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?”