U-Haul Forgets Customer, Forgets Guarantee, Then Forgets Extra Day Agreement And Threatens Criminal Charges

Consumerist reader Dionicious and his brother tried to rent a trailer from U-Haul over the weekend. First they were faced with a closed location, then they had to ask before the company followed through on its $50 “Right Time, Right Location” guarantee. They hoped that was the end of the screw-ups, but the next day an angry employee called and threatened to file criminal charges against the brothers. Too bad there’s not some sort of $50 “We Threaten You, We Pay” guarantee.

This weekend, my brother and I needed to rent a trailer to move some furniture. We reserved a 6′ x 12′ cargo trailer through U-haul over the phone for $29.95. We arrived at the specified location at 9 o’clock [Friday morning] ready to pick up our reserved trailer.

The only problem? No one was there. So we call their customer service line to see what’s up. The rep tries, but cannot get in touch with anyone from the location. The only thing the rep can do, is get us a 5′ x 10′ cargo trailer at another location about 20 miles away. The rep offers us a discount from the regular 5′ x 10′ price of $29.95 to $19.95. It’s not really a great offer, but we don’t think we have another option this late in the game since these things must be reserved well in advance.

So we go out of our way to pick up this much smaller trailer, and waste about two hours of our daylight. Luckily, my brother noticed a small sign that says something like, “Right time, Right location, or we give you $50.” They didn’t offer this to us, the rep didn’t tell us, we had to ask. So the general manager reluctantly gives us the $50 credit and we felt much better about the whole situation.

The guy behind the counter lets us know that if we need more time, just call the next day and they will extend our discount for another day. That’s convenient, because it rained that afternoon so hard that the streets were flooded. More lost time. We call the same day and reserve the trailer for another day at the same discounted rate.

This is where things get really fun. We receive a call the following afternoon telling us that we have kept the trailer past the allotted time and that we would be charged $250 and they would report the trailer stolen.

My brother asked to speak to a manager and was told none were available. He was told the manager would call him back when he was available. No one called us, but we called back several times and no one even answered the phone.

So we finish moving and take the trailer back before noon. Still no manager around; he will not be back until tomorrow. We wait for the belligerent employee, “Nik,” to finish yelling at another frustrated customer on the phone and he contemptuously tells us that although there was no incorrect action on their part, they will waive the fees and just charge us for the time we used. We agree because we just want to get out of there and go write to The Consumerist about the lack of customer service.

He proceeds to charge us for three days instead of two and tells us we are late bringing the trailer back because it is after noon. The receipt says “11:53” and of course, he doesn’t have permission to issue a refund because he is not a manager. We called their 1-800 number and they said a rep will get back to us to resolve the matter. No calls yet.

(Photo: Tim Patterson)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.