America Van Lines / Scammers and liars
This company, America Van Lines, is not to be trusted. After they had my belongings loaded on the truck I was informed that what was supposed to have cost me $2100 had now doubled to over $4000. Here is what happened.
I contracted America Van Lines on Feb. 2009 to move my belongings from a 10 x 20 storage unit in Maryland to North Carolina. I told them that the storage unit was full and tried to navigate through their online inventory list. Not an easy feat as the list is extremely confusing with many items listed multiple times in multiple ways. I was given an estimate for the move of sightly over $2100. Included in this estimate was $150 for packing, so I thought I had that covered. I checked the company out on the internet and thought they were reputable. How mistaken I was. I agreed to pay them $432 for a deposit and we were ready to go.
The crew showed up for the move on time, and I thought this is going to go great. I was mistaken. My first clue should have been when I was told that I would be renting the moving blankets from them at $4.00 each. You don't need that many blankets right? Wrong, apparently I needed 32 blankets at a cost of $128. I was trapped at that point as I needed to move and couldn't run around trying to find blankets. This was just the beginning.
After the truck was loaded the Crew foreman had me sign a revised estimate for the cost of moving. The only change it listed was a cost of $458.00 for packing/material. What happened to the $150 estimate? Apparently I was not only paying for the moving blankets but I was now paying for 30 rolls of tape @ $5.00 per roll. I was never told that I would be paying for the box of tape that they brought out. Have you ever priced a roll of tape…its a heck of a lot cheaper than $5.00 per roll. I also paid $20 for a wardrobe box and other boxes as well. To say that this is price gouging is to put it mildly. Still this is just the beginning.
After I sign the change in estimate, the foreman informs me that I have used more cu. ft. than estimated and that he would have to call the office to get a new price. He then informs me that the cost of the move is now over $4000. Apparently he is a trained professional and he has now estimated the weight of the move to be almost double the estimate. If he is such a professional why couldn't he have estimated the difference while my belongings were still in a confined storage space? It gets even better.
I inform the company that I do not have $4000 for the move and to take my belongings off the truck. They tell me that it will cost me $1600 to have them remove the items from the truck and place them in the parking lot of the storage facility. Are you kidding me? I am a single woman, how am I supposed to move everything back into the storage unit? I tried to come to some kind of agreement with America Van Lines. They very graciously offered to let me make payments on the amount over the next 30 days while they kept my belongings in storage. It took me a long time to come up with $2000, how was I expected to come up with another $2000 in 30 days? The moving company finally ended up taking the truck with my belongings on board back to their facility. Oh yes, they also took all copies of the contracts with them. So I did not have a copy of any paper work.
America Van Lines then informs me that I have 30 days to come up with the funds for the move or they will begin to auction off my belongings. I ask them to mail me a copy of all the paperwork/contracts. When I receive them I find that I had somehow agreed to the new estimate of $4086 while the contracts where in their control. It's amazing how that happened. I tried to come to some sort of agreement with them to get my items back but they were unwilling to negotiate anything. I finally ended up paying $1759 for the luxury of bringing a truck to their facility and loading it up. That's right the cost went up due to storage costs. I would also have to bring blankets so that they would have there gold plated ones back (gotten at Penske for $15 per dozen). The interesting part in this is they told me I would need a 26' truck and that I would have to be very careful in how I loaded it because they weren't sure it would all fit. I ended up with extra space. So much for their ability to estimate space and weight.
This has been the most horrendous experience of my life. The emotional blackmail that they use is tremendous. The fact that companies can get away with this type of extortion is amazing. Do not trust America Van Lines. They are running a scam and you may be the next victim.