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Moving reviews in Hallowell

Real People ~ Real Reviews ~ Real Results

  • On May 6, 2013 we received an estimate from Allen &
    Coles for moving and storage for $5155.40 after a walk-through inspection of
    our household goods. We were told by their expert, after inspection, that the
    move would take one day.  Thirteen days
    later, and five days before the move, we notified them by email of amendments
    to our move -- all in their favor:  no
    storage in Portland necessary; no trucking to Portland necessary, but rather a
    move of two miles to Hallowell rather than 60 miles to Portland; no necessity
    to move two heavy pieces of exercise equipment - a treadmill and an
    elliptical.  On 5/23, the day of the
    move, we received the only invoice we ever received from A &C, indicating
    the one-day move and including storage rates of $1312.50 which we no longer
    required.  We prepaid them on the day of
    their arrival, with a check for $5155.40. 
    The move took three days.  A month
    later by email, we were notified that the move would cost "a bit
    more" with an additional charge of $2004.55 or 40% more than the original
    estimate.  I objected.  We heard nothing from A & C for four
    months.  They then 'adjusted' this
    additional charge to $1400.05 or 27% higher than the original estimate.  I offered them $800, or 15% higher than the
    estimate - the customary high-end amount with binding estimates (this
    intrastate move was not a binding estimate). 
    I pointed out that there was no storage, and no move of goods to
    Portland.  Misty Knott from 'credit and
    collections' acknowledged this but added on "additional valuation charges"
    and "a request for additional cartons" - a falsehood, for which they
    have no record of such requests.  (The
    valuation charge is on the original invoice of 5/23 -there is no record of any
    additional valuation --  and any
    additional cartons would have been requested by them in the packing - there
    were no additional items added after that inspection.)  A month later we received an email from
    Julian Coles who had "reviewed all the correspondence and could find no
    error in the charges."  He wanted me
    to call him on his cell phone.  I offered
    to meet with him in my office.  He
    refused, insisted I call him.  I offered
    a second time, to meet him in Brunswick to discussed this and go over the
    emails from his company.  He said
    "this was neither necessary nor possible."  He was busy. 
    I offered a third time, this time, to go to Portland to his place of
    business, taking a half-day out of my own work week to do so.  His response to this was to have a Small
    Claims Court notice sent to us.  The
    notice included their claim that we changed the conditions of the move 'a few
    days before' (yes, five days before, and all changes in their favor), that we
    had requested 'additional valuation" and 'additional cartons' - both not
    true, and for which they could give us no documentation.  We saw our lawyer.  After reviewing this, he agreed they had no
    basis for this claim, but said that Small Claims Court was always a roll of the
    dice, that it was possible that we would find there an adverse decision, that I
    would have to appear possibly all day, and that the least expensive manner to
    get out of this was to send them a check by certified mail for the
    $1440.05.  On his advice solely, and with
    great reluctance, I did so, and A &C cashed 
    the check on 4/3/14.  The court
    date was for 4/15.  On advice of our
    lawyer, I contacted the clerk who told us A & C had not contacted them, had
    not dropped the claim.  Per our legal
    advice, we went to the District Court the week before with a letter to the
    judge and the canceled check, to be put in our file.  On the morning of 4/15 the clerk told me they
    had not heard from A & C, and that I should call them.  I did so. 
    They indicated they would dismiss the claim.  They did not. 
    Two weeks later we received notice from the District Court that since
    neither side in the dispute appeared, the claim was dismissed.
        Allen & Coles
    clearly handled in an egregious manner, and others about to move should be
    warned to avoid them, especially the elderly, who fear court processes of any
    description, and especially with intrastate moves, where A & C are not
    bound by interstate federal law. 
    Moreover, the use of Small Claims in lieu of meeting with us to discuss
    the matter may well be part of a scam, something I am now investigating.  A business is permitted twelve such claims
    per year in the Small Claims Courts of Maine, and the number of such claims is
    a matter of public record.  But I must go
    to the District Courts in person to learn of Allen & Coles' practices with
    Small Claims, which I shall do (and cancel patient appointments, lose time from
    my practice).  If this is their common
    practice, my suspicion is that this is a scam on their part.
    I made a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau, initially with New England branch, with no response from A & C Moving, then against North American Van Lines, the national company with which they are affiliated, and finally with the BBB once again.
    The Better Business Bureau informed me last month, August, 2014, that Allen and Coles Moving System has failed to respond to them about my complaint.
    Michael A. LaCombe, MD
    MaineGeneral Medical Center

    - Michael L.
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Moving Companies in Hallowell

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