I am telling everyone I know NOT to rent from U-Haul!! These events occurred in Washington, DC, but the letters I received have a Phoenix, Arizona address, and I think their main corporate headquarters might be there.
This is the worst experience I have ever had with any company, and I have performed a lot of business transactions. To begin with, their customer service in the pick-up rental location was HORRIBLE. I HAD made a reservation on the phone, because of course their website wasn't working. The agent on the phone was very nice, but I don't know if she made the reservation properly, because when we got to the rental location, they had no record of our reservation. Of course, we received no apology or good customer service, in fact, they seemed to imply that it was our fault!!
Then, we waited TWO HOURS for the truck. When we finally got it, it was so late that the 24 hour rental period for the truck extended beyond the time most rental locations stayed open. When I went to return the truck, all of the locations were closed--one was even closed PERMANENTLY!! There were no signs on the door or anything indicating a key drop in the area.
I finally reached a location with a sign on the door that directed me to a gas station. I went there, and the gentleman INSTRUCTED ME TO PARK THE VEHICLE ON THE STREET. I did so, AS INSTRUCTED. This was Sunday, March 19th, 2006. The next day, Monday, March 20th, 2006, at 8:00 am, the meters became functional. THE EMPLOYEES AT THIS RENTAL LOCATION DID NOT GET THE TRUCK IN TIME.
So, of course, THEY, THE EMPLOYEES, NOT ME, got a ticket. I received a notice of this TWO MONTHS LATER in May, for a $25 ticket with a $30 administrative fee and a $25 penalty attached, for a total of $80. Additionally, I was just supposed to take U-Haul's word that there had even BEEN a ticket, since the letter indicated there was no copy of the ticket available. I couldn't even get a copy form the DC government, since the ticket had been paid. If my UNFAIR contract REALLY DOES make me responsible for tickets that other people incur, why couldn't the rental place contact me the next day?
As U-Haul had OF COURSE waited TWO MONTHS after its employees got the ticket to inform me, I did not know where my copy of my rental contract was. I went on line and found out that not only would it cost a ridiculous $10 to get the contract, BUT IT WOULD COST ME THAT AMOUNT WHETHER ANYONE FOUND THE CONTRACT OR NOT! Seriously, go look at their website. They charge you $10 for a copy of your contract, and they charge you this whether they actually find and send you the contract or not. If they don't find it, you're out $10, oh well. More evidence of extortion and unfair business practices.
So I spoke to several U-Haul agents, who didn't know what to tell me. Literally. They seemed to have no idea about this practice and politely listened to me vent, but seemed to have no suggestions but "pay it."
I then received a letter from some organization called Vengroff Williams & Associates, Inc. The letter indicated that if I requested proof in writing in 30 days of this ALLEGED debt, the outfit would obtain it from U-Haul. I did so, and it is now July 29, and I have yet to see such proof. In fact, I just received another letter, saying that I had another 30 days to request proof.
A "representative" of some organization called Vengroff, Williams & Associates, Inc. (which is probably just some dummy corporation of U-Haul's) whose name is allegedly Jackie Collins telephoned me about this ALLEGED debt. I have representative in quotes because although she was somewhat polite, she was completely unprofessional and utterly unhelpful. While I was of course rightfully angry and stood up for myself, I at no time insulted her personally or used profanity. She was threatening, condescending, and unsympathetic, all of which one can be while still being polite. She said that I would have to pay it or they would make sure it followed me around on my credit report. She offered me a settlement, and when I requested in writing a guarantee that they weren't going to put the remainder on my credit report, she said that she would send it out, but that I had ten days to pay, whether I received their guarantee or not.
She even went so far as to say that it was not her problem whether I received the guarantee or not. I also asked her about the proof that I requested in June. She said that she was not responsible for that, as those were "just form letters" and such requests went to the Sarasota, Florida office, while she was in California (allegedly). When I commented that it was sad that her organization had such little regard for the people that it was trying to extort money from that it did not empower its agents to discuss proof from its clients, SHE HUNG UP ON ME.
I then called U-Haul customer service and waited on hold for 25 minutes. Then, a very nice person allegedly named Samantha told me that I could lodge a complaint with the manager of the rental office where I returned the truck. I decided that as that individual probably does not have any control over U-Haul's unfair, unethical, immoral, and extortionate business practices, I would need another number. She gave me a number that she said was for the regional office, which rang off of the hook with no one answering and no voicemail picking up. Granted, it was after 5 pm on a Friday (yesterday as of this writing, July 28th), so I'll see if I get anywhere on Monday.
I entered a complaint on U-Haul's website while I was waiting the 25 minutes for representative Samantha to pick up, and which no one will probably ever read, and even if someone does, they probably won't respond. I would appreciate it if someone did.
Right now, U-Haul has lost all credibility with me and I don't expect it to respond in the 48 hours that the announcer on the phone (while I was on hold) claimed an email response would take, even though I heard this announcer claim this several thousand times while I was on hold for nearly half an hour. Right above this window I typed he complaint in, it says that a representative will review my information and contact me within 24 hours, and resolve my concern in a prompt and fair manner. I don't believe this either. Not after the wringer U-Haul has put me through. If I ever move again, I would rather drag my belongings across country via several trips in a kid's little red wagon before I use U-Haul ever again.
I am a student; I can ill afford even half of this extortionate bill, which is the settlement amount. So I would like a $40 credit from U-Haul for all of my trouble, starting with the lost reservation, and on through to the unsympathetic "Vengroff Williams representative." I think this is more than fair. If I don't get satisfaction, I may be encouraged to seek redress through the legal system and/or the media.
Washington, District of Columbia
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on U-Haul