News » Mention in the Times 2018-06-17

Article as seen from The Sunday TImes June 2018

Between packing, unpacking, waiting for sales to go through and managing children — or other halves — as you do it, moving home is up there with divorce and driving tests as being one of the most stressful life events.

Hiring professionals reduces some of the strain, and each day thousands of people call in movers to make life that little bit easier. The removal workers have their own stories to tell as they encounter the moving experience from a different angle.

For a start, they enter a high-pressure situation and meet people at an interesting juncture in their lives. My company Vanquotes.ie, the comparison site for moving companies, has been in business for 10 years. We deal with 500 registered drivers who carry out about 3,000 moves a year.

I knew the drivers would be have tales to tell about their experiences, so I asked them to share them. They delivered. For instance, there was the time Google Maps sent one driver up the garden path. They were carrying out a small house move, and the app directed them into a cul-de-sac in Lucan, in west Dublin.

When the driver arrived, they were helped to reverse into a driveway by the homeowner. They loaded up the small collection of belongings — a few boxes, a sofa and a bed — then confirmed the address of the drop-off.

It was only when they were told the delivery was going to Maynooth, not Cork, where it was supposed to go, the penny dropped. Two neighbours were moving at about the same time on the same day. Moral of the story: always give a street address as well as an Eircode.

Another driver told a tale of receiving an unusual video. The homeowner had agreed to send him a film of the items that were to be moved — it’s a useful way to estimate the size of van required for a move. She had instructed her husband to forward it, and he did so a few days later. The video file name was “Delivery”, and, yes, you you’ve guessed it. The file sent was one filmed some months earlier at the delivery of their son. The removal company politely refused the job, saying it was unqualified in that line of work.

Then there was the time when, after an uneventful loading of a house move from Dublin to Limerick by Supervanman.ie, a surprise was in store when unloading. As the van doors opened, out popped Mrs Poppins, the former neighbours’ cat. She had hidden in the van and taken a trip to Limerick. Luckily, the drivers were heading back to Dublin and the cat was returned safely.

Another company fell foul of an April fool’s joke after a move was booked by a prankster, and had not been ordered by the homeowner. There was also the story of the removal worker who suffered embarrassment after using the lavatory in a house where the water had been turned off.

Not all tales have humorous outcomes, however. One driver offered a word of caution for anyone putting down cash deposits on a new flat. A home had been advertised online and, as is usual, a queue of people formed to look at it.

A week later a Vanquotes driver was booked to move someone in.

When the client arrived at the flat and opened the door she discovered that someone else had moved in. The renter had taken deposits from several people and given them all different move-in dates.

Not only that, it turned out that the person who had been showing prospective tenants around the flat was not the landlord, but the previous tenant. It seems he collected five deposits before doing a runner.

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