What to Expect When You Move with American Van Lines—Crystal’s Move

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
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Published on April 27, 2021
5 min read

American Van Lines (AVL) is one of the best full-service moving companies in the country. We often praise the company for its top-notch customer service, extensive list of moving services, and flat-rate pricing system.

To gain insight into how AVL treats its customers, we helped Crystal, an AVL customer, finance her long-distance move. While the company delivered all of Crystal’s belongings on time and damage-free, it did hit her with an unexpected price increase. This was a major letdown, and a significant departure from what we’ve come to expect from AVL.

Despite this price increase, Crystal’s move was a mostly positive experience, and she said that she’d hire the company again.

Want to see what AVL will charge for your move?
If you like the sound of AVL so far and you’re ready to see what your price will be, hop over to the company’s website to request a quote.


Meet Crystal Lo

Crystal Lo is a foodie and a software engineer who loves going to the beach.

In 2021, she decided that it was time to move from her house in Kathleen, Georgia to Lomita, California. Crystal chose Lomita for its job prospects for software engineers and its proximity to West Coast beaches.

AVL customer Crystal Lo
Bullhorn
Move.org Moving Grants: The 411

At Move.org, we offer financial assistance to individuals and families who are moving in exchange for details about their experience. Their candid reviews help us provide unique, real-life perspectives about the moving process.

Visit our Moving Grant hub to find out which companies we’ve worked with and to apply for funding for your next move!

Why Crystal chose American Van Lines

Crystal was in the market for a smooth moving experience with a company that communicated transparently every step of the way. She also had some fragile belongings that she wanted to ensure were safe during travel.

To begin her research, Crystal checked reviews on Move.org to find out which companies we score highly for communication and damage-free deliveries. After reading over a couple reviews, she decided to get quotes from American Van Lines and Bekins Van Lines.

In the end, American Van Lines’ better reviews and lower price—AVL’s quote was about $500 lower than Bekins’ quote—put it over the top for her, and she booked her move with AVL.


Crystal’s American Van Lines move at a glance

Moving companyAmerican Van Lines
Move dateJanuary, 2021
Service typeFull-service move
Start locationKathleen, GA
End locationLomita, CA
Quoted cost$4,373.81
Actual cost$4,486.81

What to expect with American Van Lines—Pricing

Like we said earlier, AVL charged Crystal more for her move than it initially quoted. Usually, this wouldn’t be too concerning. Most companies end up charging you at least a little more than they initially quote. You should even expect a price increase to occur after you submit your inventory or do an in-home estimate.

What’s concerning is that AVL didn’t change Crystal’s price after she submitted her inventory. From the time she received her initial quote to when the last box was placed in her new home, her estimate remained $4,373.81.

It wasn’t until after her move was complete that she actually got charged $4,486.81. What’s more, there was never any explanation for this $113 price increase.

Even after the increase, AVL’s price was lower than Bekins’, so the company still gave Crystal a good price for her move. We just wish it had been more upfront about it.

Money
Can you trust an instant quote?

Instant quotes you get online are usually nothing more than ballpark estimates, so you can’t rely on them too much. The quote you get after you submit your full inventory is what you should actually expect to pay if you’re working with a trustworthy company.


What to expect with American Van Lines—Customer service

Aside from this concerning last-minute price increase, Crystal’s experience with AVL’s customer service was exactly what she had hoped: transparent. Between helping Crystal plan each part of her move and following up about pickup and delivery dates, the company was helpful and responsive every step of the way.

There were two specific customer service experiences we wanted to highlight from Crystal’s move.

1. AVL didn’t try to upsell Crystal

Most moving companies offer two types of moving coverage, basic liability coverage (which is free) and full-value coverage. Full-value coverage covers your belongings for a lot more than basic liability coverage, which is nice if your stuff gets lost or damaged, but it also costs A LOT more.

When Crystal called to get more details on AVL’s moving coverage options, the AVL agent told her that, since she didn’t have any exceptionally expensive furniture, she probably didn’t need it. The coverage wouldn’t protect belongings that Crystal packed herself (which was everything except her furniture and gym equipment), and since the company blanket-wraps furniture when it picks it up, her stuff was highly unlikely to get damaged.

Instead of taking advantage of Crystal by trying to upsell her, AVL’s customer service representative gave Crystal an honest evaluation and actually talked her out of paying more than she had to. This gives the company a significant trustworthiness boost in our book.

2. AVL prioritized Crystal’s pickup date

Originally, AVL had planned to send Crystal one of its own trucks and crews to pick up her stuff. Unfortunately, the original driver had a delay on the road and wouldn’t make it in time for Crystal’s pickup date.

Instead of making this Crystal’s problem by forcing her to wait longer for her pickup, AVL brokered her move out to a third-party company called Golden Movers. AVL took care of all the logistics for this service transfer, so it didn’t require anything extra of Crystal.

Additionally, Golden Movers provided exceptional service, carefully and efficiently delivering all of Crystal’s belongings. This is a testament to the quality of companies AVL brokers moving services out to in a pinch.

So, while AVL wasn’t able to complete Crystal’s move as it originally intended, it still ensured her delivery date was met and she got service that was just as good.

Golden Movers delivery truck

American Van Lines brokered Crystal's service to another company called Golden Movers.

Heads Up
Brokering in the moving industry

“Brokering” is when a moving company outsources moving services like delivery, pickup, or packing to another moving company. There are a lot of valid logistical reasons this happens. For example, it's sometimes cheaper, faster, or easier for a local company to send a truck to your place than it is for the nationally recognized brand you hired to do so.

Brokering is highly common, and if a company is forthright about brokering your service, it’s nothing to be afraid of.


What surprised and didn’t surprise us about American Van Lines

The good

Like we said above, one of Crystal’s biggest priorities was a damage-free move. It was important to her that everything arrived at her new home without a scratch, which is part of the reason she chose AVL.

We’re happy to report that this is exactly the service that Golden Movers—and AVL by proxy—gave Crystal. Her belongings were handled respectfully, her furniture was wrapped with blankets to prevent scratches and dents, and everything arrived in her new home exactly as it had left her old home.

Golden Movers even laid down mats to protect her floors and taped pads around her doorways to prevent any accidental dents or scrapes.

This is exactly the type of white-glove service that we have come to expect from AVL.

Delivery crew member carrying wrapped furniture

Crystal's moving crew took every precaution to ensure that her furniture, floors, and walls didn't get damaged.

The bad

The biggest surprise from Crystal’s move was the unexpected price increase. This was especially astonishing because AVL prides itself on its flat rate estimation system, which supposedly guarantees your price will never increase unexpectedly.

While the price increase wasn’t astronomical—the difference between her quote and her final price was only about 2.6%—it was still a nasty surprise and something we would expect of a less trustworthy company, not AVL.


Our take

Except for the small but shocking price increase, AVL delivered exactly the kind of move Crystal was looking for: smooth, damage-free, and full of clear communication. AVL kept Crystal well-informed and in the loop throughout the process, and in the end, all of her belongings arrived at her new home safely and on time.

While we’re more than a little disappointed about the price increase, we still heartily recommend AVL to anyone who wants to ensure their belongings receive first-rate treatment during a long-distance move.

If you want to learn a little more about American Van Lines before you get your quote, you can read our full review or see how the company compares to its competition by checking out our list of the best moving companies.

Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.