They say that moving is one of the most stressful things you can go through; doubly so when it’s an interstate move.
We’re moved in. We live in Rockville, MD now. And what a
long, strange trip pain in the ass it’s been getting here.
Besides the pain, anguish, and general drama of actually finding a place to live, there was a lot of drama during the actual move itself.
We don’t move often, but when we do, we use one certain moving company, who I don’t want to name so that I do not inadvertently link to a negative review. Unfortunately, they don’t handle interstate moves. They recommended that we call up Piggyback Moving & Storage, and that they could take care of us.
In case you haven’t been following along on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or generally stalking me, let me clarify things. For the past ten or so weeks, I’ve been living in DC with a friend from high school and her husband. My wife, Emily, has been dealing with all the issues and such back in Orlando. That included getting us set up with a moving company. I’ll further clarify here that none of this is her fault. We received a recommendation from a company we trust – and it didn’t work out well. At all.
The short version: Piggyback Moving & Storage needs to move themselves into oncoming traffic.
I’ll go ahead and say it right now: Piggyback Moving, based out of Largo, FL sucks. We will never use them again. Ever. They could comp us a coupon for a free interstate move after this experience, and I’d still tear it up and piss on it right in front of them.
So, why are we so displeased with Piggyback? Let’s start at the beginning. Well, after they were recommended to us.
Piggyback Moving seems to be a family owned/run business. Chrissy and Nikki seem to be in charge of the day-to-day operations. One of them (Nikki, I believe – but I had no dealings with either of them directly until this week) came over to our home in Orlando and looked around to get an estimate of how big of a truck they would need. She pointed out to my wife what would need to be specially wrapped/packed, what could go without too much packing, and most importantly: which items would be best packed by their own crew. It wouldn’t cost us any extra; they’d just bring packing materials or whatever, and pack them themselves. This was mostly stuff like our glass lounge table, the TV and some artwork.
On the day before the move, the office manager was supposed to call to let us know when the movers would be arriving at our home in Orlando. At that point, we were told “after noon”. This worked for us as we still had some packing and general errands to take care of on Sunday morning. We were also told that we would receive a call on Sunday morning to lock in an actual time that they would be arriving.
We had still not heard anything by about 11am on Sunday, so Emily called the movers. It turned out that they were on their way and would be arriving shortly. No, this wasn’t OK. We still had some packing and general personal issues to take care of. We had been told “after noon”, and had arranged our own schedules appropriately. We were told that they would arrive at about 1pm. That was fine by us.
Three men showed up at a little past 1pm: an African-American named Roger, and two white guys named Joe and Chris. It was obvious that Roger was in charge of the crew. Joe and Chris seemed generally inexperienced, but still acted professional enough. Here is when the big problems really started showing up.
When Roger and his crew walked in, they asked about various items which had not yet been packed. We explained that their manager had promised that they would be taking care of the packing of these items. The problem? They hadn’t been told about any of these items; they didn’t have the materials to pack them to begin with.
And so begins the he-said/she-said stories.
“You suck.” “No, YOU suck.”
At about 3:30pm, they decided it was time to head to the local U-Haul and pick up the necessary supplies. Now, to be fair: the U-Haul near our Orlando home is very inconvenient to get in or out of. Emily had dealings with them just the day before, and didn’t have much of anything positive to say about her experience with them – but that’s a story for another day. They were gone for about an hour and a half. That was an hour and a half of time and daylight completely wasted.
Later that evening, I was sent out for a dinner run. When I returned, one of the crew was apologizing to Emily regarding an argument that they had had. Not a big deal, but there was apparently a lot of yelling between the crew.
three seven hour tour
It took roughly seven hours for a crew of three to load our house onto a truck. Now, I’ll admit that we’re generally packrats, but we got rid of a lot of stuff or put it into storage. In either case, we had a relatively large amount of boxes and such, but it still didn’t feel like seven (or six if you don’t account for the materials run) hours worth of work. We moved from one end of Orlando to the other a few years ago. We used our normal moving company who sent three workers. Granted, we’ve accumulated some more items and more furniture, but not double the original amount. That other company had us loaded up in a little over three hours – and they were being paid hourly. Piggyback Moving was being paid by the job.
We’ll show up when we feel like it
The plan was for us to drive up on Monday – arriving that night. We were told the movers would take “two or three days” to get up to Maryland. That was fine by us. Obviously, sooner would be better than later, but their timeline was acceptable to us; in reality, there were issues with the house that made us really anxious for the movers to come, but we understood that it was going to take a long time to drive up to Maryland. We were told that the movers who packed our home would be the same crew who would be traveling to Maryland and unloading the truck. That worked out fine for us as we could just tip them for a job well done after they completed the unload.
Again, we were told that the movers would call to notify us of their general schedule. Monday: no call and no plan. Tuesday: still no call. Emily called the company to find out what was going on. They didn’t know. They were going to try calling the crew on the road and get an estimated time. We didn’t receive a call back. Emily called again and was told that they couldn’t get a hold of the crew, but would keep trying.
By 5:00pm, we had given up on them showing up on Tuesday night. Even with a team of three, they would be racing against daylight if they tried to unload the truck that night. Surely, they would just stop at a hotel overnight and knock on our door on Wednesday morning.
Well, we were wrong.
Superman works for Piggyback Moving & Storage
The truck pulled up at just past 7pm. Their truck, by the way, was a Penske rental truck. No, this moving company did not even own their own truck. They rent trucks from their local U-Haul and drive those for jobs.
So, I speak to Roger, and get the animals locked away and all that sort of stuff. He starts bringing boxes in and I start wondering where the rest of his crew are. That’s when he tells us that he’s the only mover that they sent to drive and unload the truck.
We were confused. Nikki had specifically told my wife that “the same crew” would be loading and unloading our truck. To us, “the same crew” means… oh, I don’t know… the same three people.
He explained that this was not completely abnormal and that he could get the truck unloaded by himself in just a few hours. We told him that that was crazy; get the bird cage off, and maybe the bed and call it a night. Come back tomorrow and finish. He swore that he could get everything unloaded in about 3 or 4 hours total – even by himself. But the sun was quickly setting. Just get the essential items off the truck (thankfully, we asked them to pack them last), and go get some rest.
While I was off doing something, he was speaking to Emily regarding the whole single-mover issue. He related a story about how he had bitched to his manager about the situation. He was (supposedly) told, “well, she’s married, right? Her husband can help you unload.” Wow. Where do I begin with comments on that? Pick one of your own and let your mind wander. We paid a lot of money – for THEM to load, move and unload our truck. Besides, I’m pretty sure it’s against the rules of any company for me to be unloading their (rented) truck. That would saddle them with extra liability.
The TL;DR of this next portion of the story is that hotels in the area were either booked solid or too expensive, so he decided he would sleep in the bed of his truck. He would only need about 2-3 hours in the morning, and he would be done.
I had to work on Wednesday, but I am told he started at just after 9am.
Let me tell you a story.
Roger explains that he had just started with Piggyback Moving & Storage. In fact, this was his first actual job with them. He liked the company well enough, but had a lot of issues with management.
Other stories Roger related to me included stuff about his manager telling him to blow through weigh-stations and inspection points and his pre-paid gas card emptying out halfway through his drive. The DOT pulled him over for skipping too many inspections and something about being forced off the road for a while for driving too long per day. Some of it sounded rather incredulous, but this man holds power over all of our material possessions. I’m not about to get into that sort of conversation with him.
I’m telling my mom!
I believe it was Tuesday night when I posted some of the drama on Facebook – along with the quote about me helping unload the truck. Apparently, my mother saw the post and called Emily to ask for the phone number of the company. She called and bitched at the office manager. It was probably warranted, but it felt premature to me at the time.
The office manager (Nikki, I believe) called me a short while later. She had been unable to reach Emily, so she was calling to ask about my unhappiness with the whole situation. I explained that I was not at the house. While we were not thrilled with how things had been going with the move, that not all of it was their fault. By this point, most of our concern was a matter of head scratching, “why the hell are you doing it like this?” moments.
She acknowledged, but didn’t really apologize for the fact that there was a breakdown in communication somewhere which led to the movers showing up unprepared.
I also mentioned the whole “Her husband can help you unload” story. She said that that was what my mother had been the most furious about. Interestingly, Nikki never actually denied this conversation.
Piggyback Moving & Storage either employs liars, or is run by them. Maybe both.
My first and primary concern was that our belongings had been loaded by three men, but only one man had been sent for transport and unpacking. Straight away, she tries telling me how two of the three gentlemen sent to load the truck were new or generally inexperienced. The African-American man, for example, was a trainee. It was his first day.
I stopped her there. But she kept trying to tell me that he was brand new and was not ready for a long distance move or unpacking. I asked why then, he was at our new house unloading the truck. We went back and forth a few times before she “realized” that she had confused who had been sent for loading the truck – believing it was some OTHER African-American employee of theirs.
She continued on to say that Roger always prefers to work by himself. But wait a second – Roger claimed that this was his first job with the company. She denied this, saying that Roger had been working for them for quite a while.
The topic of Roger sleeping in his cab overnight came up. She explains this away saying that that was part of why he doesn’t like working with other people. Other crew members demand they stay in a hotel; Roger hates hotels as he once got bedbugs at one.
I didn’t even bother going into the stories about being told to bypass inspection stations or the gas card not being enough to get him all the way up to Maryland.
Who was telling the truth? I don’t know. I also don’t care. At least one person was lying. Maybe both. Probably both.
Nikki told me she would be calling Roger straight away to clear things up.
As I was told by Emily, she basically just called and told him to hurry his ass up.
2-3 more hours by yourself, eh?
I kept in touch with Emily throughout the day. At some point, one of our new neighbors from down the street started helping Roger unload the truck. Actually, he and a few of his small kids were helping (granted, they were just kid-helping). I don’t know exactly how long they were helping, but in either case, Roger did not have the truck unloaded in 2 to 3 hours. Not in the least.
I arrived home at about 6:30pm. He had just recently finished. This brings his total unloading time up to 11 hours – a far cry from the 4 that he estimated. He and Emily were signing the paperwork and Emily was on the phone with the manager expressing some of the dissatisfaction with the whole experience.
We can fix that. I just don’t know how.
Part of this was going over some of the damage Roger and his crew had done to our belongings. The most readily obvious was the chipped glass dinner table. We would later find that if any of our items could be warped, they warped it. The latch-hinge for our bar was broken. The back of our entertainment center (granted, just cardboard) had been ripped off in parts – and warped. Scuffs, scratches… we haven’t even unwrapped all of the art yet.
The manager assured Emily that they would take care of fixing the glass table.
“How? I don’t know anything about repairing glass. Can you even do that?”
“Oh, I don’t actually know. I just figured it could be done.”
“If you say so.”
“Or you could just buy a new one and invoice us.”
Because after all this, I’m sure we can trust them to pay us back for a new tabletop.
Remember when I told you he was lying? That was a lie. Or was it?
OK, so by now Nikki had told Emily that “the same crew” would be loading and unloading our truck.
Then Roger shows up by himself and says the company only sent him – and that he had protested it.
Then Nikki tells me that Roger was lying and that Roger requested to work by himself.
But then Nikki tells my wife that “it is standard for us to only send one person to move/unload”.
So, who were you lying to, Nikki? Me or my wife?
They’re being unreasonable.
Emily explained to Nikki that we will never use them again. Ever. Roger seemed half-smug about it and proceeded to show me the job sheet as though it vindicated him somehow.
“What does it say in that section there?”
“Estimated time: 1-5 days.”
“So why were they rushing me so much?”
Oh, I don’t know – because spending 3 days unloading a truck seems excessive? Shut up and get out of my house already.
The 90′s called. They want their website back.
Here is the website for Piggyback Moving & Storage. Check out their awesome use of Comic-Sans, cropped text in the banner (even in the original image) AND their broken English. “Combing Your Furniture With Others Headed In The Same Direction To Save You Money” Please, stop combing my furniture, you worthless hacks.
Wait, Do They Actually Piggyback Shipments?
If I had known about Piggyback shipping practices (in general, not just this company), I would have likely steered Emily away from them. Neither of us knew though, and I didn’t even know the name of the company until I drove down for the actual move.
Our cargo was not piggybacked with any other shipment. Our truck was full. That was just our experience though and their website implies that they DO normally piggyback shipments. I don’t like that idea. No, sir. Not one bit.
Summarize all this crap.
Do not waste your time or money with Piggyback Moving & Storage. They are slow. They are inefficient. They are liars.
Piggyback Moving & Storage Rating: Rating: