Reviews of All Star (Brooklyn) and University Van Lines (NJ)

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dowcarpenter
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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:13 pm
Location: Somerville, MA

Reviews of All Star (Brooklyn) and University Van Lines (NJ)

Postby dowcarpenter » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:05 pm

I used All Star Movers of Brooklyn to move from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Philadelphia, PA. Overall, the experience was good: they weren't able to come to my parents' house in Poughkeepsie to look at my stuff (I moved the contents of my studio apartment in Boston to Poughkeepsie myself), but I got an hourly rate of $90, plus the cost of gas and tolls for their truck. Chris, the guy I spoke with, gave me an estimate of $1,400. I was concerned about any traffic they might encounter while driving down to Philly, but Chris said he'd lock the travel time to four hours, and they followed through on this. The two movers were supposed to arrive at 8am the morning of August 4th, but showed up at 8:45---they did call to say they'd be late, and it really wasn't a big deal to me. The two guys worked very efficiently, and got all my stuff loaded into their truck in under 45 minutes (recall, though, that this was just the contents of a studio apartment). They then set off for Philly and were there within four hours, actually beating me to my new apartment. The unloading also took less than 45 minutes. The two guys were polite and friendly. The actual cost turned out to be $1,135, so I had no complaints. There was just one strange thing that happened, and I did want to know what other people thought of this: I made out the check for the bill at the end of the move, and then offered the movers $30 each for a tip. One of the movers said, quietly, but rather coldly, that the expected tip is 15%. At first, I said I didn't have more money, but I got very flustered and thought I was being insulting (I'd never used a moving company before), and looking in my wallet, I discovered I did have just enough money ($170) to cover the tip (that was for both of them). So I gave that to him, and they left. I don't think that they were going to stay there till I gave the $170, but it was extremely awkward. Maybe I was naive and should have known better--15% I expected for a waiter in a restaurant, but not a mover. Maybe it was because this was an hourly rate move that made the 15% tip obligatory? I don't know. A section on this website about what to tip would probably be helpful to novice movers like me.

Except for that tip situation, I can say that all the good reviews of All Star I read on movingscam were well-deserved. Efficient workers, reasonable rates, and I found no damage to my stuff, either.

Glad to Help

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby Glad to Help » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:43 pm

I would consider extorting a 15% tip as a classic moving scam. This is typical of scam companies.

I would suggest you call and ask for the owner of All Star and report this to him.

If All Star is a reputable company they would refund this tip to you.

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

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby Diane » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:23 pm

dowcarpenter wrote:There was just one strange thing that happened, and I did want to know what other people thought of this: I made out the check for the bill at the end of the move, and then offered the movers $30 each for a tip. One of the movers said, quietly, but rather coldly, that the expected tip is 15%.

Not good. This same situation has actually come up before (probably with the same worker), and at that time I called All Star's owner to get his take on it. He defended the workers getting tips amounting to 15% of the cost of the move, saying that the cost of living is high in the NY metro area and that is the standard tip percentage. (Actually he said that 20% is normal for metro-area moves and 15% for longer, more expensive moves like yours.) I have no idea whether this is true but people have reported other cases where workers for other NY moving companies seemed disappointed with anything less than 15% as a tip.

If you search on "tipping" as a key word, there is actually a lot posted here on tipping, but every time I say that 15%-20% is normal in the NY metro area people freak out and say that it's much too much, so I've stopped saying it. You are correct that it's not really the same as a waiter because moving company workers are supposed to be on salary, however minimal, while waiters expect to earn most of their money through tips.

Bottom line:- you were not wrong by any means but (as with other things) it seems that NYC is a world unto itself when it comes to tipping. Since you paid $265 less than you thought you might for the move itself, I suppose that paying $110 extra for the tip ($170 minus the $60 you were originally prepared to give them) wasn't too bad as a tradeoff, but I don't like the way it was handled. I will certainly bring this incident to the owner's attention - you don't have to. Again, you did nothing wrong. It is New York that is screwed up. (And there are other irregularities that I won't get into at this point.)

I'm sorry that this happened to you. Thanks for your review - I'm glad you were generally pleased and I'll add your report to our All Star review thread.

Glad to Help

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby Glad to Help » Thu Aug 31, 2006 8:50 am

If you can find it,there was an article in The New Yorker publication that was written around 1992 or 3. This was one of the first news articles exposing the first wave of rouge movers who happened to be from Isreal. Their tactics were to charge a lower then the norm rate and pay their men,illegals,minimum wage and instruct their men to pressure the customer for a higher then average tip. It seems that All Star condones this type of behavior by using similar methods.

Another thing that stands out to me on this persons post is the fact that All Star is charging by the hour on an interstate move to Philadelphia. A move from move from Poughkeepsie, NY, to Philadelphia, PA. is 175 miles ,outside of the NYC cmmercial zone and should have been charged by weight and mile under tariff 400 n. I would be interested to see All Star's bill of lading on this move. Does All Star even have the authority to perform interstate moves? It seems suspect to me that they would use an hourly rate on this move.

"Except for that tip situation, I can say that all the good reviews of All Star I read on movingscam were well-deserved. "

Are you sure about that?

I would check the IP addresses of the good reviews that were posted. They might be posting the reviews themselves.

If the owner of All Star had an ounce of integrity he would have told you to find out who this customer was,so he could return the extorted tip,instead of making excuses for them.

The cost of living in NYC does not make it right to demand a 15% tip.

Think about it, if you had construction done on your home and the bill was $10,000 would it be acceptable for the workers to pressure you for an additional $1500.00?

hollygolightly

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby hollygolightly » Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:08 pm

What an excellent service you are providing to consumers!

I am currently researching vendors for an upcoming move (mid-October)from NYC to New Orleans. Based on the posts here, I have narrowed down what was a lengthy list to only five. Trying to reduce this further, I read several articles on this site. While checking safersys.org, I followed the link to the FMSCA licensing and insurance report, I found that both All Star and Collins Brothers are listed as Authority Type: Common = Inactive. Further, Collins Brothers states BIPD = $0, Cargo = No. This concerns me. Does anyone know how often the insurance information is updated? Any thoughts??

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby MusicMom » Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:17 pm

Uh-oh, Holly's right! The license was revoked in June! I cant see why, though, they do have both insurance policies, since before the revocation was announced to All Star, and they're not out of service. Diane, do you want to call the owner and see what's up?

Collins Brothers is an agent of a major van line, and uses Atlas's authority for interstate moves. Many agents let their own interstate license lapse once they join the van line.

Diane, is All Star an agent of someone? That would explain thier license, too.

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

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby Diane » Thu Aug 31, 2006 10:32 pm

MM, All Star is an independent company. However, you and the above poster are correct that there is a problem with the FMCSA listing. I called All Star when I first noticed it several weeks ago. They were surprised and told me that they do have insurance (it's even shown on the FMCSA website, as you point out). They told me that they can fax their certificate(s) of insurance to anyone who asks. The FMCSA has not corrected the record for whatever reason so it shows them with a revoked interstate license. I just emailed All Star today urging them to make a major effort to get it straightened out now that the moving season is winding down and they have time to deal with it. They do have an impeccable BBB report and they said they have never had this happen before in the many years they've been in business.

hollygolightly

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby hollygolightly » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:05 am

Thanks MusicMom and Diane for such quick responses to my concern. Much appreciated!

I plan to get in touch with vendors over the next week and will post my experience with each. Until then, I'll continue to scan the action here - again, great site!

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby MusicMom » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:49 am

Thanks for the clarification, D. I thought it was something like that. I hope they get it fixed soon.

loveturtles

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby loveturtles » Sat Sep 02, 2006 12:36 pm

This is interesting to me, because I just moved at the end of July. I live in NJ, just outside of Philadelphia. I used All Star Movers but they were from Fairlawn, NJ. The same types of things happened to me. The movers were 2 hours late, and every time I called the office, the guy would tell me the truck was "seconds away." They also were Israeli men, only one seemed proficient in English, and as soon as he arrived he quoted me almost twice what the man had quoted originally. Then when I paid him, I gave what I thought was an adequate tip, and he kind of brushed away the money, saying, "What is this? We should get 15%." They charged me otherwise by the hour.

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby MusicMom » Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:26 pm

All Star Moving of Fairlawn, NJ, is a separate company, currently unlicensed.

http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/p ... l_name=ALL^STAR^MOVING^L.L.C.&pv_pref_docket=MC442053&pv_usdot_no=1068116&pv_vpath=LIVIEW

hollygolightly

Re: All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby hollygolightly » Sun Oct 08, 2006 2:53 am

Okay - so I'm finally getting back to this forum. I've pretty much been non-stop since my last post.

I contacted three vendors: Moving Man (Wheaton), Berger Allied and University Van Lines; to provide an estimate for my move from NYC to New Orleans. My experience was as follows:

Moving Man: Spoke with a nice gentleman (Gerrardo, I believe) at the company when I phoned. Scheduled an appointment for the following afternoon. Karl was the consultant who performed the estimate. I agree with an earlier post that he was not so friendly, but that really isn't part of his job description, I guess. Regardless, he handed me the Rights and Responsbilities brochure, which appeared to have been printed in June 2006. I requested a BNTE, which he was hesitant to provide. For approximately 2,100 lbs, the estimate was $2,585.

Berger Allied: I spoke with Kim. I really liked Kim. She was informative, kind, and, well, she just seemed genuine. If for no other reason, I wanted to hire them because I liked Kim. I did not have an in-house estimate. She felt she could give me an estimate based on the weight approximated by another vendor. So I send her an email with my inventory listing and tell her that the vendor who stopped by approximated my move at 2,100 lbs. Kim's estimate was $2,762. Kim said she would try to top any other offer I received. I considered letting her know that the Moving Man estimate was lower, but thought I would wait until I met with my final vendor - University Van Lines.

University Van Lines: I spoke with Bill when I phoned - liked Bill immediately. Scott Micalizzi was the gentleman who arrived on a Saturday morning (I travel for work and this was the only full day I would be home) to provide me with an in-house estimate. Loved Scott - very personable (even for a true New Yorker), honest, helpful. He told me about the GPS device on the trucks and that I would receive a number via registration once my "stuff" was loaded onto the truck and I could track the shipment myself. Before I even heard the estimate, I had decided that as long as he wasn't at $3,300 or above; I was going with him. It was just a gut feeling (and mine are usually right). His Binding Estimate for 2,200 lbs was $2,194. BONUS! His estimate was less. I was ecstatic, scheduled a pick up date and signed the agreement.

So there you have it - my experience. My pick up date is less than two weeks away. Once my move is complete, I promise to write back and detail the rest of my experience with University!

hollygolightly

Re: *All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby hollygolightly » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:41 pm

So as I wrote in my previous post, I elected to hire University Van Lines. I really liked both Scott and Bill, and I also liked the estimated cost.

On Monday, October 16th, the day before the move, Bill phoned to confirm and to tell me my driver who would be picking up my things in NY would also be the person to deliver them in Louisiana. "Great!" I thought. The Atlas driver, whose name is David, phoned on Tuesday morning at 8am to tell me he'd be there by 10am. He was prompt, polite, had a do that reminded me of Elvis, helped me dispose of a few items that I didn't know how to get rid of otherwise and, all in all, I thought I was lucky to have him moving my stuff. David informed me that he would be delivering my items the following Thursday or Friday (10/26 or 10/27), which was in line with the dates Scott originally quoted.

On Monday, October 23rd, (7 days later) I phoned Bill to receive my actual charges as I had neither received them nor heard from him. Bill phoned me later in the day to tell me that he was unable to get in touch with my driver but would call me as soon as he was able to receive the weight of my items in order to provide the actual bill amount. On Tuesday, October 24th, Monica (who is employed at University Van Lines) phoned to provide my charge which was $1,647. Again I thought "fantastic!" I phoned University later that day to request that Monica email me a copy of the final invoice for my records. Bill answered and asked if I had spoken with my driver because my driver expressed concern about a couple of my boxes. "Hmmmm" I thought and then answered "nope, haven't heard a word."

On Thursday, October 26th (one of the two dates my driver stated as delivery date) I phoned David and received his outgoing voice message. So I left him a message requesting the delivery date. He phoned me that afternoon and said he would be delivering on Saturday, October 28th. He also stated that he "saved me on weight", but I didn't think anything of it because why would he do me any favors, right? Then he said, "a couple of your boxes don't look so good. I need to repack them but don't like doing that without letting the owner know." When he asked how much stuff I put into the box, I asked about which box was he speaking specifically. He answered "your wardrobes. I was concerned about them when i picked them up." I was a little confused because I've packed wardrobes completely full twice before for long distance moves and they arrived near flawless.

On Saturday, October 28th, David phones at 11:15am (our agreed upon time was 11am) to tell me he was 15 minutes away. He was late because his partner did not show up. Because my father, who was helping me, had plans for the afternoon; dad and I decided we would have my stuff moved from the Atlas truck onto my dad's utility truck (he owns a small business). To make the rest of this long story short, David repacked almost 2/3 of my boxes. The few he did not repack looked awful when they were moved from his truck to my dad's - to the point that when box #22 was moved he said "looks like somebody played football with that one." When my overstuffed chair was being moved, my dad stated the chair's cushion was damp. David should have won an Emmy for the following act: "Damp? Can't be. How can that be damp? Are you sure? Let me see? Where would water come from? How could water get in here?" Seriously, to the point that he had my dad help him find the cause of the dampness. Then came the biggie - four boxes were damp and had to be opened right then and there. I had a few items that needed to be thrown away. He felt just awful and didn't want me to file a claim but wanted to pay me outright...out of his own pocket..."is there a bank around here?" Since it was only a few items worth approximately $170 and my deductible was $250, I told him not to worry about it. He accepted in total (when he picked my stuff up and dropped it off) $80 of the $300 tip I offered. We signed the papers and as he left he stated "if anything else is damaged, you have my number, call me and I'll take care of it."

Dad and I had planned on leaving my things on his utility truck overnight Saturday and deal with it all on Sunday. Fortunately for me, I needed something out of a wardrobe box and wasn't sure which one now since David had re-boxed everything. The first wardrobe I open, I find the bar had failed and all of my hanging clothes were piled up at the bottom of the wardrobe. I picked up an expensive mohair sweater that I have worn twice since I purchased it only to find multiple, small, annoying pieces of cardboard mixed into the mohair and difficult to remove...in addition to the fact that the sweater was damp. My clothes in this box were damp. So now I'm irritated and decided to open all of my wardrobes. All of my coats and many of my suits, slacks, blazers, etc require drycleaning. My comforters are ruined. My bed pillows are ruined. When he repacked a couple of my items, he shoved a delicate lamp in a box and broke it upon repair. Several frames were broken. My stereo speakers had obviously been wet at some point. Worst of all - my shoes, my coveted shoes experienced dampness. So many of the shoe boxes (I keep my shoes in the exact packaging from when I purchase them, which saved many of them from ruin) were warped and ruined.

I phoned David Monday morning, no response. I phoned University Van Lines to make Bill aware of what was going on because I didn't want to call him two weeks out and him ask "why didn't you tell me sooner???" I spoke with Monica, who was very helpful. She mailed a claim form to my new address and then phoned back with information regarding where to find the form online if I choose to complete the form electronically. I phoned David again Monday night only to receive his voicemail again. So I did leave him voicemail and this time stated "David, I don't really expect you to return my call. However, I did want to hear the truth from you as to what really happened with my stuff. I'm very disappointed that you were dishonest and didn't even have the decency to tell me my stuff should be unboxed ASAP in order to keep it from mildewing or molding. And most of all, I'm shocked that you even accepted any tip from me at all."

So now I'm stuck with warped boxes, ruined pillows and comforters, and musty clothes - woohoo. I didn't hear from Bill, but I feel certain he was informed via Monica as to what was going on and she was quite helpful and sympathetic. I could tell this isn't the way they do business. I'm still disappointed and now have to go through this silly claim process to see if I can have my drycleaning expenses reimbursed, and my comforters/blankets and other ruined items replaced...such a hassle.

I would go with University again; however, if a gentleman who has an Elvis do, with a midwest accent, who lives in Virginia and drives for Atlas shows up at your door...close it and call Bill to ask for another driver.

hollygolightly

Re: *All Star Movers, Sanford St., Brooklyn, NY--review

Postby hollygolightly » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:54 pm

As a follow-up to my previous post, I want to summarize. There was a leak in the moving truck, so of course my cardboard boxes didn't hold up. My driver acted as if I did a bad job packing my things in low quality boxes, when the truth was that they got wet during transport and he didn't want to (or potentially couldn't b/c the box was falling apart since it was sitting in water) deliver my stuff in that condition so he just threw my stuff in new (in some cases, used) boxes. He acted as if my chair cushion being damp was a surprise and, upon identification of the issue, he was going to have that problem fixed immediately. He wanted to pay me outright so I wouldn't file a claim, he fudged the weight of my stuff and didn't charge me for the boxes. I feel stupid for not catching on sooner, but did finally get it after I opened the first wardrobe subsequent to his departure from my home. Very disappointing.

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

Re: Reviews of All Star (Brooklyn) and University Van Lines

Postby Diane » Thu Nov 02, 2006 12:49 am

Hmm . . . I'm just glad that it wasn't worse. From what I've read, I think many drivers would try to do the same thing (pay off the customer out of their own pocket rather than have a claim filed), so I can't fault that, but the lying is troubling. At least the driver tried to save you money on the transportation charges, which also came out of his own pocket. What more can I say? The origin agent (University) does a flawless job and the move is botched down the line and the customer is justifiably unhappy. Old story. Another casualty of the van line-agent system. Thanks for reporting and I'll add your review to our main University Van Lines review thread.


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