Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CEASE FIRE in battle with Uncle Bob

I'm delighted to say that I am declaring a CEASE FIRE in the battle I found myself in with Uncle Bob's Self Storage in Columbus, Ohio.

They're providing me with what I requested originally. They even offered some boxes and tape to help with repacking items not damaged too badly by the water from the A/C drainage pipe that seeped in.

My thanks to Lisa's boss, Tom, in Cincinnati who set things right. I'll be taking down this blog after I make sure nothing else goes crazy wrong in the next few weeks.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Battling with Uncle Bob's Self Storage after their A/C drainage pipe drenches my stuff

BEWARE: When you pay Uncle Bob's Storage to keep your stuff in their "environmentally controlled" area, if their air conditioning drainage pipes create a waterfall into your unit -- damaging your stuff and making a mess -- they will do little to help you.

All I wanted was adequate time to move what was not destroyed into another unit without being charged for the inconvenience. Not possible. They even wanted to charge me a new higher rate every month for the exact size unit next to mine. Absurd answers came from the assistant manager, the manager, and the district manager. This is no way to treat a customer who paid extra for "environmental control" for 3 1/2 years.

In my case, I wasn't asking for anything to be replaced or paid for. I just asked to be given adequate time to move my stuff out of the damp, moldy, damaged unit into a clean one next to me that was empty (and had no A/C drainage pipes). I also wanted to be able to throw out damaged stuff in their dumpster. At first, they wanted to charge me to throw water-damaged stuff away. I finally convinced them to let me throw out the stuff their faulty A/C drainage had damaged at no additional cost.

Then their manager, Meci, said I'd have to pay for both units. I talked to her boss, Lisa, who said Meci was wrong and that they did allow a transfer with no charge for the first 5 days. As I moved items, I found more and more water damage and ruined items. I wasn't going to be able to fix this mess in just the 5 days.

The following weekend, I talked to the assistant manager, Tyler. He figured there was some way for me to pay for the additional days I needed. But, when he called the regional manager (Lisa), she told him to tell me I had to be transferred back to my original unit and move my stuff back in there -- and pay again for the rest of the month for my original unit. I'd already paid for the entire month for my original unit.

Why in the world would I pay them again for my original unit for the same final week of October? I would have been glad to pay 7 days for the new unit while I finished dealing with moving things and getting rid of things that were wet or moldy. Much of what wasn't ruined needed to be reboxed because of the water damage. I wasn't just going to throw a bunch of wet, moldy stuff into my new unit.

When I kept reminding the regional manager, Lisa, that they should feel some responsibility for the inconvenience and be more helpful, she would just keep saying I could have filed an insurance claim. When I pointed out to Meci or Tyler that what they were offering didn't make any sense, they'd just say, "The system won't let me do it any other way."

 As a former retail manager, there's always a way to make things work in a way that makes sense -- even if the typical way to do it in the system makes it tricky. 

Sadly, Uncle Bob's has some of the better people working there when it comes to customer service at self storage places. At places like Public Storage (at least at the one around the corner where most of my stuff is), it's much worse. One Saturday, they never showed up to open.

I just wish that Uncle Bob's managers and regional managers were given more latitude to do the right thing when something like this happens. They seem to be taught to do the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM. That's not good business. And it's certainly not the way to treat someone who has been a customer for more than 3 1/2 years.

Oh, and they think it's fair that when I move to a unit that's not water damaged that I have to start paying a higher price for the same size unit. Why? Because that's policy. That's how they treat anyone else that's transferring from one unit to another.

Surely there's someone at the Uncle Bob's corporation who can think out of the box and realize and approve treating a special situation with differently ... and better. Maybe the person who handles all the Better Business Bureau complaints will be able to come up with a better resolution. We'll see.


LOCATION: Columbus, Ohio; Evanswood Drive (off of Morse Road; near I-71).

Pictures from damaged storage unit (after throwing away a lot of destroyed and damaged property):

The culprit (stopped up A/C drainage pipe that goes through unit on first floor of 2-story "environmentally-controlled" indoor storage units):

I'm not saying don't use Uncle Bob's Self Storage. Of all the bad options out there, they're probably among the better ones.  I just hope somebody who works at that company will have the sense to realize they are not treating me right in this situation and will do something about it ... and make sure that other customers are treated better in the future if they too have a similar accidental WATERFALL befall them.

And if you need a temperature-controlled and/or humidity-controlled unit, beware that it could still get FLOODED by a pipe that's there to run the climate-control systems.  Maybe ask for a unit that has no pipes (other than the required sprinkler system) running through it.

Good Luck!