After 78 days, our things finally arrived in Squamish. They were packed on July 5th and began their journey first to Cardiff then Liverpool where it was loaded onto the MSC Alyssa for its transatlantic journey. It arrived into Toronto after a brief stop in Montreal before being loaded on a truck and sent across the continent to Vancouver (Delta?). It sat in Vancouver for two weeks; one week was spent getting paperwork to clear customs and a second week to schedule its arrival to Squamish. Now we have boxes sitting in our room waiting for me to deal with them.
As this was the first time that we have had movers move our things it was quite the eye opening experience. The process took much longer than even the longest estimate that we were initially given. But it looks like all of our things arrived in good condition but as I haven’t gone through the boxes yet I can’t say definitively. The communications with the three principal parties with which we dealt was spotty. I am not sure if that is the nature of the business but information seemed to be on a need to know basis and we were often deemed not to meet the “need” criteria. I think the communication could be helped with more clear expectations about the process. Things like, here is an initial estimate of where your things will be and when and then followed up with a here is where they actually are/when they arrived.
Moving this way is especially stressful because, one, you are living out of a suitcase while your things are in transit and, two, the moving company not only already has your money but they also have your things. There is little leverage you have over them throughout the whole process. And, given the nature of their business, they typically don’t get repeat business for an extended period of time. Perhaps the larger shippers build strong relationships with moving companies but as an individual moving house you feel quite powerless throughout the whole process.
My questions are:
1. Is it too much to ask to have a website which tracks your shipment through its transit?
2. Is it possible to define the expected timelines any better?
3. Knowing that it is extra stressful for individuals during a move and the reputation of international movers why aren’t there better communications when seeking information about your shipment?
I am making this post about the industry in general and not specially about any particular company. In fact, I have no complaints about the trio of companies that were involved in our move except for the underestimate of the arrival time (or excess time depending upon where the delay happened) and the difficulty in getting updated information out of the companies when contacted. For instance, we tried to get a hold of the person in Toronto who was dealing with our case and that involved multiple messages left on a voicemail without a return call.
As I unpack I will hopefully not have to edit this post with a statement about the condition of our contents.