Moving NY to KY--SOON! Can you help me avoid scams?

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Moving NY to KY--SOON! Can you help me avoid scams?

Postby Guest » Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:22 pm

Hi all,

Thank you so much for this website! I had almost finalized a booking with Scanio Movers when I found this site and realized the error of my ways. Not too late, thankfully, but now I am on a very rushed schedule with some restrictions. What to do?

Here's my long post on The State of the Move. I'd really appreciate any advice on any of my q's below--thanks so much to folks here who make such an effort to help out other people on the move. You'll be my only real advisors--I'm in my mid-20's and none of my friends have been in a position to hire movers before, so I'm peerless here!

I'm moving from Manhattan to Louisville, KY, and can be flexible on my move date, though it must be very soon: anywhere from June 16 through June 22. Yes, soon, indeed. Stress.

I have a small move, of one bedroom in an apartment: most are estimating it around 1,400 pounds. The big van lines I've spoken to (Wheaton, Mayflower) seem to have a 2,100 pound minimum for moves of this distance, so the independent movers end up much cheaper.

General questions:
--How bad is it if I am not personally present when goods are delivered? Seems like a bad thing--I am not there to evaluate damages, etc. Problem is I am away for a workshop for the first two weeks of July, making delivery a complicated issue. My parents and friends I trust live in Louisville; is it all right to have them present at delivery, or should I add 2 weeks of storage to the equation to ensure I am there when things arrive?
--Is extra insurance (beyond the $0.60/lb that companies offer) a good idea? If the company does not offer it as an option, but suggests using something like www.moversinsurance.com, is that a warning sign? Do you suggest using outside insurance?

Mover questions:

University Van Lines, Dahill (Mayflower), Collins Bros (Atlas) and Certified (Atlas) all came well recommended but are booked solid into July.

I've had estimates from several companies, most of which I don't trust after our discussions and some online searches! Here are the estimates I am still considering--and I know I must decide fast!

*Moishe's, USDOT 587098
--Payment: They require half up front and half upon delivery, and accept cc.
--Estimate: $1,300--but over the phone, then sent in a Word document!!
--Concerns: They haven't wanted to come out to do an estimate, saying that as long as I have all the furniture straight in the over-the-phone estimate they are fine issuing a binding statement after our conversation, and sent me a Word document containing an estimate. (Their estimators are busy, I suppose, and it is last-minute.) How big a deal is this? If the number of boxes should change (my main concern), they say I can call up and change it up to one day in advance, as long as it isn't a big change, and the price shouldn't go up by more than around $25. They also don't offer extra insurance over the $0.60/pound--although I know some of this site says that is a waste anyway; thoughts?
--Also, their record on SAFERSYS: Their driver OOS% is 29%, far above the national average of 7%...how much should this bother me?
--Pluses: Not requiring a minimum, and seems like they are being good about binding estimate. The guys on the phone are accommodating but seem honest about their limitations--saying they can't guarantee as small a delivery window as I would like, etc. Also, Moishe's has a great local reputation as a good company, and that makes them less scary to me--although I know others here think that makes them sketchy for long-distance moves. (Their local reputation is what has made me accept receiving a Word document estimate as a binding one--if I'd never heard of this company I know I wouldn't accept this.)
--Questions: Should I go visit their office to get their materials, see if they give me the R&R, etc? Should I try to twist their arms to come out and give me an estimate, and pass on them if they won't? How worried am I about this?

*Moving Man:
--Payment: They require $200 upfront (deposit) and the rest upon delivery, and accept CC.
--Estimate: $2,020, without extra insurance, which they do offer. Kal, the estimator, guessed that I had 1,400 pounds (in the ballpark of what most have suggested I have), but 2,100 is their minimum for a distance move (Wheaton's minimum, I suppose).
--Pluses: Wheaton, which is reputable. Gave me R&R and lots of other info up front. Kal was straightforward about scheduling issues, telling me what he could and couldn't do.
--Concerns: Kal did not seem too friendly--he was actually somewhat intimidating and aggressive in his way of telling me to hurry up because I was running out of time to reserve things (as I know!!). He was also kind of snide when I was worried about extra costs: "Your employer is paying for this, right?" Not sure the attitude really matters, though. Again, the greater expense is an issue--and dealing with a large van line company has its own issues in terms of who I turn to if something goes wrong, although it seems from this site that Wheaton has a good reputation.

*Big John's, USDOT 331030
--Payment: 50% up front and 50% on arrival--and they do NOT accept CC. This is almost enough to make me pass on them automatically--is that a good idea?
--Estimate: $1479.55, for estimated weight of 1,300 lbs.
--Pluses: Estimator was calm and didn't try any hard selling, but answered questions freely. Didn't seem too expensive; was detailed and attentive in assessing my stuff.
--Concerns: The payment (50% up front with no CC.)
Insurance info on SAFERSYS:
The rating below is current as of: 06/10/2005
Review Information
Rating date: 04/09/1995 Review Date: 03/10/1995
Rating: Unsatisfactory Type: Compliance Review
However, when I go to the FMCSA page as Tim Walker suggested in his article, all looks in order according to his criteria. And 1995 was a while ago.
Also, they have a somewhat high vehicle OOS rate--but do I care??

Can't tell if I'm doing this right--just can't afford to lose my stuff!! The school at which I will be teaching is paying for the move, but I want them to get a good value--just not at the expense of security!

--All this is almost making me want to use ABF or U-Haul, for which I'd need to hire labor (Broadway Express is booked). As of now they are still available on dates I could use. However, both of these come out more expensive even than my high estimates, and of course there's no way of holding anyone responsible for damages--and I'd have to buy moving supplies, then, too!

Long story short: I'd like to go with Moishe's, despite the estimate weirdness and insurance issues! I feel most comfortable with them. Big John's seems worrisome because of the no-CC rule and the weird insurance thing (is it actually weird, or too old to worry about?). Moving Man is expensive (as all van lines will be) and not too friendly, plus there's the whole goods-on-several-trucks thing. ABF and U-Haul are more expensive with more separate stresses.

Am I being naive, especially because of the estimate issue with Moishe's? I'd love to have anyone's feedback!

Thanks so much for reading this far and being willing to take the time to help a confused moving newbie!!

Yours,
Elizabeth

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

Re: Moving NY to KY--SOON! Can you help me avoid scams?

Postby Diane » Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:51 pm

Elizabeth,

I don't really know enough to advise you with certainty, but these are my thoughts. First, I think you were wise to eliminate Scanio. Scanio was an old-time mover who sold his business to citizens of Israel, as I understand it. We have no reviews of the company although I've seen its ads in the Hebrew-language media.

In answer to your general questions:-

1. I would urge you to be present at the delivery if at all possible. But as long as your parents and friends in Louisville are sensible folks, I don't think you absolutely have to be there. Putting your things in storage is likely to be expensive compared to the transportation cost and carries the risk of damage, and I advise against doing it . . . unless Moving Man (for example) could do it at minimal cost as part of your move. You should send your folks a list of what you shipped, of course, and be in touch with them by cell phone as the delivery is being made. A lot depends on how valuable your goods are.

2. I assume that it's Moishe's (and possibly Big John's) that has suggested using www.moversinsurance.com. This is not exactly a warning sign, but we have investigated MoversInsurance a bit and we aren't convinced that it's a good company. It lists very dubious entities on its website and was started by a person with questionable ethics (Gadi Binness). I can't advise you about buying valuation coverage. I personally probably wouldn't buy it, but again, a lot depends on how valuable your goods are. Some of the moverpros posting here have said that if you buy it, you should buy it with no deductible.

3. Although there are some irregularities with a couple of these companies on www.safersys.org, I don't think any of them are deal-breakers.

Now as for the three companies you're considering. Moving Man would be the SAFEST one to go with, but actually I think you would probably be fairly OK with any of them. None of them are scammers. But Moishe's and Big John's seem to be approaching long-distance moves as if they were local moves. Moving Man knows the difference.

Moishe's not giving you an in-home estimate on a move of this distance is not good. To quote a moverpro who posts here ("blue"), "It's the ones you don't look at that always bite you." Not giving you the R & R booklet is a bad sign. Also I am unclear on whether they are really giving you a GNTE: "seems like they are being good about binding estimate" . . . what does this mean, exactly? I also think you may have a long transit time with Moishe's. Like Moving Man, they ALSO are going to pick up your shipment and take it back to their warehouse, right? I would rule them out, personally, although I can see that you're drawn to the low estimate. I don't think you would get anywhere by pressuring them to give you an in-home estimate; your move is so small that they would probably just tell you to forget it and find another mover.

Moving Man - disappointing to hear that Kal seemed intimidating to you (I didn't have that impression of him), but he could have been genuinely concerned that you might not be able to get your shipment moved because it's so late, and that's why he was urging you to make up your mind. I don't really see any downside to Moving Man except the cost, which I assume was a GNTE although you don't say so.

Big John's - it's worrisome that they also apparently didn't give you the R & R booklet. The guy I spoke with there told me that they don't accept credit cards because their profit margin is so narrow that paying the credit card fee would cut into it too much. Not sure this is true or if they just don't want to get involved with people trying to do chargebacks. Again, I'm pretty sure that Big John's ALSO would take your things back to its warehouse and put them on another truck. You could have a fairly long transit time. I'm not sure that you have a GNTE with them, either (?).

I think if it were my move I would go with Moving Man for safety and peace of mind. I spent three hours with its owner recently, and everything I know about him suggests to me that he is an ethical person. (He praised both Moishe's and Big John's, by the way.) It's true that once the move goes into the Wheaton system, Moving Man loses control over the move, but the van line has a good reputation. Moving Man won a Wheaton Quality Award in 2004.

Hope this helps. I am careful with money myself, and I wouldn't blame you if you went with Moishe's, so don't hesitate to come back and post even if you decide to go with them.


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