Beware removal firms that offer unusually low prices

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I contacted Simpsons Removals in July to request a quote for my relocation across London from a four-bedroom house to a three-bedroom one. It was a very emotional move following a divorce settlement. After taking the details of each room and its contents over the phone, the company estimated the operation would take six hours and quoted £375, including VAT, for one van and crew making several trips.

On the day, a lone young man arrived at 8am with little idea of how to start loading, followed, an hour later, by a 17-year-old girl who told me she was doing a beauty therapy course and was not strong enough to lift heavy boxes. My daughter ended up leading the move until the girl was replaced by a man who was more clued up.

Halfway through, I was called by Simpsons and told the job would take longer than six hours and I would have to transfer an additional £1,088 immediately, or else the team would walk off. The rest of the move was chaotic and it was midnight when the final load arrived at the new house.

There are still some large items left in the old house, some items have been damaged, and I had to hire a separate firm to move the white goods. I sent a written complaint but there has been no reply and the company has blocked my number.
RN, London

Alarm bells should, perhaps, have rung when you received the quote. According to Zoopla, the average cost of a removal from a four-bedroom house is £1,800, and you tell me other firms quoted you nearer to this: £375 is an unusually low sum, which the company appears to have used to lure your custom.

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According to reviews on the website Trustpilot, you are not the only customer to have been forced to pay hundreds of pounds extra to finish the job midway through the move.

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It’s not just the quote that lacked transparency. Simpsons Removals Ltd, set up in 2021 – not to be confused with an unrelated firm, Simpsons International Removals – has changed its registered name twice this year, according to Companies House records, and is currently trading as Removalss.

Its customer service is unreassuring. I asked why it offered a quote it could not fulfil, whether it holds insurance for belongings lost or damaged in transit, and why it has not responded to your complaint.

It replied, missing the point, that it doesn’t use Trustpilot to collect reviews, and claims 95% of its customers are happy. And it insisted customers are not “forced” to pay extra – they are given the choice of paying up or halting the job, which, midway through a move, amounts to pretty much the same thing.

“All our crew are fully trained and fully equipped,” it says. “Ask your friend from where did she get stuff to make three trips? You can’t blame none of my crews, and our feedback are a credit for them.”

You have lodged two claims for lost and damaged items with a county court. It’s worth ensuring that a company is a member of the British Association of Removers before hiring it. It won’t guarantee flawless service, but members sign up to a code of practice and you will be able to take unresolved complaints to an ombudsman. Simpsons, needless to say, is not a member.

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