U-Haul Rents Unsafe Trailer in Alabama Accident.

August 5th, 2009

I saw your site and wanted to share with you my son’s accident on July 30, 2009 near Atmore Alabama. We rented a 5×8 trailer to pull behind a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. The manager of the U-Haul dealer hooked up the hitch for us.

When we began to drive away, we thought that it sounded loose and unstable so we asked the manager to check it. He did and said that it was fine, it was just an old trailer.

The next day my son was returning to college with antiques from my father’s estate and he encountered bad weather (straight line winds and torrential rain that came upon him quickly) The wind and water picked up the trailer from the ball hitch and began jack knifing it into the right side of the Jeep window and door crashing into it and breaking all of the glass into the car. It was still tethered by rusty chains so it jack knifed back to the left and swerved his Jeep and trailer across two lanes of traffic and into a deep ditch. The U-Haul flipped and barely missed flipping the Jeep. By the grace of the Almighty, my son and his puppy were not killed. He is suffering neck and back pain and whip lash from the accident.

We reported the accident to U-Haul and to Republic Western Insurance company and they arranged for another tow truck to bring another U-Haul trailer later that evening. They have not as of this time agreed to pay for the damages to the Jeep (Waiting to be determined with an estimate and the contents of the U-Haul that were destroyed which is approximately $6000 worth).

If you have any advice for me in handling this case, I would appreciate it greatly. I am paying a $1000 deductible for the Jeep to be fixed with auto insurance and $1000 deductible for contents to be reimbursed on my homeowners’ policy. This does not cover any damages, injuries, medical, pain, suffering or other costs associated with accident.

Thank you and be blessed for being a source of information for others on this kind of accident. This is a very dangerous situation!

R.B.

U-Haul Phantom Traffic Ticket/Fee?

March 15th, 2009

Interested in knowing if anyone else has experienced, after returning a U-haul rented moving truck back to U-haul, and after U-haul re-takes possession, later receiving notice that U-haul claims to have paid on your behalf a $25 traffic/parking ticket/citation (or any amount) with a $30 administrative fee (or any amount) and a $25 penalty (or any amount). Also you were charged an environmental fee. Basically, you know that YOU the customer did not personally receive the citation. The collection company hired by U-haul also tries to get the you to pay this alleged and disputed debt. No proof or validation of the actual citation, time, date, charges/grounds for the citation is ever produced.

Note: this post is from an Alabama attorney.  If you have a valid response, please leave a comment below, or email us and we will forward his email address to you. Thx. 

UPDATE 11/16/10: it appears that this attorney’s email addy is no longer active, so we are unable to forward any details until he contacts us again.  Still, you are encouraged to post your experiences regarding this topic as the information may be relevant anyway.

Former U-Haul Employee Story‏

January 23rd, 2009

As a former U-Haul employee, I would like to share my experiences with unsuspecting customers.
 
I was employed at the Morse Road U-Haul Center in Columbus, Ohio for 2 years as a temporary college job.  First of all, let’s talk about safety.  My first 6 months on the job, I was a “Service Tech” which meant I did safety inspections and minor repairs to Truck Engines and bodies as well as trailer repair. 

I was CONSTANTLY finding major issues with the trucks.  Management refused to “down” the trucks (meaning to put out of commission until fixed) and told me to do what I had to to get the truck back out into circulation. 

For example, fuel system problems in 3 locally assigned trucks, in particular, caused them to break down at least once a week during customer use.  One of our old International 26ft trucks had a broken hinge on the hood, so it was ordered to be wired shut preventing us from checking oil levels.  Mid-winter, the bailing wire broke while a customer was driving the truck sending the MASSIVE semi-truck-style hood flying across the road to strike a parked car.
 
Once I transitioned into “counter” duties, the problems with the trucks became even more evident as I had to deal with the customer complaints.  I personally did everything I could to try to prevent problems as well as rectify any that occurred, however upper management made this impossible. 

One particular situation that stands out in my mind…one of the infamous “problem trucks” was rented to a customer.  Big surprise, they called when the truck broke down on the side of I-71.  They called the breakdown hotline several times over the course of 6 hours just to be told that a computer problem was preventing them from being able to verify that the truck had even been rented to her although I had called personally to verify it myself, meanwhile, the poor woman was stranded on a busy freeway.  I volunteered to take another truck and transload the truck for the customer, however our GM, who we will call Mr. Knappy, felt that my time would be better spent mopping the floor.
 
As for trailers, if I tried to deny a trailer rental to a customer due to safety reasons, I would be reprimanded.  For instance, one customer wanted to pull a tandem axle trailer with a chevy s-10, which was stupid to begin with because once loaded, the trailer would weigh more than the truck, but furthermore, he was using a bumper-mounted tow-ball on a severely rusted bumper with one of the 2 bumper mounts GONE.  When brought to Mr Knappy’s attention, he said, it’s not our problem, rent the trailer to him.  As you can imagine, the trailer AND bumper ended up in a ditch 2 miles down the road.  It’s amazing that no-one was hurt or killed.  And then the CUSTOMER was charged for damage to the trailer.
 
As for the charging of credit cards… wow… Mr Knappy was acclaimed as the best manager in Columbus due to the exemplary numbers his store generated.  His method for generating said numbers were charging customers credit cards for damage that already existed, putting miscellaneous charges of over $100 on customers cards to “get their attention” if a truck was not returned on time, and putting defective merchandise and damaged boxes back on the display racks.  Charging fuel fees knowing damn well that some of the trucks had malfunctioning fuel gauges was a common practice as well. 
 
*Renters BEWARE*

C.C.

Inside Edition Investigates U-Haul Trailer Safety in NJ.

February 27th, 2008

Trailer safety is discussed in this video.  It states that safety pamphlets are supposed to be distributed with all U-Haul trailer rentals; but only one out of 14 rental agents randomly visited in the Bergen County, New Jersey area gave out the safety booklet with a trailer rental.  This booklet contains critical information about properly loading a trailer. 

This video segment demonstrates that most of the weight should be loaded toward the front of a trailer, and that disasterous consequences could result from most of the weight being loaded toward the back of the trailer.

Traffic safety officers with the Bergen County Police Department inspected the 14 trailers randomly rented and found that four of the 14 trailers had directional or hazard lights that didn’t work, as well as numerous other safety violations such as rusted chains, frayed wire, no brake fluid and vital safety info worn off.

Joe Shoen (U-Haul’s CEO) invites you to call his cell phone if you feel unsafe when renting a U-Haul trailer: 602-390-6525.