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We'll be moving this summer to France and need to find a reliable moving company. The move will be paid by ourselves, therefore the cost is somewhat an issue, but more important is a good, reliable service. Europe-bound
We are looking to relocate in Paris starting July 2005, searching for a moving company with excellent reputation that is experienced in international moves (to France, in particular). If you have had good experiences with such a company please do let us know! Thanks, Beatrice Beatrice
The issue has been resolved (I hope) but only after threatening them with a lawsuit. There were two very important things I learned while trying to resolve this problem. 1. both the moving company and client must sign an addendum BEFORE loading any overflow onto the truck. 2. the moving company CANNOT go over 10% over original contract unless both parties have signed the addendum PRIOR to loading goods on truck. (It's known as the 110% rule) 3. these rules and regulations DO apply to international moves.
The Department of Transportation has an agency (FMCSA) that monitors movers, their website is www.fmcsa.dot.gov They can tell you if past complaints have been filed against the moving company in question. There are also links to interesting articles about moving scams. (it is apparently very common practice to underestimate and then hold the goods "hostage" until you pay the difference)Good Luck with your move. I hope this makes the process a little easier for you. shannon
We will relocate to Sydney, Australia, and are planning to ship some boxes and furniture items to our new destination. Does anyone have first-hand experience with a moving company that specializes in international relocation? Any company to absolutely stay away from? Also, some movers provide options to partially pack up your stuff yourself, rather than have their personnel do all the packing. Is that recommendable from an insurance point of view? Any experience out there in partially packing yourself?
Our family is moving to Brazil next January and we are trying to find a not so expensive solution to send our stuff there. From our search, we found out that the best deal is to rent a ship container and try to share the cost with other people. Our problem is, how do we find other people that are in the same situation that we are and would like to share a container? Anyone have had a similar experience? Any advice is welcome. Thanks
We are looking for recommendations/advice regarding shipping services to Europe. It's a small load, mostly books, but we are also thinking about taking a few pieces of furniture unless it costs significantly more. Has anyone recently gone through all those different prizes/sizes and schedules of shipping agents/movers/air cargo ? I also heard that the US mail has a competitive rate to send books - what (max.) size are the parcels that can be sent through them ? Thanks for replying - it's greatly appreciated.
Mailing books at the book rate is by far the least expensive way to transport books. It costs less than $1 a pound. Last year, the method was to go over to the main Berkeley post office on Allston, and go to the shipping dock on the side. Wander around until you find someone to help you get some book-mailing bags and address tags. You'll then need to find book-worthy boxes that fit into the mailing bags. There's no economic savings in cramming one bag totally full compared to having two bags half full, so don't worry too much about maximizing the capacity of the bag. But there is a maximum weight per bag--I think it's 40 pounds. Then fill out and attach the tags. You can mail the books from any post office, but only the main office has the bags and tags. You can mail not only books this way, but also "documents" (but of course not correspondence), if I understood correctly. Of course it is always wise to call first, in case policies have changed, etc. Also, don't expect to see your books again anytime soon--I think it is supposed to take as long as two months for the books to arrive.
The next most cost-effective way to transport a significant amount of goods (to Eastern Europe, anyway) is via a shipping company. Call around to find a place that has experience with shipping to your destination, and also to find a sales rep you feel comfortable working with. Of course these companies have an incentive to charge you the maximum they can (while assuring you they are giving you the best price possible), but I found that some of the prices are a bit negotiable. I found it very frustrating talking to shipping companies because they wouldn't tell me a ballpark price--like $X per cubic yard or per pound--without knowing just how much stuff I was bringing, and many didn't even want to talk to me without making an appointment for their rep to come to my house first. But for me, the amount of stuff I would bring was totally dependent on how much it would cost to ship it. So I had to lie a lot, and make up fake amounts of stuff just to get a rep to give me even a vague impression--$1,000 or $100,000??? In the end, it seems that pricing is based on an intricate system of comparing volumes and weights of your particular items--they calculate the general density of your stuff and give you a per-pound price, or else give you a volume--say, $XX for a closet-sized crate, as long as it doesn't end up weighing more than XX pounds. The shipping process is sold as taking 6-8 weeks, but I have heard of people actually waiting much longer--months--before their stuff actually arrives. With shipping you depend on the shipping company to clear your stuff through customs--which means there are lots of opportunities for unexpected costs (taxes, customs fees, storage fees, local transit fees) to be applied to your stuff. In these cases, the shipping company has little incentive to keep your costs low, or fight hard on your behalf, plus they have you over a barrel: they have your stuff, so if you ever want to see it again, you're gonna have to pay whatever extra amount they see fit to ding you for. But, I found that in talking with people, this is "the way it's done."
For a number of reasons, we ended up moving our stuff as excess baggage instead of shipping it. It costs *about* $150 per box, but each airline has its own pricing structure--the first few pieces of luggage cost one rate, then the next few cost more, then more than that costs even more. I found that a nearly cubical box of the maximum dimensions (72 linear inches, if I recall correctly) was a darn big box. I bought double-strength "dish barrel" boxes from U-Haul and cut them to the correct size. We brought 15 such boxes--our friends drove us to the airport in a U-Haul truck. Kinda crazy, but had the advantage that we ourselves handled customs, so didn't worry that there was any collusion going on against us, and we had access to our stuff right away. We used several cabs to get us from the airport to our apartment. I reckon we could have gotten about twice the amount of stuff transported for the same cost if we had shipped it instead (assuming that the shipping estimates I eventually got were accurate, which is actually pretty questionable).
Sending stuff as air cargo (meaning separately from your luggage as a pasenger) is very expensive--hundreds of dollars per box--better to have it fly on the same airplane you do.
I found that compared to transporting as excess baggage, mailing was also a relatively cost-effective way to transport biggish items that don't weigh much, compared to their size. The airlines charge by volume, with a per-piece maximum weight and volume. But the post office charges by weight, and the maximum volume per piece is very big. So, a stroller, for example, is going to take up an entire piece of excess baggage allotment, but will only cost about half the price of a piece of baggage to just mail it instead.
I hope this helps--I spent many hours mulling over all this--um--information. I felt pretty good about our decision to just bring it all with us on the plane, even though "it isn't done." Bon Voyage! Meg
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