broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to do?

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gheath
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:53 pm
Location: berkeley, ca

broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to do?

Postby gheath » Sat May 07, 2005 11:46 pm

I received a written not-to-exceed estimate from a broker for my 8500 lb move from Berkeley, CA to Boulder, CO (8500 lbs is the concensus of 5 in-home estimates of major van lines). He represents the local agents of three major van lines (Red Ball, Wheaton and one other; he used to work for one of them) and seemed quite honest and reasonable on the phone. He provided an estimate $300 below the best quote from an agent of a major van line (Macy Movers in Oakland, agent of Atlas). I was ready to go with the broker and then he faxed me another copy of his estimate, this time nearly $100 more than Macy's. He said no major van line was offerring the discount that he previously quoted by mistake. I hadn't gotten to the point of signing the estimate, even though his signature was on the original estimate. Do I have any recourse besides appealing to his sense of honor?

I’m ready to go with Macy Movers not only for the price but also because they have been honest all the way (DOT# 125550, ICC/MC#79658; 2 BBB registered complaints/36 mon period and no FMCSA complaints). I’ve only seen one posting about Macy’s on this site, but if anyone else has experience with them, I’d be very interested to hear.

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

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Diane » Sun May 08, 2005 12:44 am

Hi - I checked Macy Movers as thoroughly as I could. It appears that their original MC license number was 138422 before they started using Atlas' authority. I don't consider their 2 BBB complaints within the past 36 months at all alarming. One site said that they had been in business since 1915 as a family-owned company, although it didn't say this on the BBB report. There is nothing much on MovingScam.com about them, but many people have considered using them. One person on the Berkeley Parents' Network recommended them back in 1999.

I don't see any red flags with Macy. You could always contact the California Moving & Storage Association at www.thecmsa.org (714-236-2060 or 800-672-1415) to ask for input about them. Some people have gotten free full replacement valuation coverage with Atlas agents if they were members of AAA, so you might ask about that. If you use them, PLEASE come back to report.

Now, on the broker thing. No way should anyone use a broker of this kind. They add nothing, muddy the waters, and undoubtedly take their cut somehow. People should always approach the moving company directly. Fortunately I don't think you have any obligation to this broker since you never signed the estimate. The fact that HE signed it is irrelevant. One party's signature does not constitute a contract. Simply tell him that since he changed the terms that he originally offered, you are going with a different van line that he doesn't represent. Even if he lowers his price, don't use him. Good luck.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Michael » Sun May 08, 2005 6:16 am

My question is why would you even use a company you have only spoken to on the phone? If these brokers use these majors, why didnt they offer to have them come out and do a in home survey? Did you even call any of these movers they claim to use to make sure they use them. Most, if not all of these claims usually are false. The only company we are sure uses majors that is a broker is meag movers. And even their honesty and integrity and class has come into play on this website.

Do not use a broker. Go with one of the companies that physically came out to your house and did a in home survey.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

gheath
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:53 pm
Location: berkeley, ca

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby gheath » Sun May 08, 2005 1:44 pm

Thanks for the advice, Diane and Michael. I agree with your inherent distrust of brokers and admonition to only work with the companies that will physically service your move. My next step was to go directly to the agent this broker led me to and cut out the middle man. As it happens, unless the broker lowers his estimate back to what he originally offerred, I won't go with him anyway, so its a moot point. I've been following the general advice posted on this website about how to start with 3 (in my case, 6) in-home estimates from reputable major van lines and only then use the internet and phone book to see if others are willing to beat the price of the majors based on the consensus (or highest) estimate of weight. One other step I ought to take is to return to each major and see if they will beat the lowest price offerred by one of the in-home estimating companies. Probably they won't, so I'll just go with the lowest bid of a reputable major (Macy Movers, agent of Atlas).

Again, thank you all so much for your committment to helping us newbies.

Me/Michael

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Me/Michael » Sun May 08, 2005 2:27 pm

Actually we do not suggest using the phone book and internet to find companies to beat the 3 in home surveys. Why would you do that?? Your defeating the whole purpose of someone coming to your home and giving you an estimate. Why then select someone over the phone or internet??? You use the internet to do background checks and so on, on the companies your interested in. To make sure they are who they say they are, have a good BBB report and have the capability to handle your move.

So get three in home estimates and pick one of the three.

Best of luck,

Michael

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

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Diane » Sun May 08, 2005 2:35 pm

Hi - I'm a little confused about what actually took place but I just want to repeat a few points to make my position clear:

1. My advice would be to drop this moving broker regardless of whether he lowers his price or not. Even if he lowers his price, he is getting his commission from somewhere and that somewhere is the moving company. You want the moving company to get your money--not the broker.

2. Be careful not to do too much penny-pinching. The best drivers like to take loads where they can make a bit of money. Bargaining too hard for a low price/high discount may make it less likely that the driver will be happy. You want the driver to be reasonably happy so you will have a good move.

3. If you DO go with a low price, consider giving some of your savings to the driver and telling him right up front that if he and whatever helpers he has do a good job, you will give him a generous tip.

4. I think Macy is your best bet in this case.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Nancy » Mon May 09, 2005 10:19 am

How did you find this moving broker? Or did he find you??

Avoid brokers at all costs, especially one uninformed about the discount levels for the various companies he books for.

Guest

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:26 am

gheath, did you end up using Macy? Can you post back about your experience?
Thanks!

gheath
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 6:53 pm
Location: berkeley, ca

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby gheath » Thu Sep 29, 2005 11:36 am

No, I did not go wiNh Macy, partly due to concerns about their bidding practices and also because I found another mover I felt alot more comfortable with. The company went with is Moover's Inc (aka matthew's contract services or MCS). They are related to Delancy Street Movers, the Dnon-profit that employs ex-cons that everyone raves about. I really liked Moover's. They were professional, courteous, efficient and offerred a very competitive price. I highly recommend them based on my experience.

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

Re: broker signs written quote, then increases it; what to d

Postby Diane » Sun Oct 02, 2005 8:28 pm

Hi - thanks for your good report on Moovers, Inc. I'll add it to our main Moovers review thread at http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4655 If you see this and would like to add any details about the price you paid, the time it took them to move you, etc., I will be happy to include those details as well. So far, Moovers is batting 1.000 on this website.


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