I am livid!
In 2004, my then-boyfriend rented a storage unit on my behalf. I was in the process of moving, and did not accompany him to this storage company. Of course, since I was not there, the lease was put in his name, with me as the emergency contact, with full access priviledges to the unit, of course.
As time passed, my ex-BF permanently left the country (to Europe) for job-related reasons, leaving me and said company with a notarized letter saying that the items in the storage unit were, indeed, mine, and all payments would be made by me. The company refused to remove his name from the lease, which wasn't really a problem at the time. I continued to make every rent payment, and made them on time, even though I was now living in another city about 50 miles away.
In September of 2008, hurricane Gustav hit, and I ended up homeless. The storage company called my cell phone, and said that their building had sustained roof damage. I told them of the temporary problem I was having, and asked if I could come and get my stuff in about a week. They said okay. I asked if the damage was over my unit, and the man wasn't sure, but said he assumed so. I called back in a week, and told them I was making arrangements to come get my things that very week. I was then informed that everything had been disposed of.
I asked why they didn't notify me, and they said they notified my ex via certified mail. Well, that's impossible! He is in Italy! They told me of the damage, and I had spoken to them, why did they not tell me they were going to dispose of everything? I was the emergency contact, for goodness sakes. I would have hired a moving company to get there sooner if I knew they would do this! If these had been my ex's items, I'm sure he would have been upset that they did not notify the emergency contact. When I mentioned the relaxed tone of the phone conversation of a week previously, all I got was "well, you didn't talk to me", and "everything is gone, there's nothing you can do now".
I've talked to an attorney, and he says I have a case, but it would cost too much for representation and I should take them to small claims court. I contacted U-Haul corporate, and they've washed their hands of this, saying that the owners run the storage building independently.
I have lived in a house that sustained roof damage before, and I didn't have to "empty the building" to get roof repairs. How do I even know my items were damaged, when I was not allowed the chance to inspect? Perhaps, upon emptying the building, they looked at my stuff, and said "oh, this is good enough to take home"? Why were my items not moved to another unit? For goodness sakes, don't lead me to believe that everything is possibly okay, and that there was no rush!
I think this company totally did the wrong thing. Now, I have to file a small claims case against them. I wish I could find an attorney who wouldn't charge me so much to handle this for me. Maybe you good folks can play devil's advocate and suggest ways I could strengthen (or weaken?) my case against them. I cannot take this lying down. They disposed of my items without telling me. That's just wrong. They had plenty opportunity to tell me, they had my phone number, and they were OBLIGATED to, for goodness sakes. After speaking with them, I was under the impression that everything was okay, until it was too late.
Anyone out there renting a storage facility, beware. Buy the insurance. Even though the lease "suggests" insurance, there was nothing like this mentioned. They suggested "theft". Well, they advertise how safe the place is, with cameras and alarms and surveillance, and climate control, and for four years, it was a great, safe secure place, and it was, even during hurricane Katrina. Now this! I would imagine that this company would have some liability for what they've done.
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