Overcharged, Man Secures U-Haul Refund

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).

Two weekends ago I was in a situation where I needed to move some furniture out of storage and into my new apartment. Between my own experiences and the reports on Consumerist.com I was hesitant to rent from U-Haul, despite their convenient location. I looked into renting a full size van from Enterprise or a truck from Home Depot or Lowes but since I was moving on a Sunday and under 25 years old neither worked out
for me.

The rental itself wasn’t half bad — I skipped paying the online reservation free knowing that the reservation wouldn’t be guaranteed anyway and instead called ahead to the local store (number acquired via Google Maps). I managed to snag a 14′ truck after waiting a few hours (3:30pm Sunday) and agreed to return it after-hours (~6pm).

When I get back to work on Monday I logged in to my bank website and saw a charge of $75 on my card followed by a credit of $19.82 — total charges at nearly $56. Confused, I called the local number and was transferred to a regional CSR (call was after-hours). The CSR was quite nice, offering to fax me a copy of the receipt and look into a double charge (for two rental periods). Of course, he followed up with neither of those promises.

Fast-forward to today, Monday, a week later. All I want is a copy of the bill and to contest the second $19.95 charge. Poking around on their website I find a form to request a copy of your bill. I fill out all of the information and at the end am asked if I agree to a $10 “research fee”. Ridiculous!

So I call 1-800-GOUHAUL and try my hand again at raising them on the phone. That number, of course, is their national number, and we all know how well integrated U-Haul corporate is with their individual retail locations. Needless to say, they transferred me to a busy tone. Next I call the local U-Haul location and get hung up on. Twice. “Thank you for calling U-Haul, please hold — click.”

After a call back to the national number I finally get the number of the regional call center. I get a nice rep named Phoebe on the line and explain that this is my 5th or 6th call on this issue. As luck would have it she is the executive assistant to the regional manager. (Executive support FTW!) She takes down my contact information, gives me a direct number to her office (skipping the IVR) and immediately emails me a copy of the bill as well as a confirmation of refund for the second billing period. Whoa!

I guess the lessons to be learned here are many:

1) Never reserve a truck online. Always call the local number. Make sure you’re speaking with a local person — often the local number will ring over to a regional sales office.

2) Always check your credit card for the amount charged, particularly if using the key drop after business hours. Keep gas receipts to prove that you filled up and take pictures of the dolly and blankets in the back to prove you didn’t use them.

3) If you need to contest your bill and are not near the local store, call the regional number. You can usually get this from the national CSRs. If you’re looking for Western NY it’s 888-761-9232. Pheobe G. was the rep who helped me — her title is Executive Assistant so she’ll likely be able to get straighten out your problem. Please don’t abuse this number!

4) U-Haul isn’t evil, just mismanaged. If you are persistent you will eventually get someone on the line who genuinely cares about your issue.

Hope others find this information helpful. Thanks Consumerist!

Terry VH

(Photo: PetroleumJelliffe)