This is a slight parting from our usual blogging topics…
We had an interesting experience in the shipment of our things across the world… and wanted to share it so that others needing the same service could have something to go by.
We had no experience in this and asked a number of people the best route to take. Unfortunately, most of the people we asked had shipped their things decades prior and much had changed. That sorta left us to figure it out on our own.
Good friends of ours who had just moved to Sweden recommended the company they used called UPakWeShip. The said they had done much research and found this to be a really great service. It might be!
We contacted them and had some great conversations… through which we realized we couldn’t afford an air-freight shipment. So we began to look for a company who would ship by sea, and thus, be much more affordable. (So feel free to try UPakWeShip! They really did come highly recommended).
We found White Glove Express. Keith was our correspondent with this company and was very attentive. He answered emails quickly and had very well thought-out answers to the questions that would come up for us. We felt that he truly cared about the shipment of our belongings. He made us feel that we were dealing with a person and not just a huge franchise company. That was nice!
And, it ended up, according both to White Glove Express and UPakWeShip, that the two companies work together in referring customers based on their particular shipment needs, so this was reassuring! We packed up our lives into 40+ boxes and sent them via UPS to White Glove Express in New Jersey. All of this was arranged by Keith and was relatively smooth sailing (other than the packing part, but that’s not their fault. 🙂 Our boxes arrived in New Jersey and were packed onto a crate and put on a ship.
We are not sure at what point the European company took over the shipment… but they did. We got an email from EuroGroup International Movers on September 10th informing us that our items had arrived in Customs and that we would be informed when they passed through in the next couple of days. We tried emailing them to check in and eventually got a response, but not in the same time-frame or personable-ness that we got from Keith at White Glove Express. The next email didn’t come until September 25th… with good news, we’d cleared customs!
Our shipment arrived on October 18th… 10 weeks after we had originally shipped it. Though late, we were happy it had come at all! As the packers began to unload the boxes, our hearts sank. Our boxes looked in pretty poor shape. Boxes are difficult; if you don’t pack them well…VERY well… then damage is imminent. As we looked on, it was hard to tell right away what the true damage was… was it our packing skills (or lack thereof, though we thought we were careful)? Or something else?
Then some of our plastic bins came off the truck. WHOLE CHUNKS of hard plastic were torn right out of the sides of some of our bins. Parts of the bottoms were missing. Lids were cracked. It looked a little like a Sumo Wrestling competition had occurred on TOP of our container. The depth of damage was yet to be seen. The shippers stacked them in the basement and we couldn’t see the full destruction… yet. They were very kind and almost sheepish about the condition of our boxes. All they could say was that they arrived to their truck that way. They had me sign the form that all of their boxes had arrived.
Then we began unpacking.
Shards of glass littered the first couple of boxes. Picture frames wrapped in bubble wrap and blankets were still shattered. We never knew what we would find as we opened each bin and box. PRAISE THE LORD that not nearly as much was damaged as the outside condition led us to fear! Some things were repairable, others not… but nothing of utmost value was lost. For this, we are so grateful.
We emailed pictures to both White Glove Express and EuroGroup International Movers to ask about the condition of the shipment. Was this normal? What happened? Keith immediately responded with great concern and sympathy, stating that this was highly unusual and that he would look into the situation. He emailed again stating that his records show that our shipment was crated very securely and was in great condition when it left his warehouse. He said he would continue to try to investigate what happened.
EuroGroup International Movers emailed with a brief statement of sympathy and that they’d look into it. They never did. The next email was a digital copy of the form we’d signed stating that we had received our items… with no words in the email itself.
We emailed them in return, asking for information, stating that we couldn’t in good conscience recommend their service to anyone if we couldn’t have it explained to us why our shipment was in such poor condition. In fact, we would feel obligated to share this information with others so they could make an informed decision when choosing their cross-the-world shipping service. We didn’t ask for compensation. Just an answer. What happened?
We never heard back!
So here we are with our story.
It’s only one story and we can’t speak for anyone else’s experience. We can only tell you what happened with us and be a small part of your research as you decide who to ship your “life” with.
We’d suggest that if you do want to use White Glove Express (which we found to be a really great service)… then ask if they plan on partnering with EuroGroup International for the European side of the shipment… and perhaps that can help you decide.
Here are some photos of our belongings (click on an image to enlarge it):