Transworld Van Lines Held My Furniture Hostage!
On March 4, 2014, we requested moving service from moving associate Mr. Ernie McNab who represents himself as a sales associate with Transworld Van Lines. We were living in Orlando relocating to our new home less than one mile away.
Transworld Van Lines’ slogan is “Florida’s Trust Mover”. They take pride in presenting their customers with ‘bids’ rather than ‘estimates’, claiming that although their bid for service may be higher than other moving companies that the fee will not be any higher than the Offer for Service that they present to the customer.
MacMillan online dictionary states definitions for the following words:
Bid - to offer a particular amount of money for something;
Particular – used for emphasizing that you are talking about one specific person or thing and not anyone or anything else.
Estimate – to say what you think an amount or value will be, either by guessing or by using available information to calculate it.
On March 5, 2014, Mr. Ernie McNab emailed to me a “FIRM BID” from Transworld Van Lines. His email is attached.
Included in Mr. McNab’s email to me was the Offer for Service (“FIRM BID”) with total binding charges of $1300.00. It is attached.
Notice the very first sentence which states, “Binding OFS prepared for”. This sentence means “binding offer for service” which is a legally binding contract. Nowhere in the OFS is the word, ‘estimate’. Legally, a binding contract cannot be broken or altered when both parties (mover and customer in this case) have reached a meeting of the minds. By the definition of a contract, we understood and accepted (offer and acceptance) that our move would cost $1,300. That is what we were prepared to pay and that is what our budget allowed.
On March 28th at 9:40am, a team of three movers (Curtis, Kevin and Kim) arrived and began the packing process. Note that the movers were scheduled to arrive between 7am-7:30am according to Danielle from dispatch at Transworld Van Lines confirmed the day before. We naturally assumed that Danielle worked for Transworld Van Lines. Since the movers arrived late, we had lost valuable time since living in a condominium requires that movers adhere to a strict schedule.
During the days preceding the scheduled move, my husband and I had rented a large storage unit at a local Uhaul facility in downtown Orlando not far from our new home. We moved a tremendous amount of items into the unit such as racks, tools, a Christmas tree, chairs, a barbeque and other miscellaneous things.
(Throughout the prior year, my husband and I liquidated much of our household items including but not limited to beds, sofas, chairs, dishes, miscellaneous furniture, clothing, bedding and more in an ongoing effort to downsize and simplify our lives.)
Around noon, I went to the grocery store and purchased hot lunch items and beverages for the three movers because we are empathetic to the incredibly laborious work that characterizes their jobs. My husband remained present in the apartment to oversee the movers. After I returned, the movers went to their truck to take a nice break, relax and eat. Not long after the lunch hour passed, we received a phone call from Danielle at dispatch (again, we presumed she was from Transworld Van Lines) announcing that they wanted to charge us more money for the move in the amount of $103.
This phone call from Danielle did not sit well with us and a sense of dread began to build. We were concerned why they wanted to charge us extra during the move but reluctantly agreed because a sizeable portion of our belongings had already been loaded onto their truck. The lead mover who has allegedly been working for Transworld Van Lines for 40 years told us that they had no right to do that; that we had a binding Offer for Service; that we shouldn’t pay a penny more. We never dreamed that a terrible situation was developing. Below is what Danielle emailed to us.
Note that this time Transworld Van Lines sent a ‘Binding Estimate’ that also includes the word ‘bid’ the sum of which is a total contradiction
This new ‘estimate’ went from $1,353 on the first OFS to $1,453. In retrospect, we realized that Transworld Van Lines sent us this estimate in preparation to later increase the cost of our move.
Our acceptance of this price increase was a huge mistake.
We trusted Transworld Van Lines and its representative, Mr. Ernie McNab implicitly because they had moved us in the past. We even wrote a testimonial for their website. Basically, all the belongings of our family and baby girl were placed in the hands of these movers from Transworld Van Lines. We were beginning to learn just how shady is Transworld Van Lines, its employees and representative, Mr. Ernie McNab.
Hours passed by and eventually the apartment was empty and the truck fully loaded. The movers boarded their truck and drove off without any paperwork first being signed by us. The cargo elevator at the new building was reserved for our move-in at 4pm. However, the movers were behind schedule and missed their time slot. Management at the new building was very flexible and consented with Danielle from dispatch (as we confirmed) that the movers could use the loading dock from 6-9pm. It seemed as though things were all set. However, shortly after my husband and I arrived at our new, empty apartment, we received a phone call from the lead mover.
He asked if it would be alright with us if they finished the move the next day, Saturday, since they were tired.
I explained to him that my husband, baby girl and I had none of our belongings, not even our beds. He offered to drop off the beds but really wanted to finish the move the next day. Reluctantly, we agreed because we felt bad for them even though they had the elevator reserved that evening to complete the move. The movers arrived with two foam mattress pads and one of our computers. We had no blankets and no pillows and certainly no beds. Based upon the movers’ promise to return first thing in the morning, we tipped them $60. That night my husband, baby girl and I slept on the floor of our empty apartment and covered ourselves with tarps that had been walked upon all day by the movers.
Shortly after the movers departed, we received another phone call from Danielle at dispatch who dropped a bomb on us.
She told us that in order to complete the move we needed to pay $700 extra, bringing total cost of the move to $2,153! By this time, a sinking sense of dread consumed us as we realized that our furniture and all that we owned was being held hostage by Transworld Van Lines! I explained to Danielle that what they were doing was highly unethical, that we had a binding contract and that we were not willing to pay a penny extra than $1,453. She answered that this was not possible and an argument erupted. I asked to speak to her manager. I asked the manager if Transworld Van Lines intended to hold our furniture hostage. She then promised that we didn’t have anything to worry about and that the movers would arrive next morning at 9:30 am to complete the move. We confirmed reservation of the elevator with Management at the new building.
This moving company had all of our worldly belongings inside a truck and left us without one shred of paper or any guarantee that we would ever see our things again. As far as we knew, they had stolen all of our furniture and belongings.
As we became more and more vulnerable, we were shocked and dismayed that we were being victimized by Transworld Van Lines. I tried desperately to reach Mr. Ernie McNab, fully confident that he would ‘save us’ from all the insanity that this company was putting us through. He was nowhere to be found. He did not return any of my phone calls or answer my email.
The next morning, Saturday March 29, 2014 at 8:30 am, I received a phone call from Greg Dolphin (aka ‘Greg Jr.’), owner of Transworld Van Lines. He told me point blank that we had to pay $700 extra or we would not receive our belongings. We were dizzy from going in so many circles, hearing so many different stories from these people! An argument erupted about the weight and size of our belongings. I explained to Greg Jr. that the weight and size of the move was actually less than our move the previous year for two reasons:
1. We had liquidated a considerable amount of things and
2. We had moved a huge amount of our belongings into a storage facility
3. All of our current belongings fit inside a 24’ truck
Greg Dolphin, owner of Transworld Van Lines called me a liar.
Greg Dolphin screamed at me, yelling that we had no contract and that he was canceling the movers if we did not pay the extra $700. Then, he hung up on me. I was shaking and in tears as my baby girl stood by wondering why Mommy was so upset. I called my husband who had stepped out to run an errand. We both disagreed with this ‘bait and switch’ practice that before we had only read about and watched on programs such as CNN and ABC News. In total disbelief, the trust that we had placed in Transworld Van Lines had turned into an ugly nightmare.
We tried desperately to call Greg, Jr., owner of Transworld Van Lines but he would not answer his phone.
In fact, no one answered our calls – not Mr. Ernie McNab, not Danielle, not the movers and not Greg, Jr. 9:30 Am came and went and no movers arrived. We were scared, angry, upset and desperate. Finally, Mr. Ernie McNab answered his phone.
On a three-way call with my husband, Mr. Ernie McNab told us, “There is nothing you can say to make me change my mind. Either you pay the extra $700 or you will not receive your belongings”. Then, he hung up on us.
There we were in an empty apartment unable to reach anyone at the moving company. It was at that point we fully realized that if we didn’t pay the extra fee of $700 (for a total extra fee of $800), we were not going to get our belongings back. After several attempts to reach Mr. Ernie McNab, he finally answered his phone. I asked him to send me the new and final contract so that we could get our furniture back.
He told me that he was on vacation in New Orleans and couldn’t do anything to help us. I explained to Mr. Ernie McNab that I was going to contact my attorney. He replied, “Bring it on”.
Finally, about one hour later, I received a phone call from Danielle who confirmed the move for Sunday and that they would ‘waive the Sunday delivery fee’. Are you kidding me? Now, we were supposed to feel grateful? What a scam!
Never, had we been so abused by a moving company who claims to be professional!
Danielle sent me two emails which are attached. The third contract is attached. Note in this contract under Additional Charges/Service description the following sentences:
- 3/28/14 – waiting time for elevator 5P-6P delivery of bed - $125 [there was no waiting time]
- Special Trip Due to Declined Access on 3/28/14 [The movers at Transworld Van Lines were not declined access. In fact, Management at our new building confirmed in writing that they were granted access]
Transworld Van Lines made fraudulent statements in order to charge us extra fees!
Then, Danielle sent me another email in response to receiving our signed contract. Note that the email threatens additional fees of $125 per hour should the movers not finish on time. It is attached.
A different moving team arrived Sunday morning at approximately 8am. Drew, the lead mover presented a Bill of Lading/Contract for Services along with a Certificate of Liability for Transworld Van Lines. A BOL is a receipt from the shipping company illustrating all details of the move.
He further told us that because the first set of movers did not present us with either of these documents, essentially and legally they had stolen our household goods.
Drew, the lead mover, went on to explain that the first team of movers did not mark any of the boxes, as they are supposed to do (i.e., Bathroom items). As a result, Drew and his team of movers had to open each and every box in order to determine in which rooms of our home to place them. Nor were our household goods or boxes numbered. Then, Greg Dolphin, owner of Transworld Van Lines called Drew. He expressed his regret that we might file a lawsuit and extended an apology and $200 credit if we were to complete a customer survey to make Transworld Van Lines ‘look good’. We politely declined his offer.
Attached is an audio recording of my conversation with Drew regarding the aforementioned paragraph.
Following completion of the move, we began the process of unpacking boxes. The first set of movers took several unwrapped items directly to their truck, telling us that they would wrap them once they were at the truck. My daughter’s pink ceiling fan was one of those items.
Attached is a photo of my daughter’s broken ceiling fan that was not wrapped as promised and arrived irreparably broken.
Attached is a photo of a picture frame that arrived with the glass front shattered.
When my husband attempted to remove the broken picture frame from the box a glass shard cut his finger so deeply that even a tourniquet did not stop the bleeding for two days.
A photo of his injury is attached.
Attached are images of other broken items. This first set of movers packed out household goods quite poorly, using massive amounts of paper to needlessly wrap items such as plastic bowls. Other items such as glass bottles were not wrapped at all.
After this abusive and traumatic moving experience, I began to do some research on the internet about Transworld Van Lines and Mr. Ernie Mcnab, the sales associate who shocked and disappointed us with his lack of ethics, rudeness and unprofessionalism. Well, at first I didn’t find much beyond the shiny, squeaky clean website that represents Transworld Van Lines. But then, dirt started to emerge about Mr. Ernie McNab and Transworld Van Lines.
Below is a list of links regarding stories and official reports that other victims have filed against either/or Mr. Ernie McNab and Transworld Van Lines moving service.
My Moving Reviews – Transworld Van Lines – Fraud, Deception and Poor Customer Service - http://www.mymovingreviews.com/movingreviews/fraud,-deception-and-poor-customer-service-26489
Ripoff Report – Mr. Ernie McNab – All Pro Movers Unreliable – Known to Hold Your Furniture Hostage – Not Recommended - http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/All-Pro-Movers/Roswell-Georgia/All-Pro-Movers-Unreliable-Known-to-Hold-your-Furniture-Hostage-Not-Recommended-Roswell-Geo-339658
Georgia Public Service Commission – Mr. Ernie McNab – several grievances filed with PSC - http://www.psc.state.ga.us/consumer_corner/cc_advisory/20091103.pdf
Better Business Bureau – Mr. Ernie McNab not accredited in the state of Georgia
I think anyone who has ever moved knows that moving companies love to claim that they are BBB accredited. A stellar rating of a moving company from the Better Business Bureau implies that the company can be trusted. Mr. Ernie McNab does not qualify for a BBB rating in the state of Georgia since 2009, neither are he and his businesses rated in the state of Florida.
Why is that?
The spotlight is about to shine on Transworld Van Lines’ rating with BBB. We will see what happens to their rating
As consumers, parents and hard working people, we are no different than any other human being who deserves to be treated fairly, professionally and with due respect.
In the meantime, we will be paying a visit to the Clerk of Courts, Mr. Eddie Fernandez and the Honorable Belvin Perry, Jr. chief judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court here in Orlando, Florida.
Monetary Loss: $5000.