How to behave with a bad mover
November 18, 2021 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Mover did not finish the job and is coming back tomorrow to allegedly do so. How should I behave to escape this situation with minimal damage to my belongings, and finances?

Long story short: moving from a rental apartment to an owned condo. Condo had rules about elevator use which are quite strict.

At the apartment end, truck was loaded slowly but successfully. Left at 1:30 when they said they had one more thing to load and they would be there in 20 minutes. They weren’t. Condo management says they had to be done by four and the clock was ticking.

When they ignored my frantic phone calls, I contacted the boss. He finally got in touch with them and they said they had gone to get food, which was not what they had told me was happening. And at this point it was 330. I made arrangements with the owner for him to store the truck overnight, and I have an extremely limited window of time tomorrow in order to get it unloaded.

So, these guys are showing up tomorrow with the truck and they are probably pissed because I got them in trouble with their boss. They did not communicate to me, and they lied about what the timeline was. I am going to stay with my mother because I have literally no belongings, and I want to get my things tomorrow with minimal files and be able to move on with my life. How do I behave when they arrive tomorrow? I don’t want to hear any excuses or any discussions. I just want them to unload the truck and then leave. Should I offer the money to finish it early? Should I pay them, or should I deal with only the owner now? Do I still have to tip them? This is such a mess. I just want my stuff, and not to overpay for the terrible service they have provided me.
posted by ficbot to Human Relations (11 answers total)
I see no benefit to confronting them tomorrow - you've handled it already by talking to the boss. If you're supposed to pay them directly, then you should still do so. I'd still tip, but a bit less than normal given the delay. I would not offer them money to finish it early - it sounds like they've already scheduled you in when they can, and movers often have tight schedules.
posted by coffeecat at 2:41 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]

Can you get a very male presenting friend to come with you?

Can you be friendly and speak with an authentic southern accent?

Can you offer them cash bonuses for being done by a certain time?
posted by amtho at 2:44 PM on November 18

When we had an AWFUL moving experience with movers I paid the exact total of the bill and tipped the minimum amount I felt comfortable with and then wrote down every single awful thing that had happened (from a huge tear in a leather couch, to arriving five hours late to disappearing for an hour to buy lottery tickets to the lead mover telling me about how he MURDERED someone) and called the company the next day with the itemized list and got a refund for almost the entire move.

If I wasn't happy with the outcome of the conversation with the owner I would not have hesitated to escalate this to online reviews and a written complaint to the company.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 2:57 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]

"Hey guys, sorry this condo is so strict with the elevator, but we only have a [x] window. Can I get you some water, or anything else?"

Agree that having a friend there would be good, but in a condo, you can just always leave doors open and be within earshot of a ton of people (right?) so it is probably okay either way.

Call the owner now and tell them that you'd be more comfortable paying them than the workers. If they're okay with that, great. When the movers are done, tell them you'll walk them out, then walk them out of your house and into a public area. Then close your door. Then pay them a reasonable tip and tell them you're taking care of the rest of it with the owner. Go back inside once they leave.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:57 PM on November 18

Why do you think the boss is pissed? There is probably a difference between what you’re hearing and what they’re hearing. You don’t know what happened to make things late, stuff happens (like truck breakdowns and injuries), try to assume they’re doing the best they can when they show up. It probably doesn’t feel great to start your time in the condo like this, but it’s reasonable to ask them for leniency / just do what you need to to finish the move.

Be friendly tomorrow, but be present and supervise. Start making calls fifteen minutes after they’re supposed to show up if they’re late. Check for damage and check number of boxes, I would be concerned about the overnight storage. Don’t let them rush you into signing anything or paying (but do plan to pay however you originally arranged to).
posted by momus_window at 2:59 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]

And then yes, call the owner and raise hell (politely but firmly) and get as much of a discount as you can. This is stressful and unnecessary, and you deserve some sort of discount. However, I would not be discussing any of this with the workers, (who are unlikely to be interested in discussing it with you, either!)
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 3:01 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]

And there's a chance the boss might even send a different team tomorrow. Which the boss would be smart to do, given the resources to do so.
posted by mochapickle at 4:01 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]

The way I read this situation as a worker is guys worked doing hard physical labor until after 1:30, then took a lunch break. I recognize this made your life very stressful. But I also think laborers should have a lunch break. Also, they are likely low-paid workers who depend on tips. I understand your frustration, however I would not characterize what happened as 'lying'. Not to say you're wrong, but to say there may be different ways that different people would experience this. Therefore, I would not make a choice going forward that impacts these specific workers negatively.

Strategically I do suggest having a friend with you tomorrow so you don't feel alone and can bounce ideas off someone you trust if something goes south tomorrow. This is dependent on your temprament but I would be factual and business like and very clear.

"Hi guys, a reminder there is strict policy that we must be out of the elevator by 4. Will you be able to be finished at that time?" And then stay out of the way for the day and go on with your life a bit more frustrated but finished with this.
posted by latkes at 3:01 PM on November 19

I disagree, saying they'll be there in 20 minutes and then instead going on a lunch break for two hours IS lying. I've had movers tell me they're going on a break and for how long, and that's always been fine - the disappearing act is not.

+1 on polite but present and supervise, call if they're late, and itemize every thing they do wrong in writing and email the owner after.
posted by Xany at 9:14 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]

Be careful about signing anything. The last time I used professional movers, they gave me a bunch of papers to sign at the end, one of which, undisclosed to me at the time, they used to justify charging me considerably more than I had already paid to have my goods delivered cross-country.

In other words -- if they give you anything to sign, saying that they had to make two trips, ask them point blank whether the thing they're having you sign off on will result in increased charges. If the answer is yes and you don't feel the additional charges are warranted, or feel that they caused the problem themselves, push back.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:44 AM on November 20 [1 favorite]

How'd it go? I had movers do something similar (take a two hour lunch and come back smelling like alcohol). They messed up some of our belongings in a small way, but not at this "can't unload until the morning" level of inconvenience. Sorry to hear about it!
posted by slidell at 3:57 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]

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