Look, we know gas is expensive, but don’t save a couple bucks by topping off your U-Haul’s gas tank with water. We won’t pretend to care about U-Haul—not even U-Haul cares about their vehicles—but the next renter will want to bludgeon you with a rusty ice pick when their truck breaks down because you hosed the engine.
Now that it’s summer, many people are doing the moving thing. For some, this might mean renting a truck or trailer from U-Haul, like reader Ryan. He reserved a truck from U-Haul online well in advance of his move, but when he went in for pickup was told none were available. Ryan called corporate, who called the store and convinced the surly manager to give Ryan a truck. Three days after Ryan returned the truck, he got this voicemail from from U-Haul: “This is Alexandria U-Haul Rentals. Your rental truck was due three days ago and you haven’t returned it. If you don’t return our truck today I will call the police.” See how Ryan handled the situation, inside.
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.
Each year Fortune magazine does a survey to determine America’s most admired companies. We took a look at their data and found the top 10 most admired companies for the quality of their products and services. We also found the least admired.
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….
A Dallas court found U-Haul guilty of negligence for failing to maintain its vehicles properly, and awarded 74-year-old Talmadge Waldrip $84 million in damages, $63 million of which are punitive. “The truck’s parking brake did not work at all,” said the man’s lawyer. “He stepped out of the truck and it rolled right over him.”
What about all those tales about broken and poorly maintained trucks? His thoughts, inside…
Uhaul is going to start charging customers a $1-$5 fee to defray the cost of throwing away the various nasty junks associated with its rental business, according to an anonymous store manager. It will be called an “Environmental Fee.” Ok, whatever, but we like the rebuttal supplied in the Q & A for Uhaul managers in case a customer complaints: “Do you want clean air and water thirty or fifty years from now? If so, pitch in.” Nice, avoid raising upfront prices and get customers to cover your operating expenses through the power of guilt. Full text of the announcement, inside…
U-Haul has settled a class-action suit by agreeing to pay customers $50 each time they fail to honor a confirmed reservation. The settlement comes after an appeals court agreed that the rental giant had “engaged in fraudulent practices.”
[protected-iframe id="14eedff4c1ed081d42f5a75be4931995-40783744-40309798" info="http://digg.com/api/diggthis.php?u=http://digg.com/business_finance/The_Ultimate_Consumerist_Guide_To_Fighting_Back_2" width="55" height="82" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"] We’ve posted recently about how to fight back when a business screws you over, and we’ve posted a lot of executive contact info over the years. Now we’re packaging the two together into one big mega-post of usefulness: a one-stop-stop for figuring out what you need to do to start a customer complaint, or how to escalate a stalled one so that it can be resolved.
We’re going to say something positive about U-Haul! No, not about the company (it has a rich history of complaints on our blog), but about the community trading service they’ve enabled on their “U-Haul Box Exchange” forum where people give away or sell their boxes after they’ve moved—although hopefully you won’t find an unpacked baby in any used boxes you get your hands on.
A pregnant woman and her cousin used a U-Haul to steal clothing, baby goods, groceries, and Halloween decorations from three different Wal-Mart stores over the course of a single afternoon.
Willie wasn’t sure why U-Haul told him to park his rental truck in a poorly lit, fenced-off gas station lot that was clearly under construction, but he figured he had the right place when he saw several other U-Haul trucks in a closed pen nearby; Willie parked next to the pen, locked his rental, and got the hell out of there; when Willie told U-Haul he returned their truck as per their instructions, “they try to tell us it is our fault and we would be charged for this….for what? For doing exactly what they said. Exactly.” Now U-Haul wants $1,700:
Terry got overcharged for his U-Haul rental but by using three of the most basic tools in the consumerist toolkit, persistence, politeness, and escalation, he was able to get the amount refunded (plus an executive assistant contact number and name to boot).
Central pieces of evidence have gone go missing when U-Haul gets sued, LAT reports in the 3rd part of its investigation into the do-it-yourself moving company. In 11 out of 10,000 lawsuits filed against the company since 1998, items such as faulty tires and rims at the core of the cases have vanished before or during trial.
Part 2 in a LA Times investigation into U-Haul’s business practices and safety record isn’t any less bleak than part 1. The LA Times investigation has uncovered that U-Haul fails to properly maintain their aging fleet of vehicles while mechanics “hang paper” (forge safety inspections and repairs) to keep the trucks and the money rolling.
During a yearlong investigation, Times journalists surveyed more than 200 U-Haul trucks and trailers in California and other states and found that more than half were overdue for a company-mandated “safety certification,” a check of brakes, tires and other parts typically required every 30 days.
U-Haul knowingly rents unsafe tow trailers that have the potential to kill customers. A yearlong investigation by the L.A. Times found that U-Haul’s practices unnecessarily expose customers to the dangers of trailer sway.
Traveling downhill or shaken by a sharp turn or a gust of wind, a trailer can begin swinging so violently that only the most experienced — or fortunate — drivers can regain control and avoid catastrophe.
Trailers can sway when towed by vehicles lighter than the trailer. U-Haul regulations allows trailers to outweigh the tow-vehicle by up to 25%, openly flouting guidelines set by automakers. For instance, U-Haul allows a 2007 Crown Victoria to haul 4,400 pounds, even though Ford suggests that the 4,100 pound vehicle tow no more than 1,500 pounds. “Two U-Haul competitors, Penske and Budget only rent trailers to customers renting trucks heavier than the trailers. Safety is the reason.”