My husband and I rented a space from Public Storage last summer. We started renting June 10th and told the employee that we needed the space for exactly 3 months, until Sept. 10th. She informed us that rentals always started on the first of the month, but that we could pay a prorrated amount both the first and last months. We asked how many days notice we needed to give before moving out and she told us just 2 days. We also set up an automatic payment option so that we didn't have to worry about sending in a check each month.
When we returned in Sept. to move out our things and went to the office to tell them we were moving out, we asked when the rest of the Sept. rent would be returned to us, since we had only used the space the first ten days of the month. They informed us only then that in order to get a prorrated rate, we had to have paid the discounted amount in advance, i.e. we should have calculated the amount for 10 days and somehow changed the automatic payment to that amount in advance. When we protested, saying that we weren't informed, they said it was in the contract. We finally found the wording: "tenant may pay a prorrated amount" for any month they occupy the space less than the full time. We asked a friend who's a lawyer about this; turns out that the word "may" is what lets them claim they don't owe us a refund. He also said it was pretty sneaky.
The real clincher, though, was when we called back and said that we'd like to continue using the space - after all, we had paid for the entire month of September. We were informed that even though we'd paid for the entire month, we'd forfeited use of the space when we informed them we were checking out. I asked them "you mean, you could rent our space out to someone else tomorrow, and basically charge two people for the same space at the same time?". The answer was yes. When I mentioned that I was considering calling up my credit card company and having them revise the amount paid to Public Storage to reflect the correct prorrated amount, I was told (and quite rudely, too) that they would send my account to a collection agency in that case and that my credit could be ruined. So on top of deceptive practices, they used scare tactics to get me to go away. I say find another storage company, and make sure you ask about the refund policy!!
Los Angeles, California