Uhaul To Start Charging $1-$5 "Environmental Fee"

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…

Effective the week of March 4, 2008, Web BEST will begin charging an “Environmental Fee”. This will be charged on all truck rentals. It is $1 per day on an In-Town with max of $5 and it is $5 per rental on a One-Way. This money will be set aside and spent on waste disposal and related activities.

Most auto part, tire stores and auto repair facilities have charged a similar fee for several years. Both Penske and Budget charge similar fees. The customer expects U-Haul as the industry leader to deal responsibly with these matters and we are.

Q: What is the environmental fee for?
A: To help defray a portion of the costs associated with the disposal and treatment of waste fluids, batteries, tires and many other environmentally hazardous wastes. In addition the fee will also be used to offset costs associated with the research, development and new technology U-Haul continues to add to it`s equipment and facilities.

Q: What if a customer complains about the fee?
A: You are in charge of your customer service, if you feel it is necessary to refund the customer, by all means, please refund them. As with any charge, you can reverse this fee. Before you do, ask yourself and your customer. “Do you want clean air and water thirty or fifty years from now? If so, pitch in.”

Saving the environment is nice. We like trees. Ponds with ducks swimming in them are great. But we hate companies who tack normal costs of doing business on as “fees.” It’s disingenuous and makes comparison shopping harder.

(Photo: Beatrice M)