My Storage Facility Didn’t Have My Stuff Ready When My Mover Came. Do They Owe Me Anything?

Brian moved away from the United States five years ago. When he first headed to Brazil, he didn’t plan to be away for quite this long, and had some items in storage. He paid a friend to fetch his belongings from the storage facility, which is in a different state from Brian’s family and permanent address. The company had changed hands a few times in the last few years, but he didn’t expect them to be so disorganized that they would have no idea that his friend was coming. He wants the storage company to compensate him in some way for having to pay his friend for an extra day on the road. Should they?

He writes:

Back in 2007, I left the US for greener pastures. I was faced with the decision of what to do with my stuff. I had always used [redacted] Storage for cross-country moves, and decided to use them again.

I was only supposed to be gone for a year, but one year turned into five, and now it’s December of 2012 and I’m ready to bring my Brazilian wife home for the first time to meet the parents. One of the things we wanted to do was take my belongings out of storage.

I live in Southwest Michigan and my stuff is in storage in [Redacted], Minnesota. The storage company has changed hands a few times since I started using them, but in any case, I called them up and told them a friend of mine would be coming to pick up my stuff. I sent them the authorization forms as requested, and scheduled him for Wednesday, the 12th of December. On the 11th, he drove up there.

On the 12th of December, he gets there, and there’s nobody there to meet him. He calls the phone numbers I provided him, and gets a hold of someone at corporate, who start calling around trying to find the warehouse manager and the owner.

The corporate phone operators I talked to were very apologetic and seemed genuinely concerned. Eventually (with my friend standing out in the cold, by the way), I got a hold of “Mike” who did not identify himself other than his first name.

He checked the computer and found that the mistake was on their end, that the unit should have been brought down on that day, but that his people leave the warehouse about 10:30 and probably just put it back. Now, my friend doesn’t work for free, I’ve got to pay this guy for an extra night in a hotel, and an extra day on the road. I told Mike “I’m expecting some kind of consideration from you.”

Mike said, “I don’t know what you expect us to do.”

This is my question to Consumerist:

In short, I promised my guy $1000 for two days of his time, a drive to Minnesota, loading my stuff in a van, and bringing it back to my house. Because of [the storage company], I need to pay him for an extra day, another night in a hotel, meals, etc.

I don’t feel like I should have to pay for this.

What does Consumerist think? Should I be stuck with the bill for their admitted mistake? What’s fair here? How do I go about getting reimbursed for my friend’s time and my out-of-pocket expenses?

If the storage company also provides moving services, they may not be keen to provide a refund or any “consideration” because Brian happened to hire his buddy to haul his stuff around instead.