When I was planning our family’s move to New York from Miami, I was extremely conscious of making sure costs were under control, as this was an expensive move. When I talked to the salesperson at Bayflower, he had me walk through our three bedroom apartment and give him a detailed inventory of everything we needed moved. He explained Bayflower did the move themselves, they weren’t a broker, which meant the truck would arrive in NY when I needed it to. That was important to us since we work at home and needed to start immediately after the move. He then provided me with a written estimate of $4655.50, which was in line with other companies’ estimates, so I gave them the job.
When the movers arrived on our scheduled pick-up day, one of the first sentences out of the head of the crew’s mouth was “Nothing is free.” I had no idea what that meant, since they had yet to start packing or loading the truck. Most movers are friendly and easy to work with. These guys were silent and a little scary. They were also Russian.
While they were working, the crew head remarked to my wife that the estimate might go up a couple hundred dollars. Okay. But then, at the very end of the day, when all our stuff was on the truck and nothing could really be done to address the situation, he informed me that the estimate had shot up $1600, more than a third of the original estimate – even though we hadn’t added anything to the load we originally described to the salesperson; Nothing was in storage, everything was in the apartment as I had told him.
This was a shock to the system, but I paid the next installment of the deposit because I felt I had no choice. When he ran my credit card, he gave me a creepy smile of delight and said, “It went through!” There was absolutely no empathy on his part for the fact that I was expected to cough up that much more money.
After they left, I immediately called the customer service department of Bayflower to complain. They informed me they had to get the paperwork in from the driver to respond and that it would come in later that day. This was on a Wednesday afternoon and our stuff was due to be delivered on that coming Monday.
I drove my family north and continued to call, pressing for a resolution to what I thought was outrageous overcharging. They continued to say the paperwork wasn’t in yet. They continued to say that the paperwork was coming in whatever day it was I was calling. This went on for Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning. I had to leave message after message just to get them to call me back.
Finally, Saturday at 1 pm, when I was on the road, they called. We were in a cell phone dead zone and I missed the call. They left a message saying they were about to leave for the weekend and to call them back within an hour. I believe they intentionally ran out the clock, so I could not talk to them before Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the movers on the New York end who were going to deliver our stuff were insisting on starting at 9 am Monday, the exact time that Bayflower’s office opened. Again, I felt this was a tactic to prevent us from confronting them.
I reached Bayflower again on Monday morning. They refused to admit any wrongdoing on their part and said they were just charging for services rendered. There was no apology for giving me a fake estimate and no consideration to the fact that my charges mysteriously jumped up by over a third. I explained that the crews were also charging $150 on each end for having to use an elevator and that charge was not in their estimate – THAT at least should be taken off the price. Finally, they agreed to give me a whopping $75 off the price of the final installment payment.
The moving crew in New York (also Russian) immediately hit me up for another $300, saying there was a “long carry” provision that would cost me a lot more, but if I tipped each of the three guys $100, they would forget about it. They proceeded to dump our stuff every which way, so it was impossible to see if everything was there. They also argued that there was no way our sofa would fit into our new apartment. We thought it would, but they kept stalling. This went on for the five or so hours they were delivering our stuff – they kept refusing to try. We insisted – and, what do you know, they fit the couch in on the first try. There was also a bookcase that truly would not fit. The head of the crew said he could take it apart and get it in. He brought in the pieces and then the crew left, even though its customary for a moving crew to put back together furniture they’ve broken down. When I went to put it back together, I discovered he had broken the bookcase and it had to be thrown out.
Finally, when the dust had settled a few days later, I realized there were approximately three boxes missing from our load. Expecting the worst, I called Bayflower one more time. I was told to fill out a claims form – the form had to be completed before they could do anything. They emailed me the form, which needed to be NOTARIZED (??) and also required that numerous documents from the move be returned with it – even though all of it was paperwork they already had in their possession. There was also no space to even itemize what was missing from our move. I thought it was a useless process designed to relieve them of any responsibility. I haven’t gotten a reply.
I’ve used many moving companies over the years and have never been treated this badly by one. They were clearly out to get as much money out of me as possible and provide no genuine customer service in return. Since this horrendous experience, I have discovered numerous similar complaints about them online. I am out $2000 more than expected that I could not afford. I would like to see this company suffer some consequences for their behavior before they do the same thing to another innocent customer.