New on the site: Proposal to Reduce Identity Theft
UHaul doesn't care about your "confirmed reservation", they only care about making money by renting trucks. UHaul's goal is to rent every truck every day. It appears to make no difference to UHaul if a hundred or ten thousand "confirmed reservations" are unable to be fulfilled. Based on a conversation documented herein, UHaul always gives out a "confirmed reservation", but has no way to know if you are going to get a truck because UHaul does not track its inventory, nor do they appear to move trucks to meet demand (which is why they tell you where you have to drive to pick up your truck if you are one of ones lucky enough to get your truck). I have never had this problem with car rentals or hotel reservations. Airlines disclose that they overbook, they only overbook a certain percentage, and they are usually quick to compensate for changing your flight. If UHaul ran an airline, a popular flight would have thousands of folks with confirmed reservations vying for 200 seats. Even worse, though, is that most folks who use UHaul have a lease or closing deadline and friends and family lined up to help them move. Delays in getting a truck typically affect many other people and commitments.
State Attorney Generals office and the Federal Trade Commission should look into the fact that UHaul's confirmed reservations do not perform reasonably (I have filed complaints with NC AG and the FTC - but no action is evident). UHaul needs to shape up and disclose their overbooking rate and percentage of reservations unfulfilled after 1 hour of customer arrival reported by day of the week recently and in the same timeframe during the previous year.
Update: April 8, 2003 - Over a dozen people have contacted WRAL-TV's "5 on your side" and stated that they had the "exact same experience". Here is the article (friends told me after it aired - I missed recording it) You gotta love Frawley's comment that customers just don't understand UHaul's reservation system.
Update: Jan 30, 2003 - UHaul reimburses me $290 after WRAL-TV's "5 on your side" gets involved. Don't have a TV station on your side? Well, then you will probably have to take them to small claims court. UHaul is counting on the inconvenience of you having to sue them after they do you wrong. Use someone else (of course, all of them may be bad).
Here is a site on "How to Sue U-Haul", which also has well written accounts from many contributors.
Conversation with Beverly at the Raleigh UHaul office:
I asked her about how they reserve trucks and she indicated that they don't turn down reservations, but that they give them out in the order reserved when they do have them. She acknowledged that the reservation details should more appropriately set expectations that (her estimate) roughly 1% of reservations are unable to be fulfilled (I might believe 3-5%). She also acknowledged that their personnel should have better represented the likelihood that I would not get a truck. She indicated that my reservation's customer service entries failed to indicate that Beverly was supposed to call me, even though I requested that twice. She acknowledged that the regional 800 number often is overloaded and not answered. She was afraid to try to estimate how many people have to wait more than an hour or have to drive beyond the locations stated in the reservation to get a truck. She could not exactly determine what occurred in my situation, but said that often trucks are not returned when scheduled and maybe that is what happened (I do not remember them asking me when I expected to return the truck, they just allocate a fixed number of days based on distance). She also indicated that holiday weekends make it hard to get a truck, even if it has been reserved.
She regretted that she never knew to contact me, but acknowledged that I had made reasonable attempts to contact her via my conversations with customer service on the pickup date and via my letter to the national office.
When asked about what amends are made for failed reservations, she told me that they "try to do something", but wouldn't give me any details. I can only assume from her answer that media coverage warrants full coverage of expenses and that all else results in some worthless coupons. )
In closing, I reiterated to Beverly that the reservation record should do a better job of setting customer expectations that they may not actually get a truck.
Letter sent to various consumer organizations:
See the bottom of this page for some links.
Dear Sir or Madam:
Without prejudice, it appears that Uhaul is
misrepresenting its ability to deliver on “confirmed reservations”. I am asking that you force Uhaul to stop issuing
confirmations until it has some ability to deliver on fulfilling those
On November 18th, 2002, Uhaul provided me with
the enclosed “confirmed reservation” for a U-Haul truck for a moving date
of November 22nd, 2002. They
were unable to provide a truck on the 22nd nor to promise a truck
for the 23rd. Nor did
they offer any alternative pick up location or solution.
I would like to file a formal complaint against Uhaul for
its deceptive business practice in the misrepresentation of my “confirmed
reservation”. Uhaul never
indicated that it would be unable to fulfill the confirmed reservation, and
when asked, representatives stalled and misrepresented Uhaul’s ability to
deliver. Considering the
irresponsible manner in which Uhaul handled this situation and based on the
information given to me by a dealer, I conclude that this deception is a
normal business practice for Uhaul.
As a result, I was unable to begin loading on the 22nd,
but I found a truck in the area for the following day which cost me $1.50 per
mile for the one way trip from Morganton, NC to Chapel Hill, NC at a total
cost of $289.59. I will be
billing Uhaul for this amount for their failure to honor their confirmed
reservation. Whether I am
reimbursed or not is not currently the issue of this complaint.
I merely offer it to be thorough.
The issue is that Uhaul repeatedly lied about its ability to deliver on
the confirmed reservation.
My journal of events below makes it clear that I was in
frequent contact with Uhaul and tried to find an alternative solution with
Please force Uhaul to stop issuing confirmed reservations until they have a working “availability to promise” inventory system and can prove that they can honor 99% of confirmed reservations within 1 hour of the time specified in the reservation.
Uhaul Customer Service: 1-800-789-3638
Regional Office: (800) 532-0385
This is the information cut and pasted from my reservation via www.uhaul.com
hits after 11/25/02