Our recent move was a complete nightmare. We booked months ago, but after giving us a moving date, the company (a major national van line whose name I may reveal later) called a week in advance to say that they had subcontracted the move out to an agent. This was not good news. They called again a few days later to say that that the agent’s truck had broken down, and that they couldn’t provide another truck of their own or from another subcontractor.
Our original move-out date was Monday, and they said it wouldn’t be there until Thursday or Friday. (The new owners were going to move in on Friday, and were not able to change their plans.) Needless to say, I insisted that the van had to be there on Thursday, but they wouldn’t guarantee this or even tell me the actual date for a few more days. This left us frantically scrambling to find alternate plans.
On Monday, still hoping the truck would arrive in time, I called Portable On Demand Storage (PODS) as a backup plan, and arranged to have them deliver four of their units to the house so that if the truck didn’t arrive on Thursday, I could have my own labor crew move the stuff into the PODS either to store on the street until my van came, or have them shipped directly to our new home.
From Saturday until Tuesday, we didn’t know whether the truck would arrive Thursday (acceptable) or Friday (disaster). On Tuesday they called and said it would be Friday.
However, the truck driver called on Wednesday evening, saying he would be in the city the next day and at our house on Friday. On hearing that he would be in town on Thursday, I explained the situation to him and begged and pleaded with him to come straight to us and not to wait until Friday. Fortunately, he agreed, and we were able to load everything in and get out of the house in the nick of time, no thanks at all to the moving company! I was able to cancel the PODS and the work crews, but was charged cancellation fees by both.
In the meantime, though, not only was I put through one of the most harrowing and stressful events of my life, I was unable to work for the extra four days of waiting, had to pay to change airline tickets (we had already driven across country to the new house; I flew back to do the last packing and oversee the loadout), and had to pay rent to the new owners for the extra days beyond they date we had expected to move out.
Although the main customer service agent I dealt with appeared concerned and sympathetic, others did not seem too worried about the fact that I might not be able to get my stuff out of the house I did not technically own by the time the new owners drove their truck up.
So we feel the moving company has seriously screwed us, and that not only do they owe us for our substantial out-of-pocket expenses, but that we should not have to pay the full price for the service they screwed up so badly. The truck has not yet arrived at our new house, and based on my previous experience, I know that they will not unload it until we pay the full amount they claim we owe, so they have us over that barrel.
We are considering entering an immediate dispute with the credit card company over the final charge, and will probably contact a lawyer to look into our other options. But since the total at issue is probably in the range of $4,000 to $5,000, it won’t take much of a lawyer’s time to wipe out any possible benefit.
So I would love any suggestions on what actions we can pursue. Have you been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?