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Headache from start to finish

Submitted this review about American Moving Services
Review made Live: 7/7/2012 6:39:00 PM
I am unfortunately adding this review so that customers may see. I recently moved from Boston to Pittsburgh and the move was stressful from start to finish. I have no intention to bad mouth any company, just tell the truth. Americas Moving Services, LLC on Old Bush River Rd in Columbia SC has wonderful ratings on several websites so my husband and I went with them. We willingly paid more because of reviews like this. We had another company that was at least $700 cheaper but we went for service and word of mouth. The actual corporate company AMS was very good and professional. Branton took my order and was the reason I booked with them. Very professional and pleasant and professional - sealed the deal. On a whole the corporate office was helpful from Melissa (I think) the person who does all the phone answering - very pleasant, to the owners! (Eric and Howard) - brothers I understand. It should be clear something is not right when I know the owners names. The issue is that as all big companies, they delegate and contract out moves. So my move was contracted to Old Baymeadows Moving and Storage from Jacksonville, Fl. I was told that that contact person would call me to let me know when the movers were coming. I did get a call from Melissa that they would be coming a day late. I did NOT get a call from the contracted company until I made a fuss to reach them. They finally got in touch with me and did agree to come on the date I requested. However this was after numerous phone calls starting at 10pm at night. Also no one ever got back to me until I wrote an angry email to the corporate company. When someone got back to me it was the driver who called me. He told me he could come on the requested date and then asked for some information. Was confused about where he was going, needed directions, didn't seem to know the move at all. Then when I asked him what type of truck he had and he told me an 18 wheeler, I asked him why they sent an 18 wheeler to Boston. He said he didn't know and told me that the last time he came to Boston in a big truck, he had a lot of problems. Asked me to tell him if he would be able to make it to my house? I told him that I had never driven an 18 wheeler and that I had no way to tell him that. I assume that in his experience, he could drive anywhere. Side note: I asked specifically of America's Moving Services to send a smaller truck due to Boston etc and was told by one of the owners that they almost never send 18 wheelers to Boston and the driver and i kept talking and slowly I began to get nervous that he had no idea what was happening and I began to get scared. Then I wrote a scared and angry email to the corporate company. Then the owner called me back. He and I spoke until 1 AM- not what I want to do. He was reassuring and said that he wasn't sure why the driver sounded like he had never done this before and tried to reassure me that all would be well. So I said ok because I had no other choice at that time. Day of the move - the driver called to say he was "stuck" and "holding up a bunch of traffic" in Boston on a Sunday...I almost cried. My husband had to go out and get him unstuck...Truthfully once they got here, they were very professional and did take excellent care of my things. So I felt better. I also paid them much more in tips because I was one - afraid of something happening to my stuff after I had complained and two because I just wanted it all done with. Then in Pittsburgh I waited and waited for a phone call from my "contact" at Old Baymeadows M&S because the stuff was supposed to come on Wednesday per the driver. Never got a phone call so Wed night I call the corporate company again. Leave a message. Email and leave a message. Call the contact at Old Baymeadows and leave a message. I spoke to Melissa who was again very apologetic and pleasant;, but not her fault. I asked to speak to the owner, Howard again. Melissa called me back and said she had looked into it and that the 'contact" from Old Baymeadows confessed to her that our stuff/move had been delayed until Friday and that they had dropped the ball because no one had called. Note - he never called me to tell me this. So again I asked to speak to Howard. He called later and I explained to him the situation. He apologized and said he didn't know what was going on, he had worked with this company for a long time and they were always good. I told him that I wasn't making this stuff up and was once again scared for my stuff, stressed and still paying a very high price for all of this. He said he would get back to me and try to get my stuff earlier. Called me back later to say that maybe my stuff could come thursday and that he would call Wed to let me know. He did confirm with me on Wed that they would come on Thursday. I called the driver on Wednesday to confirm and he did as well. At that point I told the corporate office that I never wanted to speak to the contact of Old Baymeadows moving and storage and they agreed. Thursday came. The driver got lost and then stuck again...this time in Pittsburgh. Called me and my husband for help....again....the customer. He also told me that he had arranged for some help in moving so when those people came, we sat with them for an hour and a half while we waited for him. Then he came and the three of them got into a very unprofessional argument in front of our house about who could work or not and it took 30 min to resolve with my husband standing outside policing it and me inside with a rapid heartbeat just praying for my stuff. Finally, once again, once they got going, it was good and fast and professional. My stuff all got here fine and nothing was damaged. I paid the full price, $400 over because I just wanted it to be over. I felt like I got cheated and ripped off. America's Moving Servides were professional the entire time , but the contracted company, Old Baymeadows Moving and Storage, and their staff except for the driver, were very unprofessional. Even the driver , although great once he got there, was an anxious nelly. I never had the sense that all was going to be ok at any point. I am moving next year, a corporate bigger move. and will not be using AMS again. Unfortunately they did nothing wrong, but the people they contract out to represent them and this time, they were very badly represented and so they will not get my business again. I still feel like I overpaid and had no peace of mind during the entire time. I am very sad to give this review. I was so hoping that it went like all the other reviews did because I wanted to not shop around again next year, but just call the same company again. Sad to say I can't do that. Be careful with big companies...may need to do some research in to who they are contracting your move to.