Moving across country is something I've done frequently, so I wasn't worried about our recent move from New Hampshire to Arizona. I started with 2 estimates but wasn't happy with one of the people, so I got a third estimate. What was different with this move was … I was paying the bill versus corporate relocations in the past, where I never dealt directly with the moving company.
In addition to educating homeowners with this website, I wanted to understand where I could save money. I analyzed the numbers and quickly figured out the moving industry is highly regulated. The only variable is customer service, and I picked the moving company based on the person sent to do the estimate who answered all my questions. Sadly once I moved past the sales stage, communication with Bekins and the local company, Tobins & Sons in Peabody, MA, was virtually non-existent.
To be fair, the overall move went well and I want to give credit where it is deserved. At the same time, the total breakdown in communications is unacceptable so I wanted to share my expectations with Bekins, to hopefully improve the moving company services delivered by Bekins and other movers.
A Moving Company Report Card
A lot of confusion stems from the fact that your estimate comes from a local moving company (Tobins & Son) acting as agents for a national moving company, which in this case was Bekins. And if that isn't confusing enough, our driver was an independent business owner leasing his moving van from Bekins. With three different companies involved, the experience showed that no one felt ownership for the end-to-end customer experience, although that clearly belongs to Bekins because it's there brand.
The report card serves as a summary of the various players making up the moving company experience. The packers did a reasonable job and can't be faulted the mistakes of others. We never got a call confirming when the packers would arrive. We also didn't know until the end of the day, that the packers had used 2 boxes for every wall hanging (29 boxes instead of the 15 estimated). That matters a lot when the charge for packing is on a per box basis, doubling the cost of packing our wall hangings.
|C||Tobins & Son estimate|
|F||Tobins & Son customer relations|
|B||Tobins & Son packing|
|A||Movers loading in New Hampshire|
|A||Movers unloading in Arizona|
|F||Bekins “move manager”|
|F||Bekins end-to-end process|
Who's Responsible for Moving Company Communication?
My real complaint with the moving company is a lack of communication, with the exception of the moving van driver. This escalated to a possible crisis when the van delivered my shipment on Sunday, and payment hadn't been processed. Here's are the key communication problems experienced:
- Questions about handling of “high value items” were never answered, nor documentation provided beyond an inventory sheet, telling me what to do.
- Bekins move manager promised a confirmation call from the local moving company – none received! As I was traveling and didn't arrive home until the night before, I had to assume the packers would show up in the morning and they rang the doorbell at 7:45 am.
- Single phone message from the local moving company about payment. Got a second message from the driver and tried to call office but it was 5:15 pm. The answering service took my message and said the office would be open on Saturday from 8 am to noon – not true.
- Bekins move manager doesn't work weekends and there's no emergency contact for customers! They're also absent from social media so after leaving 2 messages, I sent an email to Bekins and Tobins & Sons explaining my frustration on Saturday.
- Bekins move manager called on Monday to apologize for not responding to my requests for help over the weekend. Now that I'm writing this article, I realize he forgot to ask the most important question “Do you have any other issues that I can help get resolved?”
Fortunately the moving company drivers do have an emergency contact. He got frustrated with me for refusing to pay the full amount, explaining how he was working at home from a tablet. This is a perfect example of reading your paperwork as you're only legally bound to pay the estimate plus 10% at the time of delivery.
Both moving companies, Bekins and Tobins & Sons, have failed to give me an updated estimate or invoice explaining the higher charges, which I want before paying the final bill. Amazingly it's been more than 2 weeks and I've received no phone or email communication. Still wondering who's in charge?
So while Bekins website claims “… superior choice for simple-to-complex relocation services; large enough to provide services … to accommodate each customer’s needs”, I cannot recommend Bekins to anyone.