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Public Storage

Posted: Aug 13, 2017 by    

fraudulent charges placed on account after move-out

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Over the past 15 years, I have had a storage unit with Public Storage in many different facility locations, and I have never had any problems. I always set up my account on auto-pay, I have never had any fees put on my account after move-out. Nothing.
A few months ago my debit card got stolen, so needless to say the payment for the 2 storage units did not go through the following month. I called the Public Storage office and let them know that once I got my new card that I would pay them immediately. I had moved out of town, about 45 minutes away, Public Storage will not take payments over the phone, and I did not feel safe putting my new debit card number on the computer. The first chance I had, I made the drive to the office, paid for both units, and asked them to update my auto pay. Which they did.
The following month, I noticed that I did not get an email receipt for auto-payment like I normally do. I called the office and asked about it. They looked up my account and said that payment for 1 unit had been made, but not for the other unit. It was determined that the clerk who updated my autopay had only put the new debit card number on one account, not both, as Public Storage had never merged both units onto one account. So there were 2 separate accounts.
Again, they don't take payments over the phone, their system would not let me open up a separate account on my computer so that I could access information regarding that 2nd unit thus I could not pay online, and it was becoming more and more difficult to take an entire day to drive out there and back. However, I continued to stay in constant contact with Dan, the manager.
During this whole time, it became evident that I would need larger storage space. Another Public Storage just down the street had a 10'x30' unit available at a much cheaper price. I let Dan know that I was going to be transferring units. As I did not want to be double paying, I tried to strategically plan which day to transfer my belongings over. I was told multiple times that if you vacate within the first few days of the month that you only pay for just those days and not the whole month. In fact, I was told that right up until the very moment that I walked through the office doors to make my payments.
So, on August 2 2017 I secured the 10'x30' at the new location, paying $445, then went to the location where my belongings were currently stored. First thing I did was go to the office to pay for the unit where autopay had not been properly updated by their own personnel, then to make prorated payment for 2 days for the current storage units. I was told that my balance due was over $550. My jaw dropped. I said, " No. I should be paying only $227 plus maybe $30 prorated for 2 days of each unit". The clerks response "We don't prorate anymore". I had a panic attack. I had just spilled out $445 for the new unit (rent, insurance, administrative fees, those special cylinder locks that I had to have cause those round locks like everyone else uses doesn't work on their property). Now they were wanting over $550. I told them that I had been told over and over that I would only have to pay for those 2 days.
The property manager, Jessica, over heard the conversation and stepped in. She said that Dan knew that I was transferring over and overrode the full month payment. I was still saddled with a lien fee of $55 because the payment was late...even though I had been in constant contact with them.
Whatever. I paid the $227, plus $55 lien, plus 2 prorated days for the 2 units coming to a total bill $312. My account was now current.
I then went on to pack up the 5'x8' trailer to move my belongings over. And I might add that I was doing this by myself in probably the hottest day of the year.
I was not able to get everything in my 1st unit in one load. I closed the storage door, placed the lock back on it, and headed over to the new unit at the other location to unload the trailer. About 5 minutes later, I get a phone call from Jessica chiding me about the stuff that was left by my unit. I told her that I was not finished, as should have been evidenced by the closed and locked storage unit door, and that I had to unload the trailer at the new place. This new storage facility had bizarre hours. There was no customer access to their units once the office closed. So the whole facility closed at 6pm on weekdays, 5pm on weekends. Jessica stated that she understood, and I told her I will be back at her facility to finish loading from the 1st unit as well as emptying the 2nd unit. She said ok.
Once I finished unloading, I headed back to the other facility. I was so hot and dehydrated that I was finding it difficult to even unlock that big round padlock on the unit door. All that was left in that unit was only just a couple of bedrails, as I had cleared everything else out, and I was running out of time before the other facility closed. So I rushed over to my 2nd unit to begin clearing it out. I packed up not only the trailer but my Tahoe. However, there was no room for a couch that was being removed from the storage unit. A friend called around to find someone with a pick-up truck who could help me move that couch off the property and was successful in finding someone who would come move it as soon as he got off work. On that note we left the property but I was unable to unload the trailer because the other property was closed.
The guy with the truck got off work really late. We rushed over to go get the couch and the bedrails to find that, now, the gates were closed on that unit, too. The manager, who lives onsite, and her boyfriend came to the gate to see what was going on. I told her that the help that I needed to move the couch was finally available and was there any way we could get in just to pick up that couch. I was told there was not. Arrangements were made, right before the managers very eyes, for the guys to pick up that couch and get the bedrails out of the other unit first thing in the morning. Everyone was in agreement as to what the arrangement was.
I headed back home with my full trailer. Bright and early at 6:55am I got a text message saying that the unit had been cleared and cleaned and that the couch would be picked up. I thought everything was taken care of.
I went to work at 1pm that day. At about 6:30pm I checked my messages only to find an angry message from Jessica saying that someone has to come immediately to remove the bedrails that apparently were just thrown to the side of the unit and the couch. I was shocked as I was told that all that had been done. I called the Public Storage office, which by now was closed, of course. I left no less than 5 messages letting Jessica know that I had just gotten the message and that I was making multiple phone calls to find someone who could pick up the couch and rails. I finally found someone who could pick them up first thing in the morning before the office opened.
The following morning I got confirmation that the couch and rails were picked up. I even called the Public Storage office to have their staff go and verify that the couch/bedrails were removed. Carlos, the clerk on duty, verified that yes they were gone. This was on a Friday and I paid $50 to the person who removed those items for me.
The following Monday morning, I got an email from Public Storage with notification that I was being charge $316 for "abandoned goods removal". Shocked, I called and spoke with Jessica. She stated that those items had been hauled off Thursday night (and, hey, thanks for the 4 hour notice before you hauled it off and slapped me with a $316 bill). I was infuriated at the person who had claimed to pick up the stuff. If it was hauled off Thursday night, how could she have picked it up Friday morning? Jessica had me believing that I had been lied to and robbed of $50 in payment.
I called and texted the person who had "picked up" my stuff, stating how she had lied to me. She texted back that she had not lied, that she picked up the couch and rails, and sent me pictures to prove it. Upon further discussion with her, it became evident that she was telling the truth and that it was Jessica who had lied.
In just the few hours since I had last spoken with Jessica, the property manager, I was saddled with even more bills. And to top it off she had spread the bills out over 3 accounts including my new account at the other facility. $225, $150, $75 all for "abandon goods removal", $55 lien fee, $111.37 for rent on a unit that I was paid up on...all of these bills suddenly appearing on my accounts with threats that if I don't pay it then I will get even more fees and sent to collections. ALSO, I had forgotten to turn off auto-pay, so $95 for the smaller unit that I had vacated was also drawn from my bank account.
What I found most interesting, though, was the email that stated "the property manager determined that you did not leave the storage unit in 'as rented' condition so we are charging you $150 for abandoned goods removal"...this fee was placed on the unit that I HAD JUST MOVED IN TO!!
Seriously? There was obvious fraud going on here. I called and asked for an invoice from the company that supposedly "hauled" my stuff away. Never did get an invoice no matter how many times I asked.
I went straight to Corporate with my complaint, as I did not want to waste my time with Dan the Regional Manager (who apparently used to be the property manager at the facility) because I suspected that Dan taught Jessica everything he knows about defrauding customers on their way out.
I spoke with Derek Coffill, District Manager, and told him the whole scenario. He promised that he would thoroughly investigate. I felt confident that those fees would be dropped because I knew that the person that I paid to remove the items had done so as I had pictures.
I also told Derek that I was going to vacate the unit at the new facility because I don't trust any of those guys (apparently it was the manager at the new facility who had put that $150 fee on my account, so both facilities were in on it)
Several days later, I got notification that my complaint had been reviewed and those charges were still on my account.
So how deep does this defrauding of customers go and how high up the ladder of management does it go? Does a system wide audit of all of the post-move out fees need to be done to find out how many millions of dollars PUBLIC STORAGE IS STEALING FROM THEIR CUSTOMERS WITH FRAUDULENT CHARGES.
After having been a customer of Public Storage for over 15 years, I am sick to my stomach that such practices are in place. But from the reviews that I have been reading over the past few days, this corruption goes to the very highest level. Maybe a RACKETEERING investigation needs to be started on these criminals at Public Storage who are defrauding innocent customers who are still being charged as guilty even though they have solid proof of their innocence. Jessica even changed my move out date from Aug 2 to Aug 6 so that she could slap me with a full month rental fee on both units as opposed to the prorated fee of 2 days that I had already paid.
The attached photos are a picture of the couch picked up on Friday 8/4/2017 between 8:30am and 9:am, as well as a photo of the truck used for picking up the items. You can clearly see bedrails in the back of the truck.

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Complaint comments Comments (0) Complaint country United States Complaint category Unauthorized Charges

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