I just had something so uncool happen, and I hope you will learn from my mistake.
I had items in a storage room in a suburb of Boston. I needed my things removed from the room, temporarily stored, and then moved to my new place outside of San Francisco, CA. I got many quotes from moving companies, but I chose Excellent Moving and Storage, also just outside of Boston, MA.
The people on the phone seemed nice. I explained what I had (a lot of boxes and a few pieces of my grandmother’s dining room set). Grandma’s old furniture basically can’t be replaced. We think it’s from the 1930s, maybe 1940s. And Grandma is gone.
The woman on the phone explained that there are two insurance options. By law, they have to give me 60 cents per pound for free. OR I can upgrade to $12,600 of coverage… and wouldn’t I want that for Grandma’s furniture. Yes yes, of course I would. Sign me up for it!
I was later dealing with the man I think is the owner. I sent him a photo of the things in my storage room. A bunch of things in boxes, and Grandma’s furniture, some of which already had furniture pads around it (the moving company that put it in the room wrapped it up). He assured me that the extra insurance would cover me, so I did something unlike me.
I signed their contract without having completely read it. Bad move. I admit I did it.
This was a really emotional thing, finally getting Grandma’s furniture out of storage and across the country, back into my home. I believed what they told me on the phone.
The contract showed I was paying an extra $630 for $12,600 of coverage. It also showed that Excellent Moving and Storage wasn’t packing any of my items since they were already packed. So there was a line on the contract that said what packing they were doing: NONE. What packing I was doing: ALL. I was happy to see that since I didn’t want to pay for packing.
They sent me a credit card authorisation form as a Word document. Normally, those say that I authorise a charge to my card, the card details, and my signature. What was really interesting was that it actually said that I agree that I will NOT dispute or cancel this charge.
What kind of company has to trick people into signing something that says they won’t dispute the charge? A company that knows it’s going to pull shit on its customers… who are going to want to dispute the charge… and will find out they can’t
Since it was a Word document, I took out the word dispute. I let it say I won’t cancel it. I won’t! They will have my things and I need to get my things. But I might dispute it if they suck, and wanting me to sign something waiving my right to dispute BEFORE we’ve done business is a BAD sign.
Learn from that. That’s a bad sign. Find another company who doesn’t need to sneak that into a contract or credit card authorisation form.
The day they took everything out of the storage room, a friend of mine went to oversee it. She said they seemed very nice and very careful. That was good to hear. I had more boxes than they thought, so my moving price would go up. OK that’s my fault for not remembering how many boxes I had. I later got a fax with an inventory of what they moved out of the storage room.
It was then that I noticed something written by hand that said they ONLY insure what they pack. And with a room full of already-packed things, they had packed nearly nothing. So I paid $630 for extra insurance that I can’t use.
That means they wrote me a contract that says they only insure what they pack, that they were packing nothing, and that I was paying an extra $630 for upgraded insurance.
Just sit with that a moment and let that sink in.
I sent them an angry email saying that I didn’t realise they only insure what they pack, and if they KNEW they were packing nothing, why did they sell me on insurance I can’t use? The whole TRUCK could explode and go up in flames, and even my upgraded insurance wouldn’t cover anything because they didn’t pack it. I asked for a $630 credit. I said I would gladly pay for the rest of the move, but I NEVER should have been sold that insurance.
The owner replied that I was wrong and of course his wonderful phone girls explained this to me on the phone. REALLY? You think that I wanted to donate $630 to your company for insurance I couldn’t have used? If the insurance doesn’t cover me, why not just use the “free” insurance I would have received by law?
And how are you or your wonderful phone girls capable of writing up a contract that says we only insure what we pack, we’re packing nothing, and the client is paying for upgraded insurance (that won’t cover her at all)? How does nobody there stop and say HEY WAIT. We shouldn’t sell this woman something she can’t use. That would be unethical and possibly illegal. Nope, not at Excellent Moving and Storage! Sell sell sell.
I got no reply to that reply. So I just waited for my things to come. Two weeks later than the original delivery date, they did. Do I get a discount for them coming late? No. I paid the rest in cash, locked the door, and called my bank to try to dispute the $630.
Long story short, I can’t dispute it. I signed a contract agreeing to this ridiculousness. Even though my bank phone rep agreed that this was “unscrupulous,” as she put it, I agreed to it because I believed what they told me on the phone. I’m usually reading every word of every contract, and I messed this up. I would blame myself except some unethical movers did this for their own profit. They relied on my emotions about Grandma’s furniture, and they got me. They really did. I’m rarely gotten, and they got me.
I will always know that I should not have been sold the extra insurance. I know it’s unethical and possibly illegal. Certainly unscrupuluous. And I’m sure Excellent Moving and Storage aren’t the only moving company pulling shit like this. So please learn from my mistakes and look for sneaky things like this. Double check what the insurance covers and what it doesn’t. Check what will be insured and what won’t. And don’t buy extra insurance unless it really covers your items the way you expect it to.