Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

U-Haul From Hell

Today was the experience with U-Haul from Hell. Early in the morning I got a voice message from U-Haul informing me that we were late returning the trailer. I knew this- the RV had broken down. So I called U-Haul to inform them and smooth everything over.

U-Haul was incredibly generous. When I told them that two mechanics who had looked at the RV had suggested that faulty wiring on the U-Haul trailer might have caused a drain on the battery, causing a breakdown, U-Haul told me they would send someone out to check the trailer connections, at no cost to us. This was despite my informing them that the RV was broken down, and not the trailer. Of course, U-Haul doesn't rent RVs.

U-Haul also told me that, because we were broken down, the rental of the trailer would be extended out, automatically, at no cost to us. I had expected neither of these supports, and so was impressed at U-Haul's generosity. I received a couple more calls from U-Haul, informing that they would momentarily be sending out an agent to check the wiring. Then I received one more call.

Sadly, I missed the call by nine minutes. The voice mail from Laura stated that, because the contract was overdue, U-Haul could not come out to check the wiring until I went to a U-Haul company in person to extend the contract. There was no explanation as to why they had changed their tune. There was no mention of what town this company was in, or how to get there. There was no explanation of what it meant to extend the contract. There was no explanation of how much money I would have to shell out, or even indeed if I had to shell out money.

I called the number the voicemail was called from, only to get the main U-Haul number, and listened to their standard greeting stating, "In order to insure that we keep our promises to you, all conversations will be recorded." I was transferred a few times, and eventually made it back to Laura's office, but she was busy. They were able to inform me that, yes, I had to renew the contract; no, they couldn't explain why; no, they had no idea if there would be money involved, or how much; no, they didn't know what town their location was in that I needed to go to; and yes, they had the phone number of the place.

I called up the location, and was told that their location was in the next town over. The guy on the phone informed me that they also didn't know if I would have to pay money or how much. But he assured me that I would have to give him no money. It took a couple minutes for us to establish that they were living in 1960, and the guy on the phone thought there was a difference between money and a credit card. He told me the guy who handles U-Haul wouldn't be back until 3 that afternoon, and I could come by then. That meant no one could check the trailer connections until late that afternoon. It was now 1045, and I'd been on the phone with different calls for 15 minutes.

I called U-Haul again, to find out if I would have to pay, and to find out what happened to their generous promise of automatically extending the contract at no charge to me. I was told that the Regional Office couldn't answer questions of fees- I needed to speak to Roadside Assistance. I called Roadside Assistance, and was told I needed to speak to Customer Service. Customer Service has very long hold times. After ten minutes, someone came on and told me that I was at the Customer Service Switchboard, and they'd now transfer me to Customer Service. After twenty minutes, I got Customer Service. Customer Service said I needed to speak to the Regional Office. The Regional Office told me that I needed to speak to Roadside. Roadside sent me to Customer Service. After another twenty minutes on hold, I got Francisco.

Fransisco is not your ordinary customer service rep. He firmly believes in creating as hard of a situation as possible for his customers, costing them as much money as possible, and doing everything to insure that they never use the services of his company again. I told him that I had a question on fees, and that Roadside had told me I needed to speak to Customer Service. He told me I was wrong, and that Customer Service doesn't handle questions of fees- I needed to speak to the Regional Office. I assured him most heartedly that this was not the case, and that I'd been through this a few times before, and that I'd been told it was definitely Customer Service that handled questions of fees. He disagreed. At one point he even told me that I needed to present my credit card in person at the U-Haul location, and after I gave them the credit card I would be told how much I would be paying- in complete countenance to all laws and regulations in the United States. And as I was telling him, "Definitely, do not transfer me- it won't help, they know nothing," he stated, "I'm transferring you now," and did so.

Never in my life have I experienced such rudeness and ineptitude, where a rep transfers you against your will, forcing you to talk to a department which you have told them will not help you, and that you have spoken to previously multiple times.

I was back at the Regional Office. They sent me to Roadside. Roadside heard my story, and told me to ask for a supervisor in the Customer Service Department. I called Customer Service, and after twenty minutes, got a rep, and told them I needed to speak to a supervisor. After stating my story, I waited for another ten minutes, and got a supervisor. Guess who it was? Wait for it...

Yes, Fransisco is what evidently passes for a supervisor there. I began to tell him my story, and he told me that I had just spoken with him, and demanded to know if I'd spoken with Regional. I told him I had, and reminded him that I had told him multiple times that it wouldn't help, and not to transfer me. He told me he was putting me on hold, and before I could protest, he put me on hold. Then he hung up on me.

I called Regional again, who transferred me to Roadside. At this point, near tears, I told the story again. They sympathised, but there was nothing they could do to help me, because they had no knowledge of fees.

At this point, it was 2:30 in the afternoon. I had been on hold or talking with U-Haul reps for four hours. This was approximately with twenty different people, being transferred some 15 times between different departments. All of this was on my cell phone, in the middle of the day, so I was paying for the right to be screwed by U-Haul. (There's some sort of word for that.) That was four hours of my hard-earned money, going to my cellphone bill. Not a single person could tell me if I would pay fees for this renewal of the contract, how much the fees were, what a contract renewal was, and why U-Haul was going back on it's promise. Only in the final conversation did I get someone asking me the basic question of who it was I had spoken to who had made that promise, but of course, after twenty people, I couldn't remember the name of the second person in the chain. (Back then, I had been trusting U-Haul.)

The good news is there was no longer a need to wait to visit the U-Haul location, as it was now close to 3 in the afternoon. I drove down to the place that rents U-Hauls and makes chili, and they were very kind and helpful. They looked up some information on their computer, and were able to tell me that there would be a fee, and how much. Extending the contract, it turned out, meant closing the existing contract, and starting a new one for $250 to Wisconsin. This was of course too much, and had I known this beforehand, I wouldn't have made the trip out of town to the U-Haul station. I told the man that we would just use the expertise of our friend Bill to check the trailer wiring, and would simply pay the late fees when we got up there to Waunakee.

By the time I returned home it was now 4:30 in the afternoon. Six hours of my life, wasted by U-Haul, because no one in their company knew basic information, like if there would be charges and how much they might be. There were many kind people at U-Haul, unlike Francisco, but there is a massive systemic problem in the structure of U-Haul, such that no department knows what information they are supposed to dispense, and every department passes the buck on basic information.

Rest assured, U-Haul, I am not a happy customer. I call on you to hold to your promises, as you state in your voicemail introductions. (The irony of listening to you state that all 10 times I called you was just too great.) I call on you to do the right thing, the just thing, and reimburse me for my cellphone minutes, and dispense with the late fees, as you stated to me initially. I call on you to make me believe that U-Haul is a reputable company, and worthy of doing business with.

1 comment:

Omar Poppenlander said...

Look at it this way. The situation with U-Haul gave you an excellent opportunity to practice turning the other cheek! :-)