This morning, my wife and I were looking at some extra stuff we weren't quite sure what to do with. We decided to shop around for a small storage unit. I called Public Storage and found a 10'x5' unit for $36 a month.
I was told that if I reserved the unit by phone, my first month's rent would be $1 and I would pay a $20 administration fee. There was also an offer to discount the monthly rate by 5% if I agreed to a 3 month term.
Since this storage facility was rather close and the price was right, I made the reservation over the phone. Moments later, someone from the storage location called and we arranged to come down later in the day.
We arrived and spoke with Anisha, who stated that we'd need to purchase one of their $16 locks -- that the lock I brought with me wasn't acceptable, even though it fit their door. She said I was welcome to use both, although she couldn't provide me with an explaination as to why their lock was mandaory. It certainly wasn't any better than mine. Since the first month was $1, I figured "ok, I'll pay for the silly lock".
Anisha also mentioned that a lot of people forget their keys and end up leaving a spare in the office or pay a $75 fee to have their lock removed. She said my $16 mandatory lock would come with three keys and suggested one for me, one for my wife and one for her. Right. I suspect the "we should hold that third key for you" speech is effective, and it pains me to wonder how many keys are held, how they are secured and who might be rifling through what.
We came back to the rental office and the first thing Anisha did was start pushing their insurance, which she said was mandatory and started "at only $8 per month". At this point, my wife and I looked at each other and both decided we were getting scammed. Somehow this $36/month storage became $44, and we haven't even seen the fine print on the contract yet.
We decided to leave, much to the shock and disappointment of Anisha.
We returned home, and I called the Public Storage toll-free number and navigated through their menus, eventually finding a Customer Service Manager who did confirm that the $16 lock is indeed mandatory, although he stated that the purchase of Public Storage's insurance policy was mandatory if we didn't have homeowner's insurance. Anisha never asked if we had a homeowner's policy, let alone owned a home. Although Anisha saw us pull up in a brand new $50,000 vehicle, I guess the fact that we might own a house never crossed her mind. I was given the District Manager's phone number and left him a message to discuss their operation.
Public Storage needs to clarify their pricing structure and terms or do away with them entirely. It's completely unfair to be quoted a lowball price over the phone, only to arrive and find out about these extra "junk fees".
Public Storage needs to investigate why the office has extra keys to customer storage and what, if any, liability may arise from it.
Our decision to not do business with Public Storage was based on a fundamental distrust of the firm due to their business practices. We're more than happy to pay more in order to work with a firm we feel we can trust.
Public Storage, we've upped our standards, now ... up your's.
Raleigh, North Carolina