I clicked on a Web site link that looked good. It offered to get quotes from a number of movers in my area and I could pick the one I wanted. That part worked--I heard from a number of movers by both email and telephone and listened to their pitches.
I was unhappy with the poor service I had gotten the previous year when I moved--it cost $1600 and even though the boxes were color coded and labeled which room they were going to (I used Smart Move tape), I still had to haul boxes clearly labeled KITCHEN from the upstairs bedroom. Little did I know I would look nostalgically back on that experience.
I got a series of calls from Movers USA and they were the lowest bidder. (The estimate was less than $1600, which sounded good since I established that the volume of stuff I was moving was pretty much the same.) This was AFTER they sent me a detailed inventory list in which I had to check off items I wanted moved and quantities so they knew it involved two beds, 4 dressers, one table, etc. I clearly noted that I had a safe that needed to be moved.
The movers show up on M-day. One of them spoke a little English but mostly Spanish, the other ones spoken Russian only, except for one who spoke a little English and mostly Russian, and he was the team lead. Communication would be problematic throughout the day.
They did not think my packing was good enough. I have two bookcases with shelving strips holding metal shelf supports for the glass shelves, and I took the glass shelves out and padded and packed them, they refused to move the bookcases with the supports in. They then spent time removing the supports. All when they were supposed to be moving things into the truck. They also made me sign a sheet saying I would pay for any additional packing material. Since all my stuff was in boxes, I was a little hesitant, but figured it would cover minor incidental stuff like taping parts of the bed frames together.
I don't know how they managed to stretch moving a 1,100 square foot townhouse with almost everything packed into an hours long process but I got bored with all their delays and went to the community center behind my townhouse and relaxed there. (With their poor grasp of English it would have been like teaching a pig to sing to nag them.) I gave them my cell phone number so they could call me to come back and answer questions. What I should have done was sent them away.
Finally, 9 hours later, they had the truck loaded. I tried to give them written directions to the new house but they refused in favor of having me lead the way. But they couldn't drive very fast, so I had a line of annoyed drivers behind me as I kept to 25 mph so they could keep up.
Here's where the service suckage starts. Before they would unload my stuff off their truck into the new house, I had to pay the bill right then and there, credit cards only. The bill they presented to me was 3 times what the estimate was.
I use a debit card, but I keep only enough money in it that I think I'll need (but I can move funds online, if necessary). I *hate* using my credit cards, and only use cards with low credit limits because I'm bad with credit, as evidenced by being nearly maxed out on my cards.
After I recovered from my shock, I offered to let them charge half of it (I could cover that much), and I'd give them a check for the rest (from a money market account with a good interest rate but they have a $250 minimum on writing a check off it). They refused. Cash or credit card only.
I called around trying a friend who could lend me $2000 for 24 hours (I was expecting a payment the next day) but (go figure) my friends didn't have a spare $2000 lying around. Finally, I was able to get a family member to agree to the loan but he was at a job interview and needed 90 minutes to actually HAVE the interview, and then drive to my new place.
They refused to unload the truck until he showed up. Meanwhile my new neighbors are trying to negotiate driving around a moving van parked on the street. Not a good way to get started in a new place.
It's getting later and later. I'm trying to get them started unloading the truck because it's getting dark, but they have orders from their boss not to let anything off the truck.
Finally my credit card bearing relative shows up (and he ended up getting the job, the only bright spot of the day), and they unload the truck. They clearly agreed to set up the beds before leaving and it was like pulling teeth to get them to set up my bed, and I don't know what they were doing when they were supposed to be setting up my son's bed, but they left without doing that.
The cherry on the top of this shit sundae? While signing the paperwork (including the credit card slips), I had to sign a statement saying if I disputed any of the charges, they would charge my credit card an additional $500. I protested but they were still unloading my stuff at that point and said if I didn't sign, they'd drive off with my stuff.
AND they charged me an additional fee for my TV and safe I put on the inventory, saying they always charged extra for heavy items.
It's been said experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. It's obvious I won't be using Movers USA again, and I'll probably space out the move over a month's time so I can move the boxes in my car, hire day laborers to load/unload the truck with furniture, and rent a non-UHaul truck to do my move. If I hire a mover at all, they'll only be moving heavy furniture, and I won't accept estimates, only firm prices.
But I keep figuring out ways to warn other folks about them so no one else has to have an experience as bad as mine.