• Report: #308445

Complaint Review: Public Storage

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  • Submitted: Tue, February 12, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, December 03, 2010

  • Reported By:Lakewood California
Public Storage
11635 Artesia Blvd Artesia, California U.S.A.

Public Storage fee ripoff, breaking padlock forcing to buy new one Artesia California

*Consumer Comment: Insurance

*UPDATE Employee: Too many thoughts

*Consumer Comment: Public Storage and the law

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Insurance at Public Storage

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Late Fees and Lock Cuts

*Consumer Suggestion: These "employees" need to file complaints with State and Federal agencies, labor violations here too!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: The PS employee rebuttal is totally true.

*UPDATE Employee: business as usual at public storage

*UPDATE Employee: Read

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Public Storage DM's tell employees that insurance is mandatory.

*Consumer Comment: Oh yeah...One more thing!

*Consumer Suggestion: Carmen, there are many problems with your story!

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I have a unit at that facility since 4/2007. They forced me to buy Insurance and a Padlock. After 3 or 4 month they forced me to move my stuff to another unit because of construction. Then 2 month later they broke my Padlock to my unit because I was late a couple days with payment. There website is down alot ( especially around the 10th of the month !!) So it would not process payment. and then they slapp you with $20 late fee after 2.00pm on the 10th because you have to drive there to drop payment.

Now they are bullying me to put a new padlock on my unit which cost me another $20 because I have to buy from them. I am very frustrated, I just want to be able to make payments online and not be bothered with bullish activities like that,

thank You

Carmen
Lakewood, California
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/12/2008 08:19 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Public-Storage/Artesia-California-90612/Public-Storage-fee-ripoff-breaking-padlock-forcing-to-buy-new-one-Artesia-California-308445. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Insurance

AUTHOR: Ben - (U.S.A.)

I rented from Public Storage a couple of months ago and was told that the insurance WAS required.  I was given an option of 3 different insurance policies.  I didn't argue, I just chose one.  It is awkward that now I feel like I am doing business with a company to store and insure items that my homeowners insurance would cover.  The padlock they provided initially, I do not know about paying late and cutting locks.  It is very displeasing, to see PS employees go to great lengths to justify their policies and procedures.  
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#2 UPDATE Employee

Too many thoughts

AUTHOR: PS2007 - (U.S.A.)

I am a current employee and I feel the need to straighten a few things out that seem to be confusing people in this post.

First of all, the original post. Public Storage does NOT FORCE you to buy locks and insurance.

LOCKS -
This may seem obvious but what person walks in to rent a storage unit and doesn't think, hey I might need to secure the unit somehow?!
You are required to secure your unit with your own lock at the time of rental to ensure you have access and no one goes by and vandalizes it, etc. etc. Public Storage does have locks available for purchase to do that, some properties use a special kind of lock that you may be only able to get there or at a specialty store. However you can rent without one, but you WILL NOT have access to the property until you can bring one in (during business hours) and secure the unit.

INSURANCE -
IT IS and ALWAYS has been Public Storage's policy that insurance is REQUIRED!
But please note, its states on the Insurance form that you sign, that it does not have to be insurance with PS if you already have homeowners or renters insurance that covers your items. Why? Because Public Storage is not responsible for any damages that may be incurred to your items while in storage, and cannot monitor your goods while so, that is the customers responsibility.

LOCK CUTS -
Lock cuts are performed for several reasons. First of all if the account is delinquent, Rent is due ON or BEFORE the 1st of each month not a few days after or sometime before the 30th of the same month. Public Storage does have grace days which these days is quite nice. After 5-9 days you receive a late fee, this like in ALL companies, if you are late. As stated in the lease (1st page, by rent and fees) After so many days there is a late fee, then another date for your unit being overlocked or considered for abandonment if the payment is not made, sometime between the 20th and 30th the locks are cut, now I know you say this is not noted in the lease, is doesn't have to be, it states it follows the Self Storage Act/ State Lein procedures, which in most states allows locks to be cut for non-payment as eary as 5 days after you rent is late, so Public Storage gives you a very nice break on that. The lock cuts are done for several reasons, 1st to make sure you are still occupying the unit, I see several units each month, where customers move out and "forget" to remove the locks, so now we just stopped the fees from collecting any further and close the account. 2nd to make a quick inventory of the items (this does not mean, hey lets go through the boxes, the inventory usually takes 10 seconds, the lock is cut, door opened estimated inventory is made, the door is shut and locked with Public Storage lock and a seal (which once is put on, cannot be removed until the unit goes to auction or the customer replaces it with their lock, the seal can only be broken once, so no one else can enter the unit) it has a serial number on it for tracking and is noted on the original inventory form. The district manager and another employee (witness) are present during this process. This inventory is kept until (if) the unit is sold at auction several months later.

As far as having to shell out money to buy a new lock, that responsibility falls on the customer, if you pay on time, you will never have to buy a new lock.

If you find it hard to pay your rent on time, or a way to pay. Public Storage has so many payment options its crazy! I can only pay my water bill 2 ways! Go to the office or mail it, thats it! Public Storage provides an online service, which things do happen and the service may go down, however if you are paying on time, you have a grace period to find another way to pay before any fees, lockouts, etc. If you wait until the last minute and that option does not work, it is your responsibilty not Public Storage's. They also provide an over the phone service, you can enroll with your financial instition to have PS directly paid on your behalf, you can pay at ANY Public Storage facility nationwide, or mail to any facilty, or set up with Autopay at the store or online.

As far as the other posts, all people have to figure out, is that like any other company Public Storage is a business, you don't pay your electric/water its turned off, you don't pay rent you go into eviction/foreclosure. It's simple, it works on the same principals. Almost EVERY complaint made about Public Storage and all other companies are due to the customer being naive and not reading the contract they are signing. If you have questions, you should ask first, not after you get a late fee, locks cut, or end up in lein!
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#3 Consumer Comment

Public Storage and the law

AUTHOR: Chuck - (U.S.A.)

As I always state, I'm not an attorney but an industry insider well versed in self storage law. Each state has its own laws and legal principles. I'll quote California law since California law seems to influence laws in other parts of the country.

I do not work for any of the chain self storage companies. It is my opinon that the biggest companies are self storage's lowest common denominator.

Lets first take a look at the issue of the mandatory purchasing of a lock from the storage facility. Do you or dont you? That all depends on the contract. If the contract states that you must purchase a lock from them, then you must purchase a lock from them. Why a storage company would want to force you to purchase a lock from them is beyond me. First off, if they don't give you a choice to purchase a lock elsewhere, then it could put legal liability on the storage company should their lock fail.

They can, and should, tell you what type of lock you should have on your storage unit. A lock with a shroud covering the shackel is mandatory at many self storage companies, and is in the contract of those companies. Burglars go where it is attractive to go, and facilities with shrouded locks are less attractive. But once again, you should be able to purchase these locks anywhere you choose. You are then responsible for the lock you purchase. But the storage company could be held liable for a failed lock if they forced you to purchase it from them.

My guess is that the employees feel pressured to sell you the lock because they feel their jobs depend on it.

NOW IS INSURANCE MANDATORY OR NOT? The answer may surpise you. There is a LOT of misinformation from storage employees on here.

Once again each state is different. But in California, the Department of Insurance periodically sends reminders to self storage facilities licensed by them that it is illegal in California to force someone to purchase an insurance product from the storage facility. So that means insurance is not mandatory right?

WRONG! The Department of Insurance ruled that insurance can be contracturally MANDATORY, and it should be mandatory, to protect both sides. Most companies contracts do say that insurance is mandatory, and that you are in breach of contract if you do not have insurance. However, you can get insurance coverage from anyone you want and cannot be forced to get coverage from the storage facility.

Many homeowners and renters insurance policies do cover 10% outside of the home (like inside an automobile or storage unit). Some (few) will cover up to 100% outside the home after running a C.L.U.E. report on the storage facility address. So a homeowners or renters policy is sufficient to cover the mandatory insurance clause on most self storage contracts.

So it all depends on the particular contract you signed.

Here is another interesting self storage insurance fact:

(Cregg V. Ministor Ventures (1983)) Cregg sued Ministor Ventures in 1983 stating that the storage owed him for losses suffered. Ministor Ventures won the lawsuit after the California Courts ruled that self-service storage facilities are not liable for property losses inside of a storage unit IF AN INSURANCE PRODUCT IS AVAILABLE ON OFFERED to the self storage tenant, whether or not the storage collects the insurance premium with the normal monthly payment or whether the payment is paid to the insurance company directly by the tenant.

What this means is that if a storage company doesnt mention anything about insurance and your unit gets broken into, the storage company may be liable for your loss. HOWEVER, if the storage company offers you an insurance product or simply hands you an insurance pamphlet, you are on your own if you choose not to purchase the insurance from them. If you have your own insurance, you have to deal directly with your own insurance company.

The California courts are sending a strong message to consumers that there are two types of storage in California.

1. Self-Service Storage (Self Storage for short)
2. Warehouse (like the movers use).

1. Self-Service Storage is just that. It is self service. The storage takes no care, custody, or control over your stuff (bailment). The storage provides the building and that is about it. You are responsible to look at the facility and determine whether or not it suits your needs. Keep in mind that if you shop by price, you are going to be disappointed. Normally the lower priced storage facilities are lower for a reason. You should, instead, shop by where you feel the most comfortable. Storage Facilities are going to attract the kind of customer they are marketing for. Cheap facilities are going to attract less desirable tenants that facilities that require better locks, that have better lighting, and that have more rules to protect their tenants. In my opinion, you should quiz the managers and see if they are professionals hired from another industry or are they lifelong $8 hour managers that arent allowed to do anything but take payments. In my experience, you are better off with a professional manager that is in charge of his/her facility, lives on site, and works for an independent non-nationwide facility and not for a management company. This way you get someone that actually takes ownership of their facility and has the power to make decisions on the spot.

2. Warehouse. If you want the storage company to take complete responsibility for all losses, then you need to put your stuff in a warehouse. The warehousman act is completely the opposite of self storage. A bailment is created because they take care, custody, and control of your property. Your property is insured against loss by the warehouse itself.

So which is better? It all depends on your needs. In most cases, I would say that self storage is better. You can visit your stuff as much as you want, placing things in storage and taken things out. It is much more convenient and a lot cheaper. A warehouse is much more expensive. The rent is much more and then there are counter fees, forklift fees, labor fees, etc. It is more expensive because of the liability they have.

So as a consumer the choice is yours. But dont expect a warehouse to be cheap like a self storage, and dont expect a self storage to have any duty to protect you from losses. If you rent a self storage, get some type of insurance to cover you (I do agree that you should stay away from one of the largest self storage insurance companies that I cannot name) but a lot of the other ones are just fine. If you rent from a warehouse, you are covered but you will pay through the nose.

Now that you are educated on the law and the two types of storage, you know what to do next time. All-in-all, self storage is the way to go. Visit your stuff often and store it in a way to protect it from loss (raise it off the floor, cover it in plastic, etc) because ultimately you, the tenant, are responsible unless you rent a warehouse (example Bekins).
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Insurance at Public Storage

AUTHOR: Brenda - (U.S.A.)

You are correct it is illegal to "force" someone to purchase insurance and it should be reported to the Public Storage's Corporate Office immediately. PS Customer Service would call the property manager and inform them that this is NOT company policy. The insurance fee would then be refunded to the customer. With over 2500 facilities it is difficult to oversee and enforce Company Policy but when notified of such infractions the company acts on these complaints and ensures policy is followed.

There are stores located in "high crime" areas and it is strongly advised that the customers purchase insurance or store their items at their own risk. It states in their rental agreement they do not have to buy insurance but if loss occurs they are out of luck. They initial this disclaimer in their rental agreement when renting a space. One assumes they actually read what they were signing?

These people who whine about purchasing insurance are the first to complain when loss occurs. Public Storage has gate codes, fences at most locations to deter break-ins, but they cannot guarantee the safety of your items. This is your responsibility as a tenant. There are no guard dogs or armed patrols, no motion detectors, on 24 hour monitored video surveillance. Assuming what you are storing has value, insurance is needed. Do not store personal papers, and mementos, store only what insurance would cover for monetary loss.

Yes field staff and management get a bonus on sales (Locks, boxes and insurance) Public Storage is after all a sales oriented service like very other corporation, however the company does not make the purchase of these items mandatory. If a field rep gets caught forcing these items on a customer they are immediately reprimanded. The exceptions are locations in "high crime" areas or door hasps that require a certain type of lock.

Last but not least Public Storage has no control whatsoever over natural disasters. Insurance is your protection against such events. So if you don't want to purchase insurance then your items just aren't that important to you. It was always amazing to me that people that are late with their rent, didn't want to buy insurance, or even a really good lock suddenly claim their storage unit was filled with rare and expensive items when there is a break-in or a natural disaster. Even though they are told not to store in their unit items that collectively exceeds a value of $5000 (in their contract which they have read and signed). The bottom line is this, no company is going to pay you for your lack of foresight in not purchasing insurance. And if you store things such as personal papers and photos that you cannot replace..EVER... Who is the stupid one?

I read here that someone claimed we auctioned their goods due to non-payment and their drivers license was in the unit. Therefore Public Storage is responsible for possible identity theft. Come on! Who stores a driver's license, kinda necessary to have this handy don 't you think? If you don't pay your rent what do you think is going to happen? And worse yet what the company gets at auction for these delinquent units is a fraction of what is owed in back rent. Anything sold, if in fact it was worth anything to begin with are sold for pennies on the dollar. In most case we have to pay to have someone haul away the junk that even the bidders do not want. It amazes me how people do not take responsibility of their own mistakes. You can't pay your rent on time but the items you are storing are antiques worth thousands. When there is a break-in and do not have insurance.... or you are sold for non-payment it is all PS's fault. It seems honesty is dead in America.. I weep
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Late Fees and Lock Cuts

AUTHOR: Brenda - (U.S.A.)

Sadly people blame Public Storage for their own mistakes. First of all RENT IS DUE on the FIRST of the month and it is LATE on the 2nd. There is a 10 day grace period before late fees are assigned. A customer is informed at the time of rental when rent is due and when the late fees come into play.

A District manger would not have cut the lock when a customer was only "a few days late". Public Storage would follow the law to the letter in any state it has locations in. After 10 days the first thing they would have done is disable the customer's gate code so they could not drive onto the property. The next step would be to "overlock" the space so the customer could not vacate without paying. They would have called the customer and informed him/ her they had done so and that a payment needed to be made.

If all else fails and the customer still does not meet their obligations then the customer's lock is cut off when the customer is 31 days delinquent. A certified letter would be sent to the customer's last known address. The company doesn't allow forwarded mail, so it you didn't update the office of your CURRENT address then you are out of luck. This is your responsibility!

When and if the customer pays what they owe, they also have to buy a new lock to replace the one cut to prevent an illegal vacate. So the lesson here is quite simple:

Pay your rent on time and you will not get late fees.
Keep your account current and your lock will not be cut.
Read and understand your rental agreement and if you cannot pay your rent on time, store your stuff in a garage or have a garage sale.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

These "employees" need to file complaints with State and Federal agencies, labor violations here too!

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

These past and present employees of Public Storage need to file reports with various State and Federal agencies as well as with the labor board for blatant labor violations IF these allegations are true.

It is ILLEGAL to force a customer to buy insurance from a particular carrier, or to require that you have it at all!. Especially that worthless insurance they sell! It covers nothing! Did you ever see the long list of exclusions?

All they need to do is have you sign a waiver or liability if you choose no insurance. here is the scam they are attempting to pull. They want YOU the customer to pay for THEIR liability insurance! However, they are legally required to carry this insurance.

Many homeowner's and renters policies will cover your goods in storage if it is in conjunction with a move, and you can go to your own insurance carrier and get a renter's policy for a storage unit.

Hint: Call your local insurance commissioner for your state and file a complaint.
And be sure that every employee at the facility has a license to sell insurance.

This is a big scam.
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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds

The PS employee rebuttal is totally true.

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

I am a former employee and was fired last February due to not having a 100 percent lock penetration. ON the 31st day someone was late my disgraceful District Manager would cut those locks and force people to buy a new lock.

Selling Insurance was not optional. I was told to tell customers " Public Storage requires you to have insurance, here are your options choose one now" If they did not want the insurance I would tell them to walk. If my insurance and locks were not 100 percent I was pretty much fired.

Public Storage is a terrible company to do business at and to work at. They will do anything to get you into the store. The closer you are to the city the more the price. A 5 x 5 unit next to Detroit is the same price of a 10 x 10 20 miles outside of the city.

Stay away at all cost
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#8 UPDATE Employee

business as usual at public storage

AUTHOR: Psemployee - (U.S.A.)

I'm a manager in one of their retail offices, and I can tell you that we are strongly encouraged to force customers to buy locks and insurance. District managers actually go as far as to tell us that it is mandatory for customers to buy these items, and then coach us in how to lie to the customer. The district and regional manager's bonuses are based in part on insurance and lock penetration. That is, the percentage of customers who rent units, and also buy locks and insurance. We have to be at 100% penetration to make our goals, and of course there is only one way to do that, by telling customers that it is "mandatory" to buy a lock and insurance.

Now, the official company policy is that customers are not forced to buy a lock and insurance, but everyone in the company knows that the bonus structure is set up to ensure that that is exactly what happens. It is made very clear that if you don't "sell" insurance and a lock to every customer, you will lose your job. Public Storage is the most dishonest, unscrupulous company that I have ever worked for. I could go on and on about the things they do to their own customers and employees.

As for the website, no they don't make it go down to get late fees, that is just incompetence, which runs rampant in this company. The site and the company's own internal network are always going offline.
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#9 UPDATE Employee

Read

AUTHOR: Stlgto - (U.S.A.)

I am a public storage employee. You chose to pay your bill online. We dont intentionally have our website malfunction. You can pay over the phone, on-line, in person, at any public storage, mail a payment, or do an automatic withdrawal. If the site was down you should have had an alternative plan. Pay your bill before its due not the last minute that is lazy. Not a ripoff.
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#10 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Public Storage DM's tell employees that insurance is mandatory.

AUTHOR: John - (U.S.A.)

DM's of Public Storage has told myself and many other employees that to rent at PS you must have insurance. If you do not take their insurance they will not rent to you. THe insurance company gives the DM bonuses for all the insurance a store sells. One of the big numbers PS looks at is insurance and locks percentage. If they are low an employee will lose their job. You can have homeowners or whatever. THey do not care.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Oh yeah...One more thing!

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Carmen,

Also, they cannot force you to buy their padlock!

You can bring your own padlock, and you can get it from whomever you choose.

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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Carmen, there are many problems with your story!

AUTHOR: Steve - (U.S.A.)

Carmen,

First of all, you can make a payment online without going to their website. There are many other options for making payments. You sound like a spoiled brat who isn't getting her way and is stomping her feet.

You can set up online banking with your bank, and pay this bill online through your own bank. or you could mail a check or money order. Or you could use your credit card and pay it up for 3-6 months, etc. There are so many payment options.

And, FYI..Nobody forced you to buy insurance. This is illegal. They may have strongly advised you to buy it, but they DID NOT "force" you to buy it. Guaranteed.

I know this because I have dealt with public Storage all over the country. I know the policies and the contract by heart.

No ripoff here.
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