Public Storage - Deceptive Business Practices and Horrible Dispute Resolution System
EDMONDS, WASHINGTON -- I strongly caution anybody considering using this company, at this location (Hywy 99 in Edmonds) or anywhere else. The on-site facility managers (at least at this location) are pleasant enough, but they do not give accurate information about the financial end of things and/or are not themselves supplied with up-to-date information, so that you may easily end up with substantial unanticipated expenses, and good luck trying to get anybody at their billing or collections offices to handle the situation.
Last November, I took over a unit from a family member who had allowed it it to become seriously delinquent. I was told how much was owing on it, and assured that if it was cleaned out by the end of the month, there would be no further charges on it. In fact, I was told that if it was cleaned out by the 6th of the following month, all that would be owed was a proration on December's rent.
I paid the balance and cleaned it out by the end of the month (the 29th, actually). I went in to the office to let the on-site manager know it was now vacant and unlocked. I asked him if there was anything that needed to be signed to confirm that, and he assured me, not once but three times, that everything was complete and there would be no further charges. On the same day, I also emailed the contact email address from the company's website, again confirming that I had vacated as of the end of November.
In early December, I received a bill for December rent. I called the local office and left a detailed message confirming I had vacated at the end of November; I asked for a call-back if there was any question about it. I assumed that perhaps the December billing had gone out before the November 29th vacancy had been recorded, and when I didn't hear anything back, nor receive any follow-up billing, I assumed it had been taken care of.
Then in January, I received a call from a collection agency, saying the December bill had been assigned to collections. From there, it has been an ongoing hassle. The first live person I was able to reach said I had been charged because of a "slow" vacating. But she couldn't explain how vacating completely in November could result in December charges. The next person I spoke with said that the unit was a "pay at the end of the month" unit, so the very substantial amount I had paid earlier in the month had not included the charges for November.
Of course, this is directly opposite to what I was told by the on-site unit manager when I came in to pay: He assured me several times that the $800+ in charges I was paying covered everything through the end of November, including all delinquencies, and he even waived a part of one of the late charges, and assured me that if I vacated by the end of that month, there would be no further charges.
So either he lied or the collections office is lying, or one or both are incompetent, but so far I've spend almost two hours on the phone trying to get this resolved, with absolutely zero progress and a likely serious hit to my excellent credit score. The collections office number isn't answered by live operators, and invites you to call customer service for "immediate assistance." After spending 15 minutes explaining the situation to customer service, she said she couldn't do anything about it, and offered to transfer me to the collections office, which, of course, still had no live operators. After leaving a message, I did get a prompt call back, but another 15 minutes of explanation was met with the bizarre story that what I had paid in November, supposedly all charges through the end of the month, didn't include the November rent, and I'd have to talk to the District Manager. Calling the number she gave me got me a staff directory that did not include the name she gave me. After calling back three times and choosing three random names from the directory I finally got a live person who said he was in a "different department" and promised to email the district manager to call me, but claimed not to have his email address and was going to have to get it from somebody else. One run-around after another.
If you need storage, be aware you are taking major chances with your wallet, your credit score and your schedule by doing business with Public Storage. My advice: Don't do it.