WEEK/END

My Nightmare Experience With Movers

So as I’m sure all of you know that I’ve moved from San Diego to Boston, and what you might not know unless I know you on a personal level is about my nightmare (and that’s me speaking calmly and nicely) situation I am in with the company that has all my stuff, my life.

We found this company allied moving group where everyone was so nice- knew all the right things to say, and seemed perfect. Well, 8 weeks later, we now know it was way too good to be true.

We had a dresser (which my Dad made me), a mattress, box string, boxes full of our belongings, all of our clothes, household goods, a TV, a dining room table (broken down), this from Ikea, overall nothing too big. But priceless to us.

Back story: Our total move was going to be $1,700.00 (too good to be true, I know) and we were allowed to have 2,000 pounds.

On the day of the move, a 5 star relocation truck showed up. And we were told that allied was a “broker” and they sign the contracts then pass them out to other van lines..without us knowing. And this is where it started to turn ugly.

Warning sign #1: You can’t get ahold of them. I was trying to get ahold of the driver to set an exact time, and it took me calling all day (mind you I was driving cross country) and then finally we got ahold of them. And they came up with excuse oh how bad traffic was and came 6 hours late.

As the guys, and my Dad loaded up the stuff, the guys assured my Dad “they see so many loads, [we] didn’t need to be worried about going over weight- we were going to be way under.” Then the next few days we tried to get ahold of them to confirm our weight, and to then it turned into just even trying to get ahold of someone.

So we had already started driving, and my Dad was there when they picked up the stuff. They told my Dad that he had to pay $1,000 to pick it up. My dad not knowing better, paid them. They took the stuff and this mental image now I’m getting to the point of frustration where it brings tears to my eyes. (At this point we had already paid a $600 deposit, so 99% paid in full.)

I went back and forth with Patty, the “admin” at allied moving group- because she was the only one who answered, trying to get ahold of someone from 5 star relocation.

I finally after days of trying recieved a call from a Jason Scott, who assured me he was calling from his cell phone and will be available if we ever need anything. He told me our load was only 1200 lbs so they were going to have to go by cubic feet instead of weight because they go by whichever is more. By going by weight it brought the total up to $2400, but with a positive review on yelp, he would give me a $500 discount. Me, not knowing how to handle this just took it all in, the yelp thing..I got a bad feeling about already.

We called allied moving group- we still at this point thought they were on our side, and they said the number of cubic feet for the items we had was outrageous, which we agreed. And we were going to ask for a reweigh and measure everything once we received.

Fast forward to when we’re ready for our stuff (I’ll skip all the other warning signs, like them not calling us after they picked it up, or answering any number we had, their business phone not having a voicemail set up, etc etc etc.)

So I have a text to Jason Scott requesting them to ship our stuff…on May 28th. Per our contract who we signed with allied moving group…but we would have thought if they subcontracted it out…5 star relocation would have to follow…said at the latest, we should have our things within 21 business days.

I spoke with the Michelle “admin” multiple times, emailing her, and on the phone..with them relaying “most likely going out” even to “guarantee shipping out 3-5 days.” THEN Michelle called ME to confirm a delivery address because my stuff was shipping out in the morning. She said I would get a call prior 48 hours of it being delivered,  but to plan for that following Saturday or Sunday. That was Friday June 23rd, almost a month after I had requested, and definitely out of contract. But whatever, I was going to get my stuff.

Again, fast forward to the next week, I had heard nothing, and it was Friday June 30th, right before July 4th weekend, where a lot of festivities were going on. I called Michelle, and said I hadn’t heard, I was trying to plan my weekend, and she relayed my stuff, my life, did not make it on the truck.

I told her I was very disappointed, she relayed said she understood and that it was going out within a week on the next truck going cross country.

I got a call from her manager, Karen,…July 11th…realizing they had made a mistake with our shipment and she was doing everything she could to help resolve the issue, and she would call me on Friday (with good news or bad.) Friday came, and went. No call. She also relayed that many people at 5 star got laid off so she was coming in to fix all of their problems.

Monday 7/17- I called and the “manager” Karen wasn’t in the office, but would call me back first thing in the morning.

Tuesday 7/18- I called, Michelle told me  she had left for the day already, at about 2pm PST. Michele, the lying “admin” was so confused why I wouldn’t talk with her. I told her because I did not think she was trustworthy, and she was appalled that I would have felt that way. (LOL TO HER).

Wednesday 7/19- A woman named Mary, answered and relayed Karen, the “manager” and the other “admin” (Michelle) were in the hospital…at the end of the call she corrected herself and said Karen the “manager” was on vacation, and Michelle the “admin” was in the hospital. I told her I needed a picture of my things to prove that this company has them, because I get shuffled around. And I am sick of the excuses and false promises. She assured me that my stuff was in good hands, and I didn’t need to worry. She would call the guys in the warehouse to get a picture.

Thursday 7/20- I didn’t get a picture, no one answered my numerous calls all day. On my way home from work I called nonstop (28 times to be exact). Once I got home, we called from Danny’s phone and on the 2nd attempt Michelle, the “admin” answered and we requested a photo of our items. And we asked where the address was because we were going on a flight to see for ourselves. She told us she would try for a picture by COB the next day. As for the address? She told us to look it up online, we responded with, ‘we have you on the phone, can you just give it to us?’ she placed us on hold so she could get the address of her office, where our stuff supposedly (is/was…who knows) and then she came back on saying she has 2 other calls waiting she needs to get to (we’ve called too many times to count and never been placed on hold) so we could look online, and that was it. Mind you…online the address is Los Angeles, California.

Friday 7/21- I called them 26 times on the way home from work, and no answer. Or a phone call back. If you yelp 5 star relocation, they have a local San Diego address in Pacific Beach, my Mom works very close to that. She drove by and spoke with a woman who worked in the building…she relayed that 5 star relocation uses this as a physical mailing address but they are rarely here, and even when they are, they come nowhere near in the time of business hours.

(this is where it started to look really bad)

Saturday 7/22- My boyfriend’s Mom got a voicemail from Mary from allied moving group saying that “they had good news” and to call them back. I called back and left a message and did not hear back.

Monday 7/24- I called allied moving group and spoke to Patty because Mary wasn’t there. I  advised her that we want our shipment back in San Diego where it came from. If they can get it there, great, or I can arrange to get it. Pattyt relayed that Mary’s good news was that they found a company epic moving lines (part of their scam) who had a truck leaving from Texas to California and then would be able to go to Boston. I relayed what we wanted…just back in San Diego at my house. She had to see how they did that with Mary and I would get an answer and she would call me back.

Well, she didn’t. So I did. I also relayed that 5 star relocation’s number appeared to be disconnected, and she gave me their number, and confirmed it. She called on speaker phone, “Oh I can’t wait to get them on the phone..when I do I am going to say just send Amanda a picture. It’s normally Michelle who answers the phone” I laugh very sarcastically, ‘I love Michelle.’ She replies ‘don’t get me started’ (still pretending to play dumb to this situation that is going on and trying to  be on my side.) A woman answered, not Michelle for 5 star relocation, I could tell that much but I couldn’t make out what she said..she relayed “they said I have the wrong number….I’ll look into it and call you back.”

Side note: I think if you didn’t catch on to this…they’re all the same people..we read the reviews. I am sure allied moving group on speaker called her cubicle mate, and then they laughed.

WE ARE GETTING DESPERATE, WE JUST WANT OUR STUFF. We brainstorm, what will it take to get it back? Money? Legal action? A white flag?

I called (probably for the millionth time that day) 5 star relocation…spoke with a woman, I did not catch her name but asked what she could help me with, I relayed that I was trying to get in touch with 5 star relocation, relayed the number, she asked me to hold…5 star relocation’s hold music came on and then it disconnects the call.

(The hold music went to playing their normal one minute with an option to leave a voicemail, to playing for about a sequence through then disconnecting, to their hold music then the call would get transferred to another line and we would hear a different hold music, to now where their hold music plays and then it disconnects-no option for voicemail.)

I at this point feel like I’ve hit a wall. I send their generic email an email: with my name, details of my move, and discussing what I wanted- my stuff back in San Diego, or I will get it. And to call me ASAP because I needed to get this executed as fast as possible.

They replied: “Amanda.
We are working on getting your items out asap. Our dispatch will call you within 24 hourswith an update on either scenario below.
Thanks”

Me: “Hi,
I do NOT want my items shipped to Boston, per my email below I am asking to either be able to go pick them up or to be sent back to my origin address.
Thank you,
Amanda “

Them: “Jason will call you to arrange that on the number provided below by you.”

My Mom spoke with Mike from 5 star relocation, who my boyfriend’s Mom spoke with before threatening her with damaging our stuff, I have never spoken with him. He told my Mom he had never heard of my move. He was going to look into it and call her back. No call back was ever made.

Tuesday 7/25- no call, nothing from 5 star relocation like the email said I was going to get. On my lunch break at work I called 5 star relocation…speak with another new girl Jessica, she identifies herself as another “admin” (not my normal one)…she relayed she will check with dispatch (like who the heck is dispatch) and call me right back.

Called multiple times (I have 3 numbers who I have spoken with 5 star relocation’s people)  and no answer. No call back.

Getting more desperate than I already am, I called allied moving group again…I spoke with the Patty. She relayed our stuff is being shipped out Wednesday/Thursday of this week on epic moving from Van Nuys, California to Boston, MA. She played dumb, to me ever saying we didn’t want our stuff in Boston (of course), and that she would have to check with Mary on how we can arrange for it to get back to the pickup location, that same lady called the owner of 5 star relocation and no details of that call were shared, she did relay I can pick up the stuff but that Mary was going to call me with that. Oh but get this…in the beginning of the call, I say I’ll hold while she talks to her, she tells me that she is having heart surgery in New York, then by the end of the call her Mother is having heart surgery in New York.

I can’t stop: I keep trying 5 star relocation…and to my awe and dismay I speak Jessica, she apologized she did not get back to me, or pick up my calls, but she was in the warehouse looking for my shipment because “the job has been taken.” (I wish my facial expression was caught on camera) and that we should be getting our belongings by the end of the weekend. I inquired what van line took it out…she said she’d look into that and call me back, I told her I can hold (you know they never call back) and she relayed it could be up to 15 minutes, I said it was fine. Maybeeee 30 seconds goes by and she laughed and asked what I meant by the question, I relayed, which van line is my stuff heading towards Boston on. She laughed and said “we are a van line, it’s on our van line.” (Hmmm, so epic and 5 star are the same???) I asked for my driver’s number, so I can plan my weekend. She said they will call me within 48 hours of delivery so plenty of notice, they did not give out driver’s numbers so they won’t be distracted.

Mind you, 5 star relocation knewwww the night before I did NOT want it to Boston. I wanted it back home to San Diego, so I could be done with them, and all of this.

My Mom and boyfriend’s Mom has also gotten thrown around. After my last conversation with 5 star relocation, she answered my Mom’s call and relayed that they did notify me when it was shipped out and they can prove it because all of their calls are recorded. (Legally, I believe you have to let people know they are being recorded…?)

I am at this point on my way home from work, my Mom called Patty with allied moving group who got ahold of 5 star relocation (of course they did, we believe it’s all the same) who relayed it did go out THIS MORNING!!!!!! on an epic van line truck.

After I hear this, I can’t. Literally can’t. The best part? Epic has the same hold music as 5 star relocation..coincidence? I think not.

Tuesday 7/25- no one has answered me on any of the 3 number’s I have on 5 star relocation.

I have zero reason to believe that my items are on it’s way to Boston, these people have done nothing but lie to me, over and over. I think it’s a way to stall, and for us to stop bugging them.

Wednesday- 7/26, I had a few specific goals: 1) find one which van line my shipment is on…allied moving group said “epic van line” and 5 star relocation said their own trucks. 2) get a number for my driver (after speaking with people after their stuff had left a warehouse this was the only person they spoke with.) 3) Confirm where they are shipping it to. I had emails with both moving companies, as well as conversations requesting it be shipped back to my house in San Diego, but it was meant to be shipped to Boston.

Not to my surprise 5 star has not answered any of my calls, my mom’s, or my boyfriend’s mom’s. I called combined with their 3 numbers over 15 times, left one voicemail, then the mailbox was full. I spoke with allied moving group once, then she did not answer, again and I left a voicemail. I sent both companies emails requesting to be called back. Allied moving group responded with “this is all I have epic’s main number and the number that appears on google.” I’ve started emailing to have some sort of written documents.

Again, I believe epic and 5 star relocation are both working with Allied moving group as one bigger scam. I’ve called epic myself 3 times, and my Mom 5. No answer.

We’ve contacted a lawyer (Thanks Andrea!) to send a letter certified mail, or give them a call. The police? They said that since they have been in contact with us since they have picked up our stuff it is not criminal, it is a civil offense. No matter how awful and terrible they are.

We filed a complain with BBB.

My Mom went back to the address listed on 5 star relocation’s yelp (4629 Cass St, San Diego, CA 92109)…and the man who actually uses the building (they use is more like a PO BOX but are able to list a physical address) was in the building and my Mom asked him if they signed for certified mail…they said they did, but he said no to bother. They have not paid their bill in two months, and as far as he knows they have not been there in a year. He tries to call and email, but always speaks to someone new. He was also unaware that they listed this address on their Yelp page… Does any of that sound familiar?

We also have fire under our asses just in case you couldn’t tell…so my Mom kept calling the number. And a guy answered, Mike The other problem is, they sound so nice on the phone, and at first it worked. He said that it did NOT go out Tuesday morning like we had heard earlier from 5 star relocation and allied moving group, it left Tuesday at 4:30 PM PST, which doesn’t even make any more since because two different companies, two different people told us otherwise. He said that it was in AZ but that it would turn around and go back to LA and we could go and get it, but we did have to give them 24 hours notice. He said it was a problem my shipment was so small so that is why there was a delay, and like we’ve said before, we had no problems with a delay, we have problems with them being impossible to get ahold of and the constant lies. He didn’t have anything to say about that. He assured my Mom that he would call me or her tomorrow.

Do I believe this? No. Literally believe nothing that they said.

My Mom told me this, and I had more questions, obviously! So I called that number she called again…7 times to  be exact. And no answer.

Then (it gets better) you know that address in San Diego close to my Mom’s work from 5 star relocation’s Yelp page? If you look now, it comes up as a firestone (tire place) in LA. Which makes me believe…whoever my Mom spoke with is with 5 star relocation.

So again, I was stumped.

Thursday 7/27- I called 5 star relocation and spoke with Jessica asking when we would be able to get my shipment. She said I was just about to call you, it just now got back to the warehouse. (12:15 EST). I asked where is the warehouse, she said she’d have to look it up. Then she said Chatsworth, CA and that the girls in the office would be texting me the exact address shortly. I told her I was going to get in contact with my Dad to confirm what time they will be there tomorrow.

I also confirmed which phone number I could reach her at because no one ever answers- she said this one and that she will be in the office all day.

My Dad reached out to his buddies who had a truck and a trailer who would be able to go with him as backups to get all my stuff. They were going to leave SD around 9:00 AM

I tried calling the number. No answer. So I texted it, “Jessica..waiting for a call back and have received no text of the address.” Someone replied (her maybe?) the address: 19121 parthenia st northridge, ca 91324. I texted back: Please call me

If you google this address, it’s a self storage facility.

She does and my Dad wanted the names and numbers of people he was going to be meeting and I asked her. I also asked what happens if our stuff is missing? She said she didn’t know who was going to be there but to just have my Dad call/text this number an hour before he is there and someone will be there. And she said my shipment was picked up from my house and sent to this place and never moved so it will all be there. Now, I’m even more curious asking her about when she told me it was moved, etc.

She asked me to hold and Mike came on. And told me yes, it had not been moved. I asked him about my conversation with my Mom last night about how it was on the border/in AZ. All I got was silence.

So that was the plan: My Dad and 2 of his friends were going to drive to North ridge, CA to get my shipment. No talks of money/refunds/anything was said. They were prepared for a show down.

Friday 7/28- my Dad left, I called and Jessica answered, she only wanted me to tell her when he was an hour away. I let her know I would, I just wanted to be in communication with her.

My Dad was an hour away- I called and she gave me names of the guys who would be there. They were definitely not their real names, Mike and James..they like to use the name Mike a lot. Before they got there, my Dad went to the office of the self storage facility and asked where 5 star relocation stored their stuff. The lady didn’t have any units under them.

The guys came, opened a huge storage with other people’s items in it, no method to the madness. My stuff was near the back, and had to move other’s to get to it. Again, not lining up with their lie that it just made it back from AZ.

BUT WE GOT OUR STUFF!!!

BOTTOM LINE

What we found out:

  • They are real scam artists, and have been doing this to many people.
  • They get caught up in their lies- they don’t remember what they last lied about
  • When they first picked up our stuff, they told us if we write a positive review on their yelp page then they would discount our items $500, leading me to the conclusion that the positive reviews are fraud.
  • They are psychopaths- nothing can appeal to their emotions.
  • Allied moving group and 5 star relocation (we believe) are working together on this. Allied moving group also has used north star, epic van lines, sky van lines, and the list goes on.
  • 5 star relocation under the DOT has one truck, and it cannot leave CA. So again, they never had any intention of moving our stuff to us in Boston.
  • When my Dad went and picked it up, they were in a rental truck from enterprise car rentals.

How I think we got our stuff back:

  • Reported all their positive Yelp reviews
  • Clicked useful to all their bad ones
  • Contacted BBB
  • Threatened police & lawyers
  • Never gave up: called endlessly- left voicemails, emailed them recapping our conversations.
  • We are now fighting for a refund of the money they stole from us to do nothing but store our stuff for over 2 months.

What we wanted:

Obviously our stuff, we have so much in there that is priceless to us. Not to mention, starting over from scratch- everything, sounds like it is not an option.

Typing this makes my stomach churn. And 5 star relocation’s hold music makes my heart beat fast and my ears get red.

So I’m sharing this (and please share with whoever you know, to help us, and any future movers not get scammed like we did)

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2 Comments

  • Reply Amanda November 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    What a nightmare, thank you for the tips and for raising awareness to this kind of fraud. Glad you got your stuff back (finally!).

  • Reply Life Update: 6 Months In Boston - Blonde Out Of Water January 7, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    […] We had a nightmare experience where long story short our “movers” held our stuff hostage and it took us forever, lots of fighting, but nonetheless we got our stuff end of August, after moving into our apt in June. You can hear the full story on our moving nightmare Here […]

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