Watkins Motor Line is the largest privately-run less-than-a-truckload freight company in the country, and I recently had the misfortune of dealing with them. Based on my experience, I was convinced they were some kind of shady, fly-by-night operation, but it turns out they're big enough that they're being acquired by FedEx in a deal that could be worth a billion dollars. That was shocking, considering their gross level of ineptitude.
In February, I purchased something that was so big and so far away that the only realistic option for me to obtain was to have it delivered to me in a big truck. Before I ordered said merchandise, the shipping quote I was given was $150, but turned into $175 when I actually did the ordering. The company I was buying from was supposed to handle the freight charges on their end, and charged me accordingly.
When the freight guy showed up in front of my house in a semi-truck, he told me I owed him $172.30. I wrote him a check, he dropped off the crate, and I immediately emailed the buyer about being charged. They said that they accidentally forgot to write PAID on some form, and that's why I was charged, but the immediately gave me a refund of the money I gave them for shipping.
A couple weeks later, I got an invoice from Watkins Motor Line claiming I owed them $172.30. Since I had already payed the driver, I figured there was some mistake and didn't bother dealing with it. After all, they wouldn't have left the crate with me if I hadn't paid, right?
On Saturday, I got a letter from them saying that they had "tried to deal with this reasonably," but that my account was being turned over to their collections department. If I don't pay within 10 days, the account will be turned over to an outside collection agency, and I will be charged 35% more.
I sent an email to the address given in the letter, explaining the situation. I told them that I was willing to check my records to find the check and see if it had been cashed, but that they should check their records first and make sure that's even necessary. I pointed out that they wouldn't have left my giant crate at my house if I hadn't given the driver a check. I received a one-sentence reply from a lady in the High Risk Collection department, asking, "Do you have the check number?" In other words, it's on me to go through all my records, call the bank, and do whatever else is necessary because they're either a bunch of idiots or criminals.
It's completely outrageous how large companies are allowed to operate. If you have enough money, you can afford legal protection to do basically whatever the hell you want. If you're a rich person, you can get away with killing people, and if you're a rich corporation, you can get away with stealing from your customers. Even if this thing works out with me not losing any extra money, I'm still being taken for my time. If I were to send them a bill for wasting my time, it wouldn't be taken seriously. On the other hand, if they can't keep track of things like a responsible business should, they can just send me a threatening letter that I have no choice but to take seriously.
Watkins Motor Line sucks. Maybe once they become part of FedEx next year they'll get their act together, but in the meantime if you need something big delivered, I highly recommend anybody to find a different carrier. If you're bored and want somebody to waste your time and not compensate you for it, though, Watkins Motor Line is the way to go.