Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dear U-haul,

You suck.

I believe it takes a pretty soulless person to rent a barely safe truck to a person who has never done you any harm, but to charge an arm and a leg for it, well, there's just no word for that.

Last weekend, I paid $520 for the "privilege" of borrowing a truck for 3 days. Except I did not receive it for 3 days. I was told, when I left a generous deposit, that I could pick the truck up at 9am on moving day. The night before, a nameless individual informed me that I could possibly be driving for up to 1 hour to pick up this truck. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with your business. It's renting truck to people who are moving. People who are moving have other things to do than to chase after the thing you have already promised to provide for them. But on the moving day itself we were given the "good news" that a truck would be available for us right here in town - but. Ah, BUT. But, we'd have to wait several hours before we would have access to it.

Now, when I rented the truck, someone immediately said to me "Are you sure you want to go with Uhaul? 80% of their fleet just got pulled from the road for being unsafe." Funny that you didn't mention this when you were counting my money. But when you did mention that our truck was in the shop that very morning, I found it worrisome instead of comforting. After all, we would be driving this thing, packed to the gills with our beloved belongings, and towing our car behind it, nearly 600km. I shouldn't have to worry about the road-worthiness of a truck that we just broke the bank to rent.

Now, perhaps if I had received the truck as soon as it was done in the shop, our story would have ended there. That didn't happen. It didn't happen because u-haul is a greedy beast, and they thought, 'hey, we're already getting $520 out of this old clunker, why not try for more?' And so you rented out the same truck twice in one day. And you let the other lady have it first. And when she returned it 7 hours after it was promised to us, and on empty, it was our problem because "pick up times cannot be guaranteed". Right. Tell me, wherever did you find print tiny enough for that clause? Does it really seem reasonable to you that some other person's move ate into ours?

Luckily, thanks to some back-breaking labour, we were able to load the truck up in the dark that night and our move was not much delayed. However, it was when we hit the road that nightmare really began.

Before we pulled out of the u-haul parking lot, the lady told us, nay, swore to us, that the transmission had recently been fixed, and that for some odd reason the clunking noise persisted, but that the mechanic had guaranteed that "it would not fall out on us." Obviously, this made me feel much, much better. Until we got onto the highway. And then, for the next 7 hours, we were treated to the lovely sound of metal grating against asphalt at high speeds. Mmm. Just what my u-haul induced migraine needed. But I thought to myself, no problem, I'll just sleep on the way up since I had to pack long into the night and thus did not get nearly enough sleep to feel up to unpacking when we arrived. But did I sleep? No, I did not. Not a wink. You see, it is almost impossible to get comfortable when you are fighting to breathe. The thing is, when a seatbelt is crushing your windpipe it does not allow for optimal sleep conditions. Interesting, isn't it? I thought so. Especially since the truck, which was rusty, dirty, older than me, and probably wouldn't pass a safety test despite the sparky transmission job, did not look very trustworthy in the first place, rendering my seatbelt pretty much my last line of defense. All kinds of worst-case scenarios flashed through my mind.

Thanks to my husband's patience and good driving, we reached our destination more or less safely. Jason had a crick in his neck from ducking to see under the chips in the windshield, but what the hell, it's not like you need to see very well to drive 30 feet of machinery through downtown Toronto.

We unloaded the truck as quickly as our arms and legs would allow us, mindful of the growing dusk. Normally we would be more kind to our muscles and take things slowly, but the lady at the u-haul place had frowned on our driving the thing after dark since there were no lights on the back of the trailer and shockingly, she had no replacement bulbs on hand. Shucks. I credit my husband for pulling us through. He was strong and quick and encouraging even when I thought I would throw up from being exhausted. By 8 o'clock we were done. The truck was empty, and ready to be returned.

All we needed to do was to hitch the trailer onto the truck, and drive it to the depot. Or so we thought. Turns out, the hitch was broken. Fancy that. It only tooks 2 hours in the pitch black in a new city where we knew not one soul to figure out how to make do with defective equipment. We were quite pleased with this new development, as I'm sure you could imagine.

So, blackened with grease and tired to the bone, we climbed into the cab of the truck, back to the seatbelt that actually chafed a layer of skin off my neck to the point of bleeding, and headed for the return point. As mentioned before, we had just moved. I think this is worth repeating because u-haul apparently has no idea to whom it is renting its trucks. We moved. To a new city. Therefore, it would have been nice, helpful even, if the u-haul lady would have been willing to tell us where exactly to drop the thing off. However, it was Friday, and as I said, we had been put off until quite late, so I guess she was itching to get home. She was unwilling to look it up, so she told us to just bring it anywhere. So, despite the fact that the good people of u-haul had already delayed us by more than 8 hours, we had to cut into our loading time to research a u-haul place in a foreign city, and plot it out on an unfamiliar map.

Since the broken hitch had set us back 2 hours, we were infact driving down unknown streets without tail lights. Is there a patron saint for unlukcy u-haul renters? It would have been nice to know. But finally, we saw the u-haul signs, and we pulled the truck into the lot. Jason ran inside to drop off the key, but he came back out shaking his head.

The man inside informed him that this location did not accept equipment. In fact, it wasn't a u-haul place at all, never had been, despite the signs and ad in the yellow pages. It was listed as one, but wasn't one.

Sorry, my bad. I obviously should have just assumed that u-haul just lists some red herrings just to butt-fuck their customers a little more.

Of course this guy is unable to provide us even with directions to a new place, so we had to drive around Toronto, in the dark, with a 30 foot truck and trailer, looking for a phone book. It was after 1am before we found an appropriate location and believe me, if words and wishes came true, anyone who has ever been affiliated with u-haul would be pushing up daisies today.

rental for a truck that almost killed me: $520
gas for the truck that almost killed me: $180
knowing that that which does not kill you only makes you stronger: priceless? I think not. We paid $700 for a harrowing, stressful experience, and I am NOT happy about it.

Here's hoping that the following search terms will help spread the u-haul hate: I hate u-haul, u-haul almost killed me, Toronto uhaul, u-haul hell, don't rent from u-haul, boycott u-haul, u-haul is unsafe, uhaul sucks, u-haul is the worst thing that ever happened to me, u-haul is evil, George W. Bush owns u-haul, Ontario uhaul, u-haul can kiss my ass, u-haul is dangerous, u-haul rents damaged trucks, Canada uhaul, uhaul is bad, renting from u-haul is like renting from Hitler.

p.s. As dearest Ian points out, the most impressive feature that u-haul boasts of is its luxurious cloth seats, which I bet are not that luxurious on the best of days, but in our case, the truck was so old that the stencilling was actually reduced to "clot eats". Yummy, eh?

Other angry u-haul customers (because you know I'm not alone):


After a month of communication, this is what I receive on November 21st:

Dear Mrs. Jay,

Thank you for your communication received.

We apologize that your move did not go as you planned.

This is to inform you that we will not be reimbursing you for any part of this rental.

Based on the feedback provided, we consider this matter resolved.

Donna Sweeney
U-Haul Company Scarborough, ON

I'm sure you all can imagine my pleased response to this email.

And that's all you'll hear from me - lawsuit pending.

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