Despite Class Action Lawsuit, U-Haul's $50 Reservation Guarantee Is Still Completely Meaningless

Reader Greg wants to warn all of you not to expect too much from U-Haul and their so-called $50 guarantee. When he showed up to collect his reserved truck, he found himself waiting in line with another customer who’d reserved the same type of truck. When he overheard the employee telling her they were out of trucks, he knew that his day was going to go rapidly downhill.

I just wanted to share with you my story all about how the uhaul company is a poorly managed company that you should avoid at all costs.

Last weekend I moved. As part of this move, I made a reservation for a 17 foot Uhaul truck. I made this reservation weeks in advance, and after doing so I received a confirmation email (complete with confirmation number and everything!) I even received a nice phone call from someone at uhaul confirming my reservation. At this point I was very pleased and I was impressed with the way Uhaul actually called me to confirm. These people were really on top of things… or so I thought.

The day of the reservation comes, and I show up at the alloted time (9 am) at the Uhaul location on my reservation:
U-HAUL CENTER SUNNYVALE
939 E EL CAMINO REAL
SUNNYVALE, CA 94086
(408) 735-7060

Inside the uhaul place there is a long line of people in front of me. Directly in front of me in line is a girl and when it’s her turn she walks up to the counter and says “I have a reservation for a 17 foot truck” (the same type of truck I had reserved). At this point point the clerk behind the counter looks at his board of truck keys which is conspicuously missing keys in the “17 foot Truck” section of the board. He looks back at the girl… looks again… pauses… looks back at the girl
and says “you have a reservation?”
“yes”
“I’m all out of 17 foot trucks”

At this point it was obvious that my day was not going to go as planned. So after a lot of frantic calling around and talking to people, the clerk does his best to come up with a solution for the girl. The solution was to give her a 14 foot truck instead of 17 foot. She reluctantly agreed and commented that now she would have to take two trips. The clerk told her it was his last 14 foot truck.

Now I was becoming nervous I wasn’t going to get a truck at all… then I started thinking about how I had a reservation, and how it had been confirmed both via email and a phonecall.

It was then that I noticed the large poster behind the counter that said in big bold letters “RESERVATION GUARANTEED” Under the big bold letters it had check boxes for “Equipment”, “Location” and “Time” indicating that these were the three criteria guaranteed by the reservation. Lastly, it stated that Uhaul would compensate the customer $50 should they fail at providing their guarantee.

OK… so.. at least I had that, I thought to myself. Surely I was entitled to this $50 as clearly my 17 foot truck that I was promised was not in stock.

I get to the counter, and inform the man that I too had a reservation for a 17 foot truck. At which point he tells me to stand to the side while he figures it out. He makes more frantic phonecalls in a valiant effort to track down my missing truck. As expected he offers me a 14 foot truck just like he did the girl before me. At this point I was happy to have a truck at all, seeing as I had to be out of my apartment that day and had already rounded up a group of my friends to help me.

I agreed that while not ideal, I could use the 14 foot truck he was offering instead. He then tells me that the girl before me got the last 14 foot truck at our location and that I had to drive a few miles down the road to another uhaul to get my truck. I was thinking in my head that it seems like they should at least drive the truck to me, seeing as how they were the ones who had screwed up my supposedly “guaranteed” reservation, but I took comfort in the fact that surely I would be able to get this $50 discount that was clearly posted on the wall.

I said to the clerk “so, I’m getting a 50 dollar discount on this, right?” and he tells me he cant do that. I point to the poster and say “Your poster says that I’m guaranteed equipment, location and time… none of those criteria have been met today.” He turns around and looks at the poster like he’s never seen it before in his life, and turns back around and says “well you are getting a truck, i cant give you 50 dollars and a truck.”

I knew this was complete BS, but it was obvious I wasn’t going to get anywhere with this clerk and I was already an hour behind schedule. So I decide to go to the other location and get the 14 foot truck.. which I get, and have the same conversation with the clerk there about this so called guarantee. I get the same answer from him. Of course after all of this i was seething mad, and I decided that I better go home and read the fine print on this “guarantee”, before I strangle the guy behind the counter.
Here it is:

Item number 5 does indeed state that they can substitute equipment, but ONLY if it is of equal or greater value than the equipment reserved.

I was promised a certain truck (or better) at a certain location, at a certain time, or else I would receive 50 dollars. What I got was a different truck at a different location at a different time, and no 50 dollars.

So, this means that Uhaul doesn’t make good on their guarantees and you cannot rely on them.

After having this experience I was dismayed to find that there was already a class action lawsuit against Uhaul for this exact same issue:

It appears as though Uhaul has not changed it’s policies one bit.

I have sent this story to the uhaul customer service address and were given a confirmation that I would be contacted in two business days. It has been over two days and I have not been contacted yet… which I am not really that surprised about. I’m really less concerned about being compensated my 50 dollars and more concrned with making sure no one else has to deal with the extreme hassle that I had to deal with. I don’t know what I would have done had they been completely out of even the inferior trucks.

The so-called $50 guarantee was actually the product of the class action settlement – so unless we’re crazy you’re actually legally entitled to it. We’d report them to the California Attorney General’s office for not living up to the terms of their settlement. Anyone have any other ideas? Anyone managed to collect on this $50 “guarantee?”

Comments

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  1. Jones91 says:

    Wow, maybe Uhaul should be on the bracket of the worst companies.

    either that or they should just change from Uhaul to Ugetyourowntruck.

  2. itsallme says:

    Just call their CEO [consumerist.com]

  3. SportsCentre says:

    So what’s the alternative? Who do you rent from if you’re moving?

  4. IrisMR says:

    I’m not surprised. COmpanies keep making promises and guarantees that are full of holes and conditions or simply are lies. What a ripoff.

  5. fluiddruid says:

    @SportsCentre: Try calling a local place. We ended up renting a large van to move me from college (big enough for a queen size bed) because U-haul’s prices were insane for driving out of state and back. It was a great deal and a great experience.

    For my last move, I ended up just paying a local moving company with a good reputation in my area. It cost me about $200 to move all my things and I did not have to play any games with U-haul. When you’re moving out of an apartment, you can’t afford to be unsure if a reservation is going to be kept, so I’ve never used them.

  6. Darascon says:

    Destroy the truck. Grind out the clutch or something. Crash it into another truck when you go to deliver it.

  7. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    This *just* happened to my friend with his Budget truck rental reservation as well.

    Glad to hear, when I move I doubt I’ll be reserving the truck. Or perhaps I will, and I’ll make sure to bring the agreement along with me so I can get my $50.

  8. @SportsCentre: Who do you rent from if you’re moving? Penske? Hertz? Budget?

    Anyway, this sounds like a breech of contract. The customer agrees to pay a price; Uhaul agrees to provide the (from TFA) “equipment size, location and pickup time as agreed to in the scheduling contract.” At the very least, Greg should have gotten the $50.

  9. dripdrop says:

    @SportsCentre:

    In my town there is a Penske and some other companies. You just have to look around!

  10. xthexlanternx says:

    One of my friends was moving out of his apartment in a college town in the Midwest. He rented a U-Haul truck at the local place and was told it was guaranteed. Me and a couple guys from our hometown made the trip up to help our buddy move out and then follow him home and help him unload the stuff too.

    Well, when we got to the U-Haul place, they told us that they didn’t have any trucks and that we would have to go to the next closest U-Haul store, which none of us even knew how to get to. They gave us the worst directions I’ve ever had to follow and after about an hour driving around trying to find the right roads to turn on in a busy downtown area, we finally found it. We got there and they didn’t have the size of truck he reserved, so he was forced to upgrade to a bigger truck.

    Needless to say, none of us will ever deal with U-Haul again after they wasted tons of our time and money because they blatantly lie about their “guarantee”.

  11. PinkBox says:

    Uhaul has done the same thing to me before. I had to drive to another location for a smaller truck.

  12. MonkeyMonk says:

    You could always buy the insurance waiver and then completely trash the truck. It won’t get you your $50 but it will cost U-Haul a lot more than $50.

  13. I’m moving from Baltimore to Chicago in September, and after spending hours researching mini-movers and calculating truck rental and gas prices, I determined the cheapest and by far the easiest solution is to … load up my car with everything that will fit, ship a bunch of stuff that won’t, and buy what I need when I get there. Now, I’m moving in with someone who already has a bed and couches, and I don’t exactly have a Bill Gatesian amount of stuff, but it’s still worth looking at for people moving long-distance from one apartment to another.

  14. Phreggs says:

    While I didnt have an issue with Uhaul and their “awesome” guarentee… i did have an issue when returning the truck.

    They have the whole gas policy of “receive it at this much gas, return it at this much gas”. Easy right? I do just that and the guy has a freaking fit that it wasnt returned with MORE than the original amount…. Wtf?

    Guy wouldnt allow me to return it, and was going to instead charge the company amount of gas ($4/gallon plus another $50(I think) to then go fill up the moving truck).

    Was so fuckin pissed at such a shitty thing.

  15. kepler11 says:

    Uhaul is the quintessential American experience. People in other countries don’t move cities/apartments at all like we do here.

    So why does Uhaul have to suck so bad? Why does every other rental car company manage to get their fleet logistics down correctly, with the car you reserved generally waiting for you when you expected? Why is every Uhaul station staffed and run as if it’s about to fall apart and every request for a truck causes a panicked response? Aren’t they tired of this script?

    What is the problem? A bad piece of software that isn’t getting trucks where they need to be? Not enough investment in maintenance? WHAT?? These are problems that can be solved in this day and age!!

  16. jabella says:

    UHaul let me book a truck for a move on a Sunday.

    When I showed up to the UHaul location I was told to visit to pick up the truck, I found that it was CLOSED on Sundays.

    They clearly have major issues with their entire reservation system.

  17. cmdrsass says:

    @MonkeyMonk: Don’t do any of this passive aggressive bullshit. Uhaul doesn’t repair their trucks so you’re only making life difficult for the next poor soul to rent the truck.

  18. ARP says:

    @The Count of Monte Fisto: You could also consider doing a one-way rental from a car company. Rent a minivan and use a discount code from your credit card, insurance, XXXXX membership, etc. You’ll get dinged on the one-way, but it might still be cost effective. You also get unlimited mileage so you don’t have to worry about the per mile charge. The only catch is that you have to be a bit more gentle with the interior as they’ll charge you for any major damage.

  19. gparlett says:

    I’ve rented from U-Haul a number of times, it’s always a crap shoot getting what you actually reserved, although normally they upgrade me to a larger truck for the same price. That said I have a truck that’s harder to drive and maneuver and gets worse gas mileage than the one I reserved, hardly a value.

    My worst experience was moving cross country, I reserved a 17 foot truck months in advance, they ‘upgraded’ me to a 24 foot truck. Had fun parking that in downtown Washington DC. Also had to go to a second location to get the tow behind for my car and neither location had the dolly I reserved.

  20. kpfeif says:

    I’m a big fan of Penske. Take a look in your town to see if you have one. I rented the biggest truck they had that didn’t need a CDL to drive. VERY VERY affordable and the equipment was top-notch. The service was fantastic, as well.

  21. @ARP: Interesting, I’ll definitely look into that. Even though it’s the money-saving way, it’s tough to leave my stuff behind! Thanks for the tip.

  22. Sidecutter says:

    @SportsCentre: Thrifty I found painless to deal with when I needed a cargo van. Ryder is there too, but they cost notably more than Thrifty, the van wasn’t in as good shape, and they were much more of a pain in the ass overall, including forcing me to take insurance I already had. Either one beats U-Haul by a mile.

  23. sardonumspa says:

    I have never had the misfortune to deal with any of the nationwide truck rental chains.

    In Minneapolis (St. Louis Park), we have a company called Reddy Rents that I have used twice to move.

    I made reservations a couple of months in advance, when I arrived they had the truck I ordered (gasp!) in stock and ready to go.

    The gave me 50 miles free (still had to gas it up when I was done) which covered my in-town move, so the whole thing cost me about $125-150.

    I definitely suggest going local.

  24. apobull says:

    Uhaul definitely ranks up there as one of the worst companies. The last time I used them about 5 years ago was and still is the last time I use them. My wife had scheduled a reservation much like this guy, received a confirmation, etc. When we go to pick up the truck on the day of the reservation, they of course do not have one. After waiting another hour and exchanging some heated words, the clerk finally finds us a truck at another location. Unfortunately, our friends that were helping with the move were stuck waiting around while we traveled around town to get our truck. Never again will we use Uhual!

  25. Underpants Gnome says:

    Happened to me once too, but as part of the deal of getting a smaller truck, they did offer me double the mileage and more hours of rental for the same price for my trouble of needing to make more trips. Must have been one of the nicer franchises.

  26. CanadianGirl says:

    This story does not surprise me in the least. I had a similar incident 2 years ago. I rented a 14′ truck over a month in advance, and even called 1 week before and the day before to confirm the reservation, and was told everything was ok.

    When I showed up to get the truck the next day, surprise, surprise, it wasn’t there. They offered NO alternative. I then spent the better part of 3 hours calling every single U-Haul location within a 50 mile radius and FINALLY located a truck at a location near where I was moving to.. 55 Miles away from my current apartment! I was then told it was reserved for the next day, so I could only have it from 6pm that day but had to have it back by 6AM then next morning.

    Needless to say, I owed my friends and family a HUGE debt as I had to have them help me move until 3AM.

    I complained to their “customer service” (I use that term loosely), and never recieved a credit, nor an apology.

    U-Haul has such a bad name here in Ontario that on the long weekends when the police do safety blitz’s, U-Haul has their mechanic located at the same stop because almost every truck gets pulled off the road for safety violations..

    I will never use U-Haul again, 2 years and it still gets my blood boiling.

  27. EyeHeartPie says:

    @MonkeyMonk: Yeah, because anytime you don’t get what you want, it’s perfectly acceptable to go around breaking stuff.

    /sarcasm

  28. tealcandtrip says:

    Choose Penske. Seriously. They almost always have great reviews, and I personally used them last September to move. They were about as expensive as their competitors, they had the right truck ready when I got there, and the staff were very courteous. Plus Penke buys new trucks, uses them for a few years, then sells the trucks to U-Haul or Budget or whomever, so they have the best equipment.

  29. LINIS says:

    I actually moved last weekend and got a 16′ truck from Budget. I made all the reservations online, which was very quick and got to use a coupon code that knocked 15% off of the daily/mileage fees. Service was good when I picked up and returned the truck, and the truck was in great condition even though it had 55k miles on it. It had AC too which was a life saver here in the DC area last weekend…

    Other than Budget I’ve never used any moving companies. I did call Uhaul to get a quote, and when I called back 20 minutes later their quote went up by $0.20 / mile!! That’s what made me choose Budget and I’m glad I did.

  30. MyPetFly says:

    @SportsCentre:

    Penske! I’ve rented from them with success in the past.

  31. . says:

    I’ve had great experience with local (SW Mpls suburbs: Prior Lake Rental). Also, when the time comes to bring our daughter home from college after graduation next year, I’m going to try Enterprise. I’ve had reasonable experience with them renting cars & minivans, I see they also rent full-size cargo vans. Last time I talked to them, U-Haul wouldn’t rent me a trailer because I was going to use a Ford Explorer to tow it (remember, the underinflated Firestone fiasco…). It’s the tires, stupid (actually, the idiot who’s supposed to inflate the tires to the proper pressure, stupid).

  32. jst07 says:

    You can file a complaint with the BBB. I would hope that UHaul would rather shell out $50 than have a complaint on file.

  33. CarlR says:

    You’d think that they gave themselves big enough holes (big enough to drive a truck through) in their small print that they wouldn’t have to flat-out refuse the “guarantee”.

    Here’s the kicker : In the T&C – even though the big print says “When you make a reservation, we guarantee …” the small print actually says the the guarantee doesn’t kick in until “the day prior to your requested pickup date.” So all they have to do is call you and say about that “reservation you thought you made 3 months ago … well so sorry, no truck for you tomorrow, go pound sand” – and they can’t even manage to do THAT!

    So the local office doesn’t even know (or can’t be bothered to figure out) how many trucks they will have available THE NEXT DAY.

  34. synergy says:

    I used U-Haul the last weekend of March when I moved. I made a reservation and I had no problem getting what I wanted when I wanted it. This also considering that it was the last weekend of the month and probably when they get the most business because most people move then.

  35. CanadianGirl says:

    This story doesn’t surprise me in the least. I had a similary incident 2 years ago.

    I rented a 14′ truck over a month in advance, and confirmed it a week before, and the day before.

    When I showed up to get my truck on the day of the move, surprise, surprise, they didn’t have my truck. They also didn’t offer any alternative.

    I then spent the better part of 3 hours on the phone calling every U-Haul location within 50 miles of me to find another truck, as I had already put down a deposit.

    I FINALLY located one, 55 miles away, and around the corner from my destination location. I decided I was fed up and just wanted to get going, so I drove out there and picked it up. AFTER I arrived there, I was told that this particular truck had been reserved for the following day, so I could only have it from 6PM until 6AM.

    Thank goodness I have such great friends and family, they helped me move until almost 4am so I could have the truck back by 6am, otherwise I would have been dinged for another full day of rental charges, even though I wasn’t using it the full day.

    U-Haul has such a bad name here in Ontario that when the Police do roadside “Saftey Blitz’s” here, U-Haul sends a mechanic set up next to them because EVERY truck gets yanked off the road for being unsafe.

    I complained to their “customer service” (I use that term loosely), and never recieved any credit, nor even a basic apology.

    2 years later and it STILL makes my blood boil. Next time, I’m hiring movers..

  36. @Darascon:
    UHaul: “Would you like the damage insurance”
    Customer: (with evil grin) “Why yes, yes I would…muahahahahahah!”

  37. adamcz says:

    I’ve had this experience with UHaul as well. Next time I move, I’m just selling/giving away my possessions and buying new ones in the new city.

  38. Gopher bond says:

    Oh brother, not this again. Uhaul is terrible. It’s always been a crapshoot, always will be. That being said, I normally get what I asked for because I move on odd days, like Tuesday mornings (i.e. Not weekends).

    But I’ve worked for rental car companies and that’s pretty much a crapshoot as well, just that they have a larger inventory. Rental car companies don’t hold your car, they just work on the assumption that they’ll have your car available when you come in. I swear the rental system doesn’t even communicate with the active inventory system, or at least it didn’t when I worked there.

  39. Techno Viking says:

    Tell the story to the media. Then you will get the 50 bucks. And file the complaint as well.

  40. airren says:

    I agree with the folks recommending Penske. A few years back I reserved a big truck from Uhaul to move my mother across country. The Uhaul that I reserved from (and called to verify the day earlier) did not have a truck for me on moving day. They told me that I needed to go to anothe Uhaul that was 25 miles away and that was my only option. I went to the other Uhaul place and they were going to rent me a huge broken down vehicle with bald tires and no passenger seat. This was not a safe truck for travelling from one side of the country to the other.

    Long story short, I made a call to Penske and was able to have a brand new truck (of the size I requested0 the next day.

    I would never use Uhaul again and will tell everyone I know to reserve through Penske.

  41. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    All my moves in the last dozen years have been from one apartment to another in the same city. I talk to people for like a month before the move to find a reputable moving company that I hire two weeks in advance. I could never load all my crap myself. I get three guys, a truck, and packing services for about the same or less than it would cost to get boxes and packing supplies, pack myself, hire a truck, and hire a couple college students to load and unload boxes for me.

  42. grumpymo says:

    Penske all the way. Moved from Phoenix to Buffalo NY. Truck was ready and clean when it was supposed to be. Truck had air and they had the car carrier hooked up and ready to go for us. Equipment was clean and everything worked. Drop off was easy and no gotcha charges after it was dropped off. A friend moved with them and they even were able to get a second truck at the last minute for their multi-state move.

  43. shedog says:

    You know, this is a prime example of a company using its branded website to suck money from consumers, without any actual benefit.

    BUT, THERE IS A WAY AROUND IT (you just have to use a telephone).

    About a year ago I went through the same process of making an online reservation– convenient, reassuring, ready for moving day.

    When I showed up at the garage in Long Island City, the old-time New Yorker with mechanic’s hands shook his head sadly when I showed him my reservation slip.

    “You know,” he said, “you didn’t have to do that. Next time, just call me, tell me when you’re coming, and I’ll have the truck ready for you. This internet thing doesn’t even mean anything.”

    Thanks, New York mechanic dude: sounds like the franchise isn’t doing too much for you, either.

  44. RustysNailed says:

    The only moving truck company I have ever had a good experience with is Penske. They have a really high consumer rating, and the sales staff is always courteous and helpful. Every truck of theirs I have seen has been in good working order, unlike beat to death U-Hauls. They also give online discounts and AAA discounts, so I have found them to have very good pricing.

  45. SacraBos says:

    Charge it on a credit card, and then do a charge-back on $50. Document the chargeback with their contract, their failure to provide equip/time/location.

  46. Jubilance22 says:

    I had this same problem when I did a move in Atlanta. Reserved at a location near my house, showed up the day off and they looked at me crazy. Claimed that someone from U-Haul was supposed to call me the day before to tell me my truck wasn’t available. I wound up having to drive to a location far away from both my old and new apartment. Through off my schedule and my friends were pissed. I would never ever ever rent from U-Haul, especially once I read how they don’t maintain their vehicles and how many have had mechanical failures and caused accidents. Most likely I’ll hire a professional moving company when I move in a few months.

  47. Hawkins says:

    I have used Penske with success.

    One warning about renting from a legitimate truck rental place (i.e., not U-Haul): get the truck back on time. There are often hefty late charges.

    They make you agree to this when you rent the truck because, oddly enough, they may have committed to rent the truck to somebody else after your time is up, and they want to make sure that they have a truck.

    What a concept!

  48. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    It’s the same thing at Budget. I reserved a truck online in advance. Went there in the morning to pick it up, and they didn’t have it. They gave me a free upgrade to a bigger truck that was ready to go.

    That was pretty cool and all, but it was kind of a pain to drive. And if I hadn’t come in 15 minutes before my scheduled pick-up time, I’m sure that truck would’ve gone to someone else and I would have to wait around until another truck came back in.

  49. Skiffer says:

    FYI: Same reservation issue with Budget – except once you show up and find out there’s no truck reserved for you, they’ll still charge the fee to your credit card – forcing you to call to have it removed.

  50. ScubaSteveKzoo says:

    We had this EXACT same problem last week when we helped my mom move. We had a reserved truck at an office right in the middle of our moving locations, we call on the way and they don’t have it. What do they do? Send us an hour north to pick up a truck thats smaller, so now we have a triangle-trip. They knock half off the mileage for our troubles (how kind)

    Only problem is we had to drive twice as far that day to move. Really defeats the purpose. UHaul is terrible.

  51. haoshufu says:

    UHaul should give him the $50 OR another truck but not both. If they don’t make the stated gaurantee, they give you $50. However, once you accepted the other truck, whatever it is, you have changed your reservation. In order to get both $50 and ‘a’ truck, you will have to exercise your right to the $50 and at that point, your reservation will be null and void. The gaurantee does not say that after giving you the $50 they still have to do their best to fulfill the reservation. You can then either call to reserve another truck or get in line to see if they have anything left for standby customer.

  52. The exact same thing happened to me, online reservation, guaranteed, I think I even had to use my credit card to put something like 5 bucks down. Except it was the 6×12 trailer, not the 17 foot truck. Ended up getting the smaller trailer and making more trips (no 50 bucks either).

  53. amyschiff says:

    I would recommend Budget. I’ve had really good experiences with them, and they’re usually cheaper than any other place. The last time I reserved one I had an automatic discount applied so it ended up even cheaper than I was expecting. There are a lot of independent pick-up and drop-off places for Budget trucks so it’s pretty likely there’s a budget location near you (my home town is very small, and there is one within 15 minutes of me).

    You have to put down a deposit which is refunded once they get the truck back (on time). Mine was credited back to me VERY promptly.

  54. jpx72x says:

    @MonkeyMonk: You could also just skip the intermediate step and report directly to PMITA prison.

  55. Amanduh says:

    Penske Penske Penske! I had to do a local move, and they were ultra-affordable (AAA discount, too!) and the truck we got (a 15-footer, I think) was only like 3 years old. The staff was really nice and organized. No problems renting or returning. U-haul is just miserable.

  56. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    I would contact the plaintiff’s lawyer from the class action case. It’s quite possible that the court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement (a point of questionable legality, but perhaps of some leverage value). Depending on and how the settlement was left (and, frankly, his or her personality and mood), the class counsel may be inclined to help you.

    (Caveat: I’m not your lawyer, and haven’t even read the settlement papers).

  57. Rachael says:

    Last time I rented a UHaul, the thing died in the driveway of the apt complex I was moving from. Called one guy who came out, screwed around for a while, and sort of kind of got it running. Without waiting for more than 5 minutes to make sure it KEPT running, he took off and sure enough the engine died as soon as he left. So I had to call another guy out and by the time he fixed the issue (I can’t remember what it was, but it required him tinkering with the engine for a while) it was past the return time for the center that night. So I kept the truck overnight and, when I went back the next day, they actually had the audacity to charge me overage fees for the night I kept it.

    I explained to them that there was no way I was paying that fee and, in fact, as they had destroyed my entire moving day by forcing me to stay at my old apartment complex for hours longer than anticipated I said I felt I shouldn’t have to pay for the mileage on the truck, either. It was a long battle but they finally waived everything but the actual truck rental fee.

  58. Dobernala says:

    @haoshufu: RTFA

    Item number 5 does indeed state that they can substitute equipment, but ONLY if it is of equal or greater value than the equipment reserved.

    The poster is entitled to $50. What is the meaning of a reservation if they are allowed to substitute something inferior to that what you reserved?

  59. thrlsekr says:

    National news had a segment about the trailer issue Uhaul had and still has but the guy being interviewed was, I believe, a family member of the corporate owners’ and explained the issues with the trailers and then the interviewer gave it to him on how they rented trailers at different locations and a small fraction followed the guidelines on how to rent a trailer. They also had the Police do a inspection of the trailers they rented. It was not a very good result. One of the officer’s held a large piece of rust that fell off in his hand off the axle of the trailer. Anyway the guy gave his personal cell phone number but I did not write it down. It’s probably disconnected anyway.

  60. danseuse322 says:

    I, sadly, have moved too much. I have used Penske, Budget and Uhaul. PENSKE WINS! Hands down. No nickel and diming, brand new trucks. You pick the location. Great customer service. Sometimes the lowest price. (Ie I just spent $94 to move on a weekend in May–popular time and I lived in a college town) over 150 miles. 10% online discount and 10% AAA. Wow. Budget pretended they had a gas gage problem then later tried to charge me for it. Uhaul won’t even let you choose or guarantee a location. Penske rules. Everything about them wins. I hope I won’t need to move again soon but there is ZERO question who I will use. ZERO (Oh yeah, no deposits and unlimited miles)

  61. raisitup says:

    @haoshufu: nobody is going to be satiated by $50 when their moving plans have come to a screeching halt. the $50 should come first, then “let me see what i can get for you”.

  62. Kixie says:

    I showed up to pick up my reserved UHaul a few weeks back and they had the truck parked out front. When I walked in, they tried to tell me they couldn’t rent it to me because it had been reserved by someone else! (Explain how that makes sense. I had a reservation on a 14-foot truck, and I was there, and so was a 14-foot truck, but I can’t have it because someone else has a reservation? What?!) The thing was in terrible condition (part of the side paneling was held on with a C-clamp, where the c stands for “classy”) but I did finally manage to convince the kid at the desk that I was going to make things extremely uncomfortable for him if I didn’t walk away right then with my truck. Even though I got my truck in the end, I’ll probably never do business with UHaul again. They simply have no idea how to run a business.

  63. uncle_fluffy says:

    I’ve had bad experiences with U-Haul as well. I switched to Budget truck and haven’t looked back. Nothing but good experiences with them so far.

  64. TPS Reporter says:

    Go with Penske. We used them when my mother in law moved and we rented the mid-size “city van”, basically just a smaller box truck, like the delivery trucks running thru big cities. But it did have a hydraulic lift on the back that came in super handy. It was basically brand new.

  65. khiltd says:

    I’ve never collected any kind of guarantee from them, but I have disputed the charge with my credit card company and won without contest, thereby getting an essentially free truck.

  66. daengh says:

    My sister worked for UHaul in a regional office for a number of years & I can tell you this:

    1) the local stores frequently DO NOT KNOW what equipment they’ll have because of breakdowns, district or regional equipment transfers etc.
    2) an area can easily run out of a particular piece of gear, particularly in bad economic times when one-way rentals move bunches of stuff out of a slumping area.
    3) almost all of the stores are franchises; the store owners don’t run the reservation system and have ZERO control over it.
    4) the ‘guarantee’ $50 likely comes out of the franchisee’s pocket with no reimbursemnent from UHaul corporate.
    5) UHaul corporate do not care AT ALL about the franchisee or the customers. They want net profit. Only.

  67. jimv2000 says:

    @haoshufu:

    Their own terms say that if they don’t have the truck that you reserved at the location that you reserved it, at the time you reserved it, you get compensated $50. It doesn’t say anywhere that they can offer you a different truck at a different location at a different time and not give you the $50.

  68. jimv2000 says:

    @daengh:

    “4) the ‘guarantee’ $50 likely comes out of the franchisee’s pocket with no reimbursemnent from UHaul corporate.”

    Oh boo hoo hoo hoo. Some one get me a tissue.

  69. pmcpa2 says:

    @kpfeif: Agreed, Penske is a little bit more, but the equipment is always there, on time, clean, and 100% in working order! If there is ever a problem, they fix it, no problem!

  70. mets_fan says:

    It is somewhat comforting to know others have shared my unfortunate experience with Uhaul (not that I’d wish that upon anyone).

    I moved from a house (and a 10 year relationship) in 2006 to a nice, quaint apartment about 120 miles away. Over the course of my time out on my own, I had managed to accumulate quite a bit of stuff so I needed a fairly large truck to move it all. I’m disabled, so I had to rely on the help of my parents and a one or two friends who didn’t have to work that day (Tuesday). We specifically chose Tuesday to move and the thought behind it was most people tend to move on the weekends when they’re not working and such.

    We arrive at the designated Uhaul on my reservation email, see 3 or 4 of the same sized truck I’d been “promised” through the reservation process, and thought to myself, “Wonderful! I’m not going to have to wait and there shouldn’t be any problems in getting the truck.”

    A stupid assumption on my part……..

    After showing the clerk my confirmation/reservation email and quite a bit of time spent by him clicking on the keyboard for what ever reason, I was told he didn’t have that particular truck on the lot. I turned and glanced out the window, then pointed out to him the 3 to 4 trucks neatly parked in a row that were the size I had reserved and asked him if that was a mirage of some sort. He stared at the trucks for a moment, went back to clicking on his keyboard, and then informed me those trucks were not on his lot according to the computer so he could not rent them out. He then made a flurry of phone calls and then informed me another branch of Uhaul had the size truck I had reserved and proceeded to give me directions to the store that was about 30 miles away! I shoved my reservation email in his face, specifically pointing out the day, time and location given by the Uhaul company itself and all the pimply faced kid could do was shrug his shoulders and say he was sorry. When I demanded to talk to a manager I was told the store didn’t have one because he was “let go” about two weeks prior. Un-freakin’-believable!

    I decided I’d plead my case at the second location since I was getting no where with ‘Opie’, so when I arrived I was already in fussy mode. I showed the attendant my email, explained why I was there instead of at the location the email specified, and asked him what the company was going to do to make this situation right. The attendant looked at me and said he wasn’t authorized to make any discounts in the rates, so again I asked for a manager to deal with the situation. “He’s not here a the moment,” was the attendant’s reply.

    I went ahead with the rental (against my better judgement), did my move, and went to return the truck to the location in the new town. (I did a one-way rental.) Both my rental paperwork and the attendant said to return the truck before 4pm the following day, yet when I went to return the truck at around 3 pm, the rental location I was given was closed!! I immediately called their customer service number to tell them about my problem, and was told by the operator that she would notate my account and there shouldn’t be an issue when I went to return the truck the following day. Right……… You all know they tried to charge me for the extra day, but I managed to get that sorted out with a very nasty phone call to their customer service line. I also tried to get them to honor their guarantee and refund $50, but was told I had to do that through their corporate offices if I qualified. I had such a lousy experience with this company, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle to do so.

    I will not use Uhaul again for anything, and those who helped me that day have refused to do so as well. I cannot fathom how a well-known company such as this can continue to operate under such shady practices. Their equipment is horrible, their attendants seem to be on a different planet, there is a serioius lack of communication, and there is no concern for consumers at all.

    I have complained to the BBB. Think it will help?

  71. PlanetExpressdelivery says:

    @jimv2000: Try working as an honest franchisee and then wait for someone to “boo hoo” your hard work. This is clearly U-Haul corporate that refuses to get it’s act together, and having a small business owner pay out the nose for their screw-ups is rather unfair.

    Now, I’m not saying that ALL franchisees are such outstanding business owners and that U-Haul corporate is pure condensed evil. However, it’s U-Haul Corporate that is responsible for ensuring that reservations are met and guarantees are fulfilled.

    In this situation, I think U-Haul owes both the $50 and the truck. They failed to deliver on any article of their “guarantee” (location, time, and type of vehicle). More importantly, they owe an apology.

  72. rockstarjoe says:

    I had a similar problem with Ryder. They didn’t have my truck even though I made a reservation, so instead they gave me a much larger truck (gigantic actually, I was nervous driving it). Before I left they did the quick inspection and noted that the tire hubcab had a big dent in it. When I returned the truck they charged my account something like $400 for “damages”. It took me weeks of arguing with them before they removed the charge. Moving sucks.

  73. MrsLopsided says:

    I’d highly recommend http://www.upack.com for interstate moves. They drive, you pack, and they give you 3 business days at each end to load and unload. It’s much cheaper than a regular mover without the hassle of driving old Uhaul equipment. Customer service is top notch and my bill wasn’t a penny over estimate.

  74. Orv says:

    @kepler11: What rental company have you used where a reservation actually means something? I actually have a better batting average with U-Haul than I do with Avis. One time it took Avis three tries to come up with a car that was actually on the lot and in running condition, and the car I ended up with was nothing like what I reserved.

  75. Orv says:

    @MrsLopsided: I’m so nervous about moving services like that. You here so many horror stories about them sticking your stuff in a warehouse somewhere and then demanding extra payment. At least with U-Haul my stuff is always under my control.

  76. davidmac2003 says:

    I’ve used U-Haul twice for local moves and rented a trailer from them twice for one-way moves. Haven’t had any problems yet. But the key is, and this is of utmost importance – find the direct phone number for the franchisee (or make the reservation in person), and show up to pick up your truck 1 hour before the doors open. If you’re first in line, you will get your truck.

  77. martyz says:

    A buddy of mine rented a truck with U-Haul’s IN-town prices…he stupidly drove it OUT of town several hundred miles and ended up owing over $450 on a one-day rental — the U-Haul guy at the store said, “If you give me a $100 cash I can fix it for you” — my buddy went to a cash machine and magically there was no more $450 owed.

  78. mebaman says:

    I used to use Uhaul when I was in college and was always appalled at the condition of the truck I received. Upon my return for one fall semester, I noticed a kid moving in next door with a nice, clean, relatively new yellow truck. After that, I sought out a Penske branch for my next move and continue to use Penske. For those that think Penske’s more expensive, factor in the total cost of Uhaul’s unreliability, unpleasant service, and fee-happy personnel, and I think you’ll find that Penske’s cheaper in the end.

    Some of Penske’s distributors are a bit eccentric (e.g. one distributor commonly keeps a parrot at the front desk of the office), but I cannot say that I’ve ever been treated unfairly or that my truck looked like it needed to be resigned to the scrapyard.

    I used Budget once when I could not get a Penske truck. My one experience with Budget went well, and while the condition of the truck was not as good as what I had gotten from Penske, the truck was still heads and shoulders above what I had come to expect from Uhaul.

  79. savvy9999 says:

    I’ve never used them, but I like to just say the word, “Penske”. Makes me giggle.

    Penske! for all my friendske!

  80. leejay says:

    I just rented a U-Haul last weekend for a move. Even though i’d made the reservation, was emailed the reservation, and spoke to the rep at my pick-up place about my reservation, the reservation was not in the computer when I arrived! Imagine that!

    Also, even though he was “booked solid” for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and could not get me a pick-up earlier than 4pm on Sunday, the lot was absolutely full of trucks when we arrived and he allowed us to choose whatever we wanted (ha- causing other folks to miss out on there reservations, perhaps?).

    Though the pick-up seemed to go alright, when we went back to pay there were so many unhappy people. One guy working, nobody’s reservation in the system, a wait of over an hour. We put a considerable amount of gas into the truck and the needle had hardly moved, and we had not driven very far. Since we had seen a guy with the same problem during our pick-up we decided to argue against it. The rep kept saying $10 more gas would make the needle move, which made no sense. He offered that we pay him $20 cash and he’d get the gas meter back up without charging us the refill fee. We persisted and didn’t have to pay at all.

  81. MercuryPDX says:

    @fluiddruid: When you’re moving out of an apartment, you can’t afford to be unsure if a reservation is going to be kept, so I’ve never used them.

    QFT. I got screwed by them when moving out of my first apartment. I was able to get another day from the complex; they were very sympathetic to the situation. We moved what boxes we could, and took care of the furniture that wouldn’t fit in a car the next day… after my “We will have your truck here tomorrow by 9AM” promise from the clerk showed up at 2:30.

    I’ve used local movers ever since.

  82. MercuryPDX says:

    @kepler11: I think the issues are:
    1. “Bob” who shows up reservation-less 20 minutes before you get there. Instead of being told to come back later or flat out denied a truck because they’re all reserved or used, he gets yours.

    2. “Dick” who trashes/breaks the truck [Glares at MonekyMonk], or drives the very last mile or two out of it making it go out of service.

  83. jamesdenver says:

    @kepler11:

    People in other countries move – but that don’t collect near as much crap as we do throughout their lives.

    I’ve wondered myself why when moving in my 20s I bothered to pack a U-Haul with all my shitty (at the time) particle board furniture and dumpy sofas, rather than finding a smaller place and outfitting in at my new city.

  84. daengh says:

    @jimv2000: Most of the franshisees (in my sister’s region) cleared less than $1000 a month from UHaul, so giving up $50 for something they have NO control over *is* a big deal.

    I’m glad your life works for you so that you don’t have to adapt to someone else controlling your… car, let’s say… and then you get a face full of complaints from… your boss, let’s say… who doesn’t give a rat’s ass that the car you *thought* you could drive to work was suddenly and without notice given to your neighbor who took it to Peoria. No car for you, boss doesn’t care how you get to work. And you have to pay for your own taxi… say about $50… to get to work, with no reimbursement.

  85. lincolnparadox says:

    Penske has never given me a problem and they’re usually cheaper.

  86. czarandy says:

    I’ve had good success renting from Budget several times. It’s been cheaper than Penske when I’ve looked at it. My one U-Haul experience was terrible. Although I did get a truck eventually, it was 4 hours late.

  87. hills says:

    Try PODS – more expensive than renting a truck & driving yourself, but still 1/2 the cost of traditional movers…. And no one ever messes with your stuff b/c you put your own lock on it, and each POD has a tracking device so I know where my crap is.

    Plus, this way you can drive your own car and not a Death Trap Truck from UHaul.

  88. Frank_Trapasso says:

    I’ve never had a bad experience with U-Haul. Must be the franchise, from what everyone else is saying.

  89. klusta says:

    Penske hands down. A smart thing to do is get a quote online from them, Uhaul, and Budget. Penske will usually call you within 2 days to see if you’ve decided on a carrier. Mention you’ve looked at a couple other companies and the best price was $xxx so far. Penske will do their best to match it.

    I’ve used Budget as well — didn’t have any problems, but have heard horror stories. Every time I’ve looked at Uhaul, they were the most expensive for the oldest equipment. Beats me why they’re still in business.

  90. emt888 says:

    I used Penske when I moved from Wisconsin to Las Vegas and they were awesome! They were really friendly and did not rush me. The Penske guy and I both went over the truck carefully to note the damages and the truck was new, only 4,000 miles on it. It also had a CD player, which was a bonus. I had reserved 8 furniture pads and they only had 6 on hand, so they threw in a hand truck and a TON of moving boxes for free, and I didn’t even have to ask for them. When I returned the truck early, they refunded me for the rental days that I did not use and for the insurance on the days that I did not use, and again, I didn’t even have to ask for it. Also, when I was getting prices for my move, Penske was by far the cheapest. I think they were about $400 less than UHaul and Budget. I would not hesitate to use Penske again.

  91. mythago says:

    Holy crud. This is like deja vu. We had almost the exact same problem in 2004, and I’m pretty sure it was also the Sunnyvale office. They ended up sending us to their SF location the next morning, which, surprise surprise, did not have a truck of the right size either, but did have a long line of people asking “where’s my truck?”

    When I tried to deal with their CSRs, I was offered $50 and a bunch of vouchers for future U-Haul rentals.

  92. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    moved from florida to north carolina in a penske truck: it was ready when i got there, clean and in good condition. dropped it off and misjudged the gas gauge because i parked on a slope for the late night drop off area outside the locked lot and they charged me $17… no big deal at all.

    rented a uhaul pick for an across town move: wasn’t ready when i got there, they finally found a truck that was about to have a tire change [so they said] and asked if i wanted that but they wouldn’t be able to change the tire. i checked the tire and it didn’t look too bad, i was only making a couple of short trips so i took it. but they wouldn’t let me put my debit card down on it or pay in cash and leave a cash deposit, so i had to leave my maxed out credit card number for them to hold and they swiped my debit ‘for the final payment’

    they put a hold on my debit AND my credit card, which i kind of expected.

    but in the end they charged the credit card EVEN THOUGH the guy actually typed a note in the comments field that appeared on my printed contract as to which card would be used for the final payment.
    this was over a weekend so on monday i double checked by calling my bank [both credit and debit cards with the same bank] and they verified the hold was on the debit, the charge was on the credit card….. but i use a local credit union so they just let me make an immediate payment to my credit card out of checking and lifted the hold on the debit.

    worse yet, i ran into one of my coworkers who was in line in front of me getting her [reserved] 17 foot truck the same time i was getting my pickup. they didn’t have anything smaller than the 20 foot truck available and wanted to charge her extra. i didn’t mind waiting while she argued with the supervisor at all and she DID get the 20 footer for the same price by whipping out her cell phone and calling customer service right there in front of the clerk

  93. swimmey says:

    This is why I’m staying in this house until I die.

  94. geoffhazel says:

    I read the 50.00 guarantee just now, and they may have changed things a bit. It says that you don’t have a guaranteed reservation until you get a call from the rental location verifying that you have a reservation — a confirming email means nothing except that you’ve started the process. Without the confirming phone call from the rental location, there is no guarantee.

    Hopefully this’ll keep the rental locations more accountable for their failure to deliver trucks.

  95. slowinthefastlane says:

    I’ve rented five moving trucks and two cars from the Budget office in Santa Clara a few miles down the road from the Sunnyvale U-Haul. They’ve always had the truck that I had reserved on hand and have always been very pleasant to work with. One time when I rented a car there, they even gave me a few hours free for returning it with a full tank (I had picked it up half-empty and thought I would use more gas than I actually did).

  96. ShyamariParrot says:

    Same thing happened to me 7 years ago – I vowed NEVER to rent a truck from
    U-Haul ever again.

  97. jeffjohnvol says:

    3 words. Small Claims Court. File it and they’ll mail you a check the day before the court case.

  98. MikeLovesTQM says:

    Same thing has happened to me at U-haul more than once. Now I approach with a back-up plan. What else can you do? They need a competitor. Anyone care to angel invest $50 million into a new rental company that cares about people?

  99. Speak says:

    Here’s another vote for Penske. Rented them for a move from Chicago to New York. Employees were friendly, and the truck was clean. I’ve also rented from the Penske in Manhattan, returned it to their location in Yonkers. From what I recall, the truck I’d reserved wasn’t available, so I was given a free upgrade to a bigger truck. Penske was more expensive, but the extra money was worth keeping my schedule and sanity.

    I think it’s also definitely worth writing some letters to the Better Business Bureau and U-Haul corporate.

  100. biiib says:

    I had a 6×12 trailer reservation, they changed location few hours before pick up time with some time restrictions when to return. I said fine and filed complain to BBB. Got my $50 in few days afterwards.
    I end up renting Enterprise Van.

  101. Lynn says:

    Greg, I had the same experience this week. When I asked the clerk how to get the $50 guarantee because my truck was not at the specified location, she said she there was no such thing as a $50 guarantee. I assured her that I was not making it up. She proceeded to call her manager and “corporate,” as she called it. They both also said they had never heard of a $50 guarantee. After asking her about five times if she would look it up on her company’s website, she finally did and found it with no problem. She then proceeded to read the whole thing out loud and then told me that it didn’t apply to me. The woman who three minutes previously had never heard of the guarantee was now an expert at interpreting it. Her exact words after reading it were, “Yeah, but that’s not what it means.” Oh, okay.

    I also completely agree with you that the replacement vehicle should be brought to the agreed upon location. When I mentioned that to “corporate,” I was told that UHaul is not in the business of delivering trucks. Again, oh, okay. The problem of finding a new location and getting to it was all my responsibility, not theirs, despite the guarantee, text message, etc.

    In short, on Thursday, I received some of the worst customer service I have experienced in a long time — and that is saying something! All of the people I spoke with gave curt, rude answers. Only one person of all the people I spoke to in the stores and on the phone said that she was sorry that my truck was not where it was supposed to be. (I was later told that she was new, which I guess explains that..)

    I will never use UHaul again. All of you who are considering UHaul, do everything you can to avoid them.

    If you are a UHaul manager, perhaps you should encourage your employees to know the policies of your company. I know that I will not get my $50, but I am going to spread the word that UHaul should be avoided. I can assure UHaul that they will lose that $50 over and over again in lost revenue.

    By the way, I am a 64-year-old woman who was not rude in return — in case you’re wondering what caused the bad behavior I experienced. I don’t know — other than perhaps they get so many complaints, which just proves my point: Avoid UHaul.

  102. dwfmba says:

    I got my $50, but only after a LOT of arguing and an unemployed wife with the time to call every day for 10 days… yeah I didn’t think it was really a good use of time either.