North American Van Lines - Worst moving experience of my life!
Absolutely the worst moving experience we have ever had! Since my company was paying for a small portion of the relocation expenses, I was forced to get quotes from several different moving companies - North American Van Lines (NAVL) was the lowest. But the old adage, "You get what you pay for," is all too real for us after dealing with NAVL! To start off with, the NAVL rep who came to do the initial quote missed a piece of artwork that had to be "special crated" for the move. She also missed the same piece when she came 4 weeks later to do the final quote. We had two quotes done since we had gotten rid of some furniture between the first quote and the actual move, so NAVL insisted on a second walk-thru of the inventory in order to generate an accurate quote. When the 3rd party crating company came to crate the special, fragile items, they informed us that there were only 6 pieces that had been authorized for crating but there were 7 pieces that needed crating. We were told the 7th item could be crated but it would cost us an additional $50 COD for the crating. It was also going to be an additional $20 to uncrate this unauthorized item at the destination...unbelievable! Our moving day was set and we were told to expect a phone call 24-48 hours before the actual move day so that they could give us a window of time when the movers would be arriving for the move. That phone call never happened. On the eve of the move (which was a Sunday), I left our Customer Service Coordinator a voicemail, stating that I never got a phone call and I needed to know when the movers were going to show up. The next morning, 30 minutes before the movers arrived, our Customer Service Coordinator called us and said, "They are on the way!" Great - thanks for the advance notice.....
The movers arrived and all three of them looked less than thrilled to be there. In greeting them, only one was wearing and actual "NAVL" shirt - the other two were wearing typical street clothes. I don't know if NAVL employees are required to represent NAVL with their clothing, but I let that minor fact go. These movers were uneducated, unmotivated and clearly uninterested in the task at hand. My pulse started to race as I knew we were about to engage in a HUGE mistake by putting the contents of our entire house into the hands of these three individuals. Two hours into the move, there was an assortment of boxes and a few pieces of furniture sporadically placed in our driveway, our neighbor's driveway and the patch of grass that separates the two townhouses. It looked like a neighborhood yard sale! Watching the movers walk around with the "deer in the headlights" look, it was clear that these guys had no organizational skills and clearly had no idea how they were going to pack our belongings into the van.
I watched in complete horror as our leather sofa and leather chair were "squeezed" through our front door completely unwrapped! I realize that some doorways are only so big and our leather chair is an overstuffed one - but it was brought in without any damage and should be brought out the same way. There wasn't one stitch of covering on the leather couch and chair when they were pushed through our doorway. I didn't even have the guts to inspect these pieces after they "popped" through the doorframe - I would leave the inspection for when they were delivered.
The rest of the move did not go any better, as there was absolutely NO CARE given to our belongings as they were removed from our home before being put into the van: Walls nicked, stairwells were scratched, door frames were gauged and dinged. And this was just in the house! We knew we would find damaged boxes and furniture when it was all delivered. These "professionals" treated our home and our belongings with not one ounce of care! In fact, we spent almost two hours after the van pulled away patching up gauges and dings in door frames, repainting walls that had been carelessly marked up and filling in dents and scratches in stairwells.
Our Customer Service Coordinator had informed us that on the date of the move, the driver would be able to give a pretty accurate date of when everything would be delivered. Before the van pulled away, we asked the driver when we might possibly expect our belongings to arrive at their destination. He responded, "I really can't tell you until I complete the delivery that is scheduled ahead of yours." I accepted his answer and asked if he would contact us throughout the journey to give us updates on his progress. He said, "Yes". In the next 7 days, we never heard from him once. On the 8th day, I took the initiative and contacted him and asked him where things stood with the delivery. He said he would be delivering in 2 days. He also asked if I could give him directions to our address from the city of his last delivery? "What?!?!" I hire a moving company and also have to provide directions to a destination that I have just moved to?? I gave the drive the major highways and route #s to get him from point A to point B. On the morning of the delivery, the driver called again to say he was 18 miles away but needed detailed directions to get to our place. I asked him if he had a GPS and he responded, "No". I told him he might want to invest in one for the future, given the line of work he was in. He said, "Well, there is one in the truck, but it's not hooked up." I said he might want to get it hooked up soon. He also said, "And I don't know how to use it." C'mon!!! ANYONE who drives for a living (moving companies, chauffeurs, movers) should have a GPS - its 2009 for heaven sakes!!!
after 30 minutes, we finally managed to give him directions to get to our place. When they got out, only two guys were present. So.....three guys to pack up a truck, but only two guys to unload it? I think there is a joke in there somewhere. Again, the movers appeared unmotivated and uninterested. The forecast for move-in day was a mixture of clouds and heavy showers, off and on, all day. Because of this, I knew we couldn't dilly dally - this unpacking HAD to go more smoothly than the pickup day. Realizing he did not have enough help for the unloading, he actually asked one of the residents in our building, who just happened to be walking by, if he could lend a hand for a little while and help them unload the van! He offered to pay the kid $40 and the kid agreed to help. I was completely in shock!!! I was grateful for the additional hand, but I did NOT hire NAVL to outsource help with unloading because they did not have enough help. COMPLETELY UNPROFESSIONAL! On top of that, we realized it was taking a long time to get our belongings in once they were being removed off the van. My partner and I jumped into action and played "movers" for the next 5 hours!! So not only were we paying NAVL to move us, but we, the customer, were also assisting with the physical labor of the move. If I had known all of this beforehand, I would have simply rented a U-Haul and done this entire move ourselves! We should've been inside checking off boxes and furniture as they were being brought in to ensure that everything had been delivered. Instead, we were assisting with the physical labor of unloading the van - a job that we had hired NAVL to do!
Finally, all of the belongings were in our new home, but not without damage: one leaning bookshelf was totally destroyed; our dining room table had a leg with a chunk off the wood that had been chipped off; two of the chairs from our dining room set had gauges and scratches on a couple of the legs; two small end tables (made of wood with glass tops) were wrapped together with nothing between the two and suffered scratches and gauges in their legs; a television stand arrived with a very badly scratched base.....and that leather sofa and chair I mentioned earlier? Both arrived with scratches and scuffmarks on the arms and backs of them that are now permanent.
As were accounting for every box and piece of furniture, we realized that we were missing one dining room table leg and one of the slats that go to the frame of our platform bed. The driver ensured us that they must still be somewhere in the truck. We were told that they ended up unloading the truck "backwards" so some of the pieces that were packed together got separated as they were trying to organize the contents of the truck to be unloaded. What the heck does THAT mean??? Clearly these guys need organizational skills! Ironically - every single box we personally packed for the move, and aside from one pilsner glass, everything WE packed arrived with NO breaks or damage
The movers offered to help us put the bed and the dining room table back together before leaving. Upon bringing the mattress into the bedroom to place on the bed frame, the small dolly they used to wheel the mattress in, "flipped" up when the mattress was pushed off from it and put a small dent into our newly painted hallway! When the dining room table was having its legs reattached, one of the movers (who probably weighs 230 lbs) actually used one of the legs as a brace to actually lifted himself off the ground and onto his feet!!! I was completely shocked!!! I could just picture that leg snapping in half from the weight of his body. The movers were about to leave before I stopped them. They were actually going to leave without us checking off each item on the invoice to make sure that it had been accounted for and delivered.
When they left, we were completely mortified - we have NEVER had a more unpleasant experience in our lives. Moving across country is stressful enough, but this experience was simply inexcusable and unprofessional.
The next day, I contacted our Customer Service Coordinator to begin the claims for the damaged items. She directed me to the online claim form. When I asked about other "Customer satisfaction compensation", I was told I would have to contact Customer Service at the headquarters. After being bounced around for 40 minutes from one NAVL representative to another, I was finally put in touch with a woman named Sandy Marlowe. I began discussing with Sandy the experience we had with NAVL, beyond the physical damages, and was looking for some type of compensation for the non-physical damages that we were put through (ie. the unprofessionalism of the experience, not enough help with the unloading, the physical that we personally performed, etc...). Sandy was unhelpful and said I would have to fill out the online claim form any physical damage that occurred. As far as any other type of compensation, "We would not get any. We don't give monetary compensation". I asked to speak with her direct report so that someone would listen to the experiences we encountered that we honestly felt were deserving of some type of compensation. Sandy flat out said, "NO." As the blood trickled down the back of my throat, I said, "Did you just say NO to a paying customer who asked to speak with your manager or supervisor?" She said, "Yes I did.....there is nothing he can or will do for you." I asked Sandy for her full name and title. Sandy, turns out, is the direct assistant to the president of NAVL, Michael Wolf. I again asked to speak with Mr. Wolf and, again, Sandy refused to put me in touch with him. If the direct assistant to the President of my company EVER spoke to a customer the way Ms. Marlowe spoke to me, you can be *** sure he/she would be standing in the unemployment line. I have since begun the online claim for the damaged items, but after reading SEVERAL consumer reviews for NAVL, I am not confident that I will EVER see a dime! And as for the other compensation that I feel we are entitled to...I have since contacted my credit card company and I have disputed a portion of the moving charges. I figure at this point, disputing the charges might get the attention of someone other than Ms. Marlowe who will take the time to listen to a paying customer's legitimate complaints and work with them to resolve the issues....
NO ONE.....I repeat.....NO ONE should EVER hire North American Van Lines! I wouldn't hire them to move me across the street!