Any City Any State Mover / Shady mover
This moving company is run by a shady guy ("Phillip", not sure it's his real name or not) who will create plenty of opportunities to squeeze money from you on every little pretext, money you really don't or shouldn't owe him.
Details of my experience are below, but I have to mention that the big problem with this guy is that he is a cunning, smooth talker who is smart enough to not do any outright fraud or cheating that will leave a trail on which somebody can have him be prosecuted/convicted. This is a dangerous kind of crook, because he will always be around.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of protracting my business with him (explained later). When little things added up over a few months, I concluded the guy was a crook with a unique way of bilking you... so at an unnecessary loss I stopped dealing with the guy.
This guy squeezes you a bit by bit rather than in a shot, so please bear with me while I detail my story below.
A friend used this company (Phillip, I should say; it's really this one guy you are dealing with) for a small, short move and said the service was ok.
So I asked Phillip for an in-home estimate to take all my stuff to a storage place 5 miles away. I got a reasonable estimate (total 8 hours) and a reasonable price. He also told me the size of the storage unit I would need to rent.
On the big day, just the loading part ended up taking 8 hours. He was perplexed, he said, that I had so much stuff! His truck couldn't hold all my stuff, so a number of items (including a treadmill and a crib) got left out.
Once we got to the storage place, I had to make a deal with the manager to let them unload past their closing time, at additional cost.
Then Phillip insisted that he had to "see" the unit, regardless of the fact that it was the same sized unit as he had recommended. Upon expert visual inspection, he declared in his infinite wisdom that I would need a unit twice the size.
Now this guy has grayed his hair doing this business, and seemed quite smart and competent, so I was wondering if he had pulled a trick on me. The storage place had no unit of that size.
Phillip graciously offered to take all the stuff to one of the units he said he was renting at a facility. It was 7 PM. I was desperate to be done with the move.
Yes, desperate, not not because I was tired (I was), but there were too many things happening in my family and work on that day and that week that I reluctantly agreed when he offered to take the stuff with him without my having to follow, so I could start taking care of other business. It was not going to be a self-storage, anyway. His rental space was quite a distance away, so the trip was going to add to the cost.
Since I had researched the company and knew he was fully licensed, insured, had he and his vehicle had no violations etc, I reluctantly agreed. He said he was going to give me two months of free rental. I kind of half jokingly asked him if that meant the storage would be free, if I got my stuff out within two months. HE SAID YES in no uncertain terms. An angel.
While we did some hurried paperwork back on the street, he raised the monthly rental rate and swore that that's what he had quoted me. Then he asked me to pay him $100 extra for having packed some delicate items. He/his men did no such thing, though they helped pack a few definitely non-delicate items.
When I argued, and said that...more than the amount, I didn't like the fact that he seemed to be making up a charge on the fly, he smiled and said that's his way of making a little extra and asked me how much would I like to pay, if not $100! On a good day, with less than a few urgent things on my mind, I would have bailed out on the guy right at that time.
But I couldn't. Or so I thought. No amount of arguing seemed to change his demand. I paid the guy the extra $100, full, after telling him I didn't think he deserved it, but I was just going to tip him. I tipped his two helpers a reasonable amount and he drove off with my stuff.
The deal was that I wouldn't have the key to the place, but he could let me access the place pretty much any time we wanted.
Few weeks later, I did access the place once without much issue. He said I didn't have to pay the first month rental.
For the second month, he demanded a payment, insisting that the very last month of the rental would be free, but not the very second month, because I didn't know how many months I was going to rent. Arguing was fruitless. I started having a bad feeling.
On the third month or so, we decided to move the stuff to another self-storage place before we went overseas. When I called Phillip, he wasn't happy. I said I HAD DECIDED to move the stuff, and that I wouldn't mind using him for the move, if he gave me a reasonable price. He quoted a price double the quote I received from a few other movers. Plus, the move was going to be early next morning, or he wasn't going to be able to do the move till a few days later. I would have no time to get a storage place so quickly.
When I told him that the quote was too high, he still tried to talk me into using hi...for quite some time (remember, a smooth talker? Cutting this guy off on this topic). I said no and I said I was going to pay less by using another mover. The guy got very, very, very upset. Or pretended to.
I have seen people fake extreme anger to intimidate or push me or to distract me from the real issue/argument, to mess with my mind...that I didn't budge. He said he was so upset that after all that he had done, I was accusing him of trying to cheat me. I said no such thing. I told him that I didn't like the deal he offered so as a customer I was going with the guy who gave me a better deal.
He shouted on the phone for 10-15 minutes, and I let him, with my mouth shut. Can't do a sensible conversation with the guy. Plus I didn't see the need for me to justify my position or respond to his self-serving non-sense. All the time, I was thinking about horror stories of people having their stuff loaded on a truck and then the stuff be effectively hijacked for what would amount to a ransom. I was wondering how far would this guy go.
After he was exhausted of the rant and perhaps the absence of any reaction from the other end, I just said politely that I wanted to pay x amount of money to move and go with the guy who was ok with it.
Then he started listing all the money I would owe him if I didn't use him. That I was going to pay the back rent for the first month and that the last month wouldn't be free either, because total rental time was less than 6 months, a time frame he concocted for his convenience. And that he didn't know when he would be able to give me access to the place.
I wanted to have nothing to do with the guy in the shortest amount possible, so I insisted on the nday. The guy said he could give me access at 5:30 AM. I told him that was a crazy proposition.
The he said he would be really nice to me and that I would have to call him at noon to find out if he would be able to give me access at 2:00 PM. the next day.
Without much hope, I pointed out that I couldn't book a mover and tell him that with 2 hours notice I might cancel. He of course didn't care. And he would also not commit to any future date and said given his workload I may have to wait 10 days. We would be gone from the country just about that time (which I didn't tell him).
So, I took a gamble and said I would call him at noon. We got a storage place and a mover in a hurry. Some research we had already done came in handy.
Next day, the guy wasn't available for a while, but at 1 PM he said he would be there at 3 PM. Got to Phillip's storage place (Patterson), and the mover got there as well.
I paid Phillip a hefty amount (first month rent+last month rent+plus I think there was something else he tacked on, not too much...but can't quite remember the detail). His monthly rent was almost double the rent of what we were going to pay for the new self-storage place we had rented. Same size.
He tried one more time to bilk me by saying all of his blankets were still wrapped around my stuff and that I could buy them for x amount each. I said no. He said he wasn't going to be around and that he couldn't be sure I would leave ALL his blankets there, so I had to buy them from him. I told him it was his problem, how he wanted to verify that I did.
He wasn't done. His mind spinning fast, trying to churn out some more free dollars, the guy starts telling me that if I am not done with the move within x hours, or if I leave any stuff on the unit that day, the storage company was going to fine me. I was going to give the guy a parting piece of my irritated mind, but luckily the storage employee happened to be listening and told Phillip, he had no idea what he was talking about and that the storage unit was still rented out to Phillip, so he didn't care what was left in the unit that day.
Finally, Phillip decided to relieve me of my role as a trapped cash-cow, and I bid farewell to him as he drove away for his next gig (not before telling me how nice he was being to me), and the new movers started loading. As I followed the moving truck out of the facility, I was glad there would be no more of Phillip.
I am not easily cheated on. At a personal level, I give people I have just met plenty of benefit of doubt and start with the assumption that they are decent, unless demonstrated otherwise.
When doing business, however, I start with the opposite assumption on the back of my mind. So I don't get cheated. Not easily, anyway. I realize that in this story, I ignored a number of warning signs...but that doesn't give anyone any right to smoothly and gradually cheat on me and harass me.
Enough said. I don't want to spend any more time on this topic. You have been warned.