In mid 2017, I rented a 10x20 unit at the Public Storage facility located at 1 Storage Road in Beaufort, South Carolina 29906. While I initially requested a 5x5, I was told that a small unit was unavailable but that they would offer me a great move in special - only $1 - and that when a smaller unit became available, they would downsize me. I accepted this off and after filling out the initial paperwork, I was surprised to find that the associated fees (including purchasing a proprietary from Public Storage because their locking mechanisms are “not compatible” with standard locks) approached $100... not $1.
Over the months, my requests to downsize have been met with, “we are sorry, we do not have that availability” and the full price of $139 per month was assessed. My reaction to this has been varied: From paying to refusing to pay and arguing. The latter got me nowhere as I discovered the hard way that Public Storage’s fee schedule for late payments is staggering to say the least. This fee schedule is somewhat ironic as Public Storage requires payments in advance.
In December, I paid over $300 to bring the account current which is to say, paid in advance according to their requirements. In January and February, they still did not “have an availability” for a smaller unit and I did not make a payment on the air I was renting. This month (March), Public Storage informed me that they’d scheduled my unit for auction on the 14th (today) and I asked what was owed. With fees, my new total for January and February was $513.60. I then received a an email with a new balance due of $652.60.
Calls to the National Call Center (where I strangely only ever spoke to a nice lady named Jackie (sp?)) informed me that there was “nothing we can do” about reducing the fees and I was redirected to the “District Manager” who would be available at the facility on the day of the auction. I drove to the facility this morning (March 14) and the District Manager was there. I explained to her all of the above, including that part of what was “due” was the full balance of March and April for which this was just March the 14th.
This lady was very good at her job and by that I mean that she shut down any and all conversation almost instantaneously. She told me flatly that unless I paid the full balance, there was “nothing she could do”. I requested to see the unit to make certain everything was intact and she refused my request. From this point forward, she simply responded to anything I said with the same, “Unless you paid the full balance, there is nothing I could do”.
At this point, the Public Storage facility located at 1 Storage Road in Beaufort, South Carolina 29906 had even open for three (3) minutes on this sunny Wednesday morning. I went outside to figure out which payment I wanted to use to pay off this losing battle and at 9:36, a full six (6) minutes after the facility had opened for the day, I watched as the District Manager closed the facility gate with the local “storage wars” folks - more than one of whom could’ve been a dead ringer for ‘Duck Dynasty’. My attempts to get her attention were ignored so I walked past the gate to the Office. The door was locked and the lady inside did not move from behind the counter. As an aside, the entire front and side walls of the office are glass so we could see each other clearly.
At this point, an older gentleman in a pickup truck flew into the office parking lot, got out and ran up to the office door and began beating in it. The lady inside ignored him too. This man then tried to squeeze himself through the gate to get inside the property. When that did not work, he began shouting obscenities in between, “I WANT TO BID!” and I guess the lady inside realized he was spending money because she exited the side door of the office and let him through the gate.
With the lady now outside - but on the other side of the gate - I told her I was prepared to pay the full amount and we could talk about all of the fees and advanced payments afterwards. She flatly informed me, “It’s too late”. I’d been calm this entire time and spontaneously laughed saying, “Your District Manager just told me to pay the full amount and so I went to my car to get a payment method. I’m ready to pay the full amount.” The lady told me flatly a second time, “You’ve had months to pay. It’s to late”.
At this point, the facility had been open for a full nine (9) minutes and I was no longer feeling very sociable. I let slip a couple of expletives - nothing quite like the angry gentleman from a few minutes before - but her response absolutely floored me. She stated, and I quote: “Hahaha, we’re still going to sell your stuff!” She then told me she was calling the police.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
My immediate call to the Public Storage, National Center got me right back to Jackie (how strange is that?) who apologized when I informed what had just occurred and proceeded to explain to me that she had already explained to me what to do on a previous call. I reminded her that I’d just told her I’d followed her instructions to the letter.
The Public Storage website prominently displays the words, “WE’RE HERE TO HELP” and touts their emphasis on customer service... but I’m beginning to believe that they are fully trained to tell people there’s “nothing we can do”. I followed up with a comment to the effect that there was no need to apologize, that I’d just start leaving reviews to tell this story and the nice lady Jackie hung up on me.
It’s now a little past 11:00AM EST and I’m certain my childhood bedroom suit (which is all I had in that giant space) is on its way to one of the duck dynasty double wides and this is Review #3.
I would STRONGLY recommend NOT doing business with these folks. It is not a pleasant experience. Unless you’re addicted to storage facility auctions, in which case, it appears to be a real hoot and a holler.
Product or Service Mentioned: Public Storage Storage Unit.
Reason of review: Problems with payment.