If you’re considering a moving company, let me suggest that you do all that you can to avoid Magnum Moving: this story isn’t over yet, but we’ve experienced nothing but poor service, misrepresentation and over-charging by the company. At the moment, Heather has been charged over $700 for a move that was quoted to cost $177 + GST. If things aren’t cleared up, there’s no doubt we’ll be going to small claims court. Fun!
Rather than taking my word for it, let me show you what a shiesty operation Magnum Moving is. This is also a lesson in buyer beware: if something sounds too good to be true, it is.
Heather, after we made the decision to move in together, went on-line to get quotes. She got a number of quotes, one from Magnum Moving on November 26. They wrote:
We would like to thank you for considering Magnum Moving, as we are aware that you have a lot of options and we do greatly appreciate the chance to gain your business.
Based on the specifications received we would suggest that moving of your personal effects, including disassembly and assembly of furniture and depot-origin-destination-depot travel time should take approximately 3 hours.
We will supply you with one 24-26ft. moving truck and two professional movers as well as the full equipment, at a rate of $59.99 per hour, or three professional movers at the rate of $89.99 per hour.
So, even now, looking at the email, it seemed like it was all (especially the language) pretty professional. For comparision, when I moved from Guelph in 2004 (with Tender Touch Moving, which I highly recommend), I was quoted a rate of $79.00 per hour and a total time of 5.5 hours. Later in the email, they write:
We will blanket-wrap all the furniture, shrink-wrap the necessary items and place runners on your floors.
At Magnum Movers we have wardrobe and mirror cartons that you can use for free with any moving job. It is a great deal and can save you money.
Again, sounds great. Why not use them, right? So, Heath got back to them on November 28th with potential dates for the move. Aditionally, she asked them if “…are there any additional charges I should be aware of, for example, minimum charges, fuel surcharges etc.” She heard back from the Magnum Moving Sales Executive later that same day. He wrote that he could book her on her requested dates with the same hourly rates. So far so good.
On November 29th, Heather called Magnum Moving. Magnum Moving has a nice ad in the Yellow Pages with their phone number. It has a friendly picture of a smiling family towering over a picture of a small house. They suggest that you “Let someone who Cares handle your Valuables.” She got an answering maching when she called the number. In fact, you always get an answering machine when you call (you could try it too…the ad is on page 842 of the 2006 Toronto Central West edition of the Yellow Pages).
In hindsight, this is a pretty big flag. Heath began to wonder if she should pull the plug on the operation and book with another company. She decided that she was reading too much into it and given the fact that they got back to her promptly by email, she expected everything to unfold as planned.
Heath finally confirmed with Magnum Moving on December 15th and gets an email with a thank-you from the sales executive. Then she waits, expecting that she’ll be contacted the week of the move. That being said, the email never outline furthur steps after the confirmation. Again, a red flag in hindsight.
Heather kept waiting and believing that they would call and make the final arrangements–for example, what time they would arrive during the day and confirming the correct address. Finally, at 8 am on January 17th, the day before the move, Heather emailed the company (because, as you guessed it, they weren’t returning calls) to make final arrangements. Heather asked in this email for the sales executive to call her to confirm. The response to this email? Nothing. Finally at 4 pm, she called the number and, of course, left a message on the machine. Within ten minutes they called back. What service! The company representative said that she should expect the truck between 8:00 and 8:30 and then told Heather that they prefered VISA as payment.
So, Heather got up early today to get to her (now old) apartment in time for the movers to arrive. Heather got there at 7 am, sat down on a chair to be moved and tried to fall asleep. 8:30 arrived and passed. 9:00 arrived and passed. At 9:10 the guys who eventually moved Heather’s stuff called saying that they were a few minutes away and apologized for the delay. They eventually arrived at 9:35.
Keep in mind tha Magnum Movers are the moving company that seems to pride itself on its service–Heather had the “honour” to let them care about handling her valuables. They were to “blanket-wrap all the furniture, shrink-wrap the necesscary items and place runners on the floors.” As well there were to be wardrobes and mirror cartons for the move. Instead of wardrobes, they offered to “find a place to hang [her clothes] in the truck.” No wrap was to be seen-be it blanket or shrink. Runners on the floor? Nope. Care, it seems, for Magnum Movers includes putting furniture on wet concrete. Here’s a shot of her box spring:
Notice the corner? It’s a nice touch.
Initially, Heather was pleased that things were working well. Though they were late, things were moving out of the apartment. Heather called me at 11:30 saying that everything was loaded up and she was making her way down to the apartment. Heather arrived at 11:45, saying that she had lost them on Dupont. They eventually showed up at the apartment around 12:05. The movers then sat in the cab for a half hour, having a smoke and waiting for Heather’s VISA authorization to go through (aka letting the clock run). During that half hour, I went out a couple of times to the truck to see what was happening: I was greeted with “five more minutes.” So, Heather and I waited in the lobby until they got the authorization they needed (and the niccotine fix they were craving).
The move-in after that was without incident. Without incident until then end. As they were leaving the apartment for the last time, they asked Heather how she wanted to pay: she said VISA. The movers then said they were going to put the payment through and get the receipt. They asked how much Heather wanted to leave for a tip. This is a nice touch: pressure to give a tip always is appreciated. Heather did give an amount to be added to the bill, at which point mover number two (I called him Addidas track-suit guy) asked if he could have it in cash. Another nice touch.
They retreated to the truck cab and Heather and I waited downstairs. It was 1:45 and we figured out in our head what the bill should cost. Here’s our generous math:
Moving – 4.25 hours
Travel time – 1 hour
Total: 5.25 hours @ 59.99 = $314.95 + GST = $337 + tip
So, we ballparked a bill around $375, including the tip. When Heather got the VISA stub (aka, I guess, the receipt) it was for $723. Excuse me? That’s almost 2x as much as we were expecting to pay.
Magnum Mover’s Time Machine
So, because Magnum Mover’s movers didn’t give us a receipt, we have to guess how they made up the bill. Our take:
Moving: 4.25 hours
Travel time: 1 hour
Time travel, where they froze time and charged us anyways: 5.8 hours
You see, given their hourly rate and how much time it took them to move, Heather was overcharged by 5.8 hours.
January 18th, 2006
Needless to say, this isn’t over yet. Heather immediatley called VISA to get the charge removed. She was told that she needs to wait for four days until the charge appears on her bill before they might be able to do something. We also called Magnum Moving and (no suprise here) left a message. We finally emailed Magnum Movers asking them to contact us. Right now it’s a waiting game.
Check back here for updates…