Florida Van Lines / Thousands Lost / Florida Van Lines Move
In July, we relocated from Florida to Georgia, and hired Florida Van Lines to perform our residential move. What a tremendous mistake. Actually, there are few words to describe the magnitude of this mistake. Our pickup date was 7/7 and the delivery date in Atlanta was 7/16 (not by our choice). This move was a totally unsatisfactory experience for us for many reasons.
The key occurrences and issues were as follows:
1. Our 7, 000-lb. move took more than 12 hours to move with three movers. At the end of the move, it began to rain and the movers began to quickly pack the truck with the remainder of our belongings, which included fine art paintings from our family’s art gallery business, in addition to antique, heirloom furniture. As a result of this, our paintings, as well as the antique and other furniture (all of which were in great condition), were wrapped improperly without appropriate protection, resulting in considerable damage to all (some pieces broken, almost all pieces scratched significantly). (We have photos to prove this.) The fine art pieces arrived in Atlanta with the canvases stretched disproportionately due to the mover’s actions. (Again, we have photos.) We are unsure of the total dollar value of these collective damages...
2. Much of our possessions arrived in Atlanta soaking wet and mildewed. As explained to us by the movers who showed up in Atlanta to move us in, the top of the truck was smashed in by a tree branch (again, we have photo proof) at some point during transit and consequently, a great deal of our possessions had gotten soaked. Apparently, the truck had sat idle for some time, as the mold and mildew were significant. Most everything that was wet and mildewed had to be thrown out. This included items such as a baby co-sleeper, down comforters, luggage, boxes of portfolio items used to conduct our business, and much more. In retrospect, due to what happened later, it makes us wonder if this was not purposeful on the part of the moving company.
3. We have incurred many additional out-of-pocket expenses due to the mover’s negligence, including plumbing expenses (the lead mover used the restroom facilities at our Sarasota home and clogged the toilet, requiring emergency weekend plumbing repair (this required him to be on the phone with his manager for quite some time so he was unable to continue to supervise the move); washing machine repair expenses (the washing machine which was practically new, was damaged in transit); cleaning expenses (due to the mess created by the soaking wet boxes, as well as cleaning all of our possessions; drycleaning expenses as practically all of our professional work clothes were soiled and wrinkled, the wardrobe boxes smashed, etc.)
4. Many of our items did not arrive in Atlanta at all. Missing items include a wooden high chair that must be replaced, kitchen appliances, and more framed & signed prints, as well as numerous framed family photos.
5. This next one is a biggie. The movers got upset and verbally threatened us at the end of the Florida pick-up due to their being short of enough workers for the job. This was because the move took more than 12 hours with three movers, there was tension at the Florida pick-up among the moving team and there was a misunderstanding between us and one of the movers. As it turned out, the mover complained to his stepfather, or relative, who we discovered to be a key operations person within the Florida Van Lines organization, that we were not treating them properly, even though we had offered the movers refreshments, fed them pizza at our cost, and assisted with moving and lifting items. When the operations manager got on the phone with us, his comment was, “You know what I told my stepson (or son)? I told him he should take all your stuff and throw it out on the street!” As you can imagine, this threat was very distressing to us, as most of our possessions were already on the truck.
We went out of our way to make these guys comfortable and they repaid us with verbal threats at the end of the pick-up.
5. The entire move was conducted in a highly unprofessional and incompetent manner. One of the key examples is that once our pickup was completed in Florida, we were given no paperwork to document our possessions, as our movers left hastily. When we asked about receiving a copy of the move documents, they told us they did not have a copy to provide us. We did not receive any paperwork until the drop-off was completed in Atlanta. In the interim, with no paper documentation of our move, we were required to call Florida Van Lines continuously to be assured that our possessions would be arriving in Atlanta. We cannot describe the level of frustration, concern and anxiety that we felt not knowing whether our possessions would actually arrive, when they would arrive, and in what condition they would arrive, especially given the threats we received toward the end of the pick-up.
We felt as if we were at their mercy, and we were. We were also forced to sign a document that limited the company's liability once our stuff was on their truck. We signed it against our better judgment and indeed, it has prevented us from getting compensated in a fair way for our losses from this move.
This was, without a doubt, the WORST move our family has ever had. It was a bit like being taken hostage, being taken advantage of, and even being VIOLATED in so many ways. I cannot advocate to consumers enough to AVOID THIS COMPANY AT ALL COSTS...or you will be the one who pays dearly.