I’m not new to moving. I moved across the continent more than a handful of times in the last decade and I’ve utilized a lot of moving companies in the process, but my recent experience with North American Van Lines was worse than imaginable. Delayed delivery, unnecessary storage at customs, lack of communication, changed price guarantees, false information, excessively unnecessary storage fees, a kitchen fire, and broken furniture were all part of our cross-continent move with North American Van Lines. Any way that they could mess up, they messed up. It was one major nightmare after another. I try to find the good in every company, but there was nothing good about our experience with North American Van Lines. They should be out of business.
The process started with an in-home estimate. We received a PRICELOCK Guaranteed Binding Price of $11,373.17.
Since the move was complicated, we had questions:
Since we’re waiting on my work permit to come through before we can really start our lives in Montreal, Lesley and I were planning to travel once our items are packed up. Is it possible that someone from *** could sign for the items in Canada on our behalf?
We can have someone clear customs for you but it has to be a specific person and we would need there name and add it to the move. If you want to move forward please let me know who the rep will be in CN and what day you would like to load. Please make sure that your representative in CN knows they will need to be available all he days of the delivery spread. You should get your inventories to your rep so he can check off at destination. They will need to go to the home and sign off after the delivery. Thanks.. You can load 7/13 or 7/17 for the same price if you want to go for 7/13 let me know ASAP because they need lead time. Thanks
We went ahead with the booking based on this information but a few days later, we received a new price quote of $12,142.39. It was almost $800 more than the price lock guarantee despite the above reply stating that we would receive the same price as we were quoted above. We were running out of time so we didn’t fight it but it already raised concerns. Isn’t the point of the “PRICELOCK Guaranteed Binding Price” to guarantee the price?
And the stress and deceit begins!
A day later, we received an email from another contact at North American Van Lines stating the following, “If you are not present for the above requirements the person accepting the shipment MUST have notarized power of attorney in order to do so.”
So what do we do? We get a power of attorney to clear our stuff at customs. Again, we should have been told this from the first contact and before we signed the documents to move but we were trying to tackle one problem at a time so we gave Cord’s employer in Montreal power of attorney to avoid any further issues. Was that enough? After asking multiple times, and every contact we had at North American Van Lines, we were assured that we now had everything we needed.
We were already paying more and they continued to add new requirements but we were moving forward. The situation, however, got worse and worse.
After the truck loaded our stuff and we were spending our transition time in the Caribbean, we received this email:
I need to touch base regarding the status of your household goods shipment –
Our office has been advised that you have yet to obtain your work visa as of yet. Your driver is scheduled to deliver on 07/25/17. If your visa is not obtained by then your shipment will have to be put into destination storage in transit (SIT). If you have not obtained the required documents to enter into Canada he will not be able to accept the shipment on your behalf.
If items are delivered into SIT you will be responsible for any associated storage costs.
Wait! What? Wasn’t this why we got a power of attorney? Why are you only telling us this now? Why weren’t we told this before everything we owned was loaded on the truck and we traveled to the Caribbean? Haven’t you done business between Canada and the US for years? Shouldn’t this be on the list of first things explained to us?
Our plan was for me to arrive in Montreal to a house full of our stuff that was unpacked by the movers and Cord to wait in Wisconsin with his sister until his work visa arrived, but now I would be arriving in Montreal to an empty house if they didn’t make additional arrangements. We were helpless. They had everything we owned on the truck and we couldn’t do anything about it.
Rather than reaching out to our contact in Montreal who had power of attorney, the driver decided to deliver our stuff into customs transit storage without our approval. We now were going to be charged storage fees for our furniture and I would have nothing when I arrived. It was all mind-blowing.
The head-shacking continued. They wouldn’t tell us where our stuff was being stored and when we finally did find out, our power of attorney went to the location and was able to clear customs, but only after heavy storage fees and additional delivery fees from another company despite having a price lock from North American Van Lines. It was obvious that putting the stuff in storage wasn’t necessary since our power of attorney was able to walk into the office and have the stuff released without Cord being onsite. The driver didn’t want to deal with it so he made the call to put our stuff in storage for no real reason. Our final charges were $14,032.21 and our stuff was almost two weeks late. So we were charged an extra $2659.04 from the original price guarantee offered at our agreement before the move. But we needed to pay it in full before they would deliver our furniture. It was being held hostage.
When it was finally delivered, the movers carelessly brought our stuff into the house. One of them put a box on the stove top and literally set the kitchen on fire. The counter top was burned and warped and the entire house smelled like smoke. The box held new pots and pans and they were destroyed as well. Additionally, our flat screen tv was left on its side, things were broken, and our piano wasn’t put together properly causing, yet again, additional problems.
I was so upset after the fire, delays, complications, and misinformation, that I just wanted them out of my house so I could cry but I couldn’t break down for long because I needed to deal with a damaged kitchen in a house that I was only renting.
Our stuff was delivered on August 3rd and it is now August 22. We emailed multiple times and requested that the kitchen be fixed but we have yet to receive any communication. We submitted a claim’s form and even that process was confusing and we were given different information from three different people. We asked for a manager’s contact and we were denied. We asked to be reimbursed for our storage costs since they were unnecessary and we were denied. We asked for our stuff to be fixed or replaced and we haven’t heard anything back. We were told we needed to contact the company that delivered our stuff to discuss the fire, but we booked and paid for the full move with North American Van Lines. We shouldn’t have been treated this way. Our move to a new country should have been delightful and exciting. Instead, because of North American Van Lines, it was stressful and a nightmare. At the very least, my kitchen should have been fixed immediately. They carelessly set it on fire! I don’t want to be reimbursed for the estimated costs of the damage and have to figure it out on my own. I want my kitchen repaired and I want people to know how North American Van Lines does business. We paid over $14,000 to move our stuff. We should have some quality of service and they should accept responsibility.