Monday, February 4, 2008

Back from Moving Hell: Not a Happy Customer!

My partner and I are nicely settled into our new condo in west-end Toronto. We moved on Friday during the snowstorm. Yes, you read that correctly.

We had clear skies on the Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and of course today, but the one day we needed clear weather we instead got 25 centimetres of snow! Sorry for the venting, but it feels good.

We started looking for a new place in mid-autumn and found this great place in late November. The former owners wanted to close on or before Feb 1, 2008 so as to avoid Toronto mayor David Miller's new gouging land transfer tax so we obliged them. Needless to say I've spoken with the former owners about their move and it was just as hellish.

The weather was a major inconvenience mostly because it made it impossible for my brother and his girlfriend to drive into Toronto to help us out.

But the worst part of the move had almost nothing to do with the weather: our fly-by-night movers made what was going to be a difficult day into one of the worst days of my life!

Those who have ever used movers (typically listed on online websites or in the classified pages of major newspapers, etc.) understand probably how pathetically slow they can be.

Normally, good businesspeople try to work hard to earn their pay, provide a good service, make the customer happy and benefit from the positive word of mouth. Not the goons from Empire Movers who helped us out.

They were two hours late arriving at our old place. But that didn't stop them from taking their sweet time moving our furniture out of our modest two-bedroom apartment (i.e. we didn't have much furniture). It took three friggin' hours for them, with our help of course, to get our stuff out of our old building. The lazy movers took every opportunity, when out of our sight, to slack off and take their time. We didn't leave for the new place until close to 8 pm on Friday evening. Unloading at the condo was easier as they merely emptied out the truck into a nearby moving room. In total, it took six hours to finish the entire job. We were done by 10 pm Friday evening.

Furthermore, they overcharged us, first demanding a blank, signed credit card slip as a "security deposit." Then they charged us for 7.5 hours, plus one more hour for travel time (when it took 15 minutes), plus gas, plus 5% for paying with a credit card.

For six hours of work, they walked away with $855. An absolute rip-off for which I am still angry. The company had quoted a figure of $79 per hour when we booked them. They failed to mention the extra travel fee and other costs. I figured it might cost us between $400 and $500 for the move. $855 was obviously disgusting. However, after the worst day of my life, exhausted beyond explanation, I had no energy to quibble with the professional hucksters. So I accepted the amount, filled in the credit card slip and ushered the goons to the door.

I know many others who have also experienced the lazy, pathetic services of these fly-by-night movers in Toronto and I'm sure everywhere. They're all the same. My only advice to all movers: stop using these rip-off services. They overcharge, they're purposefully slow so as to gouge you for every penny and don't believe in providing good service or making their customers happy. They take advantage of people going through major stress while moving to make a quick buck. Anyone can rent their own truck and even pay your own friends to help move and still save $300 to $400 dollars, and have fewer frustrations as a result.

I'm ecstatic about the new place. I can honestly say I intend to stay here for as long as possible simply to avoid this kind of gouging again. Between land transfer taxes, lawyer's fees and these moving costs, I'm bummed out, but recovering nicely.

No comments: