Part Two of the UHAUL Disastathon
Our arrival in Vermont and return of the UHaul truck was not the end of our moving tragedy. The plot certainly does thicken a great deal.
As our roadside help line representative, A, the only good guy on the UHaul side at this point, mentioned, we could bring our receipts to the return center in Vermont and get reimbursed for the truck, our hotel room, and our meal expenses during our trip. After copying all of the relevant materials, we took the truck in, but found out some disturbing news. The man in charge of the return center knew nothing about our reimbursement. He said that he had no power to do anything and can’t believe that UHaul fed us the line about him handling the refund. He was very kind and apologized, clearly a nice man caught in a rough place. He did explain that there is a truck shortage in the Northeast, and so he is not surprised that we got a lemon.
Our failure with the local man meant that we had to resort to the customer service people over the phone. Shoot. I tried calling the roadside assistance line in the hope of talking to A. After waiting for a good 20 minutes, I was connected with a “disservice specialist” who mumbled, did not answer my simple questions, and would not tell me anything about Avery. He would not even say if he knew A. Realizing that this was going nowhere fast, I decided to disconnect with him and try to get someone else.
Calling the customer service line resulted in another wait and then a brief conversation with someone who insisted that Avery could not help me, that we needed to talk to someone in Vermont, and then gave me a number that charged $4 per call!
Giving up on that, I called customer service again. After waiting again, I asked the service rep. to have the number for a manager in the Philadelphia region where the truck was picked up. To my shock, she gave it to me and told me to ask for J. This is the same J who failed to call us back when the truck was lost and we wanted a discount.
Being that this was a 215 number that meant long distance charges, I was happy to only have to wait 10 minutes. The receptionist must have felt bad for us when hearing the summary of our story. When J got onto the phone I promised that if she would just listen to the whole story, I would not get upset or yell. I just wanted to be heard. She could then make any comments that she would like. After hearing the story in its entirety, J said that she would work on our case and see what she could do.
Shortly after speaking with J, we were directed to N, who knew J and would be taking over our case. Once again I asked N to listen to our case and she did (once again, every call from this point on is long distance). The one exception is that she actually said that we should have contacted UHAUL when the coolant started to overflow. Of course we did tell UHAUL about it several times, but when you talk to so many people and wait all day, and the mechanics say that the temperature gauge seems low and it should be fine, we just got the tire, cranked up the heat, and went. Besides, could she honestly expect us to wait all day AGAIN? After talking through some more details, she asked me to send the original receipts to her and she would conduct a 2-3 day investigation and get back to us. Since we would be away at Lake George for the following week, I told her that I would call her to check on the progress of things, leaving time for the receipts to arrive and for the investigation. Up to this point we were satisfied with N and felt that the situation would be resolved soon.
While at Lake George I called her on Wednesday (I think) and talked to N about the case. She said that she was still working on the case and that she would have it done by Saturday, Monday by the latest. I told her that I would check on things on Monday if she did not call us by then.
Saturday passed without a call and Monday passed without a call from N as well. Fearing that something was up, I called up N around 2:30 or so. She said that she still needs to hear back from the mechanic and that she would call back in an hour to let me know what’s happening (I don’t think UHAUL has returned a call yet at this point in the story though). Keep in mind that every call I make to N is long distance and involves at least a 10-20 minute wait every time.
I waited until 3:45 and was worried that the policy of evasion was being implemented on me. Resigning myself to being on hold again, I called N, waited, and then talked to her briefly, she said that she would be right with me. After waiting a good 10 minutes or so, she said that she was just pulling up my information and would be right back. This time she put me on hold and I waited at least a half hour if not 45 minutes. During this time I talked to a few operators, whom I begged to connect me with N and who were very mean to me. They yelled that this is company procedure and then put me on hold while I was still speaking (keep in mind that I was not yelling at these people). Figuring that she has been brushing me off and not calling when she said she would, I hung up and called back.
Here is where the surprise came and where I wish I had caught the name of the person I talked to. After waiting again on hold, I talked to a lady who worked at a desk right next to N. She told me that N had gone home for the night. N goes home at 4:00 on Mondays. This lady came back to her desk at 4:10-4:15 and found that N was gone.
Infuriated that I had been avoided and put on hold while making a long distance call while N went home, I hung up and began to sulk and think of how mean UHAUL has been to us. Just then my mom called to check on the progress of things. After telling her to sit down, I related the latest evasion tactics of N. Sharing my frustration, she said that she would try calling.
During her call, my Mom received that latest tactic in the UHAUL bag of tricks: badgering. After explaining the situation with N and the evasion, the “service” rep angrily replied, “What do you want me to do, call her at home?” At this point two people confirmed that N had gone home for the night. When it appeared certain that things were going nowhere with this very aggressive and mean operator, my mom abandoned the call.
The following day (today), my mom called again. This time she got N. Hoping to go over her head, my Mom repeatedly asked to be connected with J, which N repeatedly refused to do. N said that she was handling the case, had been in the office until 7 pm, and has no recollection of putting me on hold for so long. My mom asked to schedule an appointment so that she could discuss the matter in person (my mom lives close to their office in Philly). As we should have suspected, N informed my mom that they are in a secure location and that meetings cannot be arranged. Revealing her frustration, my mom commented, “It’s just as well because if I saw you in person you would not like what I have to say to you.” Dropping all pretense of helping us, N shot back, “Are you threatening me!” as if to try to escalate the situation to a point where she could justify not helping us. My mom replied, “Of course I’m not threatening you!” and then related that she’s just frustrated with how we’ve been treated. Shortly after that, the call ended.
Hoping that I would connect with someone else, I called and asked for J. N answered and repeatedly refused my requests to speak with J. I finally relented and told her, “Look, I have not raised my voice or been mean to you, but I think you have been lying to me.” Instead of calmly explaining herself, N shot back angrily that she’s doing all she can and if I don’t like how she’s handling the case, she doesn’t have to do anything. She said she’s trying to make sure that we get back everything that we should and if I thought it was taking too long, she would just give me a smaller portion of money back in return. I kid you not, every time I tried to talk she interrupted me with a raised voice. Even when I stopped and asked her to just listen to me since I listened to her while she ranted for a long time, she refused, only raising her voice more and threatening me further with dropping the case. She basically resorted to badgering and interrupting me. She never let me ask what was going on, accused me of calling her so much that she could not work on the case (which is ridiculous), and raised her voice over mine every time I tried to speak. I have never been treated so badly by any company.
I was finally able to at least get across to her in the midst of her yelling that I only called her when she failed to call me back. I never called unless I was promised a call and did not receive one. In a turnaround that defied all logic, she said that she never accused me of calling too much! After she had repeated her threats to not help us and her accusation that I called to much, she then accused me of repeating myself over and over and thereby keeping her from working on the case. But I hardly got a word in the whole time! Realizing that she simply could not be reasoned with, I told her that I simply want her to call when she says she will and that I just want to resolve the case soon, receiving our money back as UHAUL had promised. N said that she still needed to review some paper work and reports and then she would call me back when she was done. Though the whole case should have been resolved by last Wednesday, definitely by Saturday, without a doubt by yesterday, she told me that it could be a few more days. Since it’s the UHAUL policy to lie and prolong, I figured that she had no intention of telling me the truth and probably was not working on my case at all, but had to give up.
At this point we are licking our wounds and trying to figure out our next step. Assuming that N will not help us, we need to find a higher level up in the company that can resolve our issue. Stay tuned. There surely will be more to come with this saga!