Based on the recommendation of a co-worker, who had used
Action/Economy Movers of Charlotte to move her, we hired the same company to move us to a new house located only seven-tenths of a mile from our old house. After giving the moving company the necessary information, we received an estimate of 4-5 hours total at $59 per hour for two movers.
As it turned out, it took two men more than nine hours to finish
the job, and that was with my helping them during the last two.
The pair was a good cop-bad cop team. The "good cop" was a quiet, strong African-American who worked at a steady pace, while the "bad cop" was a skinny, gap-toothed, illiterate redneck cliche in his mid-20s.
I began to suspect something wasn't right early on when the driver informed me that he accepted tips because he made only $8 an hour (a lie: he made $10, whereas his partner, who did most of the work, made $8). He also told me that he typically worked 15 hour days, that moving was expensive, that any television over 20" qualified as a "big screen TV" and was therefore subject to an extra $30 charge, and that moving a piano from one room to another in the new house would cost an extra $50--his price--instead of the "normal" $150 his boss would charge us had we notified him in advance.
The driver also managed to drop my grandfather's antique walnut wet bar and twist his ankle on the front steps of our house, making him to move even more slowly than he already had been.
Furthermore, the minute before both movers left, the driver raced out of the truck and asked me to sign a copy of the moving report, written in fine print, which I did. He told me that it was to verify that everything had been moved properly. As I learned later, I was signing a waiver stating that the company was not responsible for any damages. Since I'd been helping move furniture in 99 degree heat all day, I was too tired to read anything slowly or closely and just wanted to go inside and cool off.
The driver clearly knew we wanted to be rid of him and waited until I was most offguard to have me sign this document.
Essentially, we ended up having to pay over $650 for a relatively easy move that should have cost us no more than $300. I was not present during the "cash only" payment to the movers, but my wife wheedled the driver down to $30 for helping me roll the piano from one room to the next.
That was the only discount.
When we contacted the head of the moving company to complain about the driver and his extra charges, he said he would fire the driver if he was "embezzling money" but did not offer to return $60 to us. Neither did he do so in a follow-up phone call, saying he had fired the driver.
We're not so much concerned about the $60, which we'll never see, as we are about 1) the driver's negligence, bait and switch tactic, and illegal added costs and 2) the moving company owner's lack of accountability and his poor judgment in hiring an illiterate thief as an employee.