United Transport screwed up my move and lied about it!
On June 5, 2012, Joseph Hoskins from United Transport provided me with a Binding Moving Estimate of $3904.80 for a Full Service Relocation. On June 6, I completed a credit card authorization for $4,865.00. The price increase resulted from my conversation with Caitlin Brenden where I informed her that my move would be full pack/unpack. I emailed the authorization and copies of my driver license and credit card to Caitlin on June 6. I told Caitlin that some things would be moved to my business location in Edgewater, Maryland, about 7 miles from my new home. She said that wasn't a problem, and they'd do the second drop off at no additional cost.On June 13, Caitlin informed me that they would only charge a $1216 deposit, so I completed another credit card authorization for that amount. Later that day, Caitlin informed me that the actual charge would be $1264.64. We scheduled a June 27 pick-up.3 men arrived on June 27 to pack and load my belongings onto a truck bearing the United Transport logo. After discussions with the driver, I concluded this crew was a subcontractor hired by United Transport, even though their website states: "We are not a broker, but an actual carrier with a DOT number and a fleet of trucks. Most moving companies are brokers, bidding out your moving to the lowest paid carriers that may not have your best interest at heart. We will be here with you from beginning to end." Clearly, that's not true.The crew was friendly and appeared hard working. After observing them for a while, my mother and I got out of their way and spent most of our time sitting on the front porch while the crew completed their work. When they were done, the driver said they would deliver by July 2, and they would call me 24 hours before delivery. I was driving from Houston to Annapolis, so I wanted to time my drive so I would arrive in Annapolis before the crew. No one from United Transport or the pick-up crew said my things would be taken to a warehouse for holding, or that another crew would move my things to Annapolis. This crew led me to believe they would be taking my things directly to Annapolis. If I suspected otherwise, I would not have used United Transport.On July 1, when I hadn't heard from the crew, I sent Caitlin an email message informing her that I hadn't heard from the drivers. I asked when they would arrive in Annapolis so I could plan my drive accordingly. Caitlin did not respond, so I left a few voice mail messages. I finally reached someone at United Transport on or around July 3 and was informed that the cost of my move had increased because the weight of my belongings was underestimated by about 2,000 pounds. My credit card was charged an additional $4,864.08 on July 5. I emailed Caitlin on July 5 requesting documentation showing how the weight and final payment were determined. I've made more than one request for this information, and to date have not received a response. I also emailed Caitlin reminding her about the second drop, and asking her to make sure the crew was aware of the second stop.At this time, the folks at United Transport began to be illusive and non-responsive to my inquiries about my move, and I knew that something had gone very wrong. I made numerous phone calls to United Transport. I had to keep calling back to get a live person, because my calls were not being answered. On June 13, I emailed Cliff Adams - I was told that he was the owner of the company. I told him when my belongings were picked up on June 27, I was given a first available delivery date of July 2, and that I understood that to be an estimate. I told him when I did not receive a call regarding delivery before July 2, I began calling to find out the status of my move, and no one returned my calls. At this time, it was obvious that my things would not be delivered on July 2. No one from United Transport voluntarily called me to provide a status update. I had been told on numerous occasions that the "drivers will call [me] tomorrow" and provide a delivery date, but had never received any such calls. Further, I was told by someone at United Transport (I believe it was Rick) that my things were loaded on Sunday, July 8, and were in transit for a delivery sometime during the week of July 8. I was then told by someone else that my things weren't loaded until July 11 or 12th. It is apparent that United Transport's employees had done something wrong and were lying to cover it up. By this time, I had paid a full month's rent for a condominium I couldn't live in because United Transport had not delivered my household belongings. I had professional events to attend and had to purchase new clothes because they had my clothes. I was prepared for 5-7 days, but I never expected to be without my things for an entire month. I told Cliff that I had to attend a business event in Atlanta the week of July 15 and needed my things by July 15. On July 14, 2010, I received the following response from Cliff: "The truck carrying your goods had a mechanical failure and is being fixed. We are doing the best we can to complete the move as quickly as possible for you. I don't have an eta for you yet I am waiting for word from dispatch regarding the truck repair and will relay the info to you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience thus far." I then received a call from Rick (I think) informing me that my things would be delivered on July 19 or 20. I had already told Cliff I would be out of town on those days and would not be available to receive delivery. At that time Rick told me that if I was not there to receive the delivery, they would put my things in storage, and I would have to pay the storage costs and the costs for the move from the storage facility to my new home. On July 17, 2012, Cliff Adams sent me another credit card authorization, which I completed in the amount of $2,167.25. I was told by Cliff that my things would be delivered by 7:00 pm on July 17, and required to pay this amount before my goods would be delivered. My credit card was charged $2,253.94 on July 17, 2012.A 2-man moving crew arrived at my new home at about 9:00pm on July 17, 2010. They arrived in an old white unmarked truck. The crew was very tired when they arrived. They had already been working all day. They were so exhausted they could not move a lot of my boxes upstairs, so they left them all in my living room. They also did not reassemble the beds that were disassembled at pick up. The left my house a TOTAL mess. When they finished unloading the truck, I noticed that over half of my things were still missing. They had not been informed of the second drop off, but took a few items (a refrigerator and an exercise machine) to the second location anyway only because they could not figure out how to get them in the door to my condo. I had to start my drive to Atlanta immediately after they finished at about 3:00 am, so I had not had an opportunity to do a complete inventory of my belongings. Later that morning (July 18, 2012), after I arrived in Atlanta, I sent Cliff an email message letting him know that a substantial portion of my belongings had not been delivered. Among the missing items were at least 40 designer dresses and evening gowns, a full length mink coat, leather jackets and winter coats, underwear, socks, pajamas, a very expensive Trek Madone street bike, helmet and bike shoes, china cabinet and its contents (wine glasses, champagne glasses, collectibles, important documents), a custom zebra skin cocktail table, 6 dining room chairs, kitchen items (2 stand up mixers, dishes, glasses, cups, pots and pans, etc.), and a dresser and bureau. This moving crew was very reluctant to give me any information, but when they saw how bad my move had gone, they were more open. They told me they had just picked up my things 2 days before they delivered them, e.g., on July 15, 2010. They had not broken down in transit from the warehouse to Annapolis. Their truck had broken down a week before they even arrived at the Dallas warehouse to pick up my things. So, when Cliff told me that the truck carrying my goods had a mechanical failure and was being fixed, he deliberately lying to me. The moving crew was extremely reluctant to provide me with the address of the warehouse where the rest of my things were stored. I asked if they had seen my bike. When I described it, one of the men said he had seen it, but someone at the warehouse told them not to take it because they didn't know who it belonged to. I asked about my zebra skin table, but he said he had not seen it. Finally, one of the men provided me with the address of the warehouse. I was actually planning to go to Dallas and hire another moving company to retrieve my things.Leah Valaro from United Transport responded by sending me the instructions for filing a claim. I sent her an email message stating that since they had not completed my move, it was not the appropriate time for me to complete a claim form. Cliff responded as follows: "Yes, I was informed that some of your belongings were missing; I do want you to start the claims process, include the missing items in it. It is easier to cancel the claims if we find the missing items, rather than start the claims process a month later when we decide they will not be found. That way we can get you results ASAP. Also, if you could please email me with details of exactly what is missing, descriptions and pictures if possible, that way it will be much easier to find the belongings." Following is my response to Cliff on July 19, while I was still in Atlanta: Thank you for responding. First, let me be clear - more than "some" of my things are missing; more than half of my things are missing. As you probably know, I left Annapolis immediately after the movers left, but it was clear before I left that something had gone very wrong with my move. So far, following is a list of things that I was able to identify as missing before I left. There will very likely be much more to add to this list when I get back to Annapolis.6 dining room chairsDining table extender insertChina cabinet (all pieces) and contents, including glasses, collectibles and important documentsKitchen Itemspots and pans2 stand up mixershand mixerseveryday dishes and chinasilverware, utensilscupcake and baking pansbundt pansspecialty baking itemscups and glassestoasterblendercoffee grinder and coffee makerrice cookerspices and food items cook booksNO KITCHEN ITEMS WERE DELIVERED2 ipod/CD playerswood dresser and bureauAt least 50-60 dressesHats in hat boxesHand bagsFormal gownsFull length mink coatleather jacketswinter coatsAt least 30 pairs of shoeswinter bootsblack and red Trek Madone street bikeBike helmet and shoesElephant collection - wood, glass, etc.African artifact collection - paintings, wood carvings and artworkCeramic collectible doll collection (at least 30 dolls)Framed art and family picturesMirror with wood carved frameZebra skin cocktail table (black and white)Wicker end tables/storage binsSmall metal table with glass topTowels and washclothesLinens for king, queen and full size bedsHand weightsAll items from drawers in master bedroomunderwear (bras, panties, slips, etc.)socks and pantyhosepajamas, night gownsIronCurling ironsLarge piece of luggage (Britta "A New Day" design) and contents (dresses and other clothing)The contents of most items with cabinets and drawers were not delivered.
A few other things of note:This move was supposed to be a full pack, and I was promised (by Caitlin) an additional stop in Annapolis at my business location at no additional cost. With respect to packing, the guys packed breakables without wrapping them for protection. The clothes that were delivered were thrown into wardrobe boxes without use of a hanging bar, so everything is wrinkled and unorganized. The guys who delivered did not put any of the items that were broken down at pick up back together - everything was left unassembled, including beds, televisions and cabinets. I ended up with a second delivery to my business location only because they couldn't fit the refrigerator through the door to my condo. The only recourse was to take it and an exercise machine to the second location.These are just a few of the things that went wrong with my move. To make matters worse, you increased the cost of my move alleging that my items weighed significantly more than the original estimate. Then, the total weight of the items you delivered was clearly less than the original estimate. So, in essence, you charged me more to deliver less. Furthermore, your team of employees was not at all helpful. They made false promises and told outright lies at times. They were rude and condescending. Their behavior was totally unacceptable.My goal is to resolve this matter quickly and amicably. Your cooperation is essential to achieving that goal.The very next day, July 19, 2012, I received the following response from Cliff: "Good news we found your goods! Leah calling you with details. So sorry for the inconvenience."I received a voice mail message from Leah on Friday, July 20, informing me that my things would be loaded on the next truck out to the East Coast. Then on Monday, July 23, I spoke to Rick, and he said it would be at least 3 days from July 23 before my things will be loaded in Texas and another week or two before my things will be delivered to Annapolis. On July 23, I sent Cliff yet another email message telling him that I would be leaving for South Africa and Botswana in a week and would be gone for 11 days. I told him that all of the things I needed for my trip were at United Transport's warehouse in Dallas, Texas. If the first delivery was indicative of the remainder of my items, my clothes would be thrown into wardrobe boxes without using a hanging bar. In my July 23 email message, I told Cliff that I had been very patient, and that his employees were rude, unhelpful and condescending. I told him I needed my things delivered before July 27, 2012, and I needed my beds and other things that were disassembled at pick up to be reassembled and the things that Caitlin agreed would be delivered to my business location delivered to that location. I also had a short phone conversation with Cliff that day.On July 24, 2012, I sent Cliff a follow-up email message requesting a delivery date. I included 14 photos of items that were broken during the move, including a marble top table that had a chuck of marble broken off. My email message included the following statement regarding my damaged items: "In one photograph, you will see that a marble topped table has a large chip in the marble (The movers were kind enough to leave the chipped piece). This could have only happened with severe mishandling of the table, e.g., it was dropped. The wood on the headboard to my king size wood bed is warped and pieces are broken off. I attribute this to being stored in extreme heat. You'll see a leg of a dresser has been scraped - it looks like it was dragged across the ground and not lifted and carried - and, my brand new leather sofa is scratched. You'll also see how the few clothes that were delivered are simply thrown into wardrobe boxes without using a bar."On July 24, I received an email message from Cliff stating: "Hello Carmen I am still looking for a solution to get the goods up to you faster. Thank you for your patience thus far." I spoke to Rick on July 25, and he said someone would return my call by the end of the day, but they didn't. I followed up with the following email message to Cliff: "I spoke to Rick yesterday, and I was expecting a return call from you or Rick before the close of business yesterday (Rick promised to call back with a status update before the close of business yesterday). I did not receive a call, so I called this morning and asked for you. I was put on hold for a while, so I hung up and called back. This time, I spoke to Kelsey, and she informed me that you were not in the office. She also told me that there was no way my belongings would be delivered before I leave the country next week. I'm sure you can imagine my frustration. Fortunately, I just received another call from Kelsey about 30 minutes ago (11:48 am) informing that she had just spoken to dispatch and ALL of my belongings will be delivered within 2 to 3 days. So, I am expecting to receive my belongings no later than Sunday, July 29, 2012. Along with this delivery, I am expecting (1) all of the items that were disassembled at pickup to be reassembled, (2) items that are designated 8 Mayo to be delivered to that address, (3) all boxes and debris removed from the premises.I understand that the driver will call me 24 hours before he arrives. If I do not hear from the driver by Saturday at noon, I will contact you."Cliff responded the same day in an email message telling me my goods were on the way. My things arrived on July 29, but the nightmare continued. The following email message I sent to Cliff after the moving crew left sums up what happened on July 29:"I just wanted to provide you with an update on my move. Most of my things arrived this morning. My bicycle is still missing, as well as a zebra skin (black and white) cocktail table. The previous movers mentioned that they saw my bicycle in the warehouse, but no one knew who it belonged to. I don't want to wait another month to get my bike and table. As you know, I am leaving the country this week. I will return on August 10. Please make arrangements to deliver my bicycle, my table and any other of my belongings still at your warehouse, to me when I return. The bike is a Trek Madone - black with red and white trim. The handlebars are taped in red.My boxes arrived unmarked and many without numbers. I now see why it has been so difficult to identify my things. Because the first movers didn't label the boxes, we had to open every box to determine which room the box belonged in. The guy you sent was very impatient and refused to wait while we opened boxes. He also charged me an extra $200. He said it was a long haul. If I didn't pay him, he was going to unload my belongings and leave them on the curb. He hired 2 guys from Craig's List to assist, and of course, he asked me to "take care of them." What a rip off! And, just like the guys before, no one told him about the second drop at 8 Mayo.This is just the tip of the iceberg. This move has been a nightmare! I'm sure you must realize that you guys screwed up big time.My primary concern at this point is to get the remainder of my belongings. Please let me know when you will send me my things."I sent a photo of the zebra skin table to Cliff before I left for South Africa. Obviously, I expected to receive some sort of update before I returned to the US. I didn't receive anything from United Transport when I was gone, so I followed up with Leah when I returned. Following is the email message I sent Leah on August 13, 2012:"I've just returned from almost 2 weeks in S. Africa and Botswana, and I was expecting to have received a response from you by now. Please let me know if you have located by table and my bicycle.Also, as you are aware, the second guy you hired to deliver my things did not unpack any of the boxes, did not put the boxes in the designated rooms, AND did not reassemble any of the items that were disassembled at pick up. As a result, it is taking an extremely long period of time for me to unpack and sort through my things. There are boxes and pieces of furniture that should have been taken upstairs, but remain downstairs because they are too heavy for me to move. I can barely walk through my kitchen and living room, because all of the boxes were just dumped in the middle of those two rooms along with the furniture (which was also just haphazardly dumped into those rooms). To add insult to injury, the guy wouldn't move my things into my condo until I paid him an extra $200! He threatened to just dump my things on the sidewalk if I didn't pay him. I will continue to sort through the mess your movers created from beginning to end, and I will eventually provide you with a comprehensive list of damaged and missing items. In the meantime, I expect to have my zebra skin table and my Trek Madone bicycle delivered to me ASAP.I'll look forward to your prompt response to this email message."I also sent Leah pictures of my zebra skin table. Following is Leah's response on August 13:"Hey Carmen, I'm sorry but we still have not located your missing items. I will keep you informed and let you know if we do. If we do find them we will get them sent out to you ASAP. In the meantime, take your time unpacking and going threw everything, I don't want you to feel rushed trying to go threw everything and get the claims form in, take your time, you have plenty of time to send it in. I will tell dispatch to keep looking and if we do find them I will let you know."I sent a few other email messages to Leah since August 13, and did not get a response from Leah until August 27. She said: "Sorry Carmen, but they have not been found. They will keep an eye out for them and if they do show up they will send them out to you. Please send in the claims form so we can get you compensation for the missing belongings. Thanks" I have not communicated with United Transport since then. I suspect they are no longer looking for my belongings. I plan to complete the claim form. I am also considering filing a lawsuit.
Monetary Loss: $15000.