Like many families who had weathered COVID, we decided to move closer to family. Our son, who lived in the same state, told us he would only be there for three more years, so we decided to move near our daughter. I hope this tale provides useful information for others in the same situation.
We had lived in sunny Tucson for 12 years and had rented U-Hauls for our prior move from San Diego but decided to hire a mover since we were moving more than a thousand miles away - and we were 12 years older.
We went through a broker highly rated by Consumer Reports which was a major mistake. Instead of the five days before the move, which was recommended, the mover showed up 1.5 days before the move. The day the new owners moved in, the movers were still madly packing.
Not a good start, but fortunately, the new owners realized we had done everything we could and were very tolerant. Of course, this was just the beginning, and we didn't know what we didn't know.
The movers hadn't planned the load correctly - at all - and assured us they would return for the items that wouldn't fit in the truck. We flew out of Tucson, hoping for the best since we knew the last load was not on the truck.
We were excited when the truck arrived in WA! However, when the movers started taking the items off the truck, we saw many broken and cracked items.
When they were finished and unpacked, we had almost 50 items either missing or broken. That last promised trip never happened. Unfortunately, the last trip had the unique plug-ins for our reclining couch and chairs, among many other things. Fortunately, the new owners sent the connectors to us, saving us thousands of dollars.
We found other people's belongings. However, when we called the moving company to report it and left several messages, no one returned our calls.
I found one suitcase with a name tag that wasn't ours and called the owner. He decided he didn't want the suitcase but went on to tell me his entire shipment - everything he owned - had been lost.
Let us count our blessings!
We had purchased extra moving insurance from one of the two companies in the country that provided this kind of insurance. He had not. However, we have turned in a claim to the insurance company and have had an adjuster out - and have not heard another word from them. So we shall see.
So what have we learned?
- Never use a broker. Hire a nationally known company, even if they have a lower rating on Consumer Reports.
- Get the extra moving insurance - maybe.
- Have the moving company send a representative out to view the items you are moving and get a copy of it.
- Insist on enough packing days - and bug the company if they haven't shown up on your timeframe.
- Obtain a moving company contact high up in the chain that you can contact on weekends if necessary.
- Be sure you have a complete and total list of all your items that you can check off at the other end. We were assured we would get that on the front end but never did.
- Plan enough extra time so you can stay to the very end of the truck packing to be sure they are getting everything. Add a day at a hotel as a buffer just to be sure.
- Did I say never use a moving company broker? The first company they assigned us to was so bad the insurance company wouldn't even ensure them. The second company they insured, but look how that turned out!
Live and learn.