Our U-Haul U-Box Saga Finally Comes to a Satisfactory End

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

Last week, I wrote about our dramas and dilemmas with U-Haul’s newest product/service, U-Box, which we decided employ for our move from Nova Scotia to Ontario.

I tweeted out the link and made sure to mention the U-Haul Customer Service Twitter account.

This is what happened.

As I mentioned in the original piece, which you can read here, our experience with U-Haul was fraught with failure almost from the beginning. However, two egregious parts of the ordeal stuck out above all others:

  1. Customer service was pitiful, at least at the beginning. The red-headed fellow I mentioned in the beginning of that story felt horrible after I pointed out his indiscretion, and he ended up being our biggest champion in the store from that point forward.
  2. In the end, even with the discounted truck rental, we ended up paying more than what we would have if the U-Box had been shipped as promised. The difference: $136. Not a massive amount, but still enough to justify a complaint. I don’t know many people who can throw $136 into the wind and not go running after it because it isn’t worth the effort.

I tweeted the link at U-Haul because I assumed it didn’t monitor the web for all mentions of its name (though, it probably does). With that assumption, I goaded the moving company in public. It didn’t take long to receive a reply from the wonderful people manning the @UHaul_Cares account.

@MarkTTAC I apologize, can you please DM us your contract/reservation number? ^NG

— U-Haul Cares (@UHaul_Cares) August 12, 2016

I sent the U-Haul Customer Service team my contract number via Twitter’s direct message system. U-Haul, in turn, told me to expect a call from “management.”

The next business day, I received a phone call from the general manager of the location from which I rented the U-Box and the subsequent truck. I had my hands full at the time, so I called back the day after.

The conversation went thusly, paraphrasing:

GM: We are sorry for the customer service you experienced, and we’ve made changes at the location so this never happens again.

MS: Thank you. However, the solution provided to me — the discounted truck — actually ended up being $136 more than the initial cost of the U-Box.

GM: We can offer you a refund of $130.

And so they did. The GM put through a refund in the amount of $130, which brought the total cost of the move down to almost equal that of the U-Box.

But should I have to pay full price for the cost of a product or service that I did not receive?

Hell no.

Sure, U-Haul offered to bring down the price of the more expensive truck that I had to drive for 18 hours to Ontario. However, I didn’t want to drive 18 hours in a truck with 100,000 miles on the clock; I wanted to put my stuff in a box, have someone else deliver it, and split driving duties in my own car with my significant other during the journey to Ontario.

So, back to the @UHaul_Cares account I went, not paraphrasing:

MS: The GM has given me a refund of $130 to make up the difference in cost between the U-Box and U-Haul truck. She also offered an apology multiple times and told me some corrective action has been taken at the store.

UH: Thanks for the update and glad you were able to reach them.

MS: Not entirely satisfied, but not entirely dissatisfied either. The solution offered equates to only paying what I was supposed to pay in the first place, which hardly seems like an apology. It comes off as just doing the bare minimum to keep a repeat customer.

UH: I apologize, if you would like we can re-open the file and management will review and contact you back again.

MS: That’s up to U-Haul. I appreciate the effort made by you folks in corporate. The local store didn’t ask if I was satisfied; simply made the offer and did the refund while giving an apology. If U-Haul wants me to tell others I had a positive experience, then U-Haul will have to do more than what it has done. If U-Haul doesn’t want that, it needn’t do more than it has done.

UH: I have updated the file and management will review and contact you back.

I made no demands. I expected nothing. I simply stated the corrective action felt like a half measure, and that I was not completely satisfied. At this point, it was up to U-Haul to make it right and do what they thought was necessary.

The next day, the same general manager called from the original rental location. She apologized again. I could tell she wanted to be done with this case as much as I did, and I actually felt bad for her at this point. Yet, this is money we’re talking about — specifically, my money.

In the end, U-Haul offered an additional $150 refund for, what I call, consumer pain and suffering.

I am happy.

Would another person who doesn’t have the ability to blast out a personal experience to thousands of people have the same luck? I’m not sure, but I hope so. At least you now know that U-Haul will attempt to keep a customer. After all, the chances of you living in the same place for the rest of your life is pretty slim. We are a fairly mobile species at this point, and U-Haul is still the Kleenex of moving companies. U-Haul’s alternatives are also quite expensive, and sometimes you have to go with the cheaper option while grinning and bearing with it.

There’s one thing I’ve learned from this though: if you aren’t satisfied, say so. Most companies will bend over backwards to keep a customer satisfied, or at least placated. When money is on the line, there’s no room for feelings. If you’ve been wronged, say so, and make the person or company who’s wronged you pay for its lack of service or its unsatisfactory product.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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  • Moparmann Moparmann on Aug 20, 2016

    @ Nate: +100 AMEN!!!

    • -Nate -Nate on Aug 22, 2016

      Thanx MoparMan ! . I understand that complaints are important and necessary , I was just backing up Mark's comment that chronic whining just to be a troll , isn't productive . I'm enjoying reading the ' how I handled this problem ' replies greatly I understand the Butterfly Effect . -Nate

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Aug 21, 2016

    It never hurts to just write or email when you have a complaint. I learned about 20 years ago, it can get you a lot. The first time was when I had a PC that had endless issues. By the time the warranty was about to expire, almost everything inside the case had been replaced at least once, and it still was just a lemon. I found the name of the president of the US division, and wrote a calm, pretty pleasant letter telling my tale of woe, and included copies off all my paperwork. I sent it by FedEx in one of those pouches. About 5 days later, a new, well, refurbed PC (That looked and smelled new) was on it's way. Not only did I have a working replacement, I had a major upgraded in every way PC that worked great for 5 years. A few years ago, I bought a camcorder that had issues. I sent it in for repair, and it was "lost". After giving them a couple of weeks to "find it", I emailed the boss of the US operation, telling him about what happened, and that I was about to go on the trip I bought the camcorder for in the first place without it. I got a call the next day, saying I could get a totally new replacement for zero cost to me, a slightly upgraded refurbed one for $25, or a hugely upgraded refurbed HD camcorder for $50. I took the $50 deal and it came a few days later. It was in prefect condition, and worked great. The real surprise came a few days later when my supposedly lost camcorder showed up. I called the number of the guy I had talked to on the phone, and asked them if they wanted it back, and he said no, give it to someone or whatever I wanted to do with it. I gave it to my friend's 10 year old son, who still has it, and loves the 50X zoom.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.