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Don't hire Broadway Express as your moving company
By Ron Newman on Thu, 06/12/2008 - 10:22am
Photo by Juldea
They might just decide to smash their moving van into the Longfellow Bridge and spill your belongings all over Storrow Drive. And then charge your credit card before you can file a claim against them.
Earlier: An eyewitness account from someone standing on the bridge when it happened, and comments from Universal Hubsters. Also more photos at Flickr.
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How do they think this is going to play out in court? Seriously, that "you have to pay before you can claim damages" schtick is old, tired, and fails every time in court, so why are they bothering?
If only there was a bright yellow sign that would have told the driver of the truck that there wasn't a chance he'd make it under the bridge.
Our movers (Allen Young/Paul Arpin) did a fantastic job with our interstate move out of Mass. The driver had a GPS system (don't know which brand), which was very helpful to him. Many other interstate movers, even ones with contract drivers, use them now. My question is, how are Storrow and Mem. drives listed with these devices? Are they shown as being for "pleasure vehicles" only?
Can anyone with a Garmin or TomTom fill us in?
In making the move, I drove the Merritt Parkway in CT a lot, and I never saw an overheight vehicle. That's what leads me to wonder if the river roads aren't labeled correctly in GPS systems.
Add to that the fact that signs are poor, and it is a recipe for disaster, as has been proven time and again.
Seems like Storrow's recent history has been all about removing signs.
Parkways actually have signs that say NO commercial vehicles (NY state, wehre i grew up, has parkways all ovr the place). so even if you're in a pick up truck that you use as a primary vehicle, you will get pulled over for being on a parkway. a lot of times, you'llget a warning from the cop. But most of the times they will ticket.
I think that the signs with chains dangling off of them that hit your vehicle to let you know you're too tall are great, but even if that was the case, how would this guy get OFF the road and back onto Mt. Vernon or wherever? It's not easy. a lot of times if they're over height, they may be thinking I will just get to the next exit and bail.
Exiting Storrow Drive to avoid hitting the Longfellow Bridge
If the driver had stayed in the right lane and taken the first exit from Storrow (to Charles Circle), he would have avoided crashing into any low-clearance bridges.
GPS devices aren't magical.
The average GPS device is similar to Google Maps and other online mapping sites. It will get you from point A to point B, but generally it isn't advanced enough to indicate roads that have low clearance. Mainly, they will only delineate between "highway" and "non-highway" roads.
And, seriously, the signs on Storrow aren't THAT bad. They're BIG. And if you're a PROFESSIONAL TRUCK DRIVER, you should be actively paying attention to these visual cues --- not blindly following a GPS device.
re: just curious
Most of the more recent GPS systems have options in which you can elect the type of vehicle you are driving (car/motorcycle, commercial truck, pedestrian, etc)...and there are also options of "avoidances". I'm fairly certain that with those two features combined, even the most unaware truck driver could avoid the fate of that truck....
If you are ever doing an interstate move, start here: And when I say "start," I mean, "before you call anyone to even come to your house to give you an estimate." Moving companies for interestate moves have specific licensing requirements and are required to give you certain kinds of information without your having to ask for it. I don't know anything about this particular company, but... don't ever hire someone to move all your worldly possessions without doing your homework first. And always get the replacement value insurance. It's not that much more, especially considering what you're already spending, and a lot can go wrong between point A and point B.
Collecting damages from moving companies
Just because you pay extra for insurance, don't think you will necessarily collect on property damaged by movers. (apparently, there is a lot of skanky self-insuring involved in the "insurance" offered by movers).
We even got a judgment in small claims court -- but coould never collect on it. (It was an interstate move -- and the company had no assets here in Massachusetts).
Do they still deliver to the state?
If they still deliver to the state you might be able to seize a truck...
Probably have to move fast though.
there were a giant sign a good distance before the clearance warning sign stating all trucks must exit. If only.
Maybe not from this direction
If he made a right turn from Mt. Vernon Street onto Storrow, he may not have actually passed such a sign.
Google Maps to the rescue
Google Street View
Who among us hasn't missed (at least) 5 road signs?
The truck driver must have missed the "Danger, Low Clearance," "Cars Only," and "No Trucks or Buses" signs, along with the sign that has a truck with a line through it and the other one that has a picture of a truck stuck under the bridge. Seems like a reasonable mistake.
And don't forget the
And don't forget the "Clearance 11'" sign on the bridge itself. Though, it could be that by the time he saw it, it was too late.
Alert drivers don't hit large easily-visible immobile objects
The speed limit on the road there is 30 mph. There are not even any tire marks on the road before the bridge. I don't believe the driver had any intention of stopping. I am guessing that he had no idea what the height of his vehicle was.
As to the anon defending the movers, "accidents" are unavoidable. This was not unavoidable, in fact this was gross negligence. This is just about the simplest tort case given the numerous warnings attached to Storrow concerning it being a "Cars Only" road and the bridge height posted on the bridge. The person should sue and will win easily. If the company is smart they will settle for recovery costs plus a small extra amount in apology for their awful driver (who should be, and probaby is, fired). Otherwise, I have a feeling that any sane civil judge would attach punitive damages purely because this was so incompetent that it requires deterrence against it ever happening again.
Storrow Drive needs more cowbell
Bring 'em back, or, at the least, add chains like the ones that hang in front of at least one entrance to I-93 downtown.
That sign coming off Mt. Vernon St. (visible in the link in the comment above) might be set low enough to bang on the roof.
But maybe they thought that was just accidental.
as per someone on LJ's request...
Consumerist post on the debacle.
Horrible accident, rush to judgement
I found out about this story from another website where someone had posted it just a bit ago. The pictures made me cringe. I feel so sorry for that family!
I don't think the title of "Don't hire Broadway Express" is fair just because of this one accident. We used them in 2006, and have a move scheduled with them again at the end of this month to go back to our old place. Actually, the truck that moved us looked exactly like the one in the pictures, so I hope it's not the same guy! But I do know that this one accident is just that, an accident. I doubt the guy drove into the bridge on purpose, and he's probably kicking himself harder than anyone else ever could. Someone else said that several other trucks have run into the bridge, too. I can't/won't try to assume what made those drivers miss the warning signs.
A person's homeowners or renter's policy will cover your stuff while it's being moved, but only for catastrophic disasters resulting in a complete loss (check your policy). This looks to qualify! You can't sue the mover, and even if you could it wouldn't get you anything more than the insurance payout.
They charged the credit card because they charge it the day they pick you up. They'd probably already run it when the driver left their house. Customers know this in advance, it's on the contract and they get your credit card number a few days before the move.
But seriously, I hope this family can get their things replaced.
it's not the accident, it's the response
If it was just the accident, then I'd agree with you. But when a company makes a move this boneheaded, their first reaction should be, "we'll refund your money immediately and fix anything that's broken", not "pay us and then file a claim and we'll see what we feel like giving you."
Nearly all the other trucks that hit bridges or somehow screw up Storrow are rental vehicles driven by laypeople who ignored the signs and falsely assumed that their rental was "like a car" or that the signs don't apply because "they didn't need a special truck license to rent this thing".
This case is completely different because it involves a professional company whose drivers should be competent to drive their own vehicles. This means the case rises to Gross Negligence and can no longer be disclaimed by the contract signed. They shouldn't have to pay to recover damages rising from gross negligence (and besides their stuff never made it to Oakland) and they won't be limited by their purchased insurance (which would cover something like if a box tipped over during the drive even though the driver packed it pretty well to begin with).
Gentle Giant is best
Between apartment-hopping and some commercial ventures, I've needed a moving truck at least seven times in the past three years. I've always used Gentle Giant; their coordinator and I are now on a voice-recognition basis. ("Gentle Giant, hello." "Hi." "Oh, hi!")
I've never had ANY problems with them; they're eager to do the Right Thing. They packed, moved, and unpacked everything, I got full replacement value coverage, and when the inevitable small scratch shows up, they make sure I'm satisfied with the replacement or the repair. Their head quality-control guy came out to spend a few hours helping me fix a 50-cent part on a $200 particleboard desk which isn't even technically covered. The guys are all friendly; GG likes to recruit crew rowers, so this is their daily workout. They *run* to the truck to get empty boxes.
I've had some good luck getting through customer service barriers, so if I can be of any assistance to the original family, please e-mail me.
* Do NOT pay the credit card. If they insist on charging it, call your credit card company and insist on a chargeback. Tell the company "Sorry, it's policy; there's nothing I can do." Two can play that game.
* Your insurance shouldn't have to cover this; it's clearly negligence. They DROVE INTO A BRIDGE. If they try pointing you at the contract, you try pointing them at the media. Calculate the cost of replacing your stuff; have them calculate the cost of looking like absolute idiots with a permanent web, Flickr and YouTube presence. Your stuff is probably cheaper. Contract or no, it is cheaper for them to pay than to have you complain loudly and publicly - let alone file a lawsuit.
Again: They DROVE. INTO. A. BRIDGE. Work on how you deliver that line, and they will do anything you want.
I read somewhere that they may be temporarily losing a fair number of movers to the US Olympic Rowing Team at the end of the month.
Olympic Gentle Giants
You probably read this:
The Olympic hopefuls are all ex-movers, it seems, so no staffing worries. I didn't know that GG actually had its own boathouse (which they've spent nearly $100k on). They're very serious about keeping that culture.
This story is unbelievable. The owners of the destroyed belongings must be beside themselves. Is it possible to sue the driver independently from the company? Sue the owner of broadway express independently of the company - is that possible? Talk about gross negligence... dear god.
This is inexcusable.
The old "unfamiliar with the area" explanation
Broadway Express tells Consumerist that the driver had 14 years experience but he's from Illinois and, well, he was just plum unfamiliar with our strange roads and made "a tragic mistake" while "trying to merge" (that's what it says). Also says the family will "probably" be reimbursed the full value of their destroyed household items, because the accident was considered a catastrophe.
You would think that the first thing a moving company would do with an out-of-town guy would be to make sure that he knew about Storrow Drive.
Oh, that and the multiple "low clearance" signs after the fateful merge would have made a good hint of impending doom, maybe?
When somebody got a box truck to move west and got a buddy to go with them, I don't think said buddy got out of our 30 person cooperative without at least ten separate warnings about "that road". That's just friends, not even professionals!
BEWARE! Gentle Movers is the worst moving company!
No, my stuff was not spread all over Storrow Drive, but it has been more than 10 days since I moved to Texas and IT HASN'T ARRIVED YET! This mini company of 3 people that sounds like they are one hundred (Im sure the movers are also the sales people and the dispatchers) charged me thousands of dollars and has had my stuff travelling thru new jersey and other states, picking up other people's belongings, because apparently 5k (after they charged a lot of extra money for mini chores their movers did at my place) is not enough money to have a single truck going from Boston to Dallas directly. I've called them several times and all they say is that i need to talk to their driver and then they hang up. Im sure my stuff is gone, Im never gonna see it again. Im taking legal actions now.
PLEASE, IF YOU ARE THINKING IN HIRING THEIR SERVICES, DON'T DO IT!
charging your credit card
I've been in the moving industry for 16 years now and i just want to give you a little bit of advice about the industry. It is illegal to charge a customer before the job is complete. All moving companies must abide by department of transportation rules and regulations no matter what state they are in. By law the charges cannot be collected until the arrival of your belongings at your residence unless you authorize it.so for this company to go ahead and run the credit card was completely illegal.
Broadway is technically not a
Broadway is technically not a moving company. They are operating as a freight trucking company. They are not licensed movers. They are a trucking company that does not touch loads. As I said in a previous post, I've used them many times. I've never had any problem from customers as to paying up front, they understand the financial liability involved with driving across the country and a potential deadbeat customer. Trust me, there are 10 times as many deadbeat customers as deadbeat movers. I wouldn't touch anything interstate without at least a deposit to cover cost of the load transport. To reiterate, you are getting freight based load insurance coverage at $.10/lb. If you have a 3 br. house you probably have around 9K lbs.. So if it were a castrophic loss you would get $900. As a customer using any service, self move or full service, it is in your best interest to upgrade your coverage and ideally seperate from the carrier. You have to understand that moving companies pay high premiums with a mosterous deductible for their mandatory coverage. The are extremely reluctant to use this coverage for 2 reasons. One, their premium will skyrocket if they use it and 2 they many end up uninsurable then be out of business. I've worked for several companies where they will charge extra for upgraded insurance and then just pocket the money. If they get an extra $100 off 50 jobs for upgraded insurance that covers the few minor claims over that course. No moving companies realistically have a "scratch and dent" insurance. They all will pay out their own pocket to satisfy customers if there has been minor damage on a move.
This accident is entirely the fault of the driver, obviously. He'll be charged and never get his CDL license back.
I have used Broadway Express multiple times in my move brokerage business. They were outstanding. Drivers were owner/operators and all were extremely knowledgeable, personable and helpful. They dominate other companies, who I will not mention, that are you are basically tossing your belongings into a freight container unprotected. Broadway provides moving pads and load bars in a real moving trailer. As an expert mover I give them a 10/10 as a self move option and IMO they are by far the best in the industry. If you are concerned about your belongings, upgrade your insurance from the standard $.10/lb to $.60/lb. You also have the option of full value and depreciated value itemized coverage. If you have homeowners, that also covers your belongings and in a situation like this you would double-up on compensation.
Broadway Express is excellent
I agree with you John. I used Broadway Express before and this is an excellent and reliable company.
Sometimes before people move their belongings they need to check on what kind of insurance could cover if something happens. I have some belongings on a regular storage and I am paying for insurance.
An accident could happen to anyone but this is a excellent company.
worst mistake ever
i had the worst expierence with them. the driver hired random people and unloaded my truck when i wasnt even at my destination. all my furniture is broken and we have no beds now, this company refuses to pay for what thier own drivers doings. they said our stuff is old when in reality it was less than a year old.
how did you handle this?