Friday, July 20, 2007


...ever hire Starving Students Moving Company. They suck harder than a Hoover.

The actual guys who came to do the moving were great. I have no beef with them. In fact, they told me that my experience with Starving Students was unfortunately very typical, and that they have to deal with angry customers on a daily basis.

My brother and his wife got new living room furniture, so they offered me their green sofa I've always coveted (shown here with Cleo already stepping on the back cushions to find her perfect sleeping spot) to replace my beat-to-death red one. I called a few moving companies and got quotes. I called Starving Students first, and explained that I wasn't moving a whole household, just a single piece of furniture with the addition of hauling out a couple pieces from my house. They told me that their rates were hourly ($75/hour) with a 2-hour minimum, so even though my job was "light," it was no problem, but I would be expected to pay the minimum. Everyone had a 2- or 3-hour minimum, and Starving Students had the best hourly rate. When I called them back to book the job, I was told I'd get a confirmation call later that day. When the confirmation call came, I was then told about the additional charges, the "double drive-time" charge, plus a service charge that covered insurance or something. I had been quoted the double drive-time charge by other companies, but I was still pissed that these additional charges hadn't been explained in the first place. To keep my business, the guy offered me $10 off the hourly rate, so now I'm at $65/hour, and I did some quick math and determined that this was still cheaper than the other companies, and ended up hiring them, even though a bright red flag had just been waved in my face.

The next day, I received a call from the "Starving Students concierge," offering to help me with changing my utilities. WTF? I explained that I wasn't moving and ended the call, but I didn't like being telemarketed and noticed on my caller ID that the call came in from out of state. Has Starving Students sold my phone number? Probably.

Sofa-relocation day comes, and remember they are starting at my brother's house. My sister-in-law calls because they have shown up with three guys and are now quoting her an hourly rate something like $110, and is that okay? OH HELL NO it's not okay! She puts the guy on, he calls his main office, and they agree to not charge me for the third guy, that it was their bad. A few minutes later, I get another call, and they want to be pre-paid by my sister-in-law. I ask rhetorically how they can determine the drive-time before they've made the drive. Further negotiations ensue, and they agree to take a check from her which they'll give to me when I pay them on my end.

The guys arrived at my house and all was well, oh except for the extra charge of wrapping the sofa in plastic. Like I said up front, the movers themselves were great. But the business practices of Starving Students, in my opinion, are totally suspect, and I'd NEVER do business with them again. If I can forewarn others, I feel something good has come from my bad experience.

Next time, I'll just buy new furniture.


At Friday, July 20, 2007 11:39:00 AM, Blogger Diane said...

this reminds me of when I recently had a clogged kitchen drain and called rescue rooter - no quote over the phone, but it's no charge for the guy to come out and give me a quote - 225 dollars - i go ballistic - this is breading clogging my kitchen drain, not a major re-pipe - i tell him this is less than 100 dollar job - he shows me how his chart says 225 than offers to call his manager - i ask him to leave

the next guy that came out charged my 50 and that included replacing the trap that I had cracked trying to fix the drain myself

At Friday, July 20, 2007 11:46:00 AM, Blogger LA said...

Diane - I bet 95 percent of people go ahead and pay the outrageous rates of Rescue Rooter since there's already a plumber standing in their house. It's a racket! I'll put them on my list of companies not to call.

In fact, I'm starting to think the small, neighborhood, in-business-for-themselves, no-name outfits are going to get my service business from now on.

I was under the delusion when I called Starving Students that I'd actually be helping students. I was so naive.

At Friday, July 20, 2007 6:16:00 PM, Blogger GetFlix said...

I always try and hire the independent contractor. Sorry you guys had to deal with that.

My most recent related problem came with a major cell phone company, and the "free" phone that came with the three year contract renewal. It literally didn't work and the repair center was 45 minutes away.

In the end I got new phones. But not after weeks of fighting and frustration. All of this to a guy that had been with them since 1995!!! Imagine how they treat their new customers.

At Saturday, July 21, 2007 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Prunella Jones said...

Wow that's robbery! Do you ever look through those Thrifty pages they give away at supermarkets. You can find all sorts of "handy" guys with a big truck who'll haul stuff around for you for $50. My mom uses them exclusively whenever she needs something done.

At Saturday, July 21, 2007 6:38:00 PM, Blogger D.O.M. Dan said...

What a bummer - sorry to hear about your woes. I've seen their trucks around the L.A. area and also thought they really college students who were part time movers during the summer. I'll remember not to use them.

At Sunday, July 22, 2007 1:50:00 PM, Blogger ffleur said...

wow - what a nightmare.

When purchasing big new stuff, I like to deal with established companies like Sears. Never have any problems with delivery/charges/refunds at all with them.

For moving, in the past I used this small, owner-mover guy who was absolutely fantastic. Unfortch he closed shop. Next time I move, I'll have to find another gem.

At Monday, July 23, 2007 7:48:00 AM, Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

Oh! These moving horror stories make me antsy for my upcoming move! It sounds like quite the ordeal, LA. But at least Cleo is satisfied with your (her?) new couch.

At Monday, July 23, 2007 4:14:00 PM, Blogger EditThis said...

Thanks for the forewarning. I've been using the same movers the past several times I've moved, but that's horrible customer service.


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