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Old 02-18-2010, 03:01 PM
15 posts, read 134,221 times
Reputation: 11


So, our quotes are in. The highest came from Mayflower (though they had the lowest weight estimate), the lowest came from Bekins but it was a binding estimate and I don't trust it. National never even showed up for the appointment.

Now basically, I have to decide between Allied and Atlas. Allied definitely has better numbers so obviously I feel compelled to go with them. Indeed we can't really afford to go any higher than their bid. But there is also nearly a thousand lb. difference between the two estimates, which was even higher until I told the Atlas guy that his weight estimate was vastly higher than everyone else's.

My concern is that I don't know if there is any way to gauge who has the more accurate weight guess. Certainly if the Atlas salesperson is wrong, it would work in our favor because we'd get money back. Conversely, if the Allied salesperson has underestimated, we'll end up owing more anyway. I wondered if anyone had any thoughts on the matter?

Also, if anyone has any other input on the two companies, I would appreciate it. I have had good experience with Allied before and I have heard good opinions of them. I have not heard much about Atlas except that they are reputable.

Thanks so much!
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Old 02-19-2010, 05:24 AM
521 posts, read 3,918,741 times
Reputation: 588
Although they don't publish the results for public consumption, all the major national van lines internally track the estimating accuracy results of each of the agents and registered sales people. Generally, Unigroup's (United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit) program requirements are more stringent than Atlas's or SIRVA's (Allied and North American Van Lines).

The results are affected by the frequency that each agent and individual sales person uses each of their actual weight, binding (guaranteed price) and guaranteed-not-to-exceed (GNTE) pricing products. As a rule, binding estimates (including GNTE) are generally higher (i.e. Bekins) to allow a 'fudge' factor for both the customer and the salesperson. Theoretically, an agent or rep that uses binding estimates exclusively will have a 100% accuracy rate.

Actual weight estimates have been criticized the most by consumers because, under the applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, they're the most likely to increase once the driver weighs the shipment. Since the cost of most accessorial services is weight related, your final price can fluctuate even more.

You're trying to compare apples to oranges which can be dangerous. Since the accuracy of an individual estimate is dependent on the unique situation of each transferee and individual salesperson, asking for input about the 'reputation' of a carrier is immaterial. All of the van lines you mentioned are reputable. A complete stranger can't vouch for an individual agent or sales rep without detailed performance information or specific estimate numbers.

It's apparent that like most penny-pinching consumers you're first consideration for carrier selection is price. Since you didn't mention any other personal expectations, that pretty much limits the value each carrier can deliver to your relocation plans

Your concern with the accuracy of the Allied and Atlas estimates suggest that both companies provided actual weight estimates. Brow-beating an estimator to reduce their estimated weight is how most disputes arise. The weight of your goods is what it is. None of the salespeople who visited your home can make your things any heavier or lighter than they actually are. But you can...based on what you add or subtract from your move.

That's why the GNTE type of pricing products are most effective for both the customer and the mover. A sales person might quote you a higher price to allow themselves some 'wiggle room', but your actual cost could be lower if the weight and services that the carrier/driver actually provides are less than what was estimated.

Don’t choose the company with the lowest price when making your carrier selection. Pick the one that will provide the best value. Then you won’t be disappointed!
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:20 AM
15 posts, read 134,221 times
Reputation: 11
First of all, I don't think it is unreasonable to try to be concerned with the price of the move. With a limited amount of funds, that is what people do. Moving is expensive.

Second of all, I am not selecting the lowest bid. As clearly stated above, the lowest bid was Bekins, which was also the only "binding" bid. Furthermore, that salesperson told me that if he gave me a bid by weight, it would be higher, not lower. This is the exact opposite of what you and every other mover told me. Therefore, I am suspicious.

Additionally, I have not brow-beaten anyone. I have tried to get a sense of what large items we might need to get rid of rather than bring on our move. An issue that both salespeople told me they were happy to go over with me.

Lastly, I specifically asked for other input between the two companies because it could very well make a difference in whom we pick, despite the cost difference.

If anyone else has any information pertaining the actual questions I asked in my original post, that would be helpful. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:34 AM
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No, it's not irresponsible to use estimated cost as one of the benchmarks when making a carrier selection. But, as both the nation's BBB's have reported and Government Accounting Office acknowledged in their latest report to Congress, the largest number of consumer complaints filed with their agencies arise when shippers base their decision primarily on price.
"But there is also nearly a thousand lb. difference between the two estimates, which was even higher until I told the Atlas guy that his weight estimate was vastly higher than everyone else's."
If the Atlas estimate is based on actual weight, it doesn't matter. If your shipment weighs less, you pay less. If, however, there's a possibility you're actual weight will be more because you decided to take the large items you were concerned about, then the Atlas estimate is the most realistic for budget purposes.

To resolve your dilemma, ask each of the carriers to provide you with another estimate using their GNTE pricing product based on Atlas's actual weight estimate. Then ask what their individual on-time service, claim frequency, billing accuracy and customer service scores were for the last 12 months.
"If anyone else has any information pertaining the actual questions I asked in my original post, that would be helpful."
What questions?
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Old 02-19-2010, 11:00 AM
15 posts, read 134,221 times
Reputation: 11
Actually, my point about the two estimates was that I can understand a thousand lb difference, it was the more than 2,500 lb. difference that seemed strange. And it was not so much about just looking at the two estimates. It was more that the first three were in approximately the same thousand lb. range and yet that fourth one was vastly higher. And believe me, I had them add up every thing we could possibly conceivably take, even things I knew were highly unlikely to make it to the truck. Absolutely nothing new is being added to the lists they wrote up, things are only being removed.

If a binding estimate is higher than a weight estimate, it makes sense to trust it as 100% accurate. One that is lower than a weight estimate sends up a red flag to me. There are many well-documented situations in which people have been told they have binding quotes, only to find their items "held hostage" for more money upon arrival, even though they did not add any items.

I had asked if people had any input on either company. True, the sentence did not end with a question mark, but it was clearly an inquiry nonetheless.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:15 PM
Location: Long Island,New York
8,163 posts, read 13,131,458 times
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I'm moving in 8 days and sunshine van lines quote was far below everyone elses quote. Check their site www.sunshinevanline.com and fill out the form and see what they come in at. Most companies were quoting me about $1800-2000. They are moving me for just over $1200.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:46 PM
521 posts, read 3,918,741 times
Reputation: 588
Well...good luck with your move Lancet71.

Sunshine Delivering, Inc. d/b/a Sunshine Van Lines is a small, three (3) truck carrier based out of Davie, Florida that just had their motor carrier authority reinstated in February, 2010 after losing it last December. Their FMCSA record still shows that their insurance is inactive.

What's curious is that they already have one complaint about a hostage load in 2010 despite the fact that they couldn't legally move anybody.

This is exactly what happens when you shop for a mover based solely on price.
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:37 AM
1,461 posts, read 1,278,412 times
Reputation: 790
I used Atlas, had a lot of damage, but the claim was paid fast, without hassle and was more than I expected. I had let them pack and took out full insurance. I was glad I did. I would use them again. Most likely the large legacy van lines are all like this. If you are moving out of state the rules they must follow are Federal, if your move is in state, they must follow the individual state's rules. A binding estimate is just that, it is final as long as you don't add something to the mix. You can find out from many state's DMV or other agency which regulates household goods movers if there are complaints. You can also go to www.safersys.org to research a household goods carrier. That is a US DOT site.
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:37 PM
1 posts, read 24,867 times
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NEVER use Sirva if you can avoid it!! I actually chose to use Allied, a Sirva subsidiary, and the experience was your worst relocation nightmare. They misrepresented their services, they used shady and unprofessional tactics to get out of completing their work, they absolutely shattered antiques and after waiting for a full month, they then hid behind legal loopholes to get out of paying for the extensive damage. It's one thing to have a bad experience with a specific location, but it goes to a whole new level when the corporate level tries to justify it.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:00 AM
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SIRVA is the parent company of Allied Van Lines, Allied International, Allied Pickfords, Allied Special Products, DJK Residential, Global Van Lines, northAmerican Van Lines, northAmerican International, SIRVA Mortgage, SIRVA Relocation and SIRVA Settlement.

Under the Consumer Protection Regulations, a company licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to to move household goods has 30 days to respond to a customer claims about damage done during an interstate move. This time is allowed for them to investigate the details and circumstances surrounding the claims and properly assigning responsibility and liability.

Normally the claim adjudication process is based on the pre-existing damage noted by the driver on his inventory, the company's liability under the bill of lading, and type and amount of valuation selected by the customer.

If an expensive item packed by a customer is damaged in a carton with no apparent outside duress, the claim is normally denied. If the carton sustained exterior damage due to poor handling, the claim is paid based on either the full protection declaration or released valuation option selected by the customer on the driver's bill of lading.

If a $300 hand crafted vase weighing 2 lbs is broken in a damaged carton packed by either the mover or customer, and the customer selected a released value of $0.60 per pound per article, the claim settlement would only be $1.20. Although more expensive, full value protection is the best valuation option to use when moving.
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