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Nationwide Moving (Kirkland, WA) Complaint - Damaged and missing items due to incompetent movers, also deceptive and questionable business tactics.

Review by Sabine on 2002-07-19
KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON -- I am writing this letter to share my very poor experience using Nationwide Moving Systems 12233 112th Way #E306 Kirkland, WA 98034 in assisting me to relocate my possessions from Seattle, WA to Napa, CA.
In June of 2002, I contacted and subsequently coordinated a move with Nationwide. I contacted the company on both the local and toll free numbers from their yellow pages ad (1-206-624-7003 and 1-866-653-1400). Before settling on this company to move my belongings I inquired about direct and indirect fees and a proper estimate. I explained to the relocation specialist on the phone that I was on the third floor of an apartment building and asked if this would be an additional charge or problem, “no”, was the response. I also explained that I would prefer if their company could professionally pack my electronic equipment (TV, stereo and computer) with foam to minimize impact, and “yes” we can do that was the response. I asked if they could send over someone to give me an estimate, but the agent said that they could handle this over the phone. I described the items I wanted to move and that I lived in a typical 1-bedroom apartment. The agent and I agreed I had about 2400 lbs of belongings to be moved. My original quote was $1,180.00 for 2400 lbs, not including packing, and .45 cents a pound after that. We settled on July 3, 2002 as the date that my furniture and possessions would be picked up to be delivered to Napa, CA.
When no one from Nationwide contacted me to schedule a pick up time by July 1st I became concerned. I called the company on July 2nd to inquire on the status of my scheduled moving arrangements and to ask what time I could expect the movers on the third. The person I spoke with seemed confused and did not seem to have my information. He took down my number and said someone would call me back shortly. When my call was returned the call was from a 425 Kirkland area code, and this was the first time I unknowingly dealt with a subcontracted or third party. The move supervisor, Joe, explained to me that he was offsite at another move, so at his request I gave him my full name, address and phone number. In retrospect, I do not believe he ever had my details in the first place. We agreed that he would arrive between 1 and 2 pm on July 3rd. The next day a Budget rent a truck arrived at my apartment building. Joe drove the truck and with him were his daughter and two men, an older man named Peter and a younger man with blond hair whose name I do not recall. When I inquired why they were using a Budget rent a truck and not a Nationwide moving van it was explained to me that their moving trucks were too big for the city streets and that they would just be loading and transporting my belongings to a storage facility in Kirkland and then my belongings would be unloaded and reloaded onto a large Nationwide semi going to California. Once the truck was parked we went upstairs so the movers could get a visual assessment. Joe immediately started complaining about the stairs and inquired if there was an elevator. I explained that there was no elevator and that I already had discussed this when I called his company to arrange the move. His response was there would be an additional $75.00 charge per flight of stairs. I said no and suggested he call the Nationwide office because we had already covered this. At that point he agreed he would not charge additionally for the stairs but recommended that I should overcompensate with a nice cash gratuity for the moving guys. I agreed I would. Once Joe entered my apartment he began to make a big production about the volume of boxes and items to be moved. He told me I had an exorbitant amount of items that were clearly way over 2400lbs and more in the range of 4000 to 5000 lbs. He told me that he didn’t believe my items would fit in the Budget truck and that he would also need an additional mover to move my belongings out of the apartment. He asked one of his guys to call around to see if they could find a third mover. At this point it became evident to me that the two movers with Joe were hired day workers and not even affiliated with him or Nationwide. Meanwhile, Joe and I went to look at the truck and to my surprise it was already half way full with someone else’s movables. He mentioned they had just come from another job, but that this was normal. We discussed putting off the move until July 4th, but decided that this would be a major inconvenience for everyone on a National holiday and that they would make it happen today. Joe and I now began discussing payment, I told him that I was on a budget and that I was comfortable with the quoted price but I could not afford to pay much more if indeed my belongings were over 2400 lbs. Joe assured me that my belongings were indeed much more than 2400lbs and that the only way to move all the items cost effectively would be a flat rate of $2010.00, plus packing supplies, to which I said OK.
Once the move began, much to my surprise, all my items were packed and loaded in under two hours. Joe’s daughter was in charge of labeling the boxes and she clearly had little to no experience with this. Joe and the blond guy packed my electronics, some furniture, and loose items that they told me had to be boxed. Peter handled most of the actual loading from the second floor to the truck by himself. The third mover never even showed up but was obviously not needed. The way in which the movers packed my items were frightful, they just bubble wrapped the electronics and then tossed them in a box with table legs and such. They never used any foam, which I had specifically requested. Only the front of my computer monitor was wrapped not even the back. The TV was just wrapped with some paper and then put in a make shift cardboard box. I did not witness all of the packing because I had to walk to a cash machine in order to have a cash gratuity and to check my balance before making payment. Upon opening the boxes in Napa I photographed this extremely unprofessional packing job. For this packing job I was charged $639.00. So at pickup the new adjusted price was now became $2649.00 plus the $160.00 tip to the movers, $1,629.00 more than I anticipated paying. Normally I would not of agreed and would have contacted another company to do the job, but the fourth was a holiday which no one would be working and I had already given notice to fully vacate the apartment by the 5th so I felt had no choice. At one point I remember looking out my empty apartment window to see Peter and the other mover rearranging the items in the truck and my bedroom mattress lying on the street!
Once the movers were finished, Joe handed me a business card that said Nationwide on it and told me to call the Kirkland office number on it on Friday July 5th to find out the exact delivery date. He told me that there was a truck going down to California that weekend so my delivery date would be July 8th, 2002. I called the number as instructed on the 5th and could not reach anyone, there was not even a way to leave a voice mail message. On Monday the 8th I called again and again I could not reach anyone. Finally, I received a call back from Erik Deri, who told me that my belongings were still in Kirkland and they would be going down the next weekend and that I would have to call back on Friday July 12th to determine the exact delivery date. On the 12th I again could not reach anyone and none of my calls were returned. The exact same set of events occurred on the 15th. My mother, Genevieve Aronowsky, who lives in Napa and who was planning on receiving my movables called me on the 15th to say that the delivery driver had called her to say he would be there that evening. When the truck arrived the driver was a man named Rosh and he was driving another Budget rent a truck, not the semi Nationwide truck that the Seattle movers had told me would arrive in Napa. A man named Donald also arrived at the house as he had been sent there by a work agency to help unload the truck. Donald seemed appalled at the packing condition when the truck was opened and Rosh also commented that the belongings were not near 4,000 lbs in weight. When the items were unloaded I expected that all of my electronics would be damaged but to my surprise they were OK. What was damaged was most of my furniture, a $1500.00 wooden bed frame, a $300.00 wooden bookshelf, a lamp, a chair and a bicycle. The irony is that there were a pile of blankets next to these items and had they only been used and placed in between these items much of this destruction could have been avoided. Items are also missing, a kitchen aid mixer with lots of attachments, a rug and parts of the destroyed bed frame. They also unloaded another bicycle that does not belong to me.
Since July 16th, I have called the Kirkland Office daily and no one has ever returned a phone call. I have also called the National office and Rosh the delivery driver daily and again no one has ever returned a phone call. Rosh claims that he has located one missing box with my kitchen aid mixer in it, but he tells me I must be patient and wait for a call to arrange a swap of my kitchen aid mixer for the bicycle. He repeatedly tells me this every day and refuses to negotiate a solution, the National office directs me to Rosh and the local Kirkland office will not return a call at all. The National office gave me a number in Brooklyn, NY (not even a 1-800 #) to call to claim damages. I have called them and they tell me I must wait up to 3 weeks to hear from an adjuster to file claims against this companies negligence for lost and damaged goods, but I suspect I will not receive anything that is lost, and may only receive .60 cents on the pound for what was destroyed.
To summarize my complaint I paid this company Nationwide Moving Systems and unbeknownst to me, third party individuals, $2809.00, to move my belongings and to deliver them in poor condition, which could have been avoided with proper packing and loading, with items missing. Not only do I believe I was purposefully overcharged for this service but I estimate my damages to be around $2500.00, not to mention the emotional stress and time I’m spending to get resolution. The company informs me that they have located some of my missing items but they refuse to arrange to deliver these items or allow me to pick them up. The company's process appears to be holding my belongings hostage until they can get the other’s person’s bicycle back. I have been available every day and have told them so and still no resolution.
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