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UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer

Posted By: JPM

UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 09:12 PM

PianoWorlders,

It's rare I have something negative to report. Unfortunately, today I do.

I had a problem with my piano's move from VA to NM in June 2005. The piano moving company I hired to load the piano onto the rental truck in VA dropped the piano while moving it down the stairs leading from the back deck to the back yard. You can read the series of emails below for the details if you wish.

This piano moving & storage company was supposedly a reputable firm. I hired them based on the recommendation of a well-regarded piano dealer that is also a member of this forum. The piano moving firm is located in Pennsylvania and its service area includes eastern PA, southern NJ, western MD, and northern VA. When I first contacted the firm, their representative said the company was insured, and that they moved pianos for a number of dealerships and concert venues in their service area. Based on this I hired the piano mover to transport my piano from the Dulles/Washington Airport to my home in VA back in June 2004. The company did a good job on this move. No problems. No damage.

Sadly, that was not case when I hired them again to move the piano from my house in VA on to the rental truck in my driveway in June of this year. What is even sadder is the lack of response I have received to date from the owner of the piano moving firm insofar as his taking responsibility for his employees' actions and doing the doing the right thing for his customer (me).

In my only communication with him to date, the owner of the firm accused me of taking advantage of him. He said he should not have to repair a piano that "had been moved 30 times". That I did not note the damage on the sales receipt on the date the piano was moved. That the cost of repair was excessive. That based on the location of the damage to the piano's finish, his people could not possibly have caused it by dropping the piano. That I intentionally drove the rental truck on pothole-strewn roads, thus causing the damage myself. And his list of allegations go on and on. You get the picture though.

So why am I posting this affair here? For consumer awareness. Periodically, individuals post here asking for recommendations for a piano mover. There are also a good number of piano dealers and technicians that work in this piano moving company's service area that have occasion to use or recommend the use of a particular piano moving company.

While I cannot recommend a particular piano moving firm to use if you are in this area, I can certainly recommend which firm not to use.

I have tried not to identify the piano moving firm or its employees so as not to cause a problem for PianoWorld or any of its members. Should any forum member need/want to know the name of the piano mover, PM or email me and I let you know who it is.

JP

----------------------------

What follows is the email traffic between myself and the piano moving company. Start at the bottom and read up for the correct chronology.

----------------------------


-----Original Message-----
From: g____pianomoving@blazenet.net [mailto:g____pianomoving@blazenet.net]
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 4:38 PM
To: JPM
Subject: RE: FW: Piano Damage Caused by G___ís Piano Moving

Hi Mr. JPM,
I sent him a message this eve that you had called, plus I am going to fax him this email. I hope he returns your call promptly. Again, I can't apologize enough that this is dragging out so long.
Take Care!
D____


On Tue, 9 Aug 2005 14:16:48 -0600, JPM wrote

D____,

Thank you for your help.

Another eight days has passed and Mr G____ still has not called me back concerning the damage his piano movers caused when they moved my piano. Please tell Mr G____ I expect a call from him by 5:00 PM EST, August 10, 2005. If he does not call me by then, I shall pursue other courses of action to resolve the matter. Mr G____ has had more than adequate time to look into this matter and resolve it in a fair and ethical manner.

Sincerely,
JPM


-----Original Message-----
From: g____pianomoving@blazenet.net
[mailto:g____pianomoving@blazenet.net] Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005
5:48 PM To: JPM Subject: Re: FW: Piano Damage Caused by G___ís
Piano Moving

Hi Mr. JPM,
I will remind him again to give you a call. I am sorry this is being drug out so long. D____

On Mon, 1 Aug 2005 14:56:33 -0600, JPM wrote
D____,

Mr. G____ still has not called me as he said he would. He told me he would call me back on Friday (22 July 20005). Would you please ask him to call me.

What is a good number for Mr. G____ so I can contact him directly?

Thanks,
JPM

-----Original Message-----
From: JPM [mailto:xxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.net]
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2005 8:47 AM
To: 'G___ís Piano Moving'
Subject: RE: Piano Damage Caused by G___ís Piano Moving

D____,

Hope you had a good weekend.

Mr G____ called me last week and we discussed the damage to my piano. He was going to talk to his refinisher and give me a call back on Friday. I may have missed his call if he tried calling me back. Don't know ... I did not have a message from him on my answering machine though.

Would you please ask Mr G____ to give me a call back today. I need to know where we stand so I can proceed as appropriate.

Thanks,
JPM


-----Original Message-----
From: G___ís Piano Moving [mailto:g____pianomoving@blazenet.net]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:15 PM
To: JPM
Subject: Re: Piano Damage Caused by G___ís Piano Moving

Hi Mr. JPM,
I received your email and I will give this information to Mr. G____ this evening when I give him all the other paperwork I have for him. I am sorry that your piano was damaged, your such a kind person and I wish things had been handled better. But rest assured Mr. G___ will have these in his hands this evening. I am sure he will contact you shortly, to get this resolved. I am also happy you made it safely to New Mexico and hope all will be well for you there.

Talk soon,
D____


JPM wrote:

D____,

Good morning. As you recall, two of G___ís piano movers moved my polished ebony piano from my house at xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx, Alexandria, VA on to a rental truck as part of my relocation from VA to New Mexico (NM) in June 2005. They (G___ís piano movers) moved the piano on 22 June 2005. Only two movers were present for the job despite the fact that G___ís required/used three movers to move the piano into the house (as you may recall, G___ís did that job in July 2004) and despite the fact that G___ís was aware of the size and weight of my grand piano. Unfortunately, the two movers had difficulty controlling the piano and its considerable weight. They dropped my piano very hard on the last step of the stairway leading from the patio deck to the back yard. Despite the fact the piano was on a piano board (the same used to ship it from Germany to VA) the piano's polished ebony veneer sustained considerable damage in several areas.

As you will also recall D____, I called you on 23 or 24 June 2005, told you what happened (that G___ís piano movers dropped my piano), and indicated I would not be able to assess the damage until the piano was set up in my home in New Mexico. The piano was wrapped in protective blankets and strapped to the side of the truck when I called you, so I could not inspect it immediately after your piano movers dropped it.

Enclosed are digital photos that show the damage G___ís Piano Movers caused. Yesterday, I had a polyester veneer repair specialist, Mr. Paul B_____, assess the damage and he provided a repair estimate to fix the piano. Mr. B_____ lives and works in xxxxxxxxxxxx, NM but fortunately he was scheduled to be in xxxxxxx, NM (where I live now) to repair someone else's damaged piano. The drive time between xxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxx is 3.75 hours (one-way). Mr. B_____ charges $65 per hour for his road time in addition to the cost associated with repairing the piano's veneer. So G___ís Piano Moving and I were lucky to have caught him in xxxxxxx and I thus saved G___ís a considerable amount of money associated with the partial repair Mr. B_____ did yesterday.

Unfortunately, Mr. B_____ did not have enough polyester repair material to repair all damage your piano movers caused when they dropped my grand piano. So he could only fix a couple of less noticeable and less damaged areas. I paid Mr. B_____ $138.78 (including tax) for the work he was able to do, and he gave me an estimate for completing the remaining repair work (all this appears on the same receipt). The estimated cost to complete the work is an additional $320.25, not including the charge associated with his drive time between xxxxxxxxxxx to xxxxxxx (200 miles, one way) and return.

D____, what I would like you to do is give this email, pictures of the damage, and repair cost estimate to the owner of G___ís Piano Moving. I would like written confirmation (email or letter) from him that G___ís Piano Moving will reimburse me the full cost of the repair work required to correct the damage caused by his piano movers dropping my piano. By full cost I mean the amount of money I have already spend ($138.78) plus the cost of the remaining repair ($320.25, estimated) plus Mr. B_____'s charge for driving round trip from xxxxxxxxxxx to xxxxxxx and return ($65/hr x 7 hrs = $455), or a total of $914.03 (estimated).

If you like, I can fax a copy of the receipt/cost estimate Mr. B_____ provided. I can also fax you the receipt your piano movers gave me when I paid for the piano move on 22 June 2005. Per your instructions, I paid the piano movers $264 cash.

My new home phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx and my home email address Is xxxxxxx@xxxxx.net . My home address is xxx xxxx xxxxxxx Street, xxxxxxx, xx xxxxx.

I trust Mr. G____ will respond quickly concerning this matter.

Sincerely,
JPM

[Note: Later I called D____ and rescheduled the move for a week earlier. The piano move happened on 22 June 2005.]

-----Original Message-----
From: JPM [mailto:xxxxxxx@cox.net]
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 10:59 AM
To: G___ís Piano Moving
Subject: RE: Piano Move: 29 June 2005, JPM, Alexandria, VA

D____,

Not a problem on the cash payment as long as they give me a
receipt.

Let's plan for the afternoon then. If I run into a problem with
picking up the truck in the morning I'll call and let you know. I
don't anticipate any problem but you never know.

Thanks,
JPM


-----Original Message-----
From: G___ís Piano Moving [mailto:g____pianomoving@blazenet.net]
Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 06:47 AM
To: JPM
Subject: Re: Piano Move: 29 June 2005, JPM, Alexandria, VA

Hi Mr JPM,

The date of the 29th is not a problem at all, I will put that
On the schedule. The only problem at this point I can't promise they
could come in the afternoon. He doesn't schedule the moves until the
night before and it would depend on how many moves end up on the
schedule and the area they end up in. What I am going to do is put as
many moves as I can around the Alexandria Va area so they may have
enough to keep them, but no matter how many I put on when the owner
does the scheduling the night before he will give you a 2-4 hour
window, depending on how tight the schedule is. I will however let
him know your preference for the time.

The price for that size piano is $220 + $4 per step. The only other
thing, because of problems in the past G___ís has a strict policy
of cash only when we are loading a piano onto someone else's truck and
they are heading out of town. We are a small company and when we do
a move and the checks bounce its hard to track down someone who has
moved away. I hope this won't inconvenience you too much.

I look forward to working with you this spring and if you have any
questions please don't hesitate to let me know.

Thanks!

D____


-----Original Message-----
From: JPM
[mailto:xxxxxxx@cox.net]
Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 6:22 AM
To: g___spianomoving@blazenet.net
Subject: Piano Move: 29 June 2005, JPM, Alexandria, VA
JPM wrote:

D____,

Hi. I talked to you last week about hiring your guys to load my 7 ft grand piano on a rental truck that I will drive to New Mexico this summer. I just wanted to confirm the date: Wednesday, 29 June 2005.

I would prefer an early afternoon move. I'll be picking up the rental truck that morning. If you can have them arrive at 1:00 PM, it will give me time to load the rest of the truck with my household goods after the piano is safely loaded and secured in the truck. I want to start driving the same day.

You're guys delivered and set up the piano for me last summer so they should not have a problem with the move. The biggest challenge will be the 11 steps down from the deck to the back yard. As long as they bring a piano dolly with pneumatic (inflatable) tires they should have no problem moving the piano from the back yard to the truck once they lower it from the deck. This the same way they moved the piano into the house last summer.

I have the piano board the piano arrived with when it was shipped from Germany last summer. I want to use it again.

I live at xxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx, Alexandria, VA 22309. My house is located in xxxxxxxxx Estates which is just behind (east) of Mount Vernon High School. The nearest major intersection is Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) and Highway 235 (Mount Vernon Road). The main street into Riverside Estates is xxxxxxxxx Lane, which intersects with xxxxxxx xxxxxxx on the †back side of the subdivision. They should see a 16 ft rental truck in front of the house when they arrive.

My home # xxx-xxx-xxxx and cell # xxx-xxx-xxxx.

You estimated the cost to be around $230 or $240. I plan to pay by check if that's ok with you.

Please let me know that is date is confirmed and that if the price quote is firm.

Thanks,
JPM
Posted By: justme

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 09:25 PM

That's awful. frown
Posted By: lilylady

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 10:14 PM

JPM and all..

I would be more concerned about the damage INSIDE the piano from a drop.

Am I the only one that thinks this way?

Terrible situation JPM and it seems that you are being more than reasonable.

It sounds so sleezy that they admit they dropped it, and therefore did a lousy job of transportation, yet do nothing to compensate.

I hope this gets resolved for you.

Is this lawyer time?

Roberta
Posted By: klavierspielerin

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 10:43 PM

That's ridiculous. I'm sorry you have to go through something like this. mad
Posted By: markallen

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 11:31 PM

What a mess, sorry to hear about it.

Check and see if the movers were licensed and bonded. If so, file a claim against thier bond and let the bonding company work it out with them. Otherwise, turn it over to your homeowners and let them fight the battle. This is the kind of thing that robs way too much of our energy trying to resolve.
Posted By: pianodevo

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/10/05 11:56 PM

JPM,

Very sorry to hear about your problem.

Perhaps the movers are trying to rip you off, knowing you live so far away now. If you cannot get satisfaction, would it be possible to give your power of attorney to a relative or friend in your previous place of residence, and have that person take the movers to small claims court? That way, you avoid all attorney's fees. BTW, some small claims courts will award you double or triple the amount you are owed.

I want to mention that when my 7' 4" grand was delivered, the piano moving company used *five* movers (it was up one flight of stairs). I am aghast that your company only sent two guys. *** That alone *** sounds negligent (though I am not a lawyer), when they knew there were, I believe, 11 steps involved.

Best wishes and keep us posted. Hope you pursue the b*****ds and get every penny they owe you.
Posted By: CHAS

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 02:40 AM

Contact the company you have your homeowners with, ASAP, before you miss any time limitation.
Posted By: kathyk

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 02:43 AM

What stupid people. As someone in business for myself, I adhere strongly to the basic rule of customer first. For goodness sakes, it doesn't even sound as if your damages will cost all that much to mitigate. What are they thinking?!!

Sock it to them, JPM. Probably not worth the cost of pursuing a suit, but I would definitely demand to know who insures them and put a claim in directly to the insurance company. If they don't comply with giving you the information, call, the better busines bureau of their locale. What schmucks.
Posted By: John Citron

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 04:10 AM

JPM,

That is so terrible. Freight companies in general are wicked to get claims paid. I've had to file a couple in the past for the company I work for. I don't know what insurance companies they have, but they are nasty and will fight to the death.

I hope you can get this resolved soon.

John
Posted By: Norbert

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 05:46 AM

JPM:

Very sorry to hear your most aggravating loss!

Try to pursue all recommended channels and methods until this thing is cleared up!

"Verfluchte Sauerei"!! mad mad

Norbert frown
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 11:51 AM

I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. Fortunately, the only damage was to the polyester finish. The piano plays and sounds fine. Just to make sure none of strings were unseated, I'll ask my tech to re-seat them before the next tuning.

I would like to avoid lawyers and the courts but I have not excluded any option. The piano was insured under its own Personal Article Floater so I am fully covered.

Mark, I appreciate the info on finding out about the mover's bonding and insurance companies. The trick will be finding out who they are. I doubt the mover will volunteer the information. However the PA Attorney General's Office has a Bureau of Consumer Protection that may be of assistance. Seems like a good place to start, along with the Better Business Bureau.

Pianodevo, the same firm used three movers to deliver the piano back in June 2004. In my view, sending only two movers to do the removal was the root cause of the problem. The piano mover at the NM end of the trip had five guys on site to move the piano into the house. It was done professionally with no damage to house or piano.

Kathy, the company owner's cost for doing the right thing is nominal. It may cost him more in lost business than it ever would would in paying for the damage his employees caused. Several dealers in the piano mover's service area have contacted me based my original post, as have a number of individuals with upcoming piano moves of their own. I am not done posting this affair to piano-related websites and informing people that routinely use/recommend piano movers about this affair.

For me it's the principle of the thing, not the money.

JP
Posted By: mikhailoh

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 12:02 PM

JPM,

The thought that occurs to me is that it might be important for future warranty issues to formally establish the moving company's liability here even if you can't get them to pay for the damage immediately. If there is damage that does not become apparent until later you could have trouble getting the warranty honored. I would hope that would not be true with Bechstein, but you would not think that of an established moving company either.

Piano pros?
Posted By: fmelliott

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/11/05 12:12 PM

Dear JPM,

What an awful adventure! I sympathise very strongly with you, having had damage to my piano on its move from California. It had damage done to its harp finish as well as exterior veneer damage. Really poor packing in California.

Back in 1969 movers dropped my old grand on the front steps and broke its soundboard. They. at least, paid for the repairs that time, unlike the latest incident.

I wonder if some of these guys are in the wrong profession.
Posted By: JoeB

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/12/05 12:20 AM

Quote
Otherwise, turn it over to your homeowners and let them fight the battle.
Think twice then think again before you even tell your homeowners insurance company about this. You could be cancelled for making a claim and end up paying 10 times as much as you get over the long run. Use your homeowners for catastrophic loss only (and get the highest deductible you can).
Posted By: George K

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/12/05 12:37 AM

Quote
Originally posted by JoeB:
[Think twice then think again before you even tell your homeowners insurance company about this. You could be cancelled for making a claim
Absolutely right! I made the mistake of claiming some water damage from a leaky shower. A year later, a tree fell and damaged my car. My agent told me that if I had a third claim - they'd drop me. The interesting thing is that these two incidents happened at different homes (I have a vacation place), and the agent told me that it didn't matter if I had 2, 3, or a dozen homes. Too many claims, and you're a hot potato.

Remember the insurance company is not there to protect you, they are there
to make money for their investors!

George
Posted By: Grotriman

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/12/05 01:53 AM

JPM

I too had a terrible experience with a move. Next time you move a piano, force them to purchase insurance and name you as insured. Have the insurance company forward you the insurance document directly.

Hindsight is 20/20. Sorry about this. Depending on the amount of damage, you may want to have your lawyer write a letter. This will cost you $300. Then possibly more.

If the damage is to the finish only, you may get it repaired for less than $1500.00.
Posted By: RickG

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/12/05 03:01 AM

Jim,
All I can say is "I am SO sorry!"
Posted By: Cindysphinx

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/12/05 11:32 PM

Take 'em to small claims court. It's easy. And you'll likely win. I'd do that before I filed a homeowner's claim for this amount and used up one of my claims strikes.

JPM, will you PM me the name of the mover?
Posted By: jdbrysk

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/13/05 09:19 AM

Quote
Originally posted by JPM:
...I would like to avoid lawyers and the courts but I have not excluded any option. The piano was insured under its own Personal Article Floater so I am fully covered...
I often wish I could avoid lawyers and the courts [I'm an attorney].
You definitely should have your tech inspect the piano immediately for any damage. If there is something there, it should be addressed now. If it is small dollars damage (as you suspect) you can probably handle it in small claims court with no attorney or attorney's fees. Many courts have small claims advisors who can guide you through the process. You should not need to go to their home turf if the movers had a contract to deliver to your home, you can sue them where you live. Collecting the judgment is another story.

When you have a full damage assessment (in writing if you can) send it to them with a letter stating that you wish to avoid litigation, and would they kindly refer the matter to their insurer for payment...and if they do not respond by XX date, you will have no option but to pursue legal remedies.

As you said, it is a matter of principle, so why should you make a claim on your insurance which will have consequences for you? If they are not bonded or insured, and told you so to induce you to use them, well that goes even deeper, and I'm sure many people would want to know that.
MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I only skimmed this thread, don't know all the facts, don't know laws outside of California, and am not representing any of the posters herein. These are just random thoughts in general terms that you may want to consider.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/13/05 12:49 PM

Again, thanks to everyone that responded for the comments and suggestions. Keep them coming. Perhaps this thread will end up being FAQ candidate that people can be referred to when dealing with piano mover problems.

I will provides updates as they occur.

I intend to bump this thread periodically to keep it "front page news". How long? Depends on the situation and how it turns out.

Thanks,
JP
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/14/05 08:22 PM

bump
Posted By: justme

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/14/05 09:26 PM

JPM,
Please, private message me with the name of the mover.

Thanks,
Peggy
Posted By: pianodevo

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/15/05 10:34 PM

Hi JPM,

YES, please continue to bump this thread, I think it's quite important.

I keep reading the posts, and think since so many members and lurkers will need to move their pianos from time to time, PianoWorld through this thread is providing a most valuable service.

BTW, could you please elaborate on your comment that "The piano was insured under its own Personal Article Floater so I am fully covered..."? Didn't understand this. Thanks. And hope things work out for you.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/16/05 12:23 AM

Pianodevo,

For certain high-value items (pianos, furs, jewelry, fine art, etc) it is necessary to buy a special policy to ensure you have sufficient coverage in case the item is stolen/damaged/destroyed. My insurance company calls this policy a Personal Article Floater. Other companies may call it something else.

Normally the insurer will want you to establish the item's value (sales receipt or recent appraisal) and provide photos to document the items condition. The insurance is not cheap, but in the case of my piano (which I knew had at least a two moves ahead of it before I retired), I felt it was worth it.

There was a thread not too long ago that discussed musical instrument insurance you might want to read. Some companies specialize in musical instrument coverage. A few piano owners identified individual insurers that provide this coverage in this thread.

I hope I've explained this adequately. I am certainly not an expert on insurance.

JP
Posted By: jon-nyc

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/16/05 11:07 AM

JPM, I'd also like the name of the mover. Could you PM me?

Sorry to hear about this.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/17/05 04:19 PM

I PMed you Jon. Thanks for your comment and for asking.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/19/05 03:45 PM

bump
Posted By: Ariel

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/19/05 10:44 PM

JPM,

Sounds awful! Thanks very much for sounding the alert for the rest of us. A bureaucratic nightmare in addition to everything.

I second the recommendations of JoeB and GeorgeK (this is for others out there mostly, at this point). Any homeowner should avoid at almost all costs, putting in a claim. I recommend having a high deductible too.

I'm one of the unlucky ones to learn this the hard way, having lost my coverage through a combination of several incidents in a three year period. One was (get this) only an inquiry, I didn't need to follow up on! It was still listed. And I had been covered for almost fifteen years without claims, paying for a tiny $100 deductible.

Couldn't get coverage anywhere for three years. Then when I went looking I found most companies wouldn't touch me because I hadn't had insurance in the previous year!! mad

Word to the wise.

Amanda

(Could you please PM me the company's name c/o WTF preferably as I don't check here much?)
Posted By: skyblanche

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/20/05 03:00 AM

Hi JPM,

My heart sank when I read your story.

I too had a piano damaged by supposed piano movers. Three skinny guys to move a 1923 Knabe nine footer...(1268lbs) oh yeah with a truck (No. 13) with a damaged (broken welds on the rails) incline board.

The long and the short of it is they dropped the piano removing it from the truck at the warehouse and broke the case in two...crated it anyway and shipped it to my rebuilder 3000 miles away without saying a word to me or the parent moving company.

I arrived at the rebuilders two weeks later to discuss the rebuild having already confirmed that the crate arrived safely and in excellent condition only to find the piano rim completely broken and seperated, music stand smashed, cabinet gashes and damage galore.

Lucky for me...I had a complete set of 'before' photos (120) that I had compiled for the rebuilder, documenting every possible angle of the piano, PRIOR to it being moved.

The rebuilder co-operated with me wonderfully (Les pianos Andre Bolduc) by taking a complete set of photos of damage after the piano arrived and was uncrated.

In between, I recorded every conversation with the Insurance Company, copied my lawyer on every communication, and after six months of hounding them weekly for responses,...they finally paid me the value of the insurance that I had taken out from them for the move. Sadly the damage exceeded the 10,000.00 insurance policy by some 3,000.00.

Nonetheless, I won what I was certainly entitled to, and didn't have to go to court....although I had to be prepared at every step of the way for that eventuality.

Confirming that your mover is bonded is an excellent idea. Wish I had done that, before going with this International Company and it's local yahoo boneheads. The old sub-contractor, sub-contractor, sub-contractor game. The International Company had to pay the piper for the local incompetents.

Keep your chin up and it will work out for the best hopefully. Good for you for letting the Forum members in on this carelessness.

Skyblanche
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/21/05 02:13 PM

Ariel, thanks for the advice about putting in an insurance claim.

Skyblanche, I remembered you mentioning your piano was dropped in earlier threads, but I did not know how it happened. It's good you had pictures to document the piano's condition before it was moved. It is also good to know your persistence paid off.

If I ever have to move a piano again I will take many more pre-move photos. (I had a few recent photos but not nearly as many as you.) I will also video the move so I will have more compelling evidence to document what happened. That should leave little room for debate about who, where, and how the piano was damaged if the piano movers mishandle it. I think a piano is at greatest risk for damage when it is being moved from the old house to the truck and from the truck to the new house. Most the time the†owner should be present for those events and can video it.

Of course, in doing the above, the presumption is that you are dealing with an ethical businessman that will take responsibility and do the right thing when presented the evidence. In my situation that apparently is not the case. The piano moving company owner has not even returned my phone call as he said he would, much less pay for the repair. It appears as though he is not very concerned about his company's reputation either, as I am almost certain he is aware of this thread. Given this scenario, about the best public good I can do is to let piano owners, dealers, and technicians know what happened so they can make an informed decision whether to use this company or recommend the company to others.

The other thing I would recommend is to get a piano technician to service the piano just before shipment. That way you have an independent expert that can corroborate the piano's condition before it was moved. I would also have the technician prepare the action for shipment by immobilizing the hammers & shanks, using the packing material the manufacturer uses when the piano is shipped from the factory. This is particularly important for grands since they are shipped on their sides. Preparing the action for shipment may prevent some costly repairs if the piano is dropped or otherwise mishandled.

I cannot thank Cathy Harl enough for giving me the packing material used to ship one of her Bechstein grands. I think it saved the day as far as my action was concerned.

JP
Posted By: pianodevo

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/22/05 08:25 PM

Bump.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/24/05 08:12 PM

Thanks for the bump pianodevo.
Posted By: Nina

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/25/05 02:14 PM

So are you still in contact with the movers now, or have they completely disappeared or refused to return your calls?

What's new in this saga?
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/26/05 02:00 AM

Nina,

I have not called or emailed the company since the series of emails I posted here initially. D_____, his scheduler/receptionist, said she told the owner each time I called or emailed. I believe her. The owner has no intention of calling me back. Any further attempts to contact him would be a waste of time.

The claim adjuster that's working the claim has tried calling the owner several time. I understand he has not returned the adjuster's calls either.

That's why I think it is important for readers to know how this piano mover operates. I do not want anyone else to have to go through this kind of experience.

Thanks for asking though. If you know of anyone that is looking for a piano mover, I encourage you to refer them to this thread. Even if they are not located along the mid-Atlantic seaboard, there are some pearls to be drawn from this information.

Again, I will provide the name of the company to anyone that PMs me.

JP
Posted By: shajo

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/26/05 02:14 AM

sue them for all their worth
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/27/05 11:24 AM

bump
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/29/05 11:49 PM

bump
Posted By: Steve Chandler

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 08/30/05 02:05 PM

Just a note to say that not all piano movers are boneheads. The guys who moved my Estonia 190 into the house were very careful. They obviously knew what they were doing and I would recommend them highly. Heck I even tipped them. I appreciate your pain and I would be as angry as you in your shoes.

That's another way of saying,... bump.
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/01/05 01:10 AM

Thanks Steve. I agree. This is the first time I've had a problem with a piano move.

JP
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/03/05 07:51 PM

bump
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/07/05 01:47 PM

There might be some new developments in the offing. Will let you know if & when they happen.

JP
Posted By: JPM

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/16/05 01:11 PM

I received a check from the piano moving company's owner to pay for the repair to the piano's finish.

Why did the owner finally decide to pay for the damage his people caused? I don't know for sure. I just know what I did.

Posting what happened here on PW may have had some effect. The piano business is a small one. Letting piano owners, dealers, techs, and other know about this firm may have had an effect on the piano moving company's bottom line. But that's just speculation.

I reported the damage and my dissatisfaction to the Better Business Bureau and to the State Attorney General's Consumer Affairs Division. The BBB sent me the owner's response to my initial complaint which I, in turn, rebutted. I suspect, but I am not sure, that the piano moving company faced having a confirmed unresolved dispute on file with the BBB. A black mark so to speak.

I filed an insurance claim. Insurance companies have leverage that piano owners don't have. If the piano moving company has insurance, your insurance company can go after their insurance company to pay for the damage. That is what my insurance company did. They call it subrogating the claim. (A subrogation clause is "a clause giving an insurer the right to pursue any course of action, in its own name or the name of a policy owner, against a third party who is liable for a loss which has been paid by the insurer".) The insurance industry has a process for mediating/disputing which insurer pays the claim, and/or how the cost of the claim is apportioned between the two insurers. So the piano moving company's owner faced a real possibility of having his premiums increased because of damage its movers caused when they dropped my piano.

So this is how this affair turned out. All that's left to be done is to get the refinisher back to the house to finish the repair job. It was not an easy process. It took some researching and letter writing, but at least it turned out OK in the end. Or as good as one could reasonably expect given the circumstances.

I would like to thank everyone who directly or indirectly helped me in getting this matter resolved. I know that several of you did.

JP
Posted By: mikhailoh

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/16/05 01:17 PM

Good for you!!! Glad it worked out, however much of a pain it was.
Posted By: Monica K.

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/16/05 01:19 PM

Glad it worked out for you, JP, although I'm sure the check doesn't come close to covering the time and hassle for you. I like to think that all the public exposure on PW helped convince the movers to pony up!

p.s. That was a great post of yours on the other thread about moving pianos, by the way. You gave lots of helpful tips. I wish I had been assertive enough to insist on having more than two movers when my grand was delivered yesterday. They swore that two would be enough, and it all worked out well in the end, but, as you can attest, it could have ended quite differently. Incidentally, the dealer called me last night to see how the piano was, and I expressed some surprise about having only two movers. He said that because I only had two small steps on the walk to my house, that's all that was needed. I guess...but you're right; NOBODY is going to care as much about your piano as you, so it's up to you to safeguard it as much as possible, no matter how obnoxious you make yourself to the moving companies.
Posted By: Axtremus

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/16/05 01:34 PM

JPM,

I am glad it worked out well in the end.
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Posted By: pianodevo

Re: UPDATE: Piano Mover Damages Piano and then Blows Off Customer - 09/16/05 07:51 PM

JPM,

Most glad it worked out for you.

The info you posted will benefit many, including me when I move my grand in the near future. I'll be referring to your thread ... thanks for all your efforts to inform us as well as others who posted.
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