Attention: Mr Russell Start
Moving home is stressful even for people that do it regularly. It is no doubt the reason that Pickfords’ advertising places emphasis on customer satisfaction, telling prospective clients that everything is in good hands.
With years of familiarity with the brand, it was reassuring to hear that Pickfords had been selected as my mover. My experience has not borne out that confidence.
The moving team were courteous, efficient and competent. The rest of the experience was horrible.
Like an increasing number of Britons, I’m a keen cyclist. Packing a high end bicycle requires specialist knowledge. The pre-packout inspection report raised the suspicion that Pickfords does not have that knowledge.
The most crucial components on a bicycle are left exposed to damage with the usual approach using plenty of bubblewrap and a bespoke box. It is more cost-effective, both for the client and the mover, to use boxes that are specifically designed for transporting bicycles. Anyone who has bought a bicycle online will be familiar with the packing that works.
On raising the concern, the response from Pickfords did little to allay my fears. The clichés about following international standards failed to confirm that Pickfords uses boxes that protect a bicycle properly. And so it turned out.
During the packout inspection, I’d stressed the bicycles, and the Chiwara, an almost irreplaceable artefact from Mali. The issue of batteries for the airfreight portion of the shipment was raised, and I had confirmed that the batteries from the drone would be removed.
On packout, the failure to provide the correct boxes for the bikes increased the shipping weight exponentially. For example. the frame of one of the bikes, which weights less than 5kg, resulted in a packed weight of 15kg, with an increased risk of damage to some of the most expensive components.
Soon after packout the Pickfords adminstrator contacted me saying that customs had raised an issue about the batteries in the airfreight, particularly the drone which locked in a protective casing. These items had not been shipped. I explained that the lock is TSA compliant, and that all batteries were in compliance with international airfreight regulations. It was clear from the exchange that the Pickfords team had no familiarity with the relevant regulations and entered into a polemic on the subject. Eventually, once provided with the regulations, they conceded that they were wrong.
In frustration, I provided the combination for the TSA lock to the Pickfords administrator, under the condition that the drone was repacked exactly as it had been when opened, allowing them to confirm that the battery had been removed. To justify their ignorance of the regulations, they claimed that the battery in the drone controller was an issue, and removed the controller.
Without informing me, the items with batteries that were in the airfreight were put into my wife’s shipping. My wife is headed for the Americas. I am in Europe. I will never see those things again.
The bikes arrived undamaged. The Chiwara is broken. The drone had not been properly repacked, and the gimbal was left exposed, putting that sensitive part at risk of damage.
Perhaps these failures explain why, in Pickfords’ 400 year history, in the past 10 years it has been under administration twice. Companies that put their customers first succeed. Pickfords is not one of them.
Roy R Dalle Vedove