On February 19th — one day before the scheduled delivery date — I called the driver to see if he was on schedule. It wasn’t clear exactly what was going on, but I did find out that he was still in Portland. He mentioned some problem with the customer in Salt Lake City and that I would need to call the office. It was late Saturday night, so I knew there was no chance of getting in touch with anyone.
The next morning (Sunday morning) I started calling the office every hour starting at 10:30AM. At 2:30PM, Erick Thomas answered the phone. He told me that they weren’t going to be able to make the delivery that day. Of course, he knew well before then that they wouldn’t be making the delivery, because the truck was still in Portland. It would have been nice just to receive a courtesy call saying they were going to be late. That’s not how ZooZ Transportation works, though. If something doesn’t go according to plan, you’ll have no way of knowing unless you call them every day to ask for a status update.
So, Erick told me the delivery would be rescheduled for the 25th and the driver would be on the way soon. There was only one problem with this plan. A severe storm was forecast to move into the northwest United States around February 22nd. If the driver didn’t leave immediately, there was no way he was going to make it. As expected, the driver did not leave immediately. Parts of the Interstate were shut down because of snow pack conditions on the roads.
Naturally, this meant that the February 25th delivery date was out the window. Erick came up with a new master plan. They would drive the shipment down to California and then send it from California over to Colorado. When all was said and done, a new delivery date was set for February 28th. Erick promised me the shipment would be there by that date.
By this point, I didn’t believe anything that they said. But when I called for an update on the 27th, Erick told me that the truck was on the way and there shouldn’t be any further problems. On the 28th, I called the driver in the late morning and he told me he was in the Grand Junction area. This had me excited. Everything I own was in Colorado at least! It was the final stretch. The driver told me he would be arriving in about 4 or 5 hours. Finally this ordeal was over!
Those four or five hours came and went with no communication. I was waiting patiently. I’ve driven on I-70 through the Colorado mountains many, many times, so I know that it can be pretty slow going — especially if you’re in a truck. So I called the driver to check in and see what kind of progress he had made and when he would be arriving.
The truck had broken down in Glenwood Springs.
Now this is the second time in this single move that a ZooZ Transportation truck had broken down causing me delays. I don’t know what kind of trucks they use, but clearly they need to do some better maintenance on their trucks. Anyway, Glenwood Springs is about an hour and a half outside of Grand Junction. That means that the driver knew he was going to miss (at the very least) the scheduled time he told me. I simply don’t understand why ZooZ Transportation doesn’t communicate this type of information to their customers. Rather than me waiting around my house for 5 hours expecting a truck, at least I’d know what was going on.
So anyway, there was no way the truck was going to make it through the mountains that night. I got a hold of Erick again and he told me that they had roadside assistance coming to take care of the truck and if they couldn’t get it fixed, he had already reserved a rental truck and they would just transfer my load onto the new truck. I was told the driver would be on his way first thing in the morning one way or the other and he would arrive by 4PM on March 1st.
Before I continue on, let me just say that I can understand weather problems. I can understand mechanical failures. As Erick so eloquently puts it, “shit happens.” Of course it does. Unexpected things happen all of the time that are outside of our control. I didn’t so much have a problem with these things happening as I did with the severe lack of communication about the problems. It’s hard to be understanding if you’re not ever told when something unexpected happens.
So on March 1st, my wife and I eagerly awaited the arrival. I tried to call the driver throughout the day and go no answer. Four o’clock came and went and I didn’t get a single call from anyone. At about 5PM, Shawn called me to ask if the driver was there. I said that he was not here, no one had called me, and that the driver wasn’t answering his phone. He said he would call me back in 30 minutes.
As I had gotten used to by this time, 30 minutes turned into 3 hours. Shawn (or Erick… there were so many phone calls that night I don’t remember who really said what) finally called me back and told me that he was about 15 minutes away. Fifteen minutes came and went. There was no phone call. There was no truck.
A full two hours later, the truck showed up… at 10PM. And that’s when the real mess started.
So now there’s a truck that supposedly contains everything I own sitting out in front of my house. It is 10PM at night. The first thing that happened is that the driver told me I needed to pay $1640. Unfortunately, the driver was given bad information. The total amount due was $1590. Erick Thomas had agreed to knock $50 off of the cost to cover the wire transfer/cash advance fees.
The driver told me he would need to call the owner (Oren). Somehow, he ended up with either Shawn or Erick on the phone (I’m not sure which). Whomever it was said that the $1590 number was indeed correct and that matter was resolved. I was told that the unloading crew was on the way and they would be there in an hour and a half (i.e 11:30PM!!!).
There was no way I was letting this truck leave. I did not care how late it was. As far as I knew, if they left, I would never see my stuff again. This delivery was going to be handled on this night.
Then the driver asked for me to pay and here’s where the whole story goes seriously downhill. I got $1590 in cash to pay these idiots. I had the driver count out the cash at our (newly bought) kitchen bistro table. I have video of him counting the money. The problem arose when I would not hand over the money before the movers unloaded the truck.
This is where our contract dispute comes into play. I made it clear that I would pay them the final balance “upon delivery.” I specifically added this to our contract because I wanted to make sure that they would actually deliver our stuff. The driver told me that he could not start unloading until I paid. I showed the driver the contract (shown below) that said our agreement clearly stated that once it was delivered, I would pay the remaining balance.
He was not deterred.
Erick called me back to give me an update on the unloading crew. At this point, I told Erick that we had another problem. Apparently, Erick didn’t want to honor his obligation that the final balance was due upon delivery. We went around in circles for a little bit and despite his very signature on the document, he said that he could not deliver until the balance was paid. He said he would talk to his boss and get back to me.
Shawn actually called me back. Now I have proof of everything that occurred during the phone call with Shawn. Shawn called me on March 16th telling me that he did not allow him to be recorded. At that time, I took the recording down. When I started transcribing the recording, I found that he *twice* acknowledged that the conversation was recorded and at least once in his statements, he gave consent.
Now it is a matter for the courts. To Shawn: If you want to sue me for recording our phone call, by all means, please have your lawyer contact me. But here is your consent, transcribed directly from the audio:
Shawn: The order of service that you signed for is right in black and white. On the delivery we’re going to collect money first of all. Before deliver the goods. The bill of lending [sic and ... lol!] that you signed for, right in black and white. First of all we collecting money: Cash, US Postal or moneygram before we deliver your shipment. Period. So you can record everything. It’s right in black and white.
Conversation with Shawn from ZooZ where he violates our contract – I had to remove this recording briefly for legal reasons. However, I think the call shows clearly that Shawn agreed to be recorded. If Shawn or ZooZ has a problem with this, they are welcome to see me in court. I know that California is a “two-party consent” state as far as telephone recordings are concerned. Until I was told that I had to take this audio file offline (by ZooZ, who clearly doesn’t want you to hear it), I didn’t hear the in-line acceptance of this recording. I told him I was recording this call at the beginning and during the call, Shawn made multiple comments saying that the recording was acceptable because he claims I was bound to the original contract.
Below are the updates to said contract. I have no clue why I blocked out my name — which is Eric Connell, by the way. I’m not trying to hide my identity.
And I had them sign this amendment referenced in the audio:
I also have a video of the driver counting out my $1590 in cash, but it’s not very interesting. I video recorded it as proof that I paid them, because I simply do not trust them one bit.
Anyway, I got off the phone with Shawn and it was time to call the police. Unfortunately, the Denver police were not much help. They said it was a civil matter and there really wasn’t anything that we could do. But my wife and I hatched a new plan. We would block the ZooZ (rental… it was a Penske) truck in with our cars, then we would pay, then when they were finished unloading, we would move our cars. Yes, that is the level of trust I had in this company.
So I explained this plan to the driver and he agreed to do it this way. Then we called Erick back to say we had come to an arrangement, and Erick told us that there was no one available to unload the truck. With what “Hope this Helps” commented, this is not very surprising. It was eleven o’clock at night. I’m pretty sure it’s hard to find day laborers that are willing to work that late.
There was no way in hell that I was letting this truck leave without unloading. For all I knew, I’d never see it again. I told Erick I would unload it myself. Erick said he would pay $10 per hour for everyone that helped, since that’s what they pay their crews. My wife called a whole bunch of people. As you can imagine, there aren’t many people available at 11:00PM on a weeknight to come unload a truck. But one of her friends and my mother-in-law came over and five of us (including the driver) unloaded the truck ourselves.
By midnight, my move was completed and I could finally tell my story.