I received several quotes from moving companies and decided to go with Shelli Van Lines of 12-18 River Road Fair Lawn, NJ. I have never used movers before and although did some research on Angie's list and web in general was not aware of constant fraud that goes on.
They offered $65 an hour, minimum 5 hours after reviewing all the furniture pieces as well as apartment's 2nd floor location with me, over the phone. Quoted price included the following (copied and pasted from their email quote):
-Loading, -Unloading, -Disassembling of all furniture, -Reassembling of all furniture, -Packing Services (Materials additional), -Gas, -Mileage, -Taxes, -Tolls, -Insurance,- 3 Professional Movers, - Truck/s
The final price we HAD to pay was $1319! We had no extra-large items and discussed that over the phone as well. It was a small 2 bedroom apartment with one bedroom being just baby furniture, and no bed since we sold it prior to the move. After much back and forth over the phone with the office upon arrival at our destination we could not come to any resolution since our stuff was on the truck we were FORCED and BLACKMAILED to pay this amount although as you can see the quote is nowhere near that. Even with a few extras added we never expected to pay 3 times the estimate.
We were charged for 2 hours of travel time although the locations are 21 miles apart and there was no traffic on Saturday morning.
They were advised of the stairs (2nd floor) and amount of furniture (minimal) prior to the quote yet we were charged for stairs.
Everything was packed in boxes and bags by us, but they took it upon themselves to take garment bags with clothes on hangers and THROW them inside huge boxes (see photos) which they provided (We were told 10 were free) but then tape and "packing" were not. They also wrapped our furniture in plastic which we did not ask and were completely unnecessary since the furniture is cheap (see photos). We also had 3 other cars packed with some fragile items that they did not have to pack or carry.
I was rushed through signing a bunch of documents including a semi blank bill of lading which was then filled out with dollar amounts (see copy).
We do not mind paying "extra" over what the quote was but not three times the amount. That is absurd and complete black mail since we would not have our belongings unless we paid. We were prepared to call the police but decided not to. I am 8 months pregnant and we have an 18 month old. What was suppose to be a very exciting day of moving into a new house (our first) turned out to be filled with tears, fighting, stress and screaming!
We are asking for half of our money back - $659.50 as well as some sort of regulation in place where an estimate is exactly that and not a bait and switch.
I am coming to find out that this is a common practice and yet goes unregulated and unpunished. No other business would be able to get away with this or they would lose all customers!!! We have recently worked with several contractors from painting to heat installation to cleaning and ALL estimate numbers were close or the same as the final price we paid.
We felt very violated and taken advantage of and STUCK!