How all of this came about is I moved back home to VA a couple of weeks ago to help my sister take care of our ailing mother. I'm from the South, and as a good Southern boy of course I wanted to come back home and help my mother. I had lived in NYC for 37 years so moving back home was a difficult and emotional decision. I had accumulated so many things that were important to me over the years even though I just lived in a one bedroom apartment.
With me planning on shipping all my belongings to VA, I got several quotes from different moving companies and finally decided to go with North Van Lines; a family owned and operated company based in NJ. Since they were a smaller Mom & Pop business, I did call the Better Business Bureau before booking them. They did not have any complaints filed against them so I move forward with booking them.
The conversation I had with Rich, one of the sons, was warm, inviting and it felt truthful. Because I had very limited funds I continually advised Rich that I was on a very fixed budget and had to know upfront of any and all charges so there would be no hidden costs on the back-end. Rich and I went over all the individual items being shipped and he advised me the quote was based on 300 cubic feet since that was the minimum I had to pay for whether I met it or not. After itemizing everything, Rich told me I wasn't even close to filling up the 300 cubic feet limit so with that said I felt fairly confident that the quote he was giving me was accurate and hidden cost free. He also advised me that the quote was based on a 3 hour load time which he based on the number of items I had provided him earlier in the call.
After everything was loaded the foreman advised me the cubic feet ended up coming out to be 473 cubic feet. Due to the charges being based on cubic feet, the overage added up quickly, and even though I had asked Rich to give me all charges upfront there actually were hidden charges on the back-end. In addition to the overage charges for the additional 173 cubic feet, there was also an 8% diesel fuel surcharge, additional mileage charges, charges for additional packing materials, city parking fees and additional labor charges since they went over the 3 hour estimated time-frame that was part of the quote. Now I figured there might be a slight variation to the quote, but not an additional $3,400!
This all happened the morning of the day that I was actually flying back to VA, which alone was already an emotional and stressful day. All my belongings were already on the truck by the time the foreman informed me of all the extra charges and I had a flight to catch in 4 hours. I had been going back-n-forth with the foreman for over an hour regarding all the extra charges. Unloading the truck and putting everything back in the apartment wasn't an option. I was so upset and frustrated that I had no choice but to sign the shipping contract.
After the fact, I had a friend who is a lawyer look over the contract to see if there was anything I could do. Unfortunately he said the contract was pretty straightforward and a lot of the small print covered the moving company’s one-off charges.
I have been unemployed for two years and have exhausted all of my benefits and savings. Presently, I do not have any income at this time. My mother is only receiving social security benefits and my sister is on a fixed income providing for the family household; therefore they are unable to help me.
I can't explain how sad and disturbing it is to not be able to see any part of my NY life down here in VA. I had accumulated so many priceless memories over the years and it is devastating to know that all of it is going to be sold and I will never see any of them again. It is very difficult to post this and ask for help but when you've been in control of your life and suddenly you're not its very scary. I want to thank everyone in advance for any help you can offer.
Please feel free to share this on your social media platforms as every little bit could help.
- Chris Dilley
- Tracie Doss
- John Aglialoro
- Robert Estep
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