There exist few common occurrences in our world quite as nerve wracking as the experience of inviting several strangers into one’s home to pick everything up, load it onto a truck, and then drive off into the sunset to hopefully transport the entire material accumulation of life to a new home.
Sadly—for those who are currently dealing with such anxiety—this article will not be doing much to assuage your fears.
Changes in transportation regulations over the past thirty or so years have led to a proliferation of new moving companies, ranging from national corporations to a few guys on Craigslist with a pickup truck and some spare time, all competing for your business.
Such competition has made the initial estimate reign supreme; companies want to get your stuff into their truck, and from there…who knows? Because of this, the internet is full of laments about muddy boots, smashed heirlooms, blank contracts, and furniture held hostage. Here are four of the most absurd stories.
“Guess how much stuff you have and win a $7000 bill!”
Have you ever seen one of those contests in which you can guess how many jellybeans are in a jar, and if you guess right then you get all of them? Have you ever guessed right? I thought not. Well, one Canadian man encountered a moving company who makes their estimates on the same general principle.
A salesman from the company came to his house, looked around for a while, and told him that there was probably about 6000 pounds of furniture, resulting in an estimate (not including other fees and taxes) of $3000.
Contracts are signed, a date is set, and soon enough everything is on the truck and the door is locked. All is well, right? Nope, the movers chose to wait until the second the door is locked to inform the man that there are more than 6000 pounds of furniture on the truck, and that the actual cost has ballooned to over $6000.
No need to worry though: the company has graciously given him the option of either having everything unloaded onto the lawn, or to sign the new contract and have his stuff stored for only $300 a month until he paid up.
After a brief wait of nine months and a lot of legal wrangling, the company was finally forced to give him his stuff back in near acceptable condition. An optimist might say that a ruined computer desk, a couch covered in dirt and feces (?!), and a couple of smashed urns were a small price to pay for the privilege of not having to replace everything in order to move.
“You weren’t supposed to be here yet! We’ll give you someone else’s furniture if you don’t tell our boss.”
One person, with a little helpful advice from a friend, hired a moving company owned by said friend’s cousin. Everything starts out fine, the truck is packed and starts off to his new house followed by the owner, who has let them know that he will be seeing friends along the way and won’t be there until several days after the movers.
When he gets to the house, lo and behold, there are a completely different set of movers there, and they had been living it up. One was passed out drunk on the couch, one was showering, and yet another was picking at the remains of the pile of pizza boxes on the counter.
After the initial shock, however, he slowly realized that the couch a mover was passed out on was not his couch, the pizza box-strewn kitchen was not stocked with his things, and the soap that the mover upstairs was hopefully using most definitely belonged to some other family.
The company had somehow managed to move someone else’s furniture into the home, sending the beleaguered client’s possessions god knows where. Luckily everything was eventually set right, but one can’t help but wonder how they would react if the new furniture was nicer than what they were supposed to get delivered.
“I only learned how to count to two”
One person found out the hard way what could happen if a moving company doesn’t seem to have enough trucks. On moving day, the company shows up with a truck already half full of other people’s stuff. That fills up quick, so they call in another truck, which shows up almost completely full of other peoples’ possessions. This fills up in no time, so after a long delay the final truck shows up, a small U-Haul trailer which is thankfully completely empty.
When the man arrives at his new home, he notices something strange: there are two large trucks outside, but the small one is nowhere to be seen.
The movers are incredulous, no one told them about a third truck. They unload everything and go on their merry way; not their problem. Since no one bothered to inventory which items went into which truck, there is no proving that this truck ever existed, so the next few weeks are spent fruitlessly calling the moving company, trying to convince them that they have a truck parked somewhere in the country full of stuff that the owner would probably like back.
After a protracted period of negotiations, the company finally finds the truck, and graciously gives the man back most of the stuff that was in it. Hey, better than nothing.
“You might want to sit down for this…”
One family had to deal with more than just some shady business practices and chipped tables: their possessions are now literally garbage.
A little background: the company they had hired turned out to be a shell company that subcontracted the jobs they were hired for out to moving companies which had lost their licenses. Therefore, this family’s stuff had been pretty much immediately handed over to a driver from a completely different company which had obviously had trouble in the past, and this driver promptly rolled the truck on a New Mexico highway, spilling their possessions all over the road.
When he was several days late, they reached him on his cell phone and were informed that he was having engine trouble and would be up shortly, after which he stopped answering his phone. Calls to the company were met with directions to call the company that they had subcontracted the work out to, and calls to that company resulted in instructions to call the original company.
When the family finally decided to call the New Mexico police, they were told that the truck carrying their stuff had jack-knifed and turned over, and that all the boxes had been bulldozed off the highway and dumped in a storage yard.
Their calls to the company have mostly been answered by one person who uses several different names, and they are currently embroiled in hopelessly complicated legal process with their state attorney general and the moving company, which appears to be part of a network of shady moving companies which contract work out to independent drivers because they lack the insurance or permits to move things themselves.
I think that I’m perfectly happy staying where I am now, thank you.