Jolene Han regrets hiring Imperial Movers for her move to New York. The company took longer than she expected and overcharged her. How can she fix this Imperial Movers problem?
We used Imperial Movers for an interstate move from Charleston, S.C., to New York. The contract was for a one-day pack and move at a flat rate of $5,000.
Imperial sent two guys, one of whom was new. They worked for 11 hours and were unable to finish packing. They left just before midnight as they had run out of boxes and were supposed 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 rate” that contractually guaranteed they wouldn’t exceed the $5,000 price. I confirmed this multiple times with Imperial Movers. But on the delivery day, Imperial Movers called and demanded more money for extra boxes. He said the contract referred to cubic volume and not actual boxes. We ended up paying $750 in order to get them to start unloading our furniture.
The move did not go well. When we unpacked our boxes, we discovered many damaged items. They include a cracked marble coffee table, badly chipped dining table legs, broken glassware and plates, and badly scratched frames. The magnetic door catch to our wooden sideboard was also broken.
As we unpacked, we also found half-packed boxes and lots of wasted space. More packing paper was used to wrap paper cards than glassware, which of course were broken. If the boxes had been packed better and more efficiently, we would not have needed that many additional boxes.
I’d like a refund for the extra boxes and part of the moving charges from Imperial Movers. We didn’t need all of those extra boxes and my husband had to help the movers. Can you help me with this Imperial Movers problem? — Jolene Han, New York
Imperial Movers should have stuck to its contract with you. But what did that contract say?
I’m looking at your agreement now. It says, “FIXED FLAT RATE REGARDLESS OF NUMBER OF BOXES,” and “VIP CREW ONLY.” That certainly makes it seem as if you won’t pay more than $5,000.
But read on. The agreement also says, “Your price is subject to increase if inventory is increased at time of pick up due to additional space/weight taken up in the truck.”
So the fixed rate Imperial Movers agreed to charge you is based on an estimate you provided before the move. If you went over the pieces of furniture, or needed more boxes, you would indeed pay more than the $5,000.
Here’s how you fix this Imperial Movers problem
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates interstate moves, has a helpful guide on these fees and surcharges. If you ever move again, you might want to check it out. It’s also useful for solving other moving-related troubles.
Also, consider a little homework on the company before you move. Even a cursory online search would show the reviews, allowing you to avoid a so-so moving company.
It turns out you missed a critical step in resolving this Imperial Movers problem. You had not asked the company in writing to address the damage and overcharge issues. I suggested that you reach out to Imperial Movers again, this time in writing, asking it to resolve these problems. (The company’s main customer service email address is [email protected])
You sent a brief, polite email to the company. A representative said that you initially estimated you needed 30 boxes but that you needed four times as many for your move. Nevertheless, it offered to reimburse you $500 for the boxes and another $200 for the damages.
That’s less than you were hoping for, but much better than nothing.