Richmond, Virginia
Not resolved

I signed up for a 4x4x4 storage unit at 5pm on Saturday June 11.

On Sunday at 2pm, I went to cancel the unit upon verification the unit was actually 2'10". More than 25% smaller than the contract stated.

The man on duty could clearly see that I had vacated the unit in under 24 hours, the regional supervisor on duty who provided guidance to the man on duty... both could have taken responsibility for a contract violation which was quite easily (and literally) measurable. They could have issued a refund on the spot and saved face. They did not. They referred me to the management who was returning from vacation on Monday. Monday morning at 7:30, the store manager, Linda Thomas, could have taken responsibility instead of responding with and providing a generic, "Well Corporate makes those measurements" and then asking, "Well, what makes you think you're getting a refund?" ("Contract fraud" would be my response to that.) Take ownership. It might not be her mistake, but she represents U-Haul, she has the responsibility to correct it. That's not an appropriate answer, especially one from a manager.

I do my research: in a mature market such as one enjoyed by U-Haul, McKinsey Consulting estimates that 18% of intentional word of mouth drives business. The Harvard Business Review suggests that the value of a customer is determined in their ability to bring in profitable new customers. I would add to this that some measure must also be made for former customers. Just because they may not have a current need for a product or service, it does not mean that their associates do not have a current need and may be asking them for a recommendation. (Former) customers like me still have a voice. For me, any defense that U-Haul had ended when I pulled out the measuring tape and showed staff the unit is 2'10". The agent on duty should have delegated authority to give me a hassle-free refund on the spot. No questions. U-Haul was wrong. Ethically. Legally.

Upon calling Stacy Donati, at 804-342-4280 (local corporate?), she provided assistance, no hassle, and immediate resolution. If only everyone I had interacted with at U-Haul had been as efficient, I may have been talked into a different storage unit. While the professionalism of Stacy was outstanding and concluded this experience with U-Haul on a positive note, I'm unsure it will open any doors for future interactions with U-Haul. I should not have to deal with corporate for a simple local issue. Overall, I had a very poor experience with improper measurements and weak management staff. I can't promise I will ever refer someone to U-Haul if they ever ask for my advice on their storage needs.

Please consider hiring management who are willing to help and not defer responsibility. Allow them to empower their staff with authority for resolving simple issues. This was a simple issue that became a bigger issue through inaction and a degree of incompetence. Or perhaps just plain apathy. The biggest effort anyone made locally was the man running the desk who called a supervisor. At least he made an effort to locate someone who had authority (and then deferred it). Unfortunately, those people to whom he reports were unwilling to help. And his hands were tied. A business cannot thrive in this model.

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