March 27, 2013

Dependable Auto Shippers Review

From yelp:

If I could give zero stars, I would.  There is nothing dependable about Dependable Auto Shippers.  My husband was being medically discharged from the Army.  So I scheduled DAS to ship our cars from Nashville, TN to Lafayette, CA.  Brian took my order and told me that because our drop off date was going to be March 2nd, our arrival date would be March 18th.  I told him we would be out of town the 16th and 17th and was worried we would have to pay extra if we weren’t here and our cars arrived early.  He told me that our cars would probably be there the 15th and at the absolute latest they would arrive the 18th so not to worry.  They even offer 5 free days of storage so we would be covered even if they did arrive the 16th or 17th.  Well as of the 13th, our cars hadn’t even left Nashville.  I called and spoke with someone on the 13th and they told me that the 18th was estimation and not a guarantee.  I explained what we had been told and she told me someone would call me back after they talked with dispatch.  No one ever did.  I called and spoke with someone on the 14th, they told me to once again ‘be patient’ and that they would contact dispatch and get back to me.  No one ever did.  I called and spoke with someone on the 15th who said all the same things and forwarded me to her manager’s voicemail.  Neither called me back.  On the 18th (the day our cars were supposed to arrive!!), I called and spoke with a nice woman named Ladona Marshall in customer service.  I explained that at this point it felt like a scam and that we were going to call the Nashville Police and ask what our next steps should be.  DAS collects payment in full three days before you drop your cars off so they really have no incentive to actually deliver the cars.  She said she would talk to her manager and call me back.  Ladona did call back (I guess mentioning getting the police involved is the only way to get DAS to take you seriously) and said that dispatch would have our cars leaving on Tuesday the 19th arriving Saturday the 23rd.  She called back on Tuesday to tell me that the cars were not going to leave that day, but instead would leave Wednesday.  She said the delivery date remained the same.  She also said that I should call back after our cars were delivered because she was working with her manager to see if they could provide some sort of compensation because we were verbally promised our cars by the 18th. I called Saturday morning at Ladona told me that our cars were still on schedule to arrive today and provided me with the number for PM Express in Livermore, CA where they were going to be delivered.  I called PM Express and the guy told me that he could see that our cars were in Nevada.  For some reason Ladona either couldn’t see this information or didn’t share this information with me.  He said our cars wouldn’t be arriving until the afternoon or early evening so we would have to wait until Monday to get them.  Monday morning I woke up to a voicemail from the guy at PM Express saying that the cars had arrived and that they would be delivered between 9 and 1.  At 10:35, I received a call from the PM Express employee with our vehicles saying he would be there in 25 minutes.  25 minutes later the phone rang and we walked outside.  The PM Express employee had already unloaded our cars and was ready to hand us the keys.  PM Express was the only positive point of this experience.  Their customer service was exceptional. I’ve tried calling Ladona multiple times since our cars have been delivered to follow up on compensation like she said and she has always ‘been away from her desk’ according to the other customer service employees.  She has not returned any phone calls.  Additionally, all messages left for her manager, Karen Johnson, have also gone unanswered.  DAS sent me to links to customer surveys (one for each car) and the links are broken. Pretty fitting. All in all, it would have been less stressful to push our cars from TN to CA.  If DAS wants to stay in business, they need to hire more dispatchers, and hire a completely new customer service department that actually has answers.

Update: Karen Johnson did finally email me.  They are giving us a $100 refund.

March 22, 2013

Stevens Worldwide Van Lines Review

Here's my yelp review....

If I could give zero stars, I would. Dale Sisson was assigned as our case manager for our military move from TN to CA. Our driver was Dwayne and he arrived with his two helpers early the morning of our load on Friday March 1st.  45 minutes into being there, one of the helpers pulled me aside and said, “If your husband is going to tip us, he should just give me the tip because I’m the one doing all the work.”  I was appalled to say the least.  Dwayne tended to disappear a lot to “make phone calls” which was actually code for smoking in his cab.  The second helper spent most of the day hiding out in the truck “organizing things” and only came in the house to carry light things.  Overall the load was fine minus the fact that they put a massive scratch in our bookshelf because they were careless and in a rush to SHOVE our sleeper sofa out the door.  Dwayne said he would arrive in CA on March 13th.  My husband called Dwayne on Saturday the 9th to check in and Dwayne said that he would arrive late on the 13th.  Tuesday the 12th, Dale called to tell us that Dwayne would actually arrive on the 14th.  Dwayne called the night of the 12th to tell us that he would actually be arriving the morning of the 13th.  Needless to say we had to change our plans a lot.  The morning of the 13th Dwayne called 15 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive to say that he was stuck in the scales somewhere and that he would be there in 3 hours.  That math doesn’t even make sense.  He then called to say he would be there an hour early.  So we arrived and waited.  Dwayne finally arrived 15 minutes late (apparently he got a speeding ticket…) and told us that he could not deliver because the hill was too steep and that he would have to do a shuttle load.  Meaning that he would have to rent a U-haul to get our items to our apartment.  My husband called three hours later for a status update and Dwayne said he was unable to get the truck and that he would have to get the truck the next morning and deliver by noon.  We tried and tried to get a hold of Dale but he had clearly left the office early that day (we called at 4pm his time).  I finally got a hold of Megan who said that the way our situation was being handled was completely unacceptable and that she would make phone calls and that someone would get back to me by the end of the day.  No one ever called back.  The next morning, Dale called and had a plethora of excuses for what was going on.  Dwayne called at 8:30 to say he was at our apartment and ready to unload.  The local U-haul opens at 8:30---so clearly Dwayne did get the truck the day before and he was just too lazy to unload our items the same day.  Completely unacceptable.  The actual move in was fine—minus the massive 5 inch by 6 inch hole they left in our wall (which they claimed was already there….) and the fact that they left so many scuff marks that our entire stairwell will need to be repainted.   We were ready for them to leave and then we realized we were missing three items.  Our very expensive Dyson vacuum, our mop, and our broom.  Dwayne openly admits that he unloaded those items in Las Vegas.  He also unloaded our bed rails there too—he had to go out the day of our move in and buy us a new set.  We are still waiting for our claim to be resolved for both the missing and damaged items.  I would never recommend Stevens Van Lines.  They should lose their government contract and Dwayne and Dale should find new jobs.

March 21, 2013

Bye Bye Google Reader...Hello BlogLovin'

By now I'm sure you've heard that Google Reader is disappearing in a few months.  
Honestly, I'm mostly ok with this because Google Reader and I have not been getting along lately.  I've been trying to unfollow some blogs and they just won't disappear.

So on to bigger and better things.  
To stay in the loop about my blog, follow me on BlogLovin' or subscribe by email!

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March 20, 2013

We're settled!

I've pretty MIA on this thing lately.  But we are back in business thanks to Comcast.  We are in our new place and completely unpacked! This move has been a complete disaster...I'll post my Stevens Van Lines and Dependable Auto Shippers yelp reviews on here once I write them---but here's the Cliff Notes version: NEVER USE THEM.

Our cars will hopefully be arriving on Saturday and the MASSIVE hole put in our wall by the movers will hopefully be repaired soon.

But even with all the crummy move stuff, being home in California has been wonderful!  No more tornado warnings or freezing cold weather.  Our time has been filled with family and friends and all sorts of new things!

There's something about California that's just good for the soul.

March 4, 2013

We are finally home!

By the time this post goes live, we will already be home in California.  It is so hard keeping happy news a secret.  But knowing how things can change in the Army, we decided it was best to keep our move quiet and only told family and very close friends.  After a long and lengthy process, things finally picked up speed when Grant received his separation orders after the holiday weekend in February.  We weren't sure how quickly we would be able to get the movers to come, but they packed up our stuff on Thursday the 28th and picked it up on Friday March 1st!  We spent Friday night in Nashville, dropped our cars off with the shipping company Saturday morning, and by noon on Saturday we were on a plane to California.

It's hard to believe that our time in Clarksville and Grant's time in the Army have both come to an end.

There are a few things I'll miss about Clarksville.

I'll miss our apartment more than anything.  It's the first home we've shared together and it was a major step for us.  When Grant was training in Georgia and I was teaching in California we would talk about our future apartment in Clarksville.  I would focus on the apartment as the end point in the very long journey that was our relationship in Georgia.  Moving into our apartment meant the end of red eyes back and forth across the country.  No more sobbing through the Atlanta airport.  No more timing phone calls because of a three hour time change.  No more missing Grant more than I ever knew possible.  When we finally made it to our apartment in June 2011, we both breathed a little easier---we had made it to the start of our life together. 

I'll miss just relying on Grant.  I love my family and friends in California.  It was incredibly hard to leave and it was hard to be gone for two years.  But in these past two years, Grant and I have become stronger together and having time for just the two of us is something I will always be grateful for.  We didn't have any outside distractions, drama, or pull (outside of the Army of course!).  When I needed something, I turned to Grant always.  He's my person and I'm his. We've really cherished the opportunity that the time and distance away from California gave us to develop into a family of our own.

I'll miss the friends we've made here.  Life in the Army is a funny sort of thing.  You develop relationships quickly--some stick and others fade just as quickly.  And let me tell you, some of the people we were friends with when we first moved here, turned out to be real disappointments and not people we would ever want in our life for the long haul.  But as things settled over the past two years, we have made some really good friends.  People who made this experience bearable and worth it.  And people we can't wait to catch up with later on in life.  It's not goodbye, just see you later.

I'll miss Boot Camp and Vanderbilt Theta.  The women I've met through Boot Camp and the Kappa Alpha Theta-Alpha Eta Advisory Board are wonderful people who made getting through the long--information-less--weeks a little easier.  It was nice to have a few things that were mine in the midst of our Army dominated life.  Obviously the working out was great too!  I'm excited to stay on the Alpha Eta Board all the way from California.

I'll miss my doctors.  We had no idea how sick I would get shortly after I got here, and we're so lucky that we stumbled upon a doctor who knew enough to suggest POTS might be the real problem.  No matter what I think of Clarksville, or our time here, I will always be so grateful that we were able to diagnose my medical condition, and develop a solid treatment plan that allows me to do everything I want to. 

This experience certainly did not turn out the way we thought it would.  Grant thought he was going to finish out his commitment and then we would move back to California.  He's gone through the whole cycle of emotions, but at the end of the day, he has to do what's best for his body and our family.

So here we are, home in California, ready to start the next chapter of our life together.
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