Was hiring Imperial Movers a bad move?
Q: We used Imperial Movers for an interstate move from Charleston, South Carolina to New York. The contract was for a one-day package and a flat rate of $ 5,000.
Imperial sent two people, one of whom was new. They worked 11 hours and could not finish packing. They left just before midnight because they had run out of boxes and were due to return the next morning. They showed up at 1:30 a.m. two days later. My husband had to help them overnight until 7 a.m.
We paid a “fixed price” that contractually guarantees that the price will not exceed $ 5,000. I have confirmed this several times with Imperial Movers. But on the delivery day, Imperial Movers called and asked for more money for extra boxes. He said the contract referred to the cubic volume, not the actual boxes. We ended up paying $ 750 to get them to unload our furniture.
The move did not go well. When we unpacked our boxes, we discovered many damaged items. This includes a cracked marble coffee table, badly broken dining table legs, broken glassware and plates, and badly scratched frames. The magnetic door lock on our wooden sideboard was also broken.
When unpacking, we also found half-packed boxes and a lot of wasted space. More wrapping paper was used to wrap paper cards than glassware, which was naturally broken. If the boxes had been packed better and more efficiently, we wouldn’t have needed so many additional boxes.
I would like a refund for the extra boxes and some of the moving expenses from Imperial Movers. We didn’t need all of those extra boxes and my husband had to help the moving company. Can you help me with this Imperial Movers issue?
Jolene Han, New York
A: Imperial Movers should have stuck to its contract with you. But what did this contract say?
I am now looking at your agreement. It says: “FIXED APARTMENT PRICES regardless of the number of boxes” and “ONLY VIP CREW”. That sure makes it look like you’re paying no more than $ 5,000. But read on. The agreement also states: “Your price may increase if inventory is increased at the time of collection due to the additional space / weight in the truck.”
The fixed price agreed by Imperial Movers is based on an estimate that you provided before the move. Going through the pieces of furniture or needing more boxes is actually paying more than $ 5,000.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates interstate removals, has a helpful guide to these fees and surcharges. If you ever move again this is the place to be to check it out.
Also, think about some company homework before moving. Even a cursory search online would reveal the ratings so you can avoid a mediocre company.
It turns out that you missed a crucial step in solving this Imperial Movers problem. They hadn’t written to ask the company to fix the damage and overload issues. I suggested that you write again to Imperial Movers to resolve these issues. The company’s main customer service email address is [email protected]
You sent a short, polite email to the company. A representative said that you initially estimated you would need 30 boxes, but that you would need four times as many for your move. Even so, they offered to reimburse you for $ 500 for the boxes and an additional $ 200 for the damage. This is less than you hoped, but much better than nothing.
Christopher Elliott’s latest book is How To Be the Smartest Traveler in the World (National Geographic). You can get real-time answers to all consumer questions on his forum elliott.org/forum or by emailing [email protected]