I repeat, do not, DO Not do business with either company unless you are a masochist.
Here's my story -
Cross Country Van Lines, a New Jersey based company contracted by the just-as-disreputable Nationwide Relocation Services in Fort Lauderdale, FL, was due to arrive at noon in order to pack my boxes before the freight elevator became available at two p.m. They had exactly three hours to empty the apartment before we had to relinquish control of the garage to the next truck in line. There was no way around it.
I stressed to both the broker and the mover that it was imperative the truck arrive promptly because my lease ended that very day at six p.m. I also arranged for the electric and cable to be terminated sometime over the weekend and booked accommodations at a swanky hotel in my metro accessible neighborhood because it was pet friendly and I would be sans wheels (my car was getting shipped through an environmentally friendly freight carrier). I prepaid through Expedia in order to take advantage of the low room rates.
When the clock hit one and they failed to show I began to panic because I had also hired them to pack my boxes. My boyfriend and I made several dogged attempts to track down the dispatcher at Cross Country for an update but instead of reaching a human we were sent straight to a voicemail. Some guy named Simon who spoke with a heavy accent that was reminiscent of one of the Eastern European thugs from my GTA IV game, finally returned our call and brusquely reassured us that they were on their way.
Well, “they" never arrived. When Simon tried to reschedule with the promise of being there on Monday between 9-10:30 am and the elevator was only available from 9-11 am (trash trucks park in the garage from 8-9 am on Mondays which knocked off an hour for us), I more or less told them to where to go and fired off a letter to Pamela Ling, the deceitful broker at Nationwide Relocation Services (company also known as movingcost.com), who all but vanished into thin air once she received our $779.85 deposit. Funny how she couldn't be reached until I told her via email we were terminating our contract.
I immediately called my boyfriend and urged him to cancel his credit card in case they tried to charge him for the full fee. And then I did what any reasonably intelligent person should have done in the first place – an internet search.
I.could.not.believe.what.I.was.reading. I felt like a total idiot.
Both companies have been slapped with numerous violations and complaints on a myriad of consumer websites. What's the m.o.? Frustrating the hell out of you so that you cancel your contract and forfeit the deposit. If you are unfortunate enough to have one of their contracted crooks handle your move, prepare to be extorted. They will eventually hold your goods hostage in some undisclosed storage room and double the fees owed because your items “weighed more than originally determined." If they can't shake you down they will threaten to sell all your items and – to add insult to injury, that is, if they haven't literally roughed you up (some have threatened and/or actually inflicted bodily harm), they slap you with a storage fee!
We got taken but it could have been worse.
I scrambled to find a more reputable van line and arranged for Mayflower to arrive Thursday because it was the only day they – and the elevator – was available. Because of the negligence of the aforementioned companies, my boyfriend and I incurred a good deal of emotional trauma (my boyfriend later revealed he thought he was going to have a heart attack. He'd recently underwent a series of intense medical tests because he'd been feeling dizzy and winded) and a horrible loss of time and money. Monday night (my birthday night) will be spent hauling boxes from some storage company into the apartment. I was forced to cancel my flight and extend my lease through next Friday at $81 a day. I would have been totally SOL if someone else had leased it.
I am working with Expedia to see if the Westin will extend us a courtesy and refund all or part of the $300 we prepaid for the room or at least give us credit. I also lost money on the one night's stay in Scottsdale booked for the evening of the 30th. As expected, Pamela Ling refuses to return our deposit for services not rendered “until she talks to someone higher up." This has been an absolute surreal nightmare and I implore all of you to do your research and steer clear of brokering companies and dodgy movers. These people are not only unethical they are potentially dangerous. Some of these extortionists allegedly have mob connections. Honestly, I cannot prove any of this except to say it's what I read so be careful.
I'm working on a viral internet campaign to stop these people and their like-minded cohorts from swindling others. I spent all weekend posting on various complaint boards in addition to writing the Attorney General in Florida, the BBB, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the DOT, and now, here. Tomorrow morning I am sending certified letters to Nationwide and the President of the company at his home address (I was able to dig it up). I may buy space on thesqueakywheel.com and tell my story there. I also talked to a friend of mine who is a federal agent to see what he can do about it or what advice he has for me. Then there's the friend who is an internet hacker but I think I'll hold off on that. Twisted Evil
Horrible. Absolutely horrible. But I strongly suspect I'm blessed that these thugs didn't show up and take any of my belongings. However, here is the irony - the freight carrier picked up my car the very day I requested (Saturday) and said my car would be arriving in Phoenix Tuesday night - the day my flight was originally scheduled. It would have worked out perfectly if everything had gone according to plan. But because of what happened, I was sort of hoping my car wouldn't get there until much later in the week.
His personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org and here is his Facebook page: