Resolved The Moving Experts — Destroyed my furniture!
In August 2007, I hired The Moving Experts to transport my goods from 2 locations in Illinois to California. However, when the moving truck showed up to move my goods on the specified day, it read 'Elite Moving & Storage' Without telling me, The Moving Experts had subcontracted my move to Elite Moving & Storage. That was the first red flag. But with the truck outside and a tight moving schedule, I decided to proceed with the move.
At the first stop, I immediately noticed that the 2 movers were packing my furniture very poorly. They were not using bubble wrap or protective covers (as called for in the signed contract). They were simply throwing thin blankets over my furniture and carrying them outside. I politely asked them to use more packing material on my wood furniture and TV's. Not only did they refuse to accommodate my requests, but they laughed at me, told my they were 'professionals' and asked me not to worry. Immediately, I called the company and expressed my concerns. The company stated they would speak to the movers and have them take corrective action. Never happened.
After the majority of my items were loaded into the truck, I noticed that the truck had vanished from my driveway. I called the company, yet again. Apparently, the movers thought they were done and had left for the 2nd stop. Not only had they left without telling me, but they had left a trail of my half-wrapped belongings leading from my doorway into the elevator, and down to the lobby of my building. They had forgotten several large items. After several refusals and much persistence on my part, the company ordered the movers to come back for my items.
Clearly upset at having to return for the forgotten items, the movers became increasingly rude and increasingly reckless with my stuff. At the 2nd stop, they refused to cover the mattress with a mattress pad (as is required by federal law). The last thing I wanted was to come off as an ### but these people really did not leave me much choice. I called the company to complain and the movers told the company that they had run out of mattress pads and would put one on before the drive to CA. I protested, but I was told there was nothing I could do.
Additionally, they refused to apply any protective covering to my bookshelf claiming they had run out of packing materials. Since I did not believe that all of their materials had 'vanished' I looked in their truck they had PLENTY of materials. Additionally, while carrying my leather arm-chair out of the upstairs bedroom, they dropped it and made a large dent in the hallway wall. They said that 'it was not a big deal.' I filed a claim with their claims department, but we'll get to that later.
Before the movers left with my goods, I wrote down all of my complaints on the contract and spoke to a company supervisor. I said that I was worried that the movers would intentionally damage my goods as retribution for the complaints I made to the company. The supervisor informed me that she was aware of the situation and would have a supervisor present when my goods were transferred to the truck that would carry them across the country. This supervisor would inspect my goods to make sure no damage had occurred and apply any additional packing materials necessary to make sure my belongings would not be damaged in transit.
Well, no supervisor ever called me. I called the company numerous times in an attempt to check-up on my belongings and ask about repairing the damage done to my wall. No one ever got back to me. The only contact came when the truck was about to make its delivery in CA (2 days late). When I asked the truck driver to confirm my total, he informed me that I actually owed double the quote. Apparently, my shipment weighed twice the estimated weight. I asked for a weight receipt to prove this. I was not given one. Since the delivery was made on a Saturday, no one from the company answered when I called.
The driver gave me 2 choices: pay the balance owed in cash (over $1700) or have my items put into storage and wait an indeterminate amount of time for the dispute to be settled with the company. Sick of sleeping on an air mattress in an empty house, I chose the former.
AFTER I paid the amount in full, in cash, the driver told me that everything I owned was ruined. There was significant water damage done ONLY to my items prior to him taking over in IL and driving the truck to CA. He drove them personally from IL to CA, so the damage must have occurred BEFORE they were put on the cross-country truck. Since it did not rain that whole week AND the items were in a covered truck several feet off the ground, how did the water and dirt get into my shipment? Gee, I wonder.
Oh and by the way, since everything (including two sets of mattresses) had been sitting in a wet and filthy truck for about 10 days, there were all moldy and completely trashed. Finally, several items (including the bookshelf from before they refused to cover) were outright missing. The company lost them and I never saw the items again.
I filed a claim with the company, and they offered me a few hundred dollars in compensation for the thousands of dollars of damage (about $2500 for the move itself and at least $10,000 in damage to my stuff). I mean, EVERYTHING was ruined the beds, the couches, the tables, the chairs, the dressers, the TVS "I was left with damp clothes and that's it. Elite Moving never said, 'I'm sorry.' They were rude to me, told me it wasn't their fault, and told me that in the contract I signed, in super-super-tiny print, several pages into the contract, in a margin, in legalese, it said that if my stuff was damaged, they only had to pay a few cents per pound.
They had lied to me when I asked verbally about their insurance policy, and because of that very confusing, very tiny line of text, there was nothing more I could do with them. I also contacted The Moving Experts and explained the situation to them. They refused to take responsibility for brokering out my move to Elite, defended Elite, and hung up on me.
Dissatisfied, I took Elite Moving to court. I presented pictures of the damage and the contact where I had written down all of my complaints (the dent in the wall, the improper packing) and all of their illegal violations (not covering the mattress). I had also had the foresight to record video of the movers in CA unpacking all the damaged furniture and explaining how this was the worst damage they had ever seen. I also made an itemized list of all the damaged property and had the movers themselves sign it. I won my case. While I was only awarded about half of what I was actually out as a result of their intentional damage, I won the case. Elite Moving & Storage now has a judgment against them.
So please, please do your research before hiring a moving company. Moving is a stressful enough ordeal without having all of your things ruined. A lot of the information about what complaints companies have against them is public record, so please do your research. And for the love of god, please ask everyone you know to avoid The Moving Experts and Elite Moving & Storage.