U-Haul, Capitol Blvd., Raleigh, NC - given poor information, poor service, estimate cost of vehicle not accurate

Posted on Thursday, August 28th, 2003 at 12:00am CDT by e552c195

Company: U-Haul, Capitol Blvd., Raleigh, NC - given poor information, poor service, estimate cost of vehicle not accurate

Category: Other

# 14 for August 27, 2003

Complaints.com received the following consumer message on August 26, 2003:

From:

RE: U-Haul, Capitol Blvd., Raleigh, NC - given poor information, poor service, estimate cost of vehicle not accurate

The short version:

* one U-Haul person said a particular vehicle would work for the job while the manager claimed it would not

* U-Haul switched vehicles from the requested type without bothering to tell the customer of the switch or of the cost difference

* U-Haul was given the trip distance but instead used an artificially low figure for cost estimates - and most of the rental cost is the mileage

* U-Haul mis-represented not only the vehicle cost but inaccurately stated their policy on fuel

* U-Haul insists on hiding behind their policies even when their practices are at complete odds with them

* U-Haul refuses to make restitution

The complete version

I needed to transport a motorcycle with an electrical problem from Raleigh to Roxboro, a 1 way distance of 52 miles. I called the U-Haul dealership on Capitol Blvd and described my needs - a pickup or, if possible, a van, since we were having severe thunderstorms. He told me he'd moved his motorcycle in one of their vans before and that they'd have one available the next day. When I showed up the first person working the counter was extremely frustrated with his computer - to the point of using profanity in front of customers and then walking off. I should have taken the hint and done the same. I told the manager I'd talked to someone the night before about renting a van to haul a motorcycle to Roxboro and return. She proceeded to work on the contract, then turned it around for me to initial in one place and sign in two other places. Two comments she made were "the estimate is based on a 50 mile trip" (which I interpreted as "each way") and "you need to bring it back full." She also repeated three times that I had to have the vehicle back by 3:00PM for its next rental, to which I assured her each time that I'd be back by 1:00PM at the latest. A trip of 104 miles rather than 50 was the reason the manager was so worried about it being back on time. When the brought the vehicle up it was not a van but a 14' or 15' truck. I thought there was some mistake so I went back inside.

The manager then said "oh, you can't put a motorcycle in the back of a van" and then, when I told her what the man had said on the phone, including that he'd done so himself, she asked for his name but simply repeated that it wasn't possible. To me this was a bait-ands-switch tactic to rent out the more expensive vehicle. After getting on the road I realized that the gas gauge read only 3/4 full. I thought it might be faulty since she'd indicated vehicles had to be brought back in with a full tank. Loaded the bike, took it to the repair shop and stopped at a gas station about a block away from U-Haul. Turns out the gauge wasn't broken - they'd sent me out with only 3/4 of a tank. In the end I replaced the 1/4 tank I'd used and gave them another 1/4 tank. When I dropped off the truck the manager presented me with a bill for more than $136, rather than the $85 dollars she'd said it would be. It turns out the "50 miles" she used for an estimate wasn't rounding off the 1 way distance but was what she'd used for the total distance, even though she knew at the time the trip was slightly more than 100 miles. When I protested this low ball estimate she defended herself by saying 50 miles was the usual mileage for in-town moves. I reminded her the trip wasn't in town and she knew that all along, so she then said "well, you could have driven 150 miles - how was I to know how far you might drive". To this I told her that using a 100 mile estimate for a 104 mile trip was certainly more accurate than using only 50 miles. Her only comeback then was that I'd accepted the rental agreement. "You signed it" was also her defense for lying to me about their fuel policy. According to U-Haul Customer Service it is their policy to refuel the vehicle to the level at which it was received, and to further explain that they will not reimburse you for extra fuel. In my case they said absolutely nothing about not being reimbursed but then again, once they've lied to you about the need to "bring it back full" it wouldn't be logical for them to mention a non-reimbursement policy. I have a fairly clear grasp of the English language and "bring it back full" does not mean the same thing as "bring it back at the same level you receive it, and we won't reimburse you for extra fuel." U-Haul Customer Service's response was little more than an offer of a $30 certificate, which of course can only be used if I was ever so stupid as to make use of their services again. They then simply turned everything back over to the same manager whose lies defrauded me in the first place. What has been requested of U-Haul Customer Service and of the local dealership is a refund of the difference between the estimated cost and the final cost, as well as reimbursement for 1/4 tank of gas. The refund is due because if she'd given me an accurate estimate I would not have rented the vehicle. The reimbursement is due because they lied about their fuel policy. The total amount expected from U-Haul is $68.22. To date it appears that U-Haul has chosen to stop communicating with me about this, as neither the national Customer Service Office nor the local dealership have replied since August 12. I must contrast this with a recent rental of a minivan from Budget where the local agency charged us about $100 more than the cost of reservations made via the web. When we got back from vacation we contacted Budget, explained the situation and they promptly refunded the excess charges. We'll rent again from Budget but U-Haul can go to blazes. Harrison Marshall


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