We all have had bad experiences with almost any type of service. Sometimes it’s bad food or service at a restaurant. Other times it might be a clerk at a retail store or shopping center. Lest we forget, cable company service ranks right at the top of the list for consistent poor service. I am in an industry that has a tradition of poor service. In fact, in many cases it is just expected that the experience with a moving company is just going to be bad. The company misquoted the job, the crew shows up late, the crew is discourteous and makes a mess of the house and things get damaged, are some of the common complaints about typical moving companies. Over the past 29 years I have heard many stories of poor service but some stand out as more than standard stories; they might be considered NIGHTMARES! One of the first horror stories shared with me actually got national TV coverage. I received a call early one morning about 26 years ago from a very distraught woman. She was crying hysterically and it took a while before she was calm enough to tell her story. Eventually she shared that she had recently decided to move from Dallas back to New England to be with family because her husband had just passed after a battle with cancer. She said she had been in New Hampshire waiting for her items for about three weeks and when no one from the company she hired returned phone calls, she decided to have a friend in Dallas try to track down the company she had hired. After several days her friend located the person who she had hired. As it turned out, the owner of the moving company did not really have a moving company. He had an ad in the local paper and, when the woman called his number he went to her home and gave her a quote. The price, of course, was too good to turn away from. (He agreed to move her entire condo contents and her car from Dallas to New Hampshire for under $3,000. Now, this was many years ago when fuel was a lot cheaper than now but, even this price was more than ½ of the average price.)
When her friend located the man’s house she saw a large yard sale taking place on his front lawn, complete with all of the victim’s goods (including the car!) for sale. The police were brought in and Fox news picked up the story. The country then got to see the story on the 6 o’clock news. Unfortunately, this poor woman had spent all her money caring for her dying husband and had paid the man who stole her goods the cost of the move when he picked the items up. I made arrangements with a national van line and we were able to get what was left of her items, and her car, shipped back at no cost to her. A couple of weeks later the woman stopped by my office and thanked me for helping her get her things back. Through many tears she recounted the details of her ordeal. I couldn’t help but think of how someone could take advantage of a person who had lost their spouse and then taken what little money was left had for a move he never did but. And then, to have no conscience about selling off all of her possessions! Several years ago, while estimating a local move, the client told me her nightmare moving story. She was living in Pennsylvania at the time. On her move day she was standing on her porch as the tractor trailer driver backed up the long driveway. The driver opened his door and leaned out to watch his trailer when he suddenly fell out of the truck, drunk! As he lay on the driveway the tractor trailer slowly rolled forward, over both of his legs. Shocked, I asked her what she did. She said that she was so horrified that she really couldn’t remember much about the rest of the day. She said that her husband called 911 and then the moving company sent over another person to take the place of the drunken man. All she could think was, “Oh my God, this is just the beginning of my move, what will the rest be like?”
A couple of summers ago I was visiting with a client named Jane who had used our services 3 times already and we were getting ready to do another major move for her and her husband. Jane told me that her husband had indicated to her that should get at least one other estimate because that was good business. She said she quickly let him know that she would not be bothering because she just never wanted to have happen to her what had happened to her neighbor the year before. Jane shared with me how her friend’s husband was being relocated from NH to the Midwest and the company who hired him gave him a moving allowance and he could choose whatever company he wanted. He found a nice company via the internet, got a really low quote and hired the company. Since it was a corporate move the moving company showed up with 3-4 men and was there for about 3 days of packing and loading into the large moving van. After the scheduled delivery did not happen in the Midwest, and several calls to the company were not answered, it became clear that the moving company had made off with the entire contents of the house. (My first thought when hearing this from Jane was, “I wonder if the husband and wife are still married?” I know that if I made a decision like that, and lost our entire household, my wife would definitely be considering divorce!) Recently, while going over some preliminaries for an up-coming move to Singapore with a repeat client, I shared this story and the client proceeded to tell of her own nightmare of a move from Massachusetts to San Francisco, just a few years ago. Her story, though not as bizarre as the ones I have already shared, was filled with imagery which I thought worth sharing. When the mover showed up he had with him his two children, one who was about six years old and the other around eight years old. Apparently they were there because it was his day to take care of them. As it happens, they actually carried some small items out to the truck. She and her husband waited patiently for the items to arrive and on the last day of the “window” for delivery, the driver showed up…at nine o’clock at night…with his 80 plus year old father to help him unload. She explained that the nightmare of having almost every piece damaged, (some things like the dining room table completely destroyed and many items missing was nothing compared to the horror of having the father fall into the spa and break his leg.) Add to that, the driver cursed the elderly woman next door when she asked him to move so she could get her car out. My client said these nightmare images would be with her the rest of her life… Moving is always stressful. There is now way to avoid the feeling. Packing, unpacking relocating to another place, turning off the cable, changing the mailing address, getting new doctors…the list is endless. Adding a NIGHTMARE move to top off the stress is the last thing any unsuspecting homeowner wants to do.
If you are reading this and have your own nightmare move, please drop us a line. If it’s a good story we’ll post it in a future blog!
William C. Huff Companies is committed to simplifying the complicated maze of moving and storing your priceless possessions. With over 40 full-time, tenured, and highly trained staff, you can be assured that your move will be handled smoothly and professionally, from the first phone call until the last box is unpacked.