Household Goods Moving / MOVING GONE BAD
Run far and Run fast from contracting for moving services with Meyers Van Lines of CA. This page will serve to summarize the nightmare detailed in the five pages following. Note that you can find many similar accounts by Google search.
Meyer’s Van Lines of CA is NOT a professional household goods moving company, they are long-distance haulers, in no way professional or efficient. In brief, the following highlight my experience:
• Regardless of the seemingly friendly and efficient assistance you get in first making your arrangements, everything changes once the movers arrive.
• The personnel are about as far from Meyer’s claim of ‘Professional and courteous’ as you can get. In fact, in my experience, not only are they neither of these things, but they are quite deliberately abusive and intimidating thugs. In my case, all the terms of the move changed upon their arrival and, as I was at that point pushed to the extreme outside of my schedule, there was nothing I could do about it. The charges for the move doubled with my having no way of verifying anything.
• Once my goods were on the road, there was no one (contrary to their representation) communicating with me about the progress. They had no consideration for the moving schedule originally planned. My goods took three weeks to get from Campbell, CA to Fort Mill, SC. I had given them a week head start before making the cross country trip myself and still ended up camping out in the new home for almost ten days, during which time they were not even tracking where my stuff was. I was not sure it had not been stolen and was tempted to check for it on Craig’s List.
• As mentioned above, Meyer’s is a group of rogue haulers, NOT a professional moving company. My household goods were given not even the care of ordinary freight.
• Upon delivery (finally) I was again faced with abusive and intimidating thugs. Again, all the terms changed. I had to come up with $2, 700 cash (the certified check I had made sure to obtain, per instructions on the paperwork I was given on loading, was now not a payment option )in a matter of a few hours while all my stuff was held hostage riding around on a truck. My goods were barely unloaded, mostly into one room of the house. NO inventory of any sort was checked. In fact, they tried to leave me with some items that were not mine. As well, some items that I knew to be missing, they knew nothing about.
• Meyer’s claim of ‘Disassembly and reassembly’ is a lie. In my case, the guys on pick up were shocked that there was any such work to be done. I had very little furniture in the first place and what it consisted of had been discussed in detail with the original moving counselor. On delivery, much of what furniture there was had been damaged or broken and nothing was set-up or assembled. My simple request to attach a dresser mirror brought on a tantrum such that I felt in threatened and prepared to call security.
• To truly appreciate the nightmare, the detailed account must be read, but in brief, you would be better off to find a way to do it yourself. I found that the fact that they appear to have all the proper licensing does not count for anything or mean that your move will be properly handled.
DETAIL OF CALIFORNIA TO SOUTH CAROLINA MOVE
MEYERS VAN LINES OF CA
March 27, 2008: Submitted deposit of $250 on move scheduled for 07/01/08. This was after submitting my estimate of amount of goods to be moved. At the time, I spoke with Michelle Greer, with whom I reviewed the list. On the phone with her, I provided additional information about the goods, such as the bed being a full wall unit w/ attached nightstands and mirror and what was identified as a computer system actually being nothing more than a printer and scanner. She had said she was mostly concerned with getting the space calculated and the movers would handle the goods appropriately. At the time, as I had not yet packed, I was concerned about underestimating the number of boxes, but the furniture was pretty accurate as I had very little. She informed me that, if it went over the quoted amount, the price would be adjusted on loading. I was OK with that and expected some adjustment. We scheduled pick-up for 07/01/08 based on my expectation of being at the new home for delivery by 07/16/08. She informed me at the time that an exact delivery date could not be guaranteed, but it normally took about 7-11 working days for this distance move. Michelle also informed me that: 1) she would be my contact person through-out all phases of the move. 2) If I had any questions or experienced any issues with the move, I should contact her and she would make sure all issues were resolved. As stated in the contract: ‘We look forward to a smooth and stress-free moving experience. Our representatives are always available to assist you with any questions.’ In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
March 2008 – June 2008: I contacted Michelle a couple of times in the interim period, once to ask if it was necessary to empty the dressers and box the contents. I was told no, not necessary, as long as it was not too heavy. So, what I did was leave the drawers with contents, leaving some boxes aside in case it turned out to actually be too heavy. I contacted Michelle again before I left town to close on the new home, to confirm the arrangements. She told me at this time that they would be calling me around June 30 with a definite pick-up schedule, which would be, not necessarily the 1st, but between 07/01 and07/03.
July 1, 2008: After arriving back in CA the night of June 30, I got up early to tie up loose ends to be ready for Meyer’s pick-up. As I had not heard from them, I called Michelle. I was told by David that a crew would be available for pick-up the following day and would call me that night to confirm a time. Ok, that was fine.
July 2, 2008: As I had heard nothing by the morning, I phoned David again. He told me, in argumentative fashion, that what he had said was that they would call me on the 2nd. I knew better than that, but was not going to argue with him. He did say they would call and be there on the 3rd. So, OK – I was ready with all my stuff packed, so, no phone (land-line), nothing to sleep on, fix meals with or even make coffee, but they still had not exceeded the 3rd day of the window Michelle had sprung on me. Though at this point, I was a bit annoyed, it still was not a huge inconvenience and I was going to have patience and not worry about it. That evening, around 7:00PM I had a call from John, who had been identified to me as the driver. He told me they were just leaving Portland (OR) and would be picking up my goods between 9:00AM and noon the next day, the 3rd.
July 3, 2008, AM: I got up early in hopes that John would arrive closer to 9:00 than noon. As my dog was boarded to be out of the way for the loading, I called the kennel and told them that I would not be able to pick him up by noon, as is the rule. They could keep him until 5:00PM closing, for an additional $22, so that is what I arranged. I also had to be out of my apartment that day, so I did whatever final cleaning I could prior to Meyer’s arrival.
July 3, 2008, PM: John arrived at noon, giving me the impression, in appearance and demeanor, of someone who may have just walked out of prison. Turns out, John did not drive (I did not explore that issue), but he had a driver with him. One can only assume that this other man, who must have just driven all night from Portland, was, without any rest, going to leave at some point that day with all my stuff. I may be wrong, but I thought that was illegal.
John started looking around, exclaiming that he wasn’t told about the wall unit and did I have tools to disassemble it?: I, apparently erroneously, assumed that, since Meyers claim was ‘Disassembly and reassembly of furniture’, he would have tools – after all, mine were packed. He couldn’t take the gas grill (he didn’t ask if the tank had been removed, which it had), and he could tell me ‘right now’ that I had at least twice as much as quoted. More than quoted, not a surprise, but twice as much is questionable. I was also informed that they were unable to park close enough, so this was going to cost me a ‘long carry’, which amounted to an additional $400. I had been aware that parking directly in front of my apartment was precarious and they may need to pull up a bit further, possibly resulting in some long carry. When I suggested they might be able to get a bit closer, they insisted they could not, though people did pull much closer on a regular basis, as we did when I moved there. When I went out to see where they were, I was shocked to see an old, beat-up 40 ft. trailer attached to the back of a matching pick-up truck, with no Company logo or any such identification on it. At that point I had a notion to just tell them to go away, but unfortunately, it was too late in my schedule to change anything.
Then came the issue of payment, which of course, needed to be made before they touched anything. Unfortunately, I had scanned the payment clause, saw credit cards listed and decided to do that. What I hadn’t noticed is that credit cards referred only to the deposit, I needed cash or cashier’s check for the amount due on pick-up, though they really wanted cash. Anyway, we went around about that, with phone calls to the office and threats not to take the load. Finally, David agreed to accept a personal check, which, oddly, they asked to be payable to another company, River Cargo. At some point during the process I asked John about how long he estimated the transport to take. He informed me, with great drama and in a very agitated manner “Well, you know, we have 21 days.” Well, no, I did not know this, but that at least told me that it was probably going to take that long.
Then, magically appeared about 4 – 5 young Hispanic men that had not been there before. One can only guess where they came from. So the loading began and I just stayed out of their way, as Michelle had suggested, and entertained myself. This process took until 4:45PM, which seemed a bit long for mostly boxes, the bedroom being the only real furniture.
When the loading was done, John brought the paperwork to me. There was an illegible list of stuff they loaded, John claiming it to be 184 pieces consuming 1200cf. 184 pieces seemed a lot to me, but I had seen John putting numbered stickers on things, so did not question that so much. As for 1200cf, that seemed a bit much, too, but I, of course, had no way to verify that. One thing I did notice was a note that the mattress was dirty – it was almost new. So, John made an ugly face and, again with extreme drama, crossed that off. There were numerous places to sign and initial, some I found objectionable, others were not applicable. He gave me copies of the Bill of Lading and (illegible) Inventory sheets. There were several other documents, some with other Company’s names and one he just wrote out by hand. I received copies of none of those. Given that, at this point I was about to miss picking up my dog by the kennel closing time and still needed to clean up the mess they left behind and get checked out of the apartment, I had too much else to worry about and just needed for them to get on their way. At any rate, they were leaving with my stuff, so what could I do about it that would not result in an argument that I had no time for. I see on the bill now that he charged me another $100 for mirror crates. The mirrors were wrapped in moving blankets. John had been entirely unpleasant and conducted our transaction in a manner that I found intimidating. We can now discount Meyer’s claim of ‘Professional and courteous staff’. Once all was done, I felt as if I had just been held up and coerced into a transaction that was against my better judgment. When I later called David with my concerns about the events of the day and the transaction in general, he laughed off my concerns and informed me that, not only was John a good guy, he had worked with him for years, but the unidentified truck was only something they used for pick-up as a smaller trailer was easier to manage in a residential area – that my things were to be transferred to a semi later.
After finishing with John, I opened the closet door where I had segregated the items I was taking with me, including clothing, etc for the trip. I had specifically told John not to take anything from this closet and closed the door. I noticed that the big suitcase which had been there was gone. Fortunately, I was just able to catch John before he got away and they had to dig the suitcase out of the trailer. This also had a negative effect on the rest of the things I had to do in short order.
July 11, 2008: I left California, with my brother, a full week after Meyers loaded my stuff, for the cross-country drive.
July 14, 2008: As my brother and I were nearing Oklahoma City, I had a call from David. He seemed confused and had apparently called me by accident. While he was on the phone, I took the opportunity to ask the status of the move and was informed that the driver was in New Mexico. New Mexico? I was surprised that, giving them a full week head start, they were so far behind us.
July 16, 2008: Having arrived at our destination in South Carolina, I called Meyers and asked Michelle about the status. She had no idea, but had David call me later with news that the driver was in Texas and would not arrive in South Carolina until sometime the following week. I was not happy with the prospect of camping out in my new home, but made no issue of it.
July 22, 2008: Having heard nothing more from Meyers, I called again. Michelle had no idea of the status of my move and gave me a cell phone # to call David. When I called the cell phone, it was answered by a woman who just said he was not there and hung up. This gave me a very uneasy feeling, so I called Michelle back and told her I wanted to know where my stuff was and when it would arrive. I told her I was uncomfortable with the transaction, for all the reasons mentioned above, and was ready to call the police to report that my goods had been stolen. This she thought was funny and became extremely defensive, but said she would talk to David.
I later had a call from David, who told me the driver was in Alabama and would call me, but have my goods delivered no later than Sunday, 07/27. I reminded David that this exceeded the 21 day time-frame, but that I would wait until Sunday, though I would be calling the police Sunday if my stuff had not arrived.
July 23, 2008: This afternoon I found voice mail on my cell phone from Charlie, the driver that he would be delivering my stuff the next morning and that I needed $2, 700 cash for payment. I had been sure to order a certified check from my Schwab checking account before leaving CA and had that ready for delivery, as instructed on the documents that I was given at time of pick-up. I had no local bank account as yet and no way of quickly converting this certified check to cash, as it was payable to Meyers. So, starts another round of conversations with Charlie and David. David told me that I signed off on instructions to pay in cash on delivery, a document which I did not have. He offered to fax it to me and I reminded him that I could not receive a fax as all my stuff was on their truck. So, after numerous unpleasant conversations with both Charlie and David, I was informed by David that they would accept the certified check. Charlie later called and said he would not deliver without cash. So, I told him that I would, some how manage to get the cash. He then told me he would not be delivering my stuff the next day as my misunderstanding about the payment arrangements had screwed up his schedule and he was not going to be back in this area for two more weeks. So, he was going to drive around for two more weeks with my stuff in his truck? Again I called David, who called Charlie, then called me back to tell me that my stuff would be there the next day, as long as I had cash (which, actually, I still did not know how I was going to get). Charlie called later to say that he would be here, but he did not know what time.
Now I had to figure out how to get $2, 700 cash by the AM and it was already 3:00PM. I fortunately had a friend locally who I asked, out of desperation, if I could wire the funds from my Schwab checking account (problem: no local branch of Schwab) into her account and she could then draw out the cash for me. This seemed the most workable solution, but would mean quick action the next morning, not to mention the inconvenience to my friend. That was the plan. I had earlier thought about ATM withdrawal, but was certain that there was a daily limit on that inadequate for this purpose. Later, I decided to go out and just see, in case I was wrong, what I could get. Fortunately, I had been able to do an online transfer into the checking account so that the funds were available. Much to my surprise, visiting several different ATMs, I was able to get $2, 100 before reaching my daily limit. The next morning I went out and was able to get the rest.
July 24, 2008: I called Charlie early to let him know I had the cash and was ready for him. He was very irate that I didn’t tell him I could have the cash so early and again, I had screwed up his schedule, but he would be there sometime this day.
Charlie and one young Hispanic man arrived around 1:00PM, after calling numerous times for directions. I must expect too much, but I would have expected someone in this business to know their way around the state. They pulled up here (near the end of a long cul-de-sac) in a huge 18 wheeler, which again was unidentified as to Company affiliation. I wondered what came of David’s policy that a small truck/trailer was easier to maneuver in a residential area. Again, Charlie had the look and demeanor (in my opinion) of someone just out of prison.
Of course, the first order of business was to collect the cash. Then they started unloading. To my surprise, they did not ask where stuff was going to go, but only where I wanted it stacked. They did put the furniture in the bedroom, but haphazardly stacked all the boxes in the kitchen.
The young man was doing most of the unloading while Charlie was bringing items, some broken, one at a time and placing them in the garage, from where I was bringing them into the house. There was no inventory on unloading, which John had confirmed for me, was the point of putting the numbered stickers on everything. I was able to catch Charlie brining some items into the garage that were not mine, but by the time they were done, I had no way of telling what may be missing. The one item I did know was missing they knew nothing about. At some point I was able to look inside the truck and saw things strewn about on the floor, some mine and some not. I noticed another load, strapped off, stacked as high as the truck and crushing down on the bottom stuff.
During unloading I mentioned to Charlie, just to make conversation and offer a little humor, how I had been able to run around and get all that cash from ATM machines. He did not find this amusing, but started on a tirade about how I should have told him I could do that instead of screwing up his schedule as he wanted to go home and be with his family.
When my bedroom furniture was brought in, first Charlie was yelling at me about the dresser not being emptied (remember, I had been prepared to empty but, the guys on pick up apparently did not think it was a problem). The armoire came in, upside down, with one door broken off. They just set it down, paying no attention. When asked about it, they just indicated that the door was inside. They indicated that they did not know where the hardware was to re-install it. I later found the hardware in one of the lower drawers, though the piece was too damaged to be properly reinstalled. The nightstands, cut to be located on designated sides of the bed, were left on the wrong sides, unaligned. They did assemble the bed frame, but improperly. When I asked Charlie about attaching the dresser mirror, he launched into a tantrum, screaming that he was not happy about being here, he was ‘Very Upset!’ and on and on about my screwing up his schedule. I quite frankly, was concerned that Charlie’s temper was going out of hand and was preparing to call security. They did make motions of attaching the mirror, but I later found that it was not properly attached, the hinges were sprung and it was leaning, near to falling off. So much for Meyers claim that they reassemble furniture.
When Charlie was done (and I was ready for them to be done and on their way), he wanted me to sign off. I told him I wanted to state a couple items that I knew were missing and broken as well as that there had been no inventory or inspection of any kind. He did not like that and was not going to allow it. Fortunately, he stepped outside to answer his cell phone and I wrote it on anyway. So, Charlie was in a full tantrum as he stormed out almost knocking over my friend who was just arriving. Then was the task of backing the huge rig out of the cul-de-sac, during which he came pretty closed to hitting a couple of cars and taking out some landscaping.
• Since my rolling cart was one of the missing items, I had to buy a dolly and borrow furniture dollies in order to redistribute the boxes (all stacked in the kitchen, higher than I am tall) and rearrange the improperly placed furniture. As a note: I am a 56 yr old woman with severe arthritis in my hip and knee, not up to doing the job of movers. On top of all that, I had to find someone to see what could (or, as it turns out, could not) be done with the poorly assembled/broken furniture.
• There was a plastic office chair mat delivered completely warped and folded in half. Though I thought it was destroyed, it did flatten out after about 10 days of lying on the floor with heavy weight on it.
• The damage to the dresser mirror and the broken armoire door is not repairable.
• As I redistributed and unpacked boxes I found that most of them had been stacked upside down and showed significant signs of mishandling. Things within the boxes that had been contained well enough to withstand normal handling were spilled. Some small books had somehow been shaken out of the (sealed) boxes in which they were packed and found loose among the boxes. A box of wrapped and sealed toner cartridges that I had removed from my printer were so severely shaken that the toner was all over the inside of the box and escaped the box so that it got on walls when stacked. I had to purchase not only new toner cartridges, but new drums, as they were destroyed.
• The printer itself was the one item I had asked Meyers to pack for me as it was very heavy. I had the original box with all the original protective packaging. When I opened this box I was shocked to find that the protective packing was not there and the printer simply set inside the box, which offered very little protection and was slightly crushed. Fortunately, I have found no damage to the printer.
• As I unpacked, I removed and saved what John had called the ‘inventory stickers’ from the boxes. I found that, though 184 pieces had been logged on loading, I now only had evidence of 115 pieces. The result being that either I am missing a lot more stuff than I know about or I was overcharged on contents by about 38%. Some of this may be accounted for in a few items on which I found no sticker and perhaps a few I may have missed, however, I quite doubt that can account for 69 phantom items.
• The cover that had been on my bicycle was missing and the front wheel of the bike had been forced to the right. It required professional repair.
• In the process of unpacking, I found several places where the (freshly painted) walls had been gouged and damaged.
• Miraculously, there was very little breakage of packed goods. I attribute this solely to my self-packing and huge investment in paper and bubble wrap.