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Consumer Complaint: U-Haul of Metro New York, You Owe My Wife An Apology

If you value my opinion at all, please DO NOT EVER rent a truck or trailer from U-Haul.

U-Haul representatives have just put my very pregnant wife through a day of hell trying to return a truck we rented yesterday afternoon. She spoke to numerous people from both their 800 call center, and local offices who have given her contradictory information, lied to her, threatened to report her to the police as a car thief, and just plain hung up on her because they didn’t want to deal with her questions. (My wife is a very gracious woman who is not prone to yelling on the phone or bullying people, particularly when others are being helpful and courteous.)

We are involved with a non-profit theater company. Another theater group donated some stage platforms to the company – if we picked them up from storage. The platforms are large and required a truck to move. On Saturday night, through the U-Haul website, my wife reserved a 14 foot truck. She called the 800 number to confirm our pick-up time and they instructed her to contact the local office in the morning.

Sunday morning the local office informed us that they did not have a 14 foot truck available until after 7pm (our volunteer labor force was only available at 3:30pm) They informed us that we could pick-up a truck at the U-Haul location in the Bronx (our pick-up and delivery were in Mid-town Manhattan on the west side – near the original location.) We drove up to the Bronx and picked up the truck.

After dealing with midtown traffic and moving the stages to their new location, I only had about 20 minutes to get from west 57th street back to the Bronx before the location closed for the evening – I didn’t make it. My wife called U-Haul’s 800 number to ask if there was any other place where we could drop the truck off. (You can’t just park a 14 foot truck in Manhattan. Most lots won’t/can’t take them and it is illegal to park on most streets because it is considered a commercial vehicle.) They told her that we could drop it off at one of two locations open late night in Manhattan. The closest location to the Bronx (where I was at the time) was the U-Haul at 126th street and Park Avenue.

I dropped off the truck at 126th and Park avenue. The man working there gave me a receipt with the mileage and gas level marked (I had refilled the tank before the short ride back across the river from the Bronx.) He initialed the paper an gave me a copy. He said that we would likely have to pay a fee of approximately $15 to pay for someone to drive the truck back to the Bronx in the morning – a fee I was happy to pay.

When my wife called back to U-Haul today to get a final amount for the bill, she was told that the rental was still considered ‘checked-out’ and would remain so until she drove it back into the Bronx location – they did not care about the receipt we were given last night. She called the 800 number to try and resolve whether she was going to have to trudge all the way over to 126th and Park Avenue to drive it to the Bronx (did I mention that she is 6 1/2 months pregnant?) She was bounced from person to person over at U-Haul. The customer service reps gave her contradictory information about what she had to do to close out the contract. Some representatives simply hung up on her and another told her they would report the truck stolen if it was not returned to the Bronx location by 1pm. They stressed her out so badly over the phone that she broke down crying.

After my wife regained her composure, she took a train and a bus over to pick up the truck and drive it back to the Bronx U-Haul location to try and close out the contract and get away from the whole mess. The last person she spoke with on the phone said they would extend the return period until 1pm.

The distance between 126th and Park Avenue and the Bronx location is about 3 or 4 miles – not far at all (I know because I drove it the night before.) When she arrived at the drop-off location they immediately informed her that the gas level was low (I have a signed receipt stating that it was at 1/2 tank last night when I dropped it off, but mysteriously it was low after driving 3 miles across the Harlem river.) U-Haul was eager to slap on a fuel charge (over $30 for 3 gallons of gas.) My wife was sick of the whole mess and said she didn’t care – slap on the fees, just let me be rid of you rude and incompetent people.

When she went inside to complete the paperwork, she was told that the return period had not been extended – rather, they had slapped on two additional rental periods and two $75 late charges to the bill (and would soon be adding the fuel charge!) Keep in mind, this whole bill is being paid by our little non-profit theater group. What was supposed to be an inexpensive truck rental to pick up donated stages was now becoming a several hundred dollar drain on our meager budget and a HUGE STRESS on my pregnant wife. Once again the stress got to her and she broke down crying. Fortunately, the counter clerk took some pity on her situation and backed-off a couple of the extra charges, but not all of them!

Eventually, she got a signed piece of paper saying the contract was closed and left as quickly as she could manage.

U-HAUL, you owe my wife an apology.

You owe your customers decent service and it is shameful that your corporate communication is so shoddy. I wish there was some way I could punish you for the awful experience you put my wife through. I WILL NEVER rent a truck or buy moving supplies from your company again. I will tell everyone that I ever come in contact with who needs to rent a truck, van, or trailer to avoid your company and rent from ANYONE else.

I respectfully ask all of my readers to please avoid using U-Haul. There are other rental companies available who treat their customers well. I would not have gone through this trouble if it had only been a rude clerk or one local site causing a problem. Every level of communication at U-Haul contributed to this bad experience. The corporate office is just as responsible as the local clerk – they built the system.

The only way that a company like U-Haul will ever change these types of bad business practices is when it costs them money. Please bookmark this page on digg,, and other social bookmark sites so that people see it when they look for information about U-Haul.

This whole experience has made me very angry and I wish there was more I could do to make things right.

The Go-To Guy!

P.S. If U-Haul has treated you badly, please take a moment to comment and leave a note of warning to others.

Andrew Seltz

Andrew was born in Michigan, raised there and in Tennessee, and has since lived outside Orlando, in Chicago, New York City, and now Birmingham, Alabama. He produces videos and websites for a living and is married to a beautiful, generous, loving woman who also happens to be a talented actress and writer - They have two daughters.

5 thoughts on “Consumer Complaint: U-Haul of Metro New York, You Owe My Wife An Apology

  • In 1998, the U-Haul office in Decorah, Iowa rented us a truck whose brakes failed. Then they refused to return our deposit.

  • Rick,

    If the Decorah, Iowa U-Haul employees are anywhere near as bad as the New York staff, I’m not at all surprised.

    I’m glad nobody got hurt!

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • My first question is why did you send your very pregnant wife to take care of the problem that had already gone from bad to worse. As a woman that has had six children, I can attest to the fact that pregnancy in itself is a stressful time and my husband did not ever have me take care of things that would have caused me problems. I am sorry for your wife and I feel that no one should put a pregnant woman through this kind of thing. Think about her and do not put her in situations that could potentially cause her a big problem!

  • Hi, Kim! This is Ellen (AKA Mrs. Goto Guy). It’s been a long time since you commented on Andy’s post about U-Haul, but I was doing some site updates and noticed it. I had to laugh – bless his heart, Andy had nothing to do with the situation and he was so protective of me ….If he could have dealt with it for me, I’m sure he would have. But I rented the truck in my business capacity as producer of the play. He was not involved with the business side of that at all, and legally could not return it. I’m sure I had no business trying to produce an off-broadway play when I was hugely pregnant, but thank goodness our daughter turned out fine.
    Thanks for your concern,

  • Pingback: Back from the Back of Beyond | Andrew Seltz: The Go-To Guy!

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