American Van Lines East - American Van Lines East: Bad Moving Company

Posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 at 6:10pm CST by B W.

Product: Moving Company

Company: American Van Lines East

Location: 9507 North Trask Street
TAMPA, FL, 33605, US

Category: Delivery, Moving Services, Storage

Recently, I had the experience of moving some of my belongings form Orlando FL to Michigan. After talking to a handful of different moving companies, I was sold on using American Van Lines East. While I didn't have a referral, the sales person ("Hanno") was pleasantly persistent and very explicit in that I would not run into any hidden fees or overage charges with them. This was his primary selling tactic and unfortunately I bought into it.

I went item for item with the contents of my storage unit. I forgot about a few boxes (10 small boxes) but was incredibly specific about every other item in the unit. I was quoted roughly $1600 for the move and was told that this MUST be paid by either cash or money order (this should have been my first hint that this was not going to be a good experience). After going back and forth several times with Hanno (the sales rep), I drew a hard line and let him know that I was not going to use the company unless I could pay entirely by credit card. At this point, the company conceded and accepted a credit card payment.

On October 30th, 2012, American Van Lines East was scheduled to load and move a storage unit that was only partially filled, but held the contents of a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment. I was going to be in Orlando on business, so I extended my trip by one day to meet the movers and make sure the unit was packed adequately. When the movers arrived, they informed at first glance that my unit was twice as much stuff as they anticipated. They told me I'd be paying twice as much for the move. Naturally, they then wouldn't load the items until I signed off on a litany of new paperwork.

At this point I spent an hour on the phone with their "home office" where I was confronted by a "supervisor" that consistently repeated the phrase "you can do whatever you want, but you have a signed contract with us and if you decide not to use us at this point you will be charged a $550 cancelation fee". Because it was difficult to get a word in edgewise with her, I got my original sales rep Hanno back on the phone and vented my challenges with this additional $1400 charge. After quite a bit of back and forth, I was told that they would be willing to do the move for roughly $2500 - still $900 more than the initial quote.

Because I was leaving florida the next day and simply did not have time to orchestrate the move a second time, I decided I would accept the cost and move on. I resigned a variety of papers after reading them very carefully. There was a note on one of the forms indicating that I would need to pay the additional charge ON DELIVERY with either cash or a certified check. I crossed off this line, indicated that I would be paying with credit card and signed the form. Given the struggle thus far, I made a point of calling Hanno to verify that paying with a credit card would not be an issue. Hanno responded with "oh, of course, that's no problem at all". He later denied ever having this conversation.

The items were scheduled to be delivered on Friday, November 2nd. As I was still on the road, I had a friend of mine take a day off work to meet the movers at my house in Michigan. My friend called me at 430PM to let me know that the movers had not shown up, nor had they called or corresponded at all. At 4:42 that Friday afternoon, I called the home office to find out what was going on. The same supervisor I spoke with before (I THINK she told me her name was Goldie - but I'm not sure) answered the phone and told me that everyone was gone for the day and I could call back on Monday. When I asked her when the office closed, she told me it closed at 445 on Friday. Naturally, I pointed out that it was 442. She continued to repeat that she was unable to help me and that I'd have to call back on Monday. As she had during our first interaction, she continued to repeat herself so emphatically that I was not able to say anything without talking over her. Because we were expecting the delivery over the weekend, it was very concerning that I could not get a hold of anyone at the company. I sent an email to the sales rep Hanno asking him for an update.

I heard nothing from Hanno or any other representatives of the company until I followed up with a voicemail and email the following Tuesday. He responded later that day and indicated that he would let me know when the shipment was scheduled to leave. I'll spare the details, but needless to say, I had several email exchanges and a phone conversation with Hanno voicing my distain for the situation. On November 10th I received an email from American Van Lines East (with no signature line on it) that indicated that my belongings were in route and would be delivered on November 12th and the driver would be contacting me.

When the driver contacted me, though there was a slight language barrier, I was told that he would need $900 cash or certified check on delivery. I told him that there would be no way to do that as I was not going to be in town and a friend would be at the house to meet the movers. The driver's response was "I'm just the messenger, you'll need to call the home office". When I asked for the number, he said that he would have to have them call me.

The call I received was from the same woman I had interacted with before (Goldie?)- but she was even more aggressive than she had been during the previous interactions. She opened the call with "My driver is telling me that you're refusing delivery". My immediate response was "Who am I talking to?". She ignored my inquiry and responded with "The agreement you signed shows that you will pay cash or certified check on delivery, if you do not pay that, we will store your belongings and charge you for storage and redelivery." She repeated this four times. I continued to ask her what her name was and she finally said "it doesn't really matter what my name is" and then repeated the previous statement. When I asked her if she wanted to let me talk, she responded with "no, I don't really care what you have to say. Our agreement is that you will pay with cash or certified check. If you do not do this, we will not deliver the shipment." She then hung up the phone.

At this moment, American Van Lines East is holding my things hostage and is refusing to deliver my items unless they receive a cash payment. I was very explicit from the beginning of the interaction because I do not have the cash to pay for this move. I have no recourse and am trying to work with an attorney to get my things back from American Van Lines East.


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