We were charged for a Shuttle fee that wasn't disclosed.
Problem Date: 9/19/2015
Purchase Date: 7/16/2015
Sales Rep: Glenn
Payment amount: $250.00
On the day before the delivery, we were advised of a "Shuttle" fee that was not disclosed to me or advised of on documentation provided.
The Sales person, Glenn knew from the first contact on 7/16/15 that the move was from Los Angeles to Brooklyn, NY. It is now my understanding that there is a "Shuttle" fee for SOME carriers going into certain states, and NY is one of those states. This is something that clearly Glenn is aware of and this company chose the carrier. I was not made aware of any of this until the day before delivery and even then, the dispatcher didn't explain it. I thought it was to shuttle my items up the 4 flight of stairs which a believed cost $250.00 per the contract.
When I spoke with Cassie on Saturday about this fee she said that it was on the Bill of Lading that I received and signed.
On the Interstate Household Goods Bill of Lading that I received does not reflect any fee for a Shuttle. And, in fact, on the Ready for Delivery - Long Distance, it asked "is there access for 53' tractor trailer at the delivery address?" And YES was marked as there was access. Again, nothing noted or said to indicated that a Shuttle would be needed. Was this a question related to the need for a Shuttle? If so, then it should have been noted as such or explained upon my first contact that it would be needed in Brooklyn because of the area or because of the carrier that they contract with. To wait until the day before delivery with the promise of further fees if not delivered on time, etc. was essentially holding my furniture in hostage.
This was an unfair business practice which, I believe, was done with the full knowledge of the moving company and the carrier. These fees, should have been disclosed in a plain to read and understandable manner, upfront so that the consumer may make an informed decision.
When I contacted the moving company about this issue, I was told by Ashley, the manager, that she would see if their accounting department can refund the money. I have not heard back from Ashley regarding this matter and frankly, I don't know when if every I will hear from her as my calls have been avoided since my furniture was picked up on August 28th, 2015. It is now 6:40pm and I was promised a call back today and have yet to receive one.
I am seeking a refund of the entire fee of $250.00 that was charged for a Shuttle that was not advised of during the months that the company knew the delivery destination and the possibility of such a fee when contracting with the carrier.
The information regarding the shuttle fee is listed on the contract that the customer signed. In addition to that the customer signed the bill of lading stating that there is access for our 53' trailer to make the delivery. At this point we feel this customer was dishonest with us and is now trying to get the shuttle service for free. We will not be reimbursing any part of that fee as it was clearly spelled out.
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
There was access for a 53' trailer on the street directly in front of the apartment and further down the street on that morning. Dean Street is a very long street and there was room for the trailer. Further, IF the question was about a Shuttle then that was also not clearly noted or discussed as any time during the transaction. Regarding the clearly spelled out Shuttle fee. The word/meaning of "Shuttle" is not clearly spelled out. In fact, the word "Shuttle" and the fee for such wasn't ever discussed or clearing spelled out to me as any time during the 2.5 months of the transaction. I didn't know I was going to have a shuttle as I was advised that my furniture was placed on a "TRUCK" in Las Vegas and on it's way to Brooklyn. It was only said and noted to me the day before delivery.
I won't even begin to touch on the remark about dishonesty. However, I will say this; I entered into this with full disclosure and kept the moving company advised of every change, even down to the destination zip code. When providing the initial estimate and fully aware that the destination was in Brooklyn, NY, West Coast Movers did not act in full disclosure and knowing the terms of their business and the possibility of additional fees due to the delivery destination, it continued to act without full disclosure. The Shuttle and the fee for such were brought to my attention by the moving dispatcher on the day before the delivery, NOT by West Coast Movers. I believed that he was talking about shuttling my items up 4 flights of stairs and I advised him of that. When I reached out to Kassie and Ashley at West Coast Movers on the day of delivery, once I was told what exactly a shuttle was; I was told that it should have been discussed with me and that the carrier company may not have had the correct license to take the 53' truck into Brooklyn or not enough room to turn or back up the truck on the street. In fact, Kassie said that the carrier will Google the street to determine if they can turn, backup, etc. At no time, even then, was I questioned about the space on the street as there was space on the street. And that was the question I was asked, is the room for a 53' truck and YES there was room. If the additional issues, noted above, were part of that question, then NO, it was not clearly written, noted, stated or ever discussed.
I you would like to see the Bill of Lading and the other documentation were I noted that there was room for the 53' truck, please advise and I will forward that without delay.
Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
As there was access for the 53' trailer there was not a need for a shuttle and the resulting fee of $250 that was charged for the same.
I have included the Bill of Lading and the Binding Estimate. You will see that neither of the documents lists a Shuttle fee. You will also see that the Order of Service attached by WCM does not clearly detail what a shuttle is for and that it has anything to do with my move, yet, West Coast Movers knew from our first meeting that the move was to Brooklyn, NY and that (per Kassie, in customer service at West Coast Movers), a shuttle is needed in Brooklyn due to the movability of the truck, not if there is simply access for a 53' truck. Yet, that was the question posed to me without any caveat to it and the answer was "yes" as there was sufficient for a 53' truck.
Further, I would like to bring to your attention the requirements noted by the U.S. Department of Transportation as required by Federal Law:
FMCSA REQUIRES YOUR MOVER TO PROVIDE WRITTEN ESTIMATES ON EVERY SHIPMENT TRANSPORTED FOR YOU. Your mover must provide you with a written estimate of all charges including transportation, accessorial and advanced charges. This written estimate must be dated and signed by you and the mover. I received a written estimate that did not list a charge for a shuttle fee - yet, West Coast Movers knew or should have reasonably known that since the shipment was going to Brooklyn NY and a Shuttle would be needed or that their delivery company did not have the proper license to take a 53' truck into Brooklyn, NY. I entered into the contract with full disclosure and in good faith; always keeping West Coast Movers updated on the increasing number of items to be shipped and therefore, increasing the amount that I was to pay. At no time was I not providing full disclosure even when it was increasing my costs. However, due to their lack of full disclosure; I had to have someone run quickly to an ATM as I was advised that there would be a waiting fee for the delay.
Simply putting some words onto paper and knowing that they are not fully disclosing services, charges and fees, etc. to a consumer does not exempt them from being required to provide a clear and concise contract that is easy for a consumer to understand. Additionally, I understand from the Manger, Zach, that the foreman should have discussed this upon pickup of the furniture. He did not explain, speak about, provide insight, go over, or discuss at all the shuttle fee, long carry, waiting time, charge for stairs, use of elevator or the re-handling - re-delivery. He simply did not. This is especially egregious knowing that this is/may be a charge due to the delivery destination. But, it didn't start there; it started with my initial meeting with Glenn, the salesman. The point of destination was always Brooklyn, NY.
You and your mover may agree to change an estimate of charges based on changed circumstances, but only before your shipment is loaded. I kept the mover informed whenever there was a change in circumstance. However, the last change that occurred on 8/27/15 was not provided to the delivery personal and I was charged more than the last estimate. When I brought this to the attention of Ashley Roybal, the customer service manager, on 8/28/15, I was told that the cubic feet were the same. They omitted to provide the new estimate to the delivery driver.
ORDER OF SERVICE- The document authorizing the mover to provide all of the services described in your mover's estimate. There is a document called READY FOR DELIVERY - LONG DISTANCE that West Coast Movers provided to you. This document asks two questions regarding access. One of the questions is: "Is there sufficient access for a 53' trailer at the delivery address? The answer was YES. If there was another reason for that question, then it was not discussed or made clear in the documentation. At no time was it explained what a Shuttle was and what my fee would be and that it may/would be applicable to my move. If the movers were not licensed, or could not maneuver the truck, then, that was not noted and I was not advised.
COLLECTION OF CHARGES
Your mover must issue you an honest and truthful freight or expense bill for each shipment transported. When your shipment is delivered you will be expected to pay 100 percent of the charges on your binding estimate. You will also be requested to pay the charges for any services that you requested (for example, waiting time, an extra pickup or delivery, storage) after the contract with your mover was excecuted that were not included in the estimate... The company was aware that a shuttle would/may be needed in Brooklyn, NY but did not at any time before loading the furniture, advise me of this fact.
You must determine charges for any accessorial services such as elevators, long carries, etc., before preparing the order for service and the bill of lading for binding estimates. If you fail to ask the shipper about such charges and fail to determine such charges before preparing the order of service and the bill of lading, you must deliver the goods and bill the shipper after 30 days for the additional charges. THIS WAS NOT AFFORDED TO ME - It was demanded that I pay $250.00 for a shuttle fee. I had no knowledge of what a shuttle fee was for due to the fact that West Coast Movers did not at any time make that service and fee clear and that it would be applicable to me yet the company knew or should have known that it would/could be.
If you believe additional services are necessary to properly service a shipment after the bill of lading has been issued, you must inform the individual shipper what the additional services are before performing those services. You must allow the shipper at least one hour to determine whether he or she wants the additional services performed. If the individual shipper agrees to pay for the additional services, you must execute a written attachment to be made an integral part of the bill of lading contract and have the individual shipper sign the written attachment. You must bill the individual shipper for the additional services after 30 days from delivery. I was not informed of what the additional services were for by West Coast Movers - (LOADING AND UNLOADING MY FURNITURE ONTO A TRUCK), until after I was charged and with the threat of adding an additional charge for waiting time to my delivery.
The requirement listed above was not afforded to me.
Delivery of Shipments
What is the maximum collect-on-delivery amount I may demand at the time of delivery?
On a binding estimate, the max amount is the exact estimate of the charges, plus charges for any additional services requested by the shipper after the bill of lading has been issued... again; the apartment has stairs that were not accounted for at the time of the estimate. This was an additional item that I requested and therefore I accounted for that fee, added it to the estimated charges and was prepared to pay the charge upon delivery of the furniture. I advised the dispatcher of this also so that the delivery people would be aware of the additional charge. At no time was I attempting to hide fees/charges and was ready to pay in cash upon delivery.
The maximum amount of charges for impracticable operations you may collect on delivery is an amount equal to 15 percent of all other charges due at delivery - I was demanded to pay more than 15%.
What penalties do we impose for violations of this part?
The penalty provisions of 49 U>S>C. Chapter 149, Civil and Criminal Penalties apply to this part. These penalties do not overlap. Notwithstanding these civil penalties, nothing in this section shall deprive any holder of a receipt or a bill of lading any remedy or right of action under existing law.
The attached Letter of Release from West Coast Movers requires just that - by accepting their offer to complete the service that I contracted and paid for, they required me to agree to not file, dismiss any and all pending complaints with the Better Business Bureau and or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, D.O.T and remove all and any previously submitted negative public comments... stating that I am satisfied. Further failure to do so would result in serious legal actions.
I did not sign as I am not satisfied and the service that they were to perform did not occur, yet they would not perform/complete the service until I signed.
By my refusal to sign, I was not provided the service that I paid for and didn't receive reimbursement for my payment. However, I am still able to use all the resources available to me to remedy this situation. Should it not be remedied, I still have the avenues available to me to keep other consumers, who are also acting in good faith, from being taken advantage of by West Coast Movers.
Final Business Response
We have properly disclosed all costs and potential fees in writing of which you have signed and agreed to. We provided a revised estimate and a list of all additional fees should they apply to you. At this point we will not be offering any discounts or free service due to your lack of understanding words written on paper.