When my husband and I started to make plans for our big move to New Mexico I called U-Haul because our family used U-Haul twice in the past couple of years with no problems. So I picked up the phone and called our local dealer in Port Charlotte, Florida. I told them we needed a 17 foot truck and we would be pulling an 18 foot flat bed with my car on it. I informed them that we would need a 2 inch ball and asked if they had the appropriate hookups for it. The gentleman replied “yes we have everything you need”, and I believed him!
Now lets just stop here for a moment, I need to mention something. If anyone is in the business of renting equipment for moving they SHOULD know that any trailer that long has two axels and two axels means you have to have a break system to tow it.
So on the big day we went to the local dealer to pick up the truck. The people there were nice enough; they printed out the contract, and informed me of a few things. They said I was the only one who could drive the truck, and asked me if I wanted insurance and I said yes, so I signed the “Safe move rental agreement” that was then attached to the other papers. Yes I read the front side because the lady pointed to it; I didn’t know that green colored tissue paper sheet even had a back side. I then paid the bill, she gave me the keys and I went out to the truck. I walked around the right side, looked at the back briefly, (noticing the 7 way plug on the bumper) and then passed the left side to the driver’s side door. I jumped in and thought to myself (gee this is a dirty truck, they didn’t even empty the trash from the previous driver), but I over looked it, thinking that it really wasn’t that bad. I also noticed the gas gage was at ¼ tank, and thought (wow, I was always told to fill the tank before returning the truck). When I got home I called then to tell then that the gage said ¼ hanks and not 3/8 as indicated on the contract, the lady wanted me to drive back to adjust the contract. (Like I had time for that).
Dismayed already, we still loaded the truck up, packing in everything we owned and leaving enough room to stop in Tennessee for some of my husband’s stuff in storage. After two days of packing we were ready to hitch up the trailer, that all went well but we noticed that we need an adapter to accommodate our trailer which is a six pin (no big deal) so we purchased that and was ready to finish the hook up when we realized the U-Haul didn’t have an electric break system. There was a small, hard to ready sticker that said: “If the vehicle being towed needs an electric break system call U-Haul” so we did, and they informed us that NONE of their trucks had an electric break controllers, (so why the sticker? And why call them? ) They offered rent one of their trailers instead (but we need to take our trailer with us) then they offered us another truck (but why offer another truck if none of them have electric trailer break controller s?)
Then the man informed me that as long as the trailer was within the weight limit of 10,000 lbs we would be fine. However, another sticker on the bumper says the weight limit is 10,000 lbs for a U-Haul trailer being towed and 6,000 lbs for all others. Let’s also keep in mind that the state of Florida has laws concerning towing as does other states. So if there is an accident (heaven forbid) will U-Haul even admit to any of this?
Also they never told us that we can’t go over 55 mph when towing something, not that we could go over that limit. Point being that if we travel at 55 mph it would take us six days to make the tip and we lost two days for loading the truck and one day for the trailer towing problem, They did give us another day to make up for the towing trouble. (Like a day makes up for being safe)?
Ok, without U-Haul working with us, we began our trip; after all they said we would be safe towing the trailer. We found that most of the time we were at an average of 50 mph and it was taking us a lot longer than expected. Towing seemed to be going well, and the TOW HAUL system on the truck was a big help, but I was not prepared for the slow pace and long haul, after all we were not making good time at this pint.
So I had to call U-Haul again, and inform them we would not be able to complete the trip in the time allotted, so they increased the time limit on the contract and told me that as long as I called ahead it would only cost me $20.00 a day rather than $40.00 a day. That was a big relief, but as we found out later also NOT TRUE!
When we had to stop in Arkansas because of heavy rain, and flooding in two towns we were suppose to drive through, we were told it would cost us $40.00 a day at that point. We were on the phone with them all morning and got nowhere! So do we drive on in the rain under unsafe driving conditions, including flooding roads, to save a few bucks?
Let’s just look at all of this for a moment.
U-Haul doesn’t know their own equipment, they can’t do the math concerning traveling at 55 MPH and how long it will take to make the trip (and lets be real about how many hours a day a person can drive, even truckers have a time limit). U-Haul advised us it is ok to tow the trailer without electric breaks because our trailer in tow is under their weight limit for towing their own equipment. They will not work with us concerning Mother Nature’s rainy unsafe driving conditions, and they didn’t do some things they should have according to their own rules. Like: walk me around the truck to show me any damages, and to show me the entire inn’s and out’s of the truck. I even had to add oil and change the windshield wipers because the truck had obviously not received any kind of servicing before I rented it!
I wonder if anyone at U-Haul has the brains to understand this situation and who can actually make an informed decision? We just keep getting shuffled from one department to another, or put on hold until the call is lost.
The only thing left to say is DON’T ever rent from U-Haul, they are irresponsible, and no matter who you rent a moving truck from be informed and read EVERYTHING before driving it!
I am sure we are gonna get a financial screwing from them in exchange for us using our brains about being safe. I am not sure at this point if we should even proceed because I believe that we are towing illegally and unsafely, but what choice do we have?
Now we are half way to New Mexico stuck in Arkansas because of the rain and U-Haul won’t work with us! We have talked to about 6 people, who keep referring us to other people and now they are asking us who we talked to in what office and because we can’t answer that they won’t help us. I got first names but I dialed an 800 number so how am I supposed to know where the office is? This whole thing is absurd! AND frustrating!
D.L. & C.M.L.