Uhaul Says You Must Have A Land Line To Rent A Truck

Having previously rented at U-Haul with no issues, reader Robert was surprised when a U-Haul agent wouldn’t rent him a truck unless he had a land line phone number. Robert tried giving him his work number but agent promptly dialed and when he realized it wasn’t Robert’s personal phone number, he hung up and said, “Land line!” Not having an actual land line number Robert was in a bit of a jam. Robert’s letter, inside….

Hi,

I rented a van from U-Haul in Jersey City, NJ on Sunday 5/11 and had a bit of a run-in with the rental agent. He looked up my reservation and they demanded a land line phone number. I don’t have a land line number and figured it was for marketing purposes. I resist giving extra information so I just gave my employer’s main number. He immediately picked up the phone and dialed the number. When it was clear this wasn’t a private line he hung up and demanded a “LAND LINE” I was a little startled and started asking why he wanted a land line to call. He was clearly irritated and kept saying things like “it’s policy” or “it’s 9am, don’t start with me!”, and finally, “so I know you are who you say you are.” He already had my driver’s license and it matched the info in the reservation so this step seemed unnecessary but I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Luckily my brother was with me and has a work line that has his voice saying his name on voice mail. Having called and been satisfied the rental agent then asked for a SECOND credit card. I didn’t have a second card with me other than the one used to reserve the truck. When I protested things got heated again. A second agent tried to step in and explain that the second card was because I was renting a truck and was a very expensive piece of equipment. The first agent tried to keep her from talking to me and appeared to be the manager. Requesting a manager wasn’t going to work and I needed the truck. My brother used his card as the secondary card.

Now, I have rented trucks from this location in the past and never needed anything other than 1 credit card and a driver’s license. Apparently one now needs a land line with your voice on voice mail or a land line where someone will vouch for you, two credit cards and a driver’s license. I don’t see these requirements anywhere on the web site or rental paperwork. I even asked what I needed to get the truck when I called to make the reservation and was told I needed nothing more than the credit card used to hold the truck and license. Consumerist readers might want to keep this story in mind if they ever consider renting a truck from U-Haul.

Rob [redacted]

In the end Robert needed a driver’s license, 2 credit cards and a land line phone call in which his name was spoken on the recording to rent a truck. Our quick research didn’t reveal anything about a land line either. We’re guessing that this is the local agent’s not-so-brilliant way of deterring vehicle theft. But just because he has good intentions doesn’t mean he has the right to do it. We wonder if U-Haul corporate is on board with this policy. We’re guessing there is no shortage of truck rental places in New Jersey. Maybe it’s time to start looking elsewhere.

Comments

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  1. backbroken says:

    Thank you for finally giving me a reason to get rid of my land line!

  2. swissdietcoke says:

    oh gawd…i have to rent a uhaul this saturday, and i don’t have a land line…

  3. Ethek says:

    I usually find that Penske is a much better route to take for truck rental. The seem to be pretty proactive on vehicle maintenance. Most U haul trucks I have been around do not need to be on the road.

    Even if the price is a tad higher with Penske the nickle and dime antics you still come out ahead.

  4. bonzombiekitty says:

    If you’re under 25, they do this some times. They did it twice for me, asking for a landline number of a friend or family member. I gave them my friend’s cell phone and they called it up and said “do you know person X?” that was about the extent of it. It’s really dumb.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I know several people who only have cell phones. This policy is too clumbsy to actually be from corporate. What if a guy is renting a tuck, but his wife did the out going message on the answering machine?

  6. HIV 2 Elway says:

    An asshole in New Jersey? I’ve heard it all.

  7. ChipMcDougal says:

    I can’t believe they had the audacity to give you attitude when you questioned such an asinine policy.

  8. Saboth says:

    Wow, glad I have a pickup truck…guess I won’t require their draconian services. “Schnell! ID ! Papers! Not good enough ! NO TRUCK FOR YOU!”.

    I only have a cell phone as it is cheaper than having a land line AND cell phone.

  9. Skiffer says:

    As Jay hinted at, most U-haul locations are private franchises – so I highly doubt this is corporate policy.

    I’ve never had a problem renting from U-haul without a land line – well, except for the problems with their broken down vehicles.

    U-haul is the worst…

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    Uhaul sucks in 3….2…..1….

  11. BlondeGrlz says:

    @swissdietcoke: Try going to a location that has Uhauls but isn’t just a Uhaul store. Our local hardware place rents them without stupid demands. They didn’t even charge us a deposit.

  12. timmus says:

    U-Haul is very decentralized so I don’t take any stock in the way one particular office runs or treats its customers. My only perception of U-Haul as a whole is that its entire fleet is in decent enough condition for local moves but iffy for long-distance trips.

  13. tedyc03 says:

    …and the point of renting a u-haul is that I’m moving and probably don’t have a phone line…?

  14. scarysnow says:

    who has a land line anymore?

  15. KenB525 says:

    @Ethek: Couldn’t agree more with your statement about Penske

  16. The good thing about U-Haul is that it makes owning an SUV unnecessary for most people. The rental fees for the rare occasions when you absolutely need a truck/van are a real bargain compared to driving more than you need just to be able to haul bags of mulch from Home Depot.

  17. missdona says:

    Rent cargo vans from Enterprise and if you can get outside Jersey city, some of the hotel have really, really good rates.

    We got vans on a couple of different occasions from Enterprise at the Crown Plaza in Seacaucus for <$25/day.

  18. Rented a u-haul a year or so ago. I have no land-line phone…
    I smell bullshit.

  19. steveliv says:

    in my experience, the easiest and cheapest truck rental company to deal with is budget. i made an online reservation, received a reservation #. i called a few hours later to the local place to confirm, and showed up 9am the next morning and was in the truck driving in less than 10 minutes. use your amex card and you get a 15% discount.. in my case $33.99 for a 24′truck and $0.76 per mile.

  20. “A second agent tried to step in and explain that the second card was because I was renting a truck and was a very expensive piece of equipment.”

    So if the truck broke, or wasn’t returned in time, they were going to charge the cost of the truck to the credit cards?!?

    I agree with renting from Penske, but in my area, they only offer commercial rentals. They seem to try hard to dissuade residential renters.

  21. blackmage439 says:

    I rented a cargo van from U-Haul about 6 months back. I made the reservation online, had no trouble at the store, and had no trouble with the return (an after-hours return, at that!).

    Now, Pub[l]ic Storage, on the other hand, is a different story. The night I wanted to move stuff is the night their gate broke down. I had to jump the fence in order to open the side door. Now, I’m about 5’7″, 180lbs. I am in no way an athletic guy. It was a piece of cake to get over that fence. Yeah, it really made my possessions feel safe. No refund offered from the office, the bitch was rude, and I was told “there is no way for anyone to open the gate after hours.” FAIL.

    I moved my stuff into a place called A-1 Storage. The manager lives on-site, the rates were cheaper, and it was a much better looking grounds. They will probably receive my business again.

  22. johnva says:

    Landlines are a stupid ripoff. Okay, I understand that they are more reliable than cell phones. But under normal conditions they are just an unnecessary expense that offers less utility. They aren’t portable and most get 10x the amount of garbage phone calls, even if you’re on the DNC list.

    OP should have just put his phone on silent and let it go to voicemail. Unless your greeting mentions the cell phone company, they have no way of knowing whether it’s a “landline” which is a retarded policy in the first place.

  23. digitalhen says:

    oh jersey city! they’ve done this to me too many times.

    the simple solution is, just put your cell phone on mute and give them that number.

  24. OP should have called the U-Haul CEO’s cell phone number!

    [consumerist.com]

  25. Eoghann says:

    No problems with U-Haul in the past?

    I’ve had nothing *but* problems with U-Haul in the past.

  26. Yoooder says:

    Robert really was better off not having a U-Haul. My mom’s last trailer had wiring problems and blew a lot of her fuses on the side of the 401 outside of Toronto after dark in the winter, and U-Haul refused any help or service.

    My last U-haul had no running lights, and I had to duct-tape some makeshift ones on.

    …and while moving my girlfriend down this week we passed a U-Haul trailer with a whole wheel missing and a large number of visibly shaken victims next to the carnage.

    I’ll rent from anywhere but U-Haul, even if it costs more, just to know that the rental probably is much less likely to kill or maim me.

  27. mkkelly75 says:

    I had to rent a truck to move my 3 bedroom house a couple of months ago and used Penske. I highly recommend them over any experience I have ever had with U-Haul. There mileage rates were half of UHauls to begin with and the truck was about the same amount. When I arrived to pick up my truck they told me they did not have one but went out of there way to find me a truck and cut my mileage rates further and gave me the rate of a smaller truck! I was pretty upset when they told me they had no truck, but the representative went so above and beyond to fix the situation, I would gladly use them again.

  28. highmodulus says:

    Ah U-Haul, one of the old school evil companies. Good to see them still around, messing with the next generation. Like car dealerships, they are dependably sleazy year after year- the cockroaches of evil companies, prehistoric almost.

  29. Oryx says:

    I’ve always just given them my cellphone number. Budget and Penske are sounding pretty good though…Definitely better than dealing with some reject on a power trip.

  30. darkryd says:

    This cracks me up. A moving company – telling people who are moving and most likely have disconnected their landlines (since they no longer have a house) that they have to have a land line.

    Give me a break.

  31. AD8BC says:

    @scarysnow: @johnva: I don’t have a landline… but I do have Vonage which is close enough.

    Why?

    Many reasons. I only give coworkers, close friends, and family my cellphone number. I don’t want to have to screen out the calls I don’t want to get all day.

    Sometimes I need to give out a phone number and I don’t want the person to be able to easlily reach me (charities come to mind here, although I like to give to Leukemia & Lymphoma, or St. Judes, I don’t want my phone going off in a meeting just because they want more money.

    I make it a point not to call people on their cellphones unless I have tried their other numbers first. I have a direct line to make something on their belt buzz, disturbing them from whatever they happen to be doing — is it that important that I bother them, or should I just leave them a message at home?

    Also, if I want to call “Dick or Jane” who are married, and it doesn’t matter who I get, should I call “Dick” or “Jane” or just their home number and see who picks up?

    It may be because I am 32 and cellphones weren’t cheap enough to own until about 8 years ago, so I grew up without needing to feel like I am in constant communication with the world…

  32. metaled says:

    My wife’s newest vehicle is a Pick-up truck, mainly because of all the hime improvement we do, we got tired of dealing with U-Hauls BS! We rent cars for vacation and out of town trips all the time and never had a problem. Everytime we rented a U-Haul we got the 3rd degree or were accused of causing damage to the trucks!
    Write down EVERY SCRATCH on the rental agreement before taking possesion! Every truck has tons of dents/Dings and they always try to pin them on us! They don’t seem to do pre-rental inspections with you before renting, just have you initial it’s “OK”.(around here) Both of us have perfect driving records for 25+ years, no accidents! I’ll be damned if I get accused of crashing or denting one of their trucks! Also be sure to check mechanical condition of the trucks, I’ve had one that was a sure death traps, returned it just after leaving the lot, should have never been on the road! (Barely moved, stopped even worse. They told us it would clear up after it got warmed up! (YEAH RIGHT!!!!!)

  33. Antediluvian says:

    Did he choose the red pill or the blue pill?

  34. ninjatales says:

    Looks like I might have to rent a pickup from a rental than UHaul. Was going to be using their services this weekend.

  35. sgodun says:

    I used to live in Jersey City, and I am very familiar with this particular U-Haul agency. They are ROYAL pains in the ass; they were kicked out of the local Rotary Club a few years back and there are several complaints against them with the BBB.

  36. @darkryd: Thank you! I kept thinking the whole time I was reading it, am I the only one who thinks its weird for people who are supposedly moving to have a landline still in use!

  37. Xerloq says:

    GrandCentral FTW!

  38. BigElectricCat says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: “An asshole in New Jersey? I’ve heard it all.”

    Post
    Of
    teh
    MONTH

  39. backbroken says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that he wanted a second credit card because he was afraid the limit on the first card wasn’t high enough to cover whatever fees he plans on stiffing you with.

  40. chiggers says:

    The franchise owned U-hauls are hit and miss. I rented one a few weeks ago and the guy gave us pressure to buy the “safe move” policy – even though he made “no money” off of it. He acted like -everyone- bought it and without it you would need to be responsible for the entire cost of the truck if something were to happen. He mentioned that this was the largest truck U-haul offers and was very expensive. His story:

    “I had a lady a few months back who didn’t have the Safe Move policy, hit an overpass, ripped off the top of the U-haul and got rear-ended. Uhaul was asking this lady for the money the next day. “

    We have rented from this location before and it always takes close to 45 minutes for anything, trailer, large truck, etc. However, we rented from another franchise a year or so ago and we were in and out within 7 minutes. U-haul seems to have very little control on how the franchisees do business. No quality control whatsoever. There are apparently some responsibilities that these franchises have and they are not always followed, doing walkarounds BEFORE they rent out a truck, cleaning the interior, etc. You would think they would at least check the tire pressure, oil, lights, etc.

  41. barco says:

    I rented a trailer from uhaul in NJ last week.. I needed a 6×12 open trailer, which I know is a bit much for my V6 Toyota Tacoma, but I only had to move something 10 miles on backroads. I rented the same trailer with a single phone number 2 weeks prior from the same location.

    This week, they demanded 2 phone numbers, and then proceeded to tell me that my truck was unable to pull the trailer, as it needed a vehicle with a GVW of 3500lbs. My truck is 3400 lbs. They only rented me the trailer after they looked in the computer for my prior rentals of the same trailer from the same location.

    I should also add that at the prior rental, they attached the trailer incorrectly and it FELL OFF THE HITCH. Thankfully I was only going about 30 when it happened and my truck nor the trailer were damaged. I inspected their work quite closely this time.

  42. Leah says:

    I’ve never had this problem with Uhaul, but I can see how the franchises might be spotty, as others have mentioned. I’ve mostly gone to large locations that were just uhaul hubs. I’ve picked up trucks and trailers, and I’ve never had an issue. In fact, a uhaul in Missoula even fixed my faulty wiring (in my car hitch) for no cost.

  43. ringo00 says:

    When dealing with U-Haul rentals, it is best to remember that there are almost no corporate rental locations. Corporate U-Haul serves mainly to service the franchises and to track where the trucks and trailers are. Corporate does not handle the rental transactions nor are they responsible for supporting rental customers. Generally, any complaints to corporate are met with a simple “that location is an independently owned franchise.” If I were the OP in this situation, I would have just left that station and found another close by. Even the most remote locations have more than one u-haul franchise.

  44. macinjosh says:

    @SkokieGuy: You’re 18 minutes late!

  45. johnva says:

    @AD8BC: I think it’s a bit of a cultural thing.

    I just don’t give a phone number to charities, or I give a fake one if their website insists or something. They don’t need that information to take my money. Other solicitation calls are drastically reduced just because it’s not a landline.

    As for screening calls, I find it’s much easier with a cellphone than with a landline. I never have an audible ring active on my phone, so annoying me while I’m meeting with someone isn’t such an issue and I just check for missed calls when I’m free. As for calling other people for non-urgent issues, that’s what I consider email to be for.

  46. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @timmus:

    I’ve actually had quite the opposite experience:

    They rent the dinosaurs out for in-town, and the newer ones with the un-fun bland paint job for the long-distance.

    The worst was the in-town one we got that turned out to be from Canada…complete with a speedometer in km/h and no mph, a non-functioning parking brake, and a rear ramp that flew out and hit the car behind us as we accelerated at an intersection.

    To their credit, they didn’t call a collections agency when we did a chargeback lol.

  47. Fujikopez says:

    They were trying to do you a favor by preventing you from renting from them. We used Uhaul from ND to OR, and our truck broke down in the mountains in road construction where there wasn’t a shoulder to pull over on. Yeah. Never again.

  48. Sasquatch says:

    Even if you make the reservation, they probably won’t have your
    truck when the time comes anyway. U-Haul is easily my least favorite
    company in the world after they screwed me out of a truck on my moving
    day last year.

  49. Johnny_Blackwell says:

    Sounds like some bullsh*t to me. Try to talking to a manager. I rented a truck last year when I moved and had no problem with just a cell phone number.

  50. Bill says:

    I used U-Haul this last Friday in College Station, Texas and had no problem at all. It was a storage unit that authorized to rent out the trucks, and not only did they come out and inspect the truck with us, but they also marked down things we didn’t even know to look for.

    Oh, and they didn’t require a land-line number or two credit cards. Sounds to me like the original poster was dealing with a rogue franchise.

  51. knyghtryda says:

    I was asked for a phone number for returning a product at Pepboys. I refused, since they already had my name and credit card info. The cashier got all uppity and refused to do the return, and the when I asked her about the policy she just threw her hands up and called the manager, saying she didn’t know anything and was just a cashier. The manager was very nice, explain why the policy was in place (of course, to stop fraudulent returns) and said that the phone number was not necessary. I just gave my name and that was that. All this extra info stuff can really get out of hand, especially if it takes a landline and two credit cards to rent a U-Haul.

  52. ElianaScrofa says:

    I live in Jersey City. I no longer drive. I do not have a credit
    card. But when a friend of mine was destitute but had to move on
    short notice, I went to local rental agent – key word “local” – not a
    chain. I explained the situation. The owner (another key word) of the
    place asked me a few casual questions to confirm that I’ve lived here
    for decades (as he has).

    I gave him a $200 cash deposit. His only concern was that whoever was
    going to show up and drive the truck two days on would show a valid
    local driver’s license.

    He provided a nice, clean truck, one in good shape, and at the end of
    the day, everyone was happy. For those who know this area, he’s out
    on Ocean Ave near the turnpike entrance.

    Lesson – and this applies to everything from truck rentals to a cup
    of coffee – whenever possible, stay away from chains and franchises.
    Seek out locally owned and managed businesses. You get better
    treatment in just about every service or product you buy.

  53. dirk1965 says:

    This is bs. Your cell number is okay with UHaul

  54. Lucky225 says:

    Just give this noob grandcentral.com forwarding number. God I hate people who requests landlines. How are they going to know it’s a landline or not? By the prefix? Uh hello, number portability. By the voicemail prompt? Uh hello, that’s my call forwarding. Ridiculous.

  55. GrandizerGo says:

    I think this Bullshit…
    Most people use a UHaul to MOVE…
    Hence maybe NO PHONE at old place or new place…

  56. amc23 says:

    Trying to get a Blockbuster card I got the same resistance. They refused my cell or work phone on my application, and would only take a landline number. Since I don’t have one, I now use Netflix. So thanks, Blockbuster, I love Netflix.

  57. TechnoDestructo says:

    “credit card used to hold the truck”

    Hahaha…U-haul doesn’t do that.

    @Ethek:

    Penske and Ryder do not exist in most small towns. U-haul does. If you’re willing to drive an extra hundred miles to drop the truck off, there aren’t many places you can’t avoid U-haul. But even then there are some (Alaska, last I checked).

  58. AD8BC says:

    @johnva: Yah, you are probably right. You know, I would actually probably be a happier person without this cellphone on my belt, but it has come in handy in too many emergencies. And it is better than the pager I used to carry.

    I grew up with one phone, in the kitchen, where everybody congregated and there was no privacy. Of course, I was making phone calls from a walkie talkie in 1989 when I was 14 years old thanks to a nifty (and legal) little ham radio trick called an “autopatch” that would patch a ham radio into the phone system.

    I guess I’ll be one of the few old fogies to have a home phone line in 30 years. And, if perchance they are no longer available, I’ll just have a cellphone dedicated to the house.

  59. AD8BC says:

    On topic… I have had nothing but good service with Uhaul the few times I have rented a trailer (2 local, 1 long distance (1200 miles)) and the one time I rented a truck (local).

    Some people on here just seem to have real bad luck!

  60. mpiedlourde says:

    actually, uhaul caught my identify thief! however, the fact that they let her rent a truck with my stolen driver’s license (i am asian, the girl in question i believe was black) kind of confounds me. basically, the only way they figured out that she wasn’t actually *me* was because she signed the wrong name on one of the waivers. when i asked them why they didn’t realize this before, they said that it was because my driver’s license picture looked “dark” so they couldn’t tell.

  61. spryte says:

    @gyroball: Unless you rented a truck from the same UHaul place, from the same employee, how can you claim it’s bullshit? As others have mentioned, when you’re dealing with a franchise you can get different rules, regs and crap at each location.

  62. samson says:

    [www.companypay.com]

    Name and Principal Position
    Edward J. Shoen
    2005 646,157 – 3,673
    Chairman of the Board
    2004 467,307 3,000 1,987
    and President of AMERCO
    2003 503,708 – 334
    and U-Haul

    Mark V. Shoen
    2005 646,154 3,000 3,673
    President of U-Haul
    2004 623,076 3,000 1,987
    Phoenix Operations
    2003 617,308 – 334

    James P. Shoen
    2005 586,923 – –
    Vice President of
    2004 187,503 3,000 –
    U-Haul Business
    2003 201,543 – –
    Consultants, Inc.

    Ronald C. Frank
    2005 259,962 86,058 3,673
    Executive V.P.
    2004 240,852 198,805 1,987
    U-Haul Field Operations
    2003 237,995 15,704 334

    Jack A. Peterson(3)
    2005 259,974 65,000 –
    Chief Financial Officer
    2004 4,808 – –
    of AMERCO until July 2005
    2003 – – –

    Gary V. Klinefelter
    2005 190,387 650,000 –
    Secretary and General
    2004 285,581 3,000 1,987
    Counsel of AMERCO
    2003 251,738 55,000 334
    and U-Haul through

    November 2004

    *The above executive compensation data is an excerpt from the proxy statement filed for
    AMERCO /NV/ on 7/22/2005

    Search
    Executive Compensation:
    Company Name
    Stock Symbol
    City & State
    Zip Code
    Area Code

    Directories
    Fortune 100 List
    Companies By Zip Code
    Companies By City
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    Com

  63. samson says:

    That actually did not convey very well, sorry.

  64. sponica says:

    I had to do the same thing when I rented my UHaul van. I had an out of state driver’s license (not surprising, I was renting in Brooklyn, how many people in Brooklyn actually have NY driver’s licenses?) so I needed to show 2 credit cards. Then they asked me for a land-line number. I gave the number for my legal residence, which is in NH since I’m a college student in NY. The woman couldn’t have cared less.

    Also, this was a corporate location and not a franchisee.

  65. mattbrimer says:

    Who the fuck still has an active land line when they are moving!?

  66. ekasbury says:

    I can vouch for Penske. If there’s one nearby, that’s the way to go, at least for long-haul moves. My Penske quote was about half that of U-Haul’s, and the truck was clean as a whistle and didn’t shed any parts as I made my way down the highway. Forget U-Haul.