News about Nathan and Heather Straz

Thursday, 22 November, 2007
The Big Moving Ordeal
Part One, The Bad Movers
by nate

So what was the "ordeal" with the moving companies? Let me tell you a story. This might get a little long. Heather used one of those Internet forms to get quotes from a bunch of moving companies. She talked on the phone with a few of them and we decided to go with Nationwide Relocation. The sales man, James, promised that our stuff would be the only stuff on the truck and that it would be moved directly to Maine. No stops or other pick ups. We checked them out with the Better Business Buerau and they have a A- score with almost 600 complaints in the last 36 months. We didn't know what to think about the 600 complaints, perhaps they just do a lot more business than anyone else. That's a good thing, right?

According to the contract we signed they were guaranteed to arrive on Saturday or Sunday, November 3rd or 4th. They would give us 28-48 hours advanced notice for the pick-up time. Friday afternoon rolls around and Heather hasn't heard from the company yet. She calls to find what the pick-up time will be. They say they can make 10 PM on Sunday, which is still inside their guaranteed pick-up window. Digusted we choose Monday morning at 7:00 AM instead.

Monday morning arrives and we get up at 5:30 to finish the last bits of packing. Heather leaves around 7:30 to pick up some coffee and possibly some touch-up paint. The truck still hasn't arrived and we haven't heard anything yet from the moving company. She gets back at 8:30 after deciding that it isn't worth it to spend $30 on a gallon of paint. The truck still hasn't arrived and no phone calls. She starts calling people at 8:45 and can't get a hold of anyone at Nationwide or South Moving and Storage (the subcontractor).

After a dozen phone calls, including a few to Heather's mother to find out more about this "South" company, she gets a hold of the owner of South on his cell phone. He can't speak very good English so he hands the phone to a woman who puts the phone down and starts yelling back and forth with the owner in another language. Finally she says that the truck will be there between noon and 4:00 PM.

To kill the time until noon we decided take Baxter to the dog park. After getting back from lunch, Heather started calling again. She finally got a hold of James and expressed her digust. He "made a few calls" and said the truck was 30 minutes to an hour away. Heather wasn't feeling well so we took a nap and after two hours I woke her up to start making calls again.

After a few calls she got Traci in customer service. From her we found that we could cancel now and get a full refund. They missed their guaranteed pick-up window and broke their end of the contract. After a few minutes of discussion we decided to call back and cancel. James had lied to us, the company didn't call us at all, and we didn't trust them anymore to return our stuff if they did take it. Traci transfered us to Cheryl in the cancellation department. Cheryl didn't seem very competent to do anything but we made sure she knew we were cancelling at 5pm Eastern Time and to make sure everyone else knew.

At this point we went to our friends' house to have dinner and use the Internet. We cancelled our hotel reservation in Indiana. We didn't know when we were going to get that far. I started submitting requests for estimates to any moving company I could find. I submitted to ABF, United, Mayflower, and Bekins.

Tuesday morning before 7 AM we received a few calls from the truck driver of South, but we didn't answer them. We cancelled through Nationwide and if they can't notify their drivers in a timely fashion, that's their problem.

At 8:20 I got a call from the local Bekins estimator and scheduled him to come by at 9:30. An estimator from Mohawk United called shortly after that and made an appointment for 2:00 PM. After going to get some breakfast food I met with Matt from Bekins. He was very professional and gave us an estimate before he left. It was better than the contract we signed with Nationwide.

While I'm talking to the Bekins guy, Heather starts getting a ton of calls from Nationwide and South about the cancellation. They want to make thing better. They want to keep our business. The truck is only eight miles from our house. It's in our neighborhood. Heather got calls all the way up the management chain. She did a great job of being firm and professional with them. I wouldn't have been so calm.

During lunch I got a call back from Matt at Bekins. He learned of a cancellation on a truck that was heading back east. They could pick up our stuff on Wednesday morning, but we needed to act fast to reserve it. I wanted to get the other estimate done, but there really was no time. We decided to go with Bekins. Tuesday afternoon we signed our contract and headed to U-haul to pick up a mattress bag.

Tuesday night we went back to our friends' house for dinner with a totally different state of mind. We were much more relaxed and comfortable with the moving process. We knew our stuff wouldn't go directly to Maine, but we were okay with that. We were much more confident that it would get there.


Danielle said on Nov 24 at 07:45 p.m.:

So...then what? Where's part 2?
I hope you guys are doing well. I've been checking often to see if you're back online. I hope you're settling in, and that life is calming down for you.
We'll talk soon. Send your address when you get a chance, okay?
And Happy Belated Thanksgiving!
Lots of love,

nate said on Nov 25 at 12:28 p.m.:

I'm working on it. You know how I procrastinate about things. :)