Uhaul CEO Gave Out Cellphone Number On National TV, But Never Picks Up Or Returns Calls

In what looked like a daring move, the CEO of Uhaul, Joe Shoen, gave out his “cellphone number” on national TV and invited customers to call him with their complaints. The problem is, when you call, he doesn’t pick up. If you leave a message, it’s not returned. You get to hear Joe’s gruffly charming voicemail message, but can’t leave one of your own. His mailbox is full.

UPDATE: It seems this post may have had an effect. Commenters are reporting that Joe is now picking up. He even reportedly said to one of them, “Yes, this is Joe Shoen, are you calling about the internet?” Good on ya, Joe, now make sure that voicemail box is cleaned up.

The message says that he’s sorry he missed your call, but he checks his voicemail frequently and if you leave your name and number he’ll return your call. I count three lies in that statement. The only thing worse than not being responsive and transparent to your customers is lying to them that you are. When he gave out the number, Joe said, “People can’t get this organization to behave, I can.” Empty words, Joe, empty words.

However, reader Teresa says she’s had success by calling the corporate customer complaint line at 800-789-3638.

PREVIOUSLY: Uhaul CEO’s Cellphone Number


Edit Your Comment

  1. JoshMac says:

    Nice wood panelling.

  2. kepler11 says:

    well, what do you expect? You would need an entire Indian call center to handle the disaster that is Uhaul.

    What is the matter with this company? It is the quintessential American experience — everyone in the US has to move with them at some point, you would think they could get their act together and profit from such a well-known brand and network.

    Is it their computer reservations algorithm? Maintenance scheduling? Or what? How come car rental companies can keep their fleets moving and well run? Tell this CEO to sell it off to Hertz and let’s have a real company run it.

    ps. one thing that people in the US could do to make it easier on themselves is not to insist on calendar month apartment contracts. There’s nothing that says you have to rent an apartment starting/ending on the first day of the month. It causes everyone to be scrambling to find equipment on the same day, and making rentals of anything more expensive than it needs to be. Let renters and landlords rent any time in the month. Save us all the cramming it into the last day/weekend.

  3. jaxxson28 says:

    Last month, my boyfriend was moving out of my apartment and reserved a Uhaul truck. The local office modified his reservation at the last minute and told him he would have to pick it up 45 minutes away, at a location far away from the public transit he was depending on. After unsuccessfully attempting to resolve the issue via the standard customer service route, we found Joe Shoen’s number, on this site, and called at 8 p.m. on a Saturday. He answered after a couple rings, and listened to the problem. Within a half hour, our local branch called to let us know a truck “had just been returned” to the site we had initially intended to pick up the truck. Calling him definitely worked for us.

  4. Meg Marco says:

    867 5909 – Joe Shoen

  5. Meg Marco says:

    @Meg Marco: er, 3

  6. snoop-blog says:

    Yeah I’ve never had a problem with renting a u-haul. They don’t seem any better/worse than any other place I’ve been to, but I will say the one we have in my town is a corporate store, and not a wooden shed behind a Stuckeys.

  7. mk says:

    @kepler11: good luck finding a lease not on a 1st day of the month. Here in Chicago, not only do you typically get a first day of the month, but most landlords insist that leases are up in May or October (primary move months). So even if you do move in an odd month (like say April) you’ll end up signing a lease until May anyway.

  8. ekthesy says:

    @Meg Marco:

    Joey Joey I got a truck from you
    you gave me something that won’t ever move
    now you think I’m like all the renters before
    and I’m totally sure you won’t ever call

  9. Verdigris says:

    @Meg Marco: Way to mess up a parody on a classic song… :p

    BTW that’s exactly what I was thinking as I was reading this. That and the guys tricking resemblance to Wilford Brimley…

  10. organicgardener says:

    Typical. Or did he really not think that he would be inundated with calls?

  11. Verdigris says:

    @Verdigris: err… striking… I FAILED!

  12. snoop-blog says:

    Now correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t people sign up a cell phone number for pay services and all you need is the number right?

  13. armour says:

    Shure he leaves his cell phone number but why not a land line just like there outlets requier to be able to rent? Maby they need to look at there other article here about the land line become non esencal due to cell phone usage. Plus trucks that work and the same vechicle that is reserved is the one that is actualy there would be a nice addition as well.

  14. snoop-blog says:

    I wonder if he could get signed up for like joke of the day or something. I heard there are bs things like that on the internet you can sign up other peoples numbers for so long as you know the number and they get billed for it on their monthly statement. Now granted that sounds illegal and extremely shady, but I thought I’ve even read about it on here before, although my searches for it didn’t find anything.

  15. shocker says:

    Who’s to say he’s not returning all the calls he gets in his voicemail, but his voicemail fills up again the instant he delete’s the one he just followed up on?

    Granted, stupid on his part given the virtual shit-storm Uhaul is in anymore, but lying might be a bit too far.

  16. stavs says:

    @Verdigris: I was thinking he looks more like Ed Asner or the doctor on Seinfeld (Assman).

  17. SkokieGuy says:

    href=”#c6920367″>snoop-blog: It would be very BAD of you to fill out an information card for Tahiti Village, the fabulous Las Vegas time share. Why they’ll even give a three day vacation for those who are interested in learning about their exciting new property! Very bad Snoop!

    Or consolidating his credit card debt, or maybe he’s looking for new storm windows or an extended warranty for some of his vehicles (badly needed at Uhaul).

  18. Verdigris says:

    “Sorry I couldn’t answer the phone right now, as I am currently checking my blood sugar level to prevent complications from my Diabetes… Aren’t you glad they don’t hire U-Haul to transport Diabetes supplies to your door? I know I am!

    Just kidding… leave a message!”

  19. wildwobby says:

    He answered to my call from skype. But I have never used U-HAUL…

    I hung up on him after we both said hello to each other.

  20. SkokieGuy says:

    Some of the other sites reporting on this indicate that when Joe provided his number, he said “People can’t get this organization to behave, I can”

    This just makes the ineffectiveness of this gesture even more laughable.

    Joe, ya’ really don’t need people calling your ‘cell’ phone to find out how hard our loudly U-Haul sucks.

    And beside, if you were to actually use a U-haul vehicle for transportation, you’d want to keep your cell phone line clear, so you’d be able to call for maintenance when the vehicle breaks down.

  21. tycho55 says:

    Woah — I literally *just* called, and got “Hello, this is Joe. How may I help you?”

    I didn’t know what to say, so I hung up.

  22. mike says:

    There’s something to be said for a company willing to put out there “personal” contact information.

    While I applaud his efforts, execution could use some work.

  23. TurboWagon00 says:

    @armour: I can’t tell whether you are being ironic or intentionally retarded in a vain attempt to be funny, so I’ll go with the latter.

  24. The message says that he’s sorry he missed your call, but he checks his voicemail frequently and if you leave your name and number he’ll return your call.

    There is NO LIE in that statement.

    What if frequently may differs from person to person. For my elderly Aunt a frequent telephone call is every 5 minutes, for her brother a frequent telephone call is ever 5 years.

    So poor Joe thinks frequently is once per month. Who says he is wrong.

    BTW every company should have an email/telephone etc policy that states they will respond in 30 minutes or less 24/7/365. Can’t make that standard then gosh darn make your own standard, but publish the standard to make life easirer and less whining from customers.

  25. Ein2015 says:

    Unfortunately I can agree that UHall is a mess.

    My family needed to bring up furniture for me, so they rent a UHall trailer which had malfunctioning lights (illegally malfunctioning lights). UHall sent out some people 2 hours after they were called… those people tugged on the wiring, said it’s not their fault, and drove off. Problem is, it wasn’t the truck’s fault as the trailer connection has never had a problem before, even with other UHall trailers.

  26. Propaniac says:

    @kepler11: U-Haul sucks because people think that “everyone has to use them to move.” If more people went with U-Haul’s competitors, maybe U-Haul would be more motivated to make people happy.

    I moved a week ago, made a reservation with Penske and picked up the truck with no problems at all.

  27. ironchef says:

    I’ll add him to my Fav Five. ;)

  28. bohemian says:

    I think it is ironic that the CEO of a large national company is sitting in what looks like the inside of a 1970’s construction trailer in that picture.

    That says everything you need to know about U-haul.

  29. citybuddha says:

    Here is his land line #

  30. jstaggjon says:

    So, can you call the corporate customer complaint line and ask to speak to him? Or let them know his mailbox is full?

  31. Phreeze says:

    Um… just called Joe and he answered the phone. No shit. Let’s not jump to conclusions on this. I am sure the guy gets a lot of calls, and he SHOULD return them, but it does appear to be a real number and one that he does answer.

  32. savvy999 says:

    Cut the guy some slack, he’s actually working from inside a U-Haul. Reception in there sucks. And they’re usually stinkin’ hot in the summertime.

  33. PHX602 says:

    And in other shocking news of the day, the sun came up in the east this morning and the sky is blue.

  34. Coles_Law says:

    Not his fault-he had AT&T, and they chopped his “unlimited” plan. Turns out 28% of their network call volume was to that number.


  35. No_Moleste says:

    I’ve had some pretty terrible experiences with Uhaul…in fact, dealing with them is THE WORST part of moving. I had a Uhaul guy threaten to kick my ass if he found out I took their car trailer more than 15 miles out of town. This was after refusing to rent to me because I was driving an Explorer…so I had to rent a pickup from Enterprise. That’s one of the better things that’s happened to me…the multiple other stories are too wordy to type here. I actually saw a U haul employee sock a customer in the face for “mouthing off” (the U haul in Oakland is unbelievable).
    Unfortunately, no other companies rent moving trailers or car trailers. Budget does but you have to use one of their moving vans to tow it…

  36. QuillanIsmene says:

    Please don’t post my name or e-mail address with this comment.

    Like at least one commenter above, I too tried the number tonight, and
    someone actually answered. He said “Hello, this is Joe. Did you get my
    number off the internet?” I thought it was a recording and just sat there.
    Then he said “Hello?” again. I said I had dialed the wrong number. He
    started telling me that it was not a wrong number, and I didn’t know what to
    say so I just hung up. So as much as I hate Uhaul from several experiences,
    we should maybe cut this guy a little slack.

  37. QuillanIsmene says:

    Like at least one commenter above, I too tried the number tonight, and
    someone actually answered. He said “Hello, this is Joe. Did you get my
    number off the internet?” I thought it was a recording and just sat there.
    Then he said “Hello?” again. I said I had dialed the wrong number. He
    started telling me that it was not a wrong number, and I didn’t know what to
    say so I just hung up. So as much as I hate Uhaul from several experiences,
    we should maybe cut this guy a little slack.

  38. Fitwit says:

    U-Haul sux wind. Rented from them last weekend for a truck in my kid’s college town. Was assured truck available at specific U-Haul location. Got phone call 24 hours in advance from a U-Haul 90 minutes away saying they had my truck. Great ! They even had the time of day wrong. Called national reservations again and they say no trucks were available in the city I needed one. What changed since I set my reservation 24 hours ago? Nobody knows anything. Do you want to keep or cancel? I called two U-Hauls and found a truck myself in the city I needed one? Any idea why national said none were available ? Next time I’ll pay triple to use Enterprise. You make a reservation, they have your vehicle as promised.

  39. AgentTuttle says:

    If only there were a special code to have the cell phone turn into a puffer fish right in his pocket. He obviously doesn’t carry it with him anyway.

  40. strokesoco says:

    Yeah I just called him 2 minutes ago and after three rings he picked up. Totally caught me off guard. I said “Are you the CEO of Uhaul?” and he said “Yes this is Joe Shoen of Uhaul, how can I help you?” I was sorta speechless cause I don’t even know what this was all about, so he goes “Are you calling about the internet?” and I said “No, but why did they said you don’t pick up your phone or answer voicemails ever?” and he said “I’m not sure. They’re really just trying to mess with me.” or something to that effect. I said sorry for bugging him cause I had absolutely nothing to say otherwise and he told me to have a good night and he hung up.

  41. Meathamper says:

    He moved to Verizon. Go go go!

  42. Hongfiately says:

    He looks like a cross between Mikhail Gorbachev and Joe Garagiola.

  43. cgraydon says:

    I just called and was answered by Joe saying, “Yes this is Joe Shoen, are you calling about the internet?”. So much for him not answering.

  44. mikells43 says:

    i just called it at 156am est and it went to vm. i blocked my number, and the vm box is not full. so hes getting the messages. fucking prick..

  45. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    So either there are 20 guys named Joe sitting at U-Haul answering the phone or this blog has somehow forced a highly paid CEO into becoming a customer phone rep for the day.

  46. JustaConsumer says:

    Save yourself the trouble, don’t use UHaul. The suck. They have sucked. They will suck.

  47. StockBroker says:

    I bet he hired someone to answer his phone after getting crap for this publicity stunt.

    That, or he forwarded his calls to a call center in some 3rd world country.

  48. trujunglist says:

    Let me get this straight. You are all pissed off at Joe for having a full mailbox, so you’re all calling him and either wasting his time when he picks up – time that could be spent responding to actual emergencies/complaints – or leaving a message that further inundates his mailbox and requires extra time to review and delete.
    … How about you guys stop being stupid pricks and let him do/not do his job? You’re certainly not helping ANYONE else here or anywhere else.