I believe that I was the victim of a bait and switch by Brandon Moving & Storage Agent for Bekins Van Lines. | The first warning sign was when I spoke with Brandon Moving & Storage co-owner Don on April 7 (more than 2 months after our initial telephone conversation when he gave me their original estimate). During the April 7 conversation, he added up to an additional four hours to the original time estimate needed to complete a local move only one business day before the move. The last-minute inflated estimate was the highest of the four companies I considered by a large margin including the companies that completed in-person estimates. | Unfortunately, the unethical and unprofessional behavior did not end there. | 1. The workers stole money from me by not working the hours they claimed. It is hard to believe that the crew leader had the audacity to falsely claim they worked 11 hours when throughout the day I saw workers standing idle, laying on the padding (the crew leader), dawdling in the truck when they thought I was in the apartment, avoiding lifting any item more than 20 pounds (the thin guy) or slowly folding padding. One of them took a long bathroom break within 20 minutes of his arrival at my old apartment. At lunch time, not only did the bald guy specifically tell me they were taking an almost 40 minute lunch break, they took breaks whenever it suited them. The group took a short break before lunch; they took another break after they loaded the truck; they took another break during the rain. Not one of them worked anywhere close to the 11 hours claimed. | To be clear: four Brandon Moving & Storage workers took two hours longer to unload an 80% full truck than the three men who had to unload an 100% full truck during my arrival at my old apartment a few years ago. Because the men were working so slow I told them to leave certain items, I had to make many trips to my old apartment to complete the move. | 2. Brandon Moving & Storage inflated the time estimate by 25%-40% the business day before the move. They claimed to have worked over their highest estimate by one hour. When I expressed my concern, Don dismissed it too easily. Classic bait and switch. In retrospect, Don’s refusal to send an estimator months ago should have concerned me much more than it did. | 3. I pointed out a piece of damaged furniture in my extremely crowded new apartment. After ignoring my comments about damage to a wood shelf, the crew leader wanted me to sign a series of documents. Some of the documents clearly should have been disclosed and agreed to BEFORE the move not after. Even though I had a suspicion that the crew leader was minimizing the content of the documents, I signed them just to get rid of a crew that had overstayed their welcome. | After I insisted that he record the damage to the furniture, he took a smart phone photo which he claimed that he would send to the owner. Of course, he never did. To continue his stream of falsehoods, the team leader claimed that since I declined the supplemental insurance there was no coverage even though the .60 cents per pound was standard. | How would any honest mover legitimately expect one person with hundreds of possessions to examine all of them in a crowded residence to realistically say there is or is not any new damage minutes after the move is completed? Their goal is to get you to sign the documents regardless of the possibility of damage. | 4. Even though I signed a document claiming there was no damage, Don wrote that he would pay my damage claim though I have yet to receive any payment. You know, the check is in the mail. | 5. Cursing, lying, and making racist comments were par for the course during the 10+ hours I had to endure with the Brandon Moving & Storage workers. | After I told one of the workers to be careful loading a $2,000 electronic device with FRAGILE printed all over the box, I heard the bald one in the distance say, “f*** you, sir”. As bad as that was, he was the hardest worker by far as two of the workers actively avoided doing more than the bare minimum. | 6. Professionalism and respect must cost extra based on my experience with them. The crew leader used my work gloves without permission. After I told him he was wearing my gloves, he never offered to remove them and continued to wear them throughout the day. I had workers asking for water for 10+ hours and food near the end. Why would they come to work without the tools necessary to complete the day whether it is food, water, gloves or wedges to hold open doors? | 7. Since no inventory of boxes was performed, I will never know if something was missing amongst the more than the 110 containers I had. | This was my second local move in addition to three long-distance moves. I have never experienced such a shameful willingness to take advantage of a customer during a move. | Based on my experience, I find it hard to believe that this was an isolated incident. Don stated that unless I ceded to his demand to meet in-person, my concerns would not be addressed. He is entitled. If Don responds, he will want you to think that the job was well-done when obviously it was not. | In the end, the bill was almost double the original estimate. | Word to the wise. | a. Demand in-person estimates. | b. Determine a schedule for rest/lunch/smoke breaks before work begins whether it is every 2 or 3 hours or whatever. Any vagueness will be used to take advantage of your wallet. | c. Demand an inventory be taken. Take photos of your possessions before the move. | d. Document any unprofessional behavior if you have a smart phone. | f. Examine your possessions for damage before considering signing anything no matter how innocuous it seems. You have up to 9 months to make damage claims for interstate moves. | g. If you are not sure if there is any damage do not sign any documents. | h. If they make you feel uncomfortable for not signing or there is pressure to sign, call the police. | i. Do not pay cash, ever. | Interstate movers are required to participate in a dispute resolution or arbitration program to address your loss and damage claims. If your mover does not provide you with information on its program, ask for it—movers are required to provide a concise, easy-to-read summary.
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