This is our own little horror story.
Hopefully your bicycle trip won’t involve having to ship stuff from one continent to the other but ours did and things went badly wrong. Here’s what happened, so you can choose a better company to work with.
Before we left, we decided to sell our home in London and get rid of most of our things but there were a few precious possessions we couldn’t throw out. Family photographs and treasured books were among the things we wanted to keep so we enlisted moving company Anglo Pacific to send 13 boxes home to Canada.
At first all went well. Anglo Pacific were very helpul in the early stages, providing us with boxes to pack things in and showing up at the appointed time to take away our shipment. When we reached Canada, however, we learned one box was missing. First we were assured it had been found in London, then that was revealed to be a mistake. It seemed our box had disappeared into thin air.
Several weeks passed while Anglo Pacific, their cargo agent Spectrum and Zoom Airlines tried to find the box. It was eventually declared missing and we asked about compensation. We had not purchased extra insurance but we were entitled to some money through the Warsaw Treaty that covers lost baggage. This of course was not going to replace the contents of the box and the experience was already an emotional one for us (our wedding album, very old family photos and other precious things were in the box) but we couldn’t sniff at a few hundred dollars either.
Anglo Pacific asked us to deal with Spectrum and so we started the long process of trying to go ahead with a claim. We submitted a list of everything in the box. Weeks went by. We heard nothing. We contacted Spectrum again. We were asked to send the list again, which we did. More weeks passed. Every time we sent an email we were told someone was ‘working on it’ but nothing firm materialised. We were already getting frustrated because we never heard anything unless we nagged Spectrum by email and weeks would go between replies. Sometimes emails were never answered.
Finally in November 2007 – over one year since the cargo was shipped – we were offered $560.00 from Zoom, a message relayed to us via Spectrum. We now hoped for a quick resolution but it wasn’t to be. The old pattern returned of long times between emails and conflicting information. We were told Anglo Pacific would be in touch to reimburse us. Then a few months later with no word from Spectrum we wrote again, asking what was going on. This time someone was on holiday. More weeks went by. In April 2008 a few more days were wasted when they asked if items that had turned up in Toronto belonged to us, even though the contents were totally different to what we had sent and they were in a suitcase, not a box.
Things were looking up in May 2008 when we sent a frustrated email asking for the matter to please be resolved. Threats of a nasty review on our website seemed to help because they immediately offered to send us a claim letter to sign and promised payment soon afterwards. We received the letter after a little more nagging at the end of June 2008 and returned it promptly.
More weeks passed. People went on holiday. At the beginning of August 2008 we were asked for our bank details so we could conclude things. We hoped it was finally going to be finished. Luck wasn’t on our side though because time moved on into September and Zoom, the airline that carried our luggage and was responsible for payment, went bankrupt. Since we were travelling, we were unaware of this fact and yet no one at Spectrum bothered to tell us.
“I will have to check to see where we are up to with this one. As you are probably aware, the airline that carried this shipment has now gone into administration so will try and find out what the latest is,” was message we received from Spectrum in September 2008.
Early October arrived and with some more email nagging of Spectrum, and a copy of the message sent to another person at Anglo Pacific, we got this reply:
“Firstly, let me apologize for the length of time this has been dragging on. The whole process has been plagued with delays. As you know, Zoom have gone but I can still resolve this situation. The final letter was received and lodged so I can get this final amount paid …. I have details of the account. I will get it deposited without further delay to conclude this long running matter.”
We waited, and waited some more. Eventually – it’s true – some money did come through but given how long it took and how painful it was to reach that point, this was very small compensation indeed.
Of course we can’t blame Anglo Pacific or Spectrum for the fact that the box got lost or that Zoom went bust but we do blame them for being incredibly slow to act. Had they shown even the slightest bit of motivation this whole affair could have been sorted out months ago. Obviously, these are companies we wouldn’t deal with again or recommend to anyone.