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Discount Vanlines Costing a Fortune

Table of Contents

Moving Broker Overcharges Customer $10,000 Than Originally Estimated.

The following story accounts the experience of a customer involved in a typical long distance moving broker operation.
These days, the story is too familiar. A customer does a quick google search and unwittingly falls into the trap of a lead generation website. The customer’s information is sold to at least 4 different movers, who each operate under multiple DBAs and licenses. After obtaining the customers information, they bombard the customer with high-pressure sales tactics and low-ball estimates, eventually getting the customer to pay a large reservation deposit up-front.

You may be surprised to find that none of this deposit actually goes to the moving company doing the labor or transportation. In fact, besides allowing the moving broker to continue funding his advertising campaign to perpetuate the cycle, this payment serves no purpose at all. Brokers merely middleman a service that a customer could easily find on their own if the broker didn’t exist in the first place. In our opinion, they serve no benefit to the industry besides finding business for truck-drivers who have no branding of their own.

The story below gives insight to an actual experience of a move occurring in 2022 by Discount Vanlines (Broker), DOT #3484058, who in turn contracted the customer to Mantillas Moving (Carrier). Today, the website for Discount Vanlines appears to be down, however, their DOT license is still actively registered on the FMCSA’s  website. This leads us to believe that they may be currently operating under another brand-name and website; a rinse and repeat process that has become standard practice for rogue movers. 

DVL Vanlines
Price Bending

The Customer’s Moving Experience:

“We worked with Clarke Donahue at Discount Van Lines/DVL (DOT #3484058) inquire about our move via phone after finding DSL on the internet.  Clarke stated we won’t have to pay the final payment for move until they deliver, and all items are unloaded, reassembled and staged in the home via text. (screenshot attached). Also in contract they included packing materials and for Mantillas to pack the whole house and free storage if needed.  Clark sent Binding Moving Estimate P5590424 and we paid $4497.98 by Credit Card.  Clarke never disclosed that they were a broker and it is nowhere on DSL website.  Then we noticed that our inventory was not listed correctly or pick up date.   We tried many times to reach out to Clark but no answer.  We finally spoke with Daryl on 5/28/2022 and found out Clark no longer works with company.  We requested Daryl to update our inventory list on our estimate.  Daryl revised Binding Moving Estimate to include our inventory and changed delivery on 5/28/2022.  
On 6/8/2022 we got a call from Mantillas Moving LLC stating that they are coming on 6/9/2022. Nobody spoke English except one girl that has broken English.  I tried to go over the move and reminded her that they are packing the house too and look at our inventory list.  I texted it to her.  She said she would call back that night.  Never did.  On 6/9/2022 they reported their truck broke down and they would have to drive all night with an emergency truck.  When they finally arrived on 6/10/22 in afternoon they didn’t know they were supposed to pack the whole house.  They called DVL and were going back and forth with them over cost and truck size for over an hour before they started to work.  Mantillas stated they have it worked out.  We called to DVL and spoke to Wendy.  We stated, “if Mantillas doesn’t get everything on truck are you going to send another tonight”.  I then asked her for an after hours number.  Wendy stated she would call back and give it to us but never did.  
Just to get things moving we packed our whole bedroom ourselves.  Mantillas asked if we wanted our fine china packed with special packing.  We agreed.  They never packed the china and left ¼ of house.  They said sorry get another truck.  The girl, (we don’t know her name) gave me the paperwork of what they packed and placed in truck and wanted us to sign.  I got my check #673 and itemized list off the Binding Moving Estimate to compare to Mantilla’s list to figure out what they left and what they took before signing.  Jeison (we think that was the lead man’s name) started yelling and screaming “you don’t want to pay me?  Then said, “Fuck you” and shoved all his employees out of the house.  Started speaking Spanish slurs and flipping us off with both hands.  Jeison stated he was calling police.  I waited 15 minutes for him to cool down to go out front and talk to him.   The first thing I notice was that they placed some of our expensive furniture outside of the truck.  These were very expensive items.  I went up to Jeison and stated “we are more then willing to pay you today.  I have the check right here” and showed him.  I said, “we just want to compare your paperwork before signing documents because we didn’t know what they left compared to what they took”.  He proceeded to flip us off with both hands while he was screaming Spanish.  Then they drove off with no payment or no paperwork including Bill of Lading.  
We then called the Sparks police and explained the situation.  The police officer said they couldn’t do anything but will make an incident report for our records.  We then went around house and found they broke some family heirlooms and ¼ of the household items.  They would take the patio umbrella but not base and patio table but left the glass top.  Nothing made sense.  They left most of the kitchen and my fine china.  Basically they took the stuff that wasn’t glass it seemed.  We called DVL over 50 times with no answer.  
We then had to go stay in a hotel for the night.  Then we started receiving texts from Mantillas on 6/11 at 1:01am.  Stating (with broken English) “talk you you here.  I need you to get your stuff out of my truck right now!  I don’t will do this job for you.  No? OK send me the check I o my address or Zelle!  To do your delivery I need already paid before the delivery day! And I’ll send you copies for every paperwork signed today.” We did not reply. 
Then on 6/11/22 at 938pm Mantilla’s texted “$8,057.25.  Jennifer it is the balance.”.  I replied “No we wrote the check out last night it was this” I then texted a picture of the check #673 for $7,742.25.  We will Zelle you $7,742.25.”  Mantilla’s texted back So is $7,907.25.  Sorry I did adding over this price.  My fault”  I texted back “OK”.
We went back in forth texting because Zelle would let us send the whole amount due to restrictions.  I stated I can try calling back.  Mantilla’s texted “Yes  you can, just let me know when you send and how much! And when you have already paid I’ll start to send you delivery”.  We again passed texts back and forth with issue on Zelle.  So we tried Venmo.  (SEE PAYMENTS to MANTILLAS).
Again, Mantilla’s texted “ I need full payment amount before to start to work on send your job.”  We finally got to send the last payment on 6/21/22.  Mantilla’s texted “Ok I got it. I need 21 days to send you, let me working on it and ill let you know when the truck will be loaded and ready to start the trip whit you. Thank you”
We tried to get updates and our paperwork (we didn’t sign) but nothing.  Finally on 7/15/2022 We sent a text to Mantillas.  Stating “ Job #5590424 We need the delivery date for this.”.  
Text from Mantillas “Pickup: 6/10/2022
Processed: 6/21/2022
Final date : 7/21
That work was processed on 6/21 because the payment was pending, she did not pay on the day of the pick up.”
Text to Mantillas: “That’s not true!  We tried to pay you. You took off.  We will be filling complaints with the DOT.  I recommend you get the belongings to us right away before legal action”
Text from Mantillas: “ you can do it of course but everything has a way of doing it and it is processed the day the full payment is received at the time of pick up and you paid when and how you wanted.  We wait for the payment! Now we have after receiving this our time in the legal framework to deliver! Let me know if you are not ready to receive so I can check the storage time that will be charged to your balance at the time of delivery”
Text to Mantillas:  We’ve been ready for delivery for weeks.  Thx.
Then we texted them on 7/18/22 “what is your delivery date?”.  No answer.  Texted again on 7/20/22 “when are you delivering?”  Still no answer.  We called. No answer.
On 6/11/2022 We then had to buy packing material and rent a Uhaul as we had to be out of house by 6/12/2022.  We packed the rest of our house and loaded it on Uhaul on 6/12/2022.  We then had to rent a storage place and place all our item in it and return truck.  
We called DVL and spoke to Kenneth.  They stated if we wanted the remainder of our items moved they would have to give us another Binding Moving Estimate #P5600340 to pick up the remainder of our items at storage (more to come on that).  They had us where they wanted us and we approved new Binding moving estimate to pick up on 6/13/2022.  We paid the deposit of $871.00 via credit card to DVL.
Flash Moving company called and went to our storage and picked up remainder items and them requested us to text them a our check for $1,795.50.  We have not heard from them since.  DVL never sent us a Binding Moving Estimate or any paperwork from Flash or DVL.  
We spoke to DSL many times requesting updated and delivery times.  Wendy, Daryl, Tim, Kenneth, Justin, Jenna all tell us it will deliver soon and they have to call for updates.  Then they never call back to let us know.  Now we can’t even use the DVL links for our jobs to see the details or the Binding Moving Estimate. 
We called and asked to give us access to our jobs on there server as they are supposed to be helping us with this move.  We want them to email our Binding Moving Estimate #P5600340 with Flash as we have not received anything.
Finally spoke to Wendy on 7/21/22 and she stated she will get us the BOL for both jobs and delivery dates.  I told Wendy about Mantillas trying to extort us for money for storage fees.  She stated “ do you know why?”.  I told her “I am not sure as you offered us free storage and we wanted our delivery on 6/17/2022 which we wouldn’t need the free storage.”  Again they stated they will get back to us.”

How To Prevent this Situation:

The best action is to be proactive. When choosing a moving company, be sure to work directly with a carrier. Follow these steps to prevent yourself from being in a similar situation:

  • Plan Ahead
    When moving long distance, especially out of state or across the country, always be sure to plan at least 30 days in advance. This will allow you ample time to compare quotes and make a clear decision without being rushed. When leaving things to last minute, many of the other stress factors involved with changing locations come into play and lead way to uninformed decisions.
  •   Use a Verified Carrier
    Don’t trust any random company that you find from a simple web search. These days, anyone can make a website and fake reviews to lure customers into placing a reservation. Every company that operates with an active DOT registration is licensed and insured, but that is not enough. Ensure that your mover is audited for fair pricing and operated with integrity by searching them on the U.S. Moving Protection Organization’s verified carrier directory.

  • Don’t Make Your Decision Based on the Lowest Estimate
    The most common denominator for victims of moving fraud are customers choosing the lowest priced estimate. But don’t be fooled, the cheapest price is almost never the lowest cost. Shopping for the best price is an important factor when making a decision, however, pricing should not vary by more than a couple hundred dollars when comparing between legitimate movers. The hard cost for labor and transportation is pretty standard across the board. So if a quoted price sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This trick is called a low ball, or bait-and-switch estimate. A sales rep does a very quick, lack luster inventory, and gives you a low price to sign. When the movers show up and there is much more items than what was originally itemized on the inventory, the estimate is re-done to reflect the actual price, which is much higher than what you initially bargained for.
  • Pay With a Credit Card

    If your mover is unwilling to take payment with a credit card, it’s a red flag. Many brokers and rogue movers will ask you to pay with Zelle, Cashapp, Venmo, or direct ACH transfer. Often times, sales reps are trained to lure you in by telling you it’s a common practice to avoid processing fees. The real reason they do this is because its much harder to reverse or chargeback a transaction thats done through these methods. Don’t be fooled.

  • Know Your Rights and Responsibilities 
    Its your responsibility as a consumer to make an informed decision. Its our responsibility at the USMPO to help you make it. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has put together a brochure for you to stay informed, you can access it here.  You can also contact the USMPO to run a background check on your mover.

Help Post-Move

Filing a complaint with the USMPO, FMCSA, and the attorney general is your chance to assist us in identifying moving companies and brokers who are in violation of the law. These complaints, along with other data sources, are used to make decisions about which companies we can investigate and ultimately put out of business.

Complaints are documented in the company’s file as part of its safety record and plays an integral part in bringing awareness to the deceptive practices of an operation. If you feel you’ve been a victim of moving fraud, gather all your paperwork and contact the USMPO to report the incident. You can also file a complaint directly on the FMCSA’s website.

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