid just over $900 for 5 feet of furniture (8 feet wide and 9 feet high) to be moved 1100 miles. Local movers to help us unload cost another $150, plus tip, for two men for two hours.

I had used a (now defunct) U-Pack, We-Drive service for a cross-country move seven years ago and was reasonably satisfied, so I was inclined to go with a similar service for our smaller interstate move this summer. I found ABF recommended here on epinions.com and decided to try them. (There are a few practical pointers that need to be kept in mind if you use this type of company. I am describing them in a separate post, “Things to keep in mind when using ABF,” so that this already-long post won’t get any longer.)

I have to report that during our move, there was a small glitch involving the bulkhead. One of its load bars (used to hold the bulkhead in place against the sides of the truck) wasn't working properly at the city of origin. I reported this to the dispatcher but it wasn’t fixed. Instead, when the driver came back for the truck, he ratcheted the load bar repeatedly so that it finally held. But then, when we tried to remove the bulkhead at the destination, neither we nor the driver could do so because the load bar had been ratcheted too tightly. Meanwhile two men from a local moving company were standing by to unload the goods and the clock was ticking. Finally they and the driver were able to dislodge the bulkhead by brute force, but it was a tense situation for a while.

Since other people commenting on ABF on this site mention problems with the bulkhead, I think this may be a weak link in ABF’s otherwise excellent operation. I feel that the company should have a system in place so that when a customer reports a problem with a bulkhead, that bulkhead is replaced at the city of origin rather than leaving the customer to cope with the same problem at the destination city. Perhaps the bulkheads could even be examined on a regular basis to make sure that the load bars are functioning properly.

However, all in all, the ABF service was outstanding. Their website (www.upack.com) is excellent and all ABF personnel that I dealt with were professional, friendly, and helpful. They delivered the trailer when they said they would and picked it up when I asked them to. The trailer was very clean and it had a translucent fiberglass top which allowed light to pass through, making it easy to see to pack. I was able to track our shipment on the ABF website and they delivered it exactly when they said they would—four business days after pickup.

I feel that ABF is providing a great service to consumers in this age of essentially unregulated moving companies that can literally take your things and hold them for ransom (see the website www.movingscam.com for some background and a few horror stories). Based on my experience, I highly recommend this company, especially to people who have moderately-priced household goods and are concerned about cost and maintaining control of their shipments.

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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: Our excellent experience with ABF

Postby Josh » Mon Jun 30, 2003 7:39 pm


I feel ABF might have provided one great service to one individual.

This almost sound like a commercial!!! :roll:

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