Things I'm happy about: Having watched the crew load and unload the truck, they treated my belongings with care and did an excellent and organized job of making sure the items were secure in the truck. The large items I did not pack myself and had them protect, and they did a great job. The driver and crews at both locations were hard workers and never once did I see any of them treat any of my items differently than I would have treated them myself.
Things that could have been better: As with any move, some breakage happens, and compared with a previous move with a different carrier (Allied I think), the broken items this time were relatively minor and not entirely unexpected. The two exceptions are one of our couch's feet – it's possible they're in a box somewhere but as of the time of this writing they are inexplicably missing. The other is a shattered fish tank – if anything required utmost protection and care it would have been that – but it is a small tank and in terms of losses, relatively minor. I should also note that at this point it seems like the only items which are broken/pieces missing are those that we had them pack.
Things I'm not happy about: I only have to main issues with the move experience – communication and cost. Communication: I filled out paperwork to have my items delivered a month before the delivery date and emailed it to two separate people I had been in contact with. After not hearing a response for a week, I called and finally reached someone after two or three attempts. For some reason they did not seem to receive my emails – I was not having email issues at the time and I was simply replying to emails they had sent me so it wasn't an address issue on my end.
So three weeks out and the paperwork was submitted and verbally confirmed that they received it. I heard nothing further from them until the week of the move. Three days away from the date they are supposed to deliver I decided I'd contact them, and before I get a chance to call I finally get a call from them and they tell me they're delivering my items on the NEXT DAY (two days earlier than requested) and they finally send me my final invoice.
Less than 24 hours notice of when my items will be delivered and a final invoice that has to be paid in full (~$21,000) before they'll drop off the items – in essence, I had about 6 hours to arrange payment before the banks closed that day. This was incredibly discourteous, and it denied me from putting the entire amount on a credit card from which I get reward points. Had I been given the final invoice just a few days earlier this would not have been a problem.
Cost: First we have a lot of stuff and when I first talked to American Van Lines, I adamantly explained that we would be filling their truck completely full. We moved two years earlier and filled a truck to the brim then, it was not going to be different this time around. Multiple times I said this was going to be the case and went through a list of the major items we were bringing and just estimated the rest, emphasizing time and again that the whole truck would be filled.
I was given a quote of ~$17,000 which included pick up, delivery and my expected 3 months in storage. The truck arrives and the crew starts loading the truck and the inventory person says the quote will need to be adjusted and scribbles down a figure of $27,000, then has me sign a BLANK authorization form giving them free reign to adjust the quote. The choice I was given was to sign the form or they stop loading the truck. I don't have a choice at that point because we have to drive out that night so that I can start work and kids start school at the new location. I believe this would be signing a contract under duress according to the law.
So, the total bill becomes a little over $26,000 and storage costs close to $2000. $28,000 for the move that was quoted, and with full knowledge that the truck would be filled, at $17,000. My previous move, with storage, cost ~$15,000. To put it bluntly, American Van Lines quoted me a comparable rate to my previous experience but upcharged it to nearly double the amount. I found this final price to be exorbitant, and a bit underhanded of them to be so far off of their quote and force me to accept a change of that magnitude after I explained to them in no uncertain terms what the hauling and storage would entail.