Originally Posted by Wolver
JSpira's post is almost correct. You can hire another shipper, but BMW's in bed with EH Harms -- they'll be your de-facto shipper.
I hired Harms to ship an auto stateside to Europe, and it's been an unbelievable mess. It's September as I post this. I bought the car in April. The car's not here yet.
I've been dealing with an agent in the Harms Baltimore office. She's been very pleasant but doesn't know what she's doing. When I hired them in April I sent their payment and asked what documents they'd need. The agent told me she'd need the original title and bill of sale along with a simple contract that she emailed me. I asked if she would need a power-of-attorney. She told me she did not.
I signed the contract and overnighted the three documents back to Baltimore. The week the car was to be loaded on the ship I got an email from her -- she needed a power of attorney and needed another EH Harms contract signed -- different from the first. This specific incompetence cost over a month's delay. We missed the ship out of Galveston and had to wait for another.
EH Harm's excuse for this was that they were unfamiliar with Galveston's requirements, that they most often ship out of Baltimore and NJ, not Texas. I countered that Harms was a professional shipper. These things should not happen. EH Harms said "sorry."
I had to remind the Harms agent to send me the original documents back -- the title and bill of sale. I need these documents to get through German customs. If I had not reminded her, I doubt they would have ever come back to me.
When she mailed the title and bill of sale over, she also mailed me the shipper's bill of lading. The bill of lading should not have come to me. It needed to be mailed to the receiving company in Bremerhaven.
I received a frantic email from the German receiving company to get the bill of lading to them as soon as possible. The ship with my car on board was in Zeebrugge, Belgium, but the shipping line would not release the car to the German agent without the original bill of lading. Thank you, Harms.
I've had to remind Harm's agent about everything. I asked three times about the condition reports before I received them. If the car arrives damaged, without those condition reports it's impossible to know where the damage occurred and who needs to be held responsible.
I've had to manage every aspect of the shipment of this car from Texas to Stuttgart, and that's not what one expects when they hire a professional firm. My experience with EH Harms has absolutely terrible.
So, bought the car in April, here we are in September. Winter's almost here, but my car's not. I do know that my car's in Belgium, so at least it's on the right continent. Wrong country, but right continent -- that's progress.
EH Harms does a lot of business directly with BMW and is the de-facto military shipper. Someone such as myself who's only shipping one or two cars won't get the level of support afforded a million-dollar customer. I understand that. But the incredible s***storm of EH Harms' incompetence has just been overwhelming.
My advice to you: if you can hire anyone other than EH Harms, do so.
EH Harms is primarily a Europe to US shipper and their stateside operations are a bit "unorthodox" as they don't move a lot to Europe on the civilian side.
I've used Harms a handful of times from Europe to the US without issues (other than a stolen CD changer) but I've never used them from the US - I never got the shipping documents for the military shipments from the US so I'm not sure who was used.