Matt and his family used the portable storage company PODS for their recent move. The company rents you a storage container, then stores it or moves it around on a truck for you. Their system sounded pretty great, but then things started to go wrong. Very, very wrong. What followed was a tale of broken promises, underestimations, and their belongings being held by the police (!) that would put fear into the heart of any person planning a move.
He summarized the things that went wrong in handy bullet points:
- They promise some free moving supplies, like boxes and tape, which never show up. No big deal.
- I ask for a quote for two pod units, but am talked down and assured by the salesman that one pod will fit everything in our 2-bedroom apartment without any trouble since they are designed for 2-3 bedrooms. After packing, unpacking, and repacking the pod three or four times, everything does NOT fit. In fact, the leftovers have to be divided up between two cars and an SUV, all packed very tightly.
- The delivery ends up taking longer than I remember the salesman saying, but it’s not a big deal. Everything seems to be going fairly smoothly. Until…
- I get a phone call around 7:30 am the day our things are scheduled to be delivered saying that the pod has been delayed two days and there is nothing I can do about it. I will have to take another day off work to unload this thing. They don’t mention any recourse at this point.
- Later that day, I get a call back saying the pod will be delayed a further day. This is a big problem since I need my inlaws’ help to unload the thing, and they had planned to leave that day. The CS Rep admits at this point the truck is stuck at a weigh station because it is too heavy, and the police won’t let him leave. This seems to me like something they should have checked first. In the meantime we are staying at a hotel with them since there is no bed in our apartment.
- We are dining out a lot since we do not have kitchen equipment. I am supposed to work at home the next day and now do not have a desk or a chair. I end up setting up my computer on boxes and contorting myself to use the computer. We moved our aquarium fish to the new apartment and had to buy some new supplies for them since ours are lost in the pod. Incidental expenses continue to add up. They will not talk about compensation at this time.
- I call to be sure the pod can be delivered early in the day when it finally gets here. They can’t guarantee that, and then say there may be a problem putting it on the street. Of course, the guy selling me the thing said nothing about that when I hired them.
- I press the CS Rep about compensation and he tells me they can give me the standard $50 a day, which comes out to $150. This is actually kind of insulting to me. My work day alone is valued over $200. Add the chair, food for 4, hotels, and incidentals (not to mention the stress) and I was thinking like something more along the lines of $750 would be about right.
- When I tell them I am considering having a lawyer write them a letter, they threaten to not even give us the $150.
The contract disclaims responsibility for delays due to “circumstances beyond their control,” but since they were the ones who loaded their truck up too heavy (potentially breaking laws and being a hazard on the road), I think this was firmly IN their control.
As of this writing, Matt has not yet received his pod. (Update: the stray pod arrived earlier today, with everything in fine condition.)
In the case of the overweight truck, it sounds like the “circumstance beyond their control” is that the truck driver got caught.
It sounds like Matt has already carefully examined the contract which would be my first recommendation. This case sounds like a fantastic candidate for small claims court if the company still refuses to admit fault.