Movers Association what a crock of S–t you were talking on Canada AM the other morning with Seamus O’ Regan. Maybe Seamus is too busy with all of his projects to check out things before he airs them, or to care if he is screwing the little guy who is often the only choice for the non wealthy in this dog eat dog industry, but I have been in moving for over 35 years and held almost every position from helper to management for the big three of moving and their agents. I know where the bodies are buried if you will. I have watched as you gouged clients, out right lied to them and held the furniture hostage until you received payment for overcharging.
The movers you are trying to put out of business are past employees of yours who got tired of working for $7 – $10 per hour while you pocketed the lions share of the cash for booking the move. They are the guys who ended up paying for claims you lied about having insurance to cover, but didn’t. They are the guys you ran ragged and were forced to break the law with phony log books, phony circle checks if they were to make your impossible deadlines. Your association is nothing short of a few companies trying to control the entire industry, by using its agents to squeeze out the unaffiliated mover; the guy who eats up your local business; the guy who gives the people a choice. North American Vanlines, Atlas Vanlines and United Vanlines are the world-wide Companies that are controlling the moving industry internationally and locally. If you are to do business on an international level, or make more than just a living on the local end, you must become an agent of theirs and this means following their guidelines It is you the big 3 van lines that set the prices and have been doing so since deregulation of the industry. I do not know how you could send someone to get on tv and tell that bold-faced lie about saving people from disaster moves being preformed from the little guy. Wow what backstabbing, two-faced liars you are. The next time you go on television why don’t you bring copies of the forms that you use so that the world can finally see how corrupt you are? Seamus why not do a follow-up and ask them some of these questions and ask to see the forms.
Sales people and The Pitch
If you can get a sales person to come to your house to give you a binding estimate for a local move from any of the movers in this Movers Association I would be highly surprised. Most movers big , or small will only give you and hourly rate over the phone and will have a three to four-hour minimum and add an hour traveling time whether they need it or not. A sales person job is to sell the move and walk away and nothing more. To achieve this and the commission that makes up either all of their salary or at least 80% of their salary they will promise you just about anything and know that they will not be expected to have to deal with you again as far as your move is concerned. Here is where you will be told about the insurance, but they will not be willing to explain just who is covering them. Ask them next time you move or if some one you know is moving get them to ask. They will dance about, but you will never get a name on a piece of paper, because they do not have that type of insurance. They will however take the money for extra insurance at the rate so much for claimed value dollar in advance of move and non refundable. If all goes well they simply pocket the money. It is the oldest moving scam in the business and they all use it.
If you call to complain about service or a promise not kept you will be directed to dispatch. These seasoned pros are adept at the shell game and the run around. They are trained to keep you hoping for the better part of a move going bad. Complain that your truck is over an hour late and they will tell you he was involved in an accident but they are sending a new truck with extra men to speed up the move once the truck arrives and then say,”please be patient we are doing all we can to make this right for you.” You will never get past the dispatcher, because he is the guy responsible for the men, the equipment that is supposed to be doing your move and for keeping you satisfied during your move. If you anger a dispatcher he or she will make you think that it is your fault and will make your day a living hell. They will have no problem telling you what your entitled to and how the sales person could never say that and then ask you if what you are saying is noted on the contract you signed; which I can tell you right now it will not be.
Only important corporate clients, or the government get to speak to managers and higher-ups. The dispatcher’s word is final as far as your move is concerned. From your men, to your final billing, to dealing with your complaints and claims, the dispatcher’s word is the law. All of our men and women have at least one year of moving experience and have been trained by us the big three say, unlike the little mover. they forget that the little guy is often the experienced guys that got tired of working for them and if you consider that are most likely to be the guys with the most experience. If you have ever moved you know that moving is on the job training and if all the movers and packers working for any moving company in their organization had to have at least 1 year experience they would not have any body doing their moves. in this very transient business where would they get them from. During the moving rush moving companies will use any one who shows up like students looking for summer work, there will be no time to consider their training and they will be sent to move your things.
The Driver, the men and your move/Long distance, or Local
For long distance moves, this is where you actually begin to rip off your clients. From the moment the driver introduces himself and says would you sign that you only have the released insurance and are aware that it is 60 cents per pound. Of course the customer is led to believe or allowed to believe that the 60 cents per pound is on the whole shipment which could be 10,000 pounds not 60 cents per pound based on the weight of the article damaged. In other words if your brand new plasma tv gets totally wrecked and weighs say 1000 pounds you get 60.00 dollars. All of the tagging is done in code and there are 30 articles per sheet and each room is estimated at having one thousand pounds of goods inside (now some have less and some have more but it usually balances out). You will not be asked to sign until after the truck is loaded with your goods so verification of how accurate and truthful the driver was in the listing of damages already on your furniture and exactly where is impossible. This leaves you having to take his word. That is if you take the time to read what is written in code on the over 300 article covered on the 10 pages of inventory and if you understand them. The tagging is supposed to be for your protection, but is a tool used by both company and driver alike not to have to pay you if something goes wrong. They know that you are tired and frustrated and just want the day to end and that is why all paper work is in code and signed at the end. Most drivers tag for tomorrow, in other words they put down damage that is not there but they feel that might or will happen. I have seen drivers break furniture legs or chip something trying to fit it into the load and simply add the damage to the listing. At the signing of the paper work the unknowing customer signs as though the damage was indeed there before the driver damaged it. Once you have signed it is impossible to go back on. So if you are moving a 20,000 pound house you have 20 pages of 30 articles per page to check before signing.
If you are moving locally you have a driver who is hourly this means he does not pay any of the damage he makes and there is no listing of your furnitures prior condition and it is your word against his. With the company paying for the total cost of the damages who side do you think they take? The men range from no experience to lots of experience, but moving is an on the job training type of thing. The driver and the main helper should be carrying the heavy and valuable items, but this rarely happens and a young inexperienced mover ends up carrying something he can not handle and this practice is responsible for most of your damage. During the rush they will send you anyone they can get to do your move drunks, students, people known to steal, they do not care as long as they move your stuff into the truck at residence and then back into your house at destination.
You the big three and your agents claim to have insurance, but you never are willing to disclose exactly who you are insured with. When some one claims damage you send out your own claims adjuster who is often a sales person or a person paid by you with an office in your building. The person is dispatched to the customer who thinks he is getting a fair shake. Some companies actually do have a guy or lady who runs around with a set of movers crayons and furniture stains and will attempt to touch up your furniture. Their job is to convince you that your furniture is old and that the fight in the court will be costly and more than you would get anyway, so it is your best interest to settle with the company. If you agree there is no further talk of insurance and you will get a check. If not prepare for a long court battle that could take years to settle and once depreciation of the furniture is taken into consideration and your lack of the original bill is taken into consideration it will not have been worth the fight. Remember you will be suing the agent of the vanlines not the big three. the agent will probably fold or go bankrupt long before you get a decision from the courts on your claim. Once they close their doors you have lost.
What Can you do?
Absolutely nothing. The cost of your bill can not be changed, or altered by the police or the courts. Many have tried, but it is considered a private contract that you have knowingly entered into with the moving company. You can not withhold money for the bill until you get satisfaction,or the moving company can hold your furniture as remedy for lack of payment and charge you extra to re-dilivery those goods. I was told to keep a few of the high value items on the truck until payment in full was made on all moves. In this interview why was the paper work ever brought up or shown? The answer is a simple one; to show the paper work that these companies use is to show how they dupe you into feeling that you are being covered and handled in a professional and fair manner, when in reality you are being hustled for all you are worth and can be squeezed for. Moving has become the greatest con game on this planet and they are the shills and you are the mark. Taking on a corrupt industry is never easy, but that does not mean it should not be done.
I challenge any of the big three moving van lines, or any of their agents to put a copy of their bill of lading on the web and a copy of your tag and listing sheet on the web so everyone can get a chance to know your codes and read the fine print without pressure of time restraint. This will level the playing field and allow a customer to make an informed choice and you will have taken the guessing and surprises out of moving as you lie about doing now. If you do not you can trust me to do so for you somewhere in the not to distant future.
Since consumers are already protected by law and there is supposed to be a 10% cap on how much a mover can go over on an estimate I think that this charter of rights thing is a lot of hot air. What is needed is a watch dog to see that movers are doing what they should, not new laws that will be ignored, because they are not enforced. It is kind of like the no smoking within 25 feet of public places, and the stores put ashtrays not 10 feet outside of their doors and government workers smoking on the steps of government buildings. Nice thought for the non smoker, but ineffective if not policed and enforced.