California Law Firm Seeks to Expand U-Haul Class Action Lawsuit to More States.

July 18th, 2012

California Law Firm KRONENBERGER ROSENFELD, LLP announces the following:

Due to the great number of people who have been affected by U-haul’s (alleged) unfair price fixing, Kronenberger Rosenfeld is seeking new plaintiffs from the following states for additional class action lawsuits:

  • Connecticut (CT)
  • Hawaii (HI)
  • Illinois (Il)
  • Maine (ME)
  • Maryland (MD)
  • New Hampshire (NH)
  • New Mexico (NM)
  • North Carolina (NC)
  • Pennsylvania (PA)
  • Rhode Island (RI)
  • Vermont (VT)

If you have rented a one way truck between 2006-2008 in any of these states, you may be eligible to join an expanding class action.

Submit your case online here.

California Law Firm Sues U-Haul Over Unfair Price Fixing Efforts With Competitors.

May 14th, 2012

The law firm of Kronenberger Rosenfeld, LLP filed a class action lawsuit against U-Haul International, Inc. on May 11, 2012. The case is entitled, Mary Bottorff v. Americo and U-Haul International, Inc., District Court for the Eastern District of California, Case No. 2:12-at-00701. This new class action lawsuit is filed in the wake of an FTC action filed against U-Haul, entitled, In the Matter of U-Haul Int’l Inc. and AMERCO, FTC File No. 081-0157.

The California class action complaint alleges that U-Haul’s unlawful efforts to collude substantially increased the price of one-way truck rentals nationwide, including in the State of California, thus causing damages to California plaintiff Mary Borttorff and the members of the class, in violation of California law.

The class action lawsuit defines the “Class” as, “all persons who purchased one-way truck rentals from Defendants for transportation to, from or within the State of California between September 2006 and September 2008.

The firm is still actively investigating U-Haul in other states and encourages victims of U-Haul’s unfair pricing policies to contact the firm at its website.

Florida U-Haul Rental Nightmare.

July 10th, 2010

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.

Unsafe U-Haul Trailer Rentals in Washington.

March 15th, 2010

Well, the first thing I did was read Rob’s account of what happened to him and his wife and their experience with a U-Haul rental trailer.

I have a similar account that could have been just as frightening had it not been for the fact that I was using a very heavy duty tow vehicle.   As it turned out though, the tow vehicle ended up suffering as a result of having been used to pull this U-Haul trailer that my wife and I rented and mind you, paid cash for up front. 

This story starts back on February 15, 2010.  This was the day that my wife and I went to the local U-Haul dealer and picked up the auto-transport that we had reserved.  My tow vehicle at the time of picking it up, was a 1978 Dodge Power Wagon Club Cab W150.

For those that don’t know what this means, is that this truck is a heavy duty half ton 4×4 truck.  As I mentioned earlier, My wife and I went over there and paid cash for the rental.  In addition to paying cash up front, I was told that I would need to run my debit card for “reservations purposes”.  I did this grudgingly, and we then got the trailer hooked up to the truck by the local yard guy. 

After getting home with the truck I ran in to some mechanical problems with it and after spending the following day trying to get it fixed, I ended up having to use my wife’s truck in order to be able to stay on schedule.  My wifes truck, which to this day, I will tell anyone that asks, was my only saving grace from having fatal or near fatal accident, is a 1997 Ford F350 crew cab 4×4 diesel.  I connected my wifes truck to the trailer in the exact same manner that the yard person hooked up our other truck.  I then loaded the car as was instructed by the U-Haul yard person.  I then again checked all of the lights making sure that all signals running lights and brake lights worked.  After warming up the diesel, I then left for the interstate on my way to Minnesota.  The trailer from the beginning as I soon found out, was going to give me problems. 

The trailer, for the entire trip as I found out, pulled to the right.  The pulling wasn’t as noticeable at first, but as time went on and the outside temperature changed along with any changes road surface (such as ruts in the road, grooves, etc.) or precipitation on the road, the trailer wanted to pull to the right badly.  As night wore on and the road became colder, the trailer would want to pull more and more to the right.  Most times as the weather got colder during driving whether it was daytime or nighttime, you had to reduce speed from the posted 55 mile an hour speed limit posted on the fender of the trailer to a slower speed. There were times during the trip, that I had to slow down to 40 miles per hour for fear that the trailer would start fishtailing and would cause the truck to jackknife if I was to drive at the posted speed on the trailer.  To make a long story short, after many frustrating miles, I finally made it to my destination in Minnesota.

My return trip is when it really got interesting.  I finally made it to my destination in Minnesota on the morning of February 21, 2010.  After taking a couple hours in the morning to rest after the long trip, I started my way over to the local dealer to drop off the trailer.  As fate would have it, my mother called my cell phone about a family emergency which made it necessary for me to come back to Washington with the trailer and my car in tow.  This is where things started really getting interesting.  On my way back, I was pulling over to fill up at a truck stop in Des Moines when the brake booster pump failed on the truck.  This made the truck undriveable until it was repaired or replaced as you were unable to brake.  Once that was repaired late that afternoon, I was back on the road and on my way again. 

My next interesting experience was when I was on my way driving toward Laramie WY.  Keep in mind what I was saying at the beginning of the story about the trailer pulling to the right all of the time.  It was at this time driving toward Laramie, that I encountered black ice.  And naturally, I was going much slower than the posted speed on the trailer, which I was traveling at 35 miles per hour.  I was driving up the pass when the trailer started pulling to the right badly causing the truck to fishtail and almost jackknife pushing the truck toward the edge of the road. The trailer was clearly within the lane line during the time this started.  I slowed down, corrected and then tried applying some power to the rear wheels again.  Again when I did this, the truck now traveling at no more than 20 – 25 miles per hour, the trailer again started pulling the truck off the road, causing a fish tail and another almost jackknife. 

Because of the problems with the trailer, the rear wheels of the truck alone were not able to keep the truck and the trailer on the road.  The trailer constantly was wanting to pull off of the road and pull the truck over with it.  It was only when I was able to safely pull to the side of the road and put the truck in to four wheel drive, did things get safe enough again to travel down the road.  As it was, even in four wheel drive, I was only able to travel between 25 – 30 miles per hour before the trailer once again would want to start pulling again. 

I am convinced, that had I not had a four wheel drive truck, with a heavy diesel engine at that, and being able to run in four wheel drive, I would have had either a serious or fatal accident.  There was no way that with a 2 wheel drive truck, that there would have been any chance of being able to drive anywhere without being in a serious crash or fatality. 

If anyone knows interstate 80 west to Laramie, they would know that there is little or no place to pull over and stop on the pass going to Laramie.  Meaning that if you did try to stop you would have to stop on the road and possibly cause a multi-vehicle accident.  Going through the pass with the truck in four wheel drive was the only way I was able to keep the truck and trailer on the road without the trailer pulling both the truck and the trailer off the road and over the embankment. 

Had my wife been driving, even with her years of experience, this is possibly what may have happened since she would not have known how correct for the problems the trailer was causing and could have more than likely been in a fatal accident.  I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I feel that it is only because I am an experienced driver that has been driving since I was 16 and seen and experienced and know how to correct for problems and have been professionally trained to do so (I am a professionally trained truck driver).

But, this was not the last of my problems.  Driving in to the gorge in the rain, I further experienced the trailer wanting to pull heavily to the right.  My speed through the gorge was no more than 45 miles per hour at any given time due to the trailer pull finally reaching my destination back home again on February 26, 2010. 

 As I mentioned earlier, not only did the trailer pull to the right, it also caused problems for the truck itself.  The surge brake on the trailer was not working which was very readily apparent when trying to brake and slow down going down-hill on a pass. The entire weight load of the trailer and my car were being placed on the truck itself with no help to be had from the trailer.  As a result, the front rotors of the truck will need be replaced.  And I also believe, that since there was no help from the trailer for stopping it also cause a premature failure of the brake booster pump.  The brake booster pump cost $410.00 to replace on a on site service call.  The replacement of the rotors is also going to be very expensive as well although I do not yet have the cost for that. 

To add insult to injury, after returning the trailer to the U-Haul dealer that it was originally rented from, my wife and I were told that the trailer could not be checked in until someone from U-Haul maintenance looked it over to see if there was a problem with it or not.  My wife called the U-Haul dealer the following Monday and was told that nothing wrong was found with the trailer and that the dealer had rented the trailer out the following day after my wife and I returned it. 

In the meantime, 2 weeks later in the early morning of 03/14/2010, I was looking at the online transaction register for my debit card and saw that another $230.00 had been charged against it by U-Haul when the card was just supposed to have been used for “reservations purposes”. 

Since my wife had been speaking with and working with U-Haul reps up to this point on my behalf while I was traveling, she called U-Haul later that day during business hours to find out what the charges were about.  My wife was told by the U-Haul rep she spoke to that the trailer was never officially checked in, and that we were charged for the rental additionally from the time we had dropped it off until it finally went over to U-Hauls Clackamas shop on 03/13/2010, to be checked over by what I am sure are U-Hauls crack expert staff of maintenance personnel. 

Not only were we charged for the additional time that U-Haul never checked it in, but it had gone out and been rented the following day after we dropped it off so it ended up being rented and some other poor sap ended up being charged for a piece of crap that had not yet been looked at.

 Not to get too disjointed with the story, I’d like to insert some other details that my wife found out from speaking to U-Haul’s Roadside Assistance staff on my behalf while I was traveling.  What my wife was told by Roadside Assistance when she called was that the trailer that was rented to us, was not rated for road speed in excess of 45 miles per hour even though the logo on the trailer fender stated it could go up to 55 miles per hour. And additional to what Roadside Assistance was saying about the speed limitation of the trailer, they also said that they were not willing to come out and look at the trailer while I was on the road with it because it was only rated for 45 miles per hour loaded. 

We were further told by the local U-Haul rep when we turned in the trailer that because of all of the problems we encountered with the trailer, that we would not be charged for the use of the trailer for the trip back.  And, that after U-Hauls crack team of experts looked at the trailer, we would have their answer as to whether the trailer had any issues and to whether we would be getting any additional refund to the $660.00 cash we had originally paid up front. 

And when we returned the trailer, the person who checked it in when they went out to look at the trailer with us, admitted in the yard and pointed out where the trailer was mis-aligned, but when they went back in and called and spoke to a manager over the phone, that person made no mention or even was willing to acknowledge to the manager over the that the trailer tongue to the trailer frame was mis-aligned as they had admitted first seeing when they had gone out with my wife and I to check in the trailer.  Oh, I just took a quick look at what it was going to cost for replacement rotors, and that’s without the labor, is anywhere from $50 each to $142 depending on what type of four wheel drive rotor is currently on the truck.  And like I mentioned before, this is before labor. 

One other thing I would like to mention is that during my travel in every state I went through, because of the speed that I was limited to because of the trailer, I was pulled over by the State police of that state and warned about driving too slow and being a hazard on the interstate. 

Also, when I called the local U-Haul store the trailer was rented from and explained that I was going to need the trailer longer than the 7 day rental and asked that they note this information on the rental log so that I didn’t get pulled over for a stolen trailer, the U-Haul rep told me that there was nothing they could do and that I would need to contact the store that I was supposed to drop the trailer off at and let them know.  This was not possible to do other that to leave that store a message since they were closed on the Sunday that I had to turn around and drive back.  I never received a call back from that store even though I gave my cell number 3 times in the message.  Also after my wife had spoken to U-Haul at 1 instance she was told that the local rep that we rented the trailer from should have given me the 800 number to reserve the trailer for the trip back which the local rep never did. 

In closing, I wish there were more laws in place that governed rental companies from renting faulty equipment that has the eventuality of killing someone using it.  There also needs to be regulations in place that place strict fines and penalties on companies that do.  U-Haul is the absolute worst when it comes to their equipment and I will never ever rent another piece of  unsafe crappy equipment from them again.  And anyone that reads this, should take this story very seriously because it is very much a true story and that if anyone does rent from U-Haul should know that they run a serious risk of injury or death using their equipment. I can’t believe in this day and age ……….companies can get away with putting peoples lives in danger! There’s no amount of compensation that can bring back a loved one killed by their inability to keep equipment in good working order.

I. & V.Z.