Saturday, January 16, 2016

"We'll refund your late fee if you get rid of the blog ..."

Well, I was about to delete it before you gave me that ultimatum, Tom. If you can't treat a customer fairly without asking them to stop sharing their opinions about your company ... and the truth about how they mislead and fail them ... then keep your $20 for me being about 1 hour late with my payment.

In return, I'll keep the blog here (with some new posts occasionally) for another 20 weeks ... or maybe 20 months ... or longer.


I thought Uncle Bob's might be understanding enough to refund half of the $20 late fee they charged me for being about 1 hour late -- 1 a.m. on Dec. 6 -- while traveling in Kentucky to visit family for an early Christmas gathering and being stranded where WiFi wasn't working at state park lodge and my Verizon phone couldn't call or text much less pick up 4G or 3G or 1g.

I stopped by and asked. More than a week later, after not hearing back, I stopped by to ask again.

The new manager, Mike (who is awesome), said he and other managers are no longer able to make late fee refunds for any reason and have to take such requests to the regional manager -- Tom in Cincinnati.

He had asked Tom and, Mike reported, that this regional manager said, "We'll refund your late fee if you get rid of the blog."

I was about to delete this blog anyway. But I wanted to have everything done with cleaning up the mess caused by their faulty A/C drainage pipe that ran through my unit and brought a waterfall -- not covered by the rental insurance they force people to buy if they don't have another insurance policy.

Just before I went to the Christmas gathering, I'd spent most of my weekend moving damaged property into new boxes to move into a new unit ... or to discard. Had to wear a mask to filter out the mildew and mold.

The day I stopped by a second time to see if they were going to refund any portion of the $20 late fee on my $48ish/month unit (nearly a 50% "up charge" for being about 60 minutes late), I had one final thing to pick up and fix -- two winter coats that had mildew on them that I was going to take to a laundromat to use some strong cleansers to try to save them. A $500 leather coat was beyond repair and tossed in their dumpster.

MORE DETAILS (than you could possibly care about):

While visiting my family in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky for an early Christmas gathering at a state park (a "dead zone" for 4G/3G/2G/1G on Verizon), I tried to pay my monthly storage fee by midnight. Not only was my phone not getting me to the Uncle Bob payment portal but the state park lodge's WiFi was flaking out. When I finally got it paid, it was a few minutes after midnight (local, Central time; about an hour after midnight in Columbus where my storage unit is).

Coming soon:

-- Details on the rental insurance they force you to buy if you don't have proof of coverage by another policy ... how it compares in cost to what you can buy elsewhere (and how it compares in coverages and exclusions).

-- What's not covered under the policy they sell? Leakage or waterfalls/floods from their own A/C drainage pipes coming from second floor down into first floor storage units (like the one I had). No negligence on their part, they'll claim. Something you signed to store stuff there made them blameless.  Tom, the regional manager, confirmed in a call with me that the type of damage in my unit is excluded from coverage in the policy they sell. "You just had no luck at all," he said.

-- Better Business Bureau ratings of various self storage companies and other storage alternatives -- PODS, etc.

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