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What a Nightmare

Submitted this review about Karo Van Lines
Review made Live: 11/11/2010 10:17:00 PM
In August of 2010 my wife and I were very excited about the prospects of moving to a new city as a result of a promotion that my wife secured and a transfer that I was able to get within my company. We were moving from Chicago, IL to Las Vegas, NV. We submitted our information to a few websites seeking estimates for our move. We received a binding estimate from another company that came out to our apartment to do our estimate. The written binding estimate from this company came out to 7500 lbs. The price that they gave us was significantly more than we were prepared to pay at the time, so as a result we decided to take this weight number and shop it around to different companies to see what they could do. We contacted several companies with this weight number and received varying estimates. Nathan, who we believe to be a sales supervisor with Karo Van Lines estimated our move at $0.49 / pound, and we were able to negotiate the elimination of several additional fees such as “long-carry”, “shuttle”, and the elimination of a 3% fee for using a credit card for two of our three payments. Nathan, on separate occasions assured my wife and myself that if our move came in under weight that we would only pay for what we move. Even though Karo Van Lines was not the cheapest option we decided to sign with them as they seemed to offer the most to us while still seeming to be entirely legitimate. We paid the initial installment of $1092.42 via my credit card and it seemed that the deal was on. Meanwhile we looked for ways to reduce the weight of our move by giving away various items to friends and family as well as donating some books to a local Chicago literacy organization. Our item pickup date came in early October 2010. We were told that the driver or the dispatcher would contact us before the pickup date to arrange the exact time for the pickup. This was the first of many calls that we were to expect from Karo Van Lines but were never to receive. The moving truck arrived around 2pm local time and the loading of our items went relatively smoothly, at least until it came time to make the second payment using our credit card. We were told by the dispatcher that they would be unable to process our credit card payment without giving us a legitimate reason. We did not accept this since our contract stated that the first two payments would be using a credit card (without the 3% upcharge) and the final payment in cash, money order, or official check. As a result they took the items and we were told that we would have to “work out” the payment later. The next day my wife went with the movers who picked up the items to a weigh station and found that the weight of our items was actually 6600 lbs (900 less!) so naturally we were thrilled that we would only pay for that weight and that our efforts to save money on our move were not in vain. Ultimately we found out that the credit card payment was unable to be received because they use a different “merchant number” for the second payments than they do for the first. As a consumer I didn't actually care about the “merchant number” as I believed that I was dealing with one coherent organization. I then called Karo Van Lines myself to speak to Nathan about the credit card situation. One thing that I forgot to mention is that my wife was in her first trimester at the time and very stressed out about the move which is why I decided to contact them this time. Nathan was unable to help me since the “sales office” and the “dispatch office” were different, hence the different merchant numbers. Finally I spoke to the “sales manager” whose name is Steve and he told me to use an over the phone credit card payment company and to reduce the amount owed by $150 for them to take care of the fee. He said that I was to address the payment to Csir Karo, who Steve identified as the owner of the company, indicating that our situation was known to the highest levels of this organization. As we thought this was reasonable, and were impressed by the participation of ownership, we accepted. Unfortunately Steve was unable to tell us what we owed so that I may call this credit card service and make my payment the way that the contract states. The same day that I contacted Steve about the credit card payment my pregnant wife was called by the driver. The driver was very rude and inflexible. He did not want to hear anything about a credit card payment or the fact that our move was 900 lbs less than the agreed upon, written contract. He was belligerent with my wife and said, “If you want to be smart and play games” then I'm not going to take your load. Obviously this made her upset and she called me crying. I spoke to the driver myself the next day and he again demanded payment in cash or money order in the amount of $2818.98 when he arrived several days later. I told him that I was working with Steve at Karo Van Lines and that we had worked out a credit card option so that we could make our payment and work this out. He told me to not “waste my air.” It would seem that the driver was right as we would find that talking to Karo Van Lines is a waste of time, and effort. My wife spoke to Lauren, the “dispatcher” with Karo Van Lines. She told us that she would look into our situation and get back with us. We never received that call. We did receive a cop out e-mail a few minutes before the office was to close (presumably so we could not call back for a verbal explanation) that explained that the amount of the move was $2818.98 and that the credit card payment was unable to be done. A couple of days later I spoke to Lauren. She was very nice on the phone and told me that she would discuss the situation with Steve and “get to the bottom” of our situation. She again didn't return the call as promised and again sent the same e-mail minutes before the office was to close, it was apparent to us that she was unable to do anything for us and too scared to face us as an adult. I was busy at work that day and could not take any more time away so I was unable to call Steve or anyone else at Karo Van Lines until I got out of work at 6pm. My wife had called Steve herself as she was nervous about the situation and thought that the driver and Karo Van Lines would hold our items indefinitely as a “ransom” for our paying the amount that they said we owed. This was a Friday near closing time. Steve said that he had to discuss the payment amount with the “dispatch manager” and that he could not contact the “dispatch manager” that night as he was Jewish and he was observing the Sabbath. Steve assured her that he would call us back on Monday (the second day of our drive together out to Las Vegas), that the whole situation would be worked out, and that our items would be delivered on Tuesday and not held as a ransom for payment. Again, and not surprisingly, we did not receive any call back. We tried to contact Steve the whole day (when we had cell phone reception as the signal was spotty through parts of Colorado and Utah), we were told that he was in meetings the whole day trying to negotiate a large new account. We told his secretary of our arithmetic surrounding the move (you can see it below) and said that that was the amount that we would be paying per the contract. Finally we spoke to him after calling nearly a dozen times. He assured us that he would get the situation worked out and call us back in “half an hour” before he left. Again we received no call. The morning that we were supposed to take delivery of our things we decided just to be sure to call the driver to find out what time he was to arrive so that we may go to the bank and get our money orders to pay for the amount that they demanded. He informed us that we were to receive our things on Friday or Saturday of that week, a full three to four days later than promised by Nathan. Also the driver insisted that we were to use post office money orders rather than those one can get from their bank for free using the ridiculous excuse that a bank money order can be challenged by a customer and the moving company can lose money. He also said that he worked for (or potentially ran, who knows) a different company than Karo Van Lines. Again Karo Van Lines said that they were a “moving company, NOT A BROKER,” but instead it would seem that this was a lie as well. We were prepared to pay the $2818.98 as owed according to them ($407.40 more than we rightfully should pay according to the written and signed contract and verbal statements by Karo Van Lines' employees) to the driver just to put an end to this nightmare. Aside from saying that the price that we are paying them is based on the volume of the stuff shipped rather than the weight, which was the agreement all along, no one at Karo Van Lines has been able to offer any reasonable explanation as to our fee. The movers called on Saturday and said that they would be delivering our items in the afternoon, so my wife and I cleared stuff off of the apartment floor and took down the air mattresses we had been sleeping on for nearly a week. I called hours later to the driver who then told me that he had trouble with the truck and that he was unable to come on Saturday as promised, he also offered to show us a receipt from a mechanic proving that he did in fact have trouble with his vehicle. We never saw this alleged receipt. He assured us that he would be at our apartment at 7am the next morning with some guys to take care of our move. He did in fact come the next day, but a couple of hours late as expected. He then informed us that he would be charging us an additional $250 for our move since there were additional steps and a long-carry (if you recall our original contract stated that both of these things were included) after the $50 discount we received for being one day late (even though it was five). We received our stuff and some of it was damaged as expected but most of it was fine. I only hope that this review will enlighten anyone who reads it as to the aggravation in store for anyone who deals with this poorly run company. Moving arithmetic: 6600 lbs x $0.49/lb = $3234 $3234 + $270 in packing materials = $3504 $3504 - $1092.42 1st payment = $2411.58 Total amount overpaid = $407.40 + $250 = $657.40