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Edmonton - Calgary: Truck Rental Buyer Beware
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

EDMONTON/CALGARY -- We arrived at the pre-arranged pick-up location and time. The temperature was -18 C. The truck was not plugged in, had a dead battery, and wouldn't turn over even with a boost. Plugged the block heater in and waited 20 minutes. Started the engine with a battery boost. Let the engine warm up for 5 minutes. The engine stalled, and needed a second boost since the battery was so weak.

We then noticed that the fuel gauge was at 3/4 full. The contract requires the previous renter to leave the fuel tank full, or the Dealer will check the level and charge them for the fill up. I started by filling the tank with 20.6l / 5.5US gal. When I contacted Steve, the owner, with these issues, his response was: "Yes... we agree the cold kills batteries. A quick boost gets the trucks running." AND "We checked the last inbound fuel and it was full. UTR uses fuel when we move trucks from one location to another or when we periodically start and run the trucks as part of our winter campaign to warm up the engines. The fuel used becomes part of the next rental."

The Dealer did not idle the engine, since it was stone cold dead. That leaves fuel to relocate the truck, which isn't my expense, according to the contract. In Universal's documentation, the fuel economy of 'Diesel Trucks' is 10mpg+/-20%. This was a gasoline engine, but using this fuel economy, the truck was driven approx. 55 miles/88 km, to relocate. Steve is a cheery, friendly, sales type, who will gladly screw your grandmother blind. My final comment to renters is 'go elsewhere, or buyer beware'. Congratulations Steve, you've managed to out slim all competitors.

StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

CALGARY -- I really should have trusted the many, many bad reviews from all you friendly folk. I am now one of the many victims to fall for this terrible company. I am sure that in a perfect world where problems didn't exist then this could possibly be a different review. But it's how UTR handled my entire situation that's got me paying a lot of money for a truck I couldn't even use.

I arrived to pick up the truck on time at 9 AM. Now I understand the UTR does not have offices at the location, so after asking the lady at the storage facility numerous times if she had a UTR truck on her property she finally clued in, "All is great." I was given the keys to the truck. I walked over and opened the doors to the truck after inspecting it. Truck appeared to be in great shape. The only problem was the truck did not start. The key didn't even fit into the ignition. I went back to the lady at the desk to ask for a different key or solution. She assured me multiple times it was the only key.

I tried to call UTR but they only work weekdays till 5. So I was forced to call the roadside assistance company. After around 1.5 hours on the phone and around 2 hours waiting for answers. I finally got in contact with them and they said they would call me back. I waited once again to receive a call saying they could have a tech there in 1.5 to 2 hours.

I had reached my patience after about 4 hrs of standing around and having a elevator booked to move into my new condo. I decided to cancel the service call, and book another truck. I picked up my U-Haul and was smooth sailing from there :).

After multiple calls to UTR I was not contacted until I finally got the owner on the line. Bottom line after emails and calls back and forth I was given the wrong key and I am now getting billed for the rental service I never used. The only defense they have is that I should have known it was the wrong key!? I would like to say I was more than willing to take another truck and continue to use their service, but they were unable to offer me that. The owner Steve has absolutely no business sense, was extremely rude to me and my wife, and seems absolutely clueless at how bad he is treating people.

It's very unfortunate but I will now have to pursue this further to recover my money, and take more time out of work. I really hope everyone can learn from all these reviews, and not use this company. Share away if you like. Huge believer in karma :D.

Company Response 05/19/2017:

Hi My Name is Steve Baty,

I am the owner partner with Universal Truck Rental.

The author of this issue is absolutely correct. Our system is a self serve do-it-yourself service check-in / check-out system that works absolutely perfect 99.9 % of the time.

This client has a very valid issue and I truly sympathize with the bad experience he went thru .... however, we are all responsible for our own actions.

The young lady behind the counter gave the client a set of keys in good faith believing she was doing everything right.

The client indicated the keys did not fit into the ignition. That should have been the first clue there was an oops.

The second clue was the Key was stamped INTERNATIONAL TRUCK and the client was trying to start a FORD Truck.

Yup ... the service technician drove all the way across the city to look at the key and said "you have the wrong key". The technician went inside and exchanged the key with the embarrassed counter girl and the truck started just fine.

Stuff happens ... if this is the worst thing to happen when renting a truck. I think we are definitely worth renting from.

PS A little patience and attention to detail goes a long way. If the key did not fit the ignition and was stamped INTERNATIONAL TRUCK and the operator was trying to start a FORD TRUCK they could have saved them-self 4 hours.

There is nothing Central Reservations could have done to help this client. I am sorry to say ... but I feel this issue could have been solved with a little common sense.

Come rent from Universal Truck Rental and form your own opinion. We look forward to all Good, Bad and Constructive Feed back.

1 866 518 0150 X 1

Sincerely Steve Baty

Moving Truck Service
StarStarStarStarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 4/51

MISSISSAUGA -- We rented a truck from Universal Truck Rental knowing this was an economy service and we were pretty happy with the result. They did do everything they promised and I did get the deposit back in a timely manner. We were making the journey from Toronto to Vancouver Island in winter and you have to be prepared for any event. We spent $1200 on gas which is $300 less than I expected - Steve and Shauna were polite and informative.

My only complaint is the heater going across the prairies in winter was a little weak. Other than that I could recommend this company to people who would like economy and pay attention to details and have basic mechanical knowledge if going on a long trip.

Might Not Have a Truck Available After Reserving a Month in Advance
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- About one month ago we reserved a truck to move some of our possessions from Calgary to Victoria this weekend. Two days ago I received an email stating that they might not have a truck and I should make alternate arrangements just in case. I called them to find out what was going on and to tell them how unacceptable this was - given our move was 3 days away. The tone was a complete lack of caring and still they said it might be possible that a truck will be available.

You can't plan a move on the possibility that you get a truck you have reserved! I immediately contacted U-Haul, have a reservation and confirmation and we will move as planned. I have done this same trip (4 times) using U-haul without any issues but thought I would try Universal. NEVER AGAIN! I would never recommend Universal to anyone. Are they kidding - what a way to run a business.

Company Response 05/19/2017:

Hi My Name is Steve Baty,

I am the managing partner with Universal Truck Rental.

What this client has said is absolutely true. This complaint has skirted around one main point that has been deliberately left absent. This client did not have a Confirmed Reservation they had a Tentative Reservation.

A tentative reservation is like flying stand by ... you get what is available and if nothing is available you have to wait your turn.

The lesson here is make sure you have a confirmed booking.

Remember for a one way truck rental program to work someone must move into your area for you to move back out. If no one moves into your area and or you accept the tentative reservation (i.e. stand by) and don't get a truck...please don't blame the truck rental company.

YES...the tentative reservation program is detailed on our the Universal Web Site. However, home movers don't want bad news when they are moving. If you are flying stand by and don't get up graded to first class for free do you write a bad review about the air line???

Plan ahead and had an alternative moving plan if you are moving between May and October because there will be a shortage of trucks somewhere in Canada.

Sincerely Steve Baty

Save Yourself The Hassle, Don't Book Universal Truck Rental
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

This company is terrible. Moving is a difficult enough experience on its own, DO NOT make your life more difficult by utilizing Universal Truck Rental. The list of problems we had with them was long.... First off, the cargo area of the truck leaked. We drove from Calgary to Vancouver island and obviously there was some rain along the way. When we arrived, our mattress and box spring were soaked (we had to trash them and get a new one), along with some other boxes (luckily most of our stuff was in watertight bins) because the one whole side of the truck leaked.

When I complained about this to Shauna in customer service and asked if they would offer any compensation for our damaged goods, she advised me it was our responsibility to insure our belongings. I understand that the company is not responsible for our goods (if they get stolen or we get in an accident, or if something falls and breaks), but this damage was directly due to their truck leaking, and they don't seem to care, I don't even think she reported the fact that the truck leaks so that the company would fix it for the next client. So be careful.

They also wouldn't let us drop the truck off on Vancouver Island, as they said they had too many trucks on the island, so we had to pay for the ferry and drive it all the way back to Vancouver after our move. They are so anal about the gas being full to the brim, that they actually advise you to keep filling after the auto shut off at the gas tank so that you can see the fuel at the base of the neck (this is actually a safety issue... those auto shut offs exist for a reason, to prevent gas spills at the pump and it is irresponsible for the company to be advising people to do that.)

I wanted to fuel up as close as I could to the drop off location, so I called the location to find out the closest fuel station that could accommodate our large truck (because the nearest one could not) and they weren't even able to give that info.

The pick up location in Edmonton was very difficult to find and the map the company gave us was not accurate.
There is no one there when you pick up or drop off the truck and the keys are in it and you have to trust that someone completed a proper damage report of the truck before you take it (but they don't leave a copy for you in the truck). When we picked up our truck it was dirty, the key to the cab doors was broken (so we were never able to lock the cab of the truck which was inconvenient when we stopped for the night), and there was a good sized chip in the windshield.

The chip was so obvious we were certain it would have been recorded in the inspection and thought nothing of it. (Of course we had no copy of the inspection and no human contact so we had no way of knowing). But of course, a week after dropping off the truck, my deposit had not been returned and I had not been contacted by the company. It took me several days and 4 unreturned voice messages until I finally got in touch with someone who advised they were holding my deposit due to the chip in the windshield... turns out it was NOT on the inspection report!! Big surprise!

Needless to say I was frustrated at this point given we had thrown out a perfectly good bed due to their leaking truck, had spent hundreds of dollars getting the truck back over the ferry and they were now trying to hold back my money for a chip in the windshield that THEY failed to report. I told Shauna how useless their pick up/drop off and inspection process is if we don't get to see it at the time of pick up and questioned whether any of the reports (pick up or drop off) mentioned a key broken in half and in the cup holder... she advised they did not.

Clearly their inspection is not quite as thorough as they claim. She basically just cut me off and told me she would close the investigation and I would get my deposit back as soon as she realized that I was going to pursue the issue further. So I did eventually get my deposit back, but the way it was handled was questionable at best. Be very wary of dealing with this company. They don't give a damn about you or your belongings. I have dealt with U-haul several times in the past and my experiences were far superior (the only reason we didn't use U-haul was because we booked too late and they didn't have any trucks available).

Company Response 05/19/2017:

Hello my Name is Steve Baty,

I am the managing partner with Universal Truck Rental.

What this person is saying is absolutely true. Universal Truck Rental including all rental companies will not compensate a renter for a leaking truck. So make sure you pack your belonging correctly. Pack them the same way they were packed when the left the store.

I am a little confused ... if a mattress and box spring are covered in material why would you throw them away. Material can be washed and dried. If the mattress and box spring was in such poor condition, that throwing them away, made more sense then drying them. Why would expect to be compensated???

Moving Tip ... Make sure you have content insurance on your belongings when moving. Most home owners policy will cover your belongings while in transit. If you need extra insurance coverage. Universal Truck Rental sends every client a brochure from an in-depended moving insurance company so you can buy extra coverage.

The client is absolutely correct....if there are too many trucks in a particular area .... you will be redirected to the nearest location still accepting trucks.

The client is correct all trucks must be returned full of fuel.

Moving Tip ... Universal Truck Rental has prepared a video for our clients to watch on how to top off a truck to prevent getting any additional charges. Please watch the video.

Yes ... Universal Truck Rental offers a self check out program. What this client failed to mention is all the trucks are digitally photographed after each rental and the photos are saved on a public domain called

Every truck has it's own digital photo library. The reason this client paid for a windshield chip is because the chip did not show up in any previous photos.

Moving Tip - take photos of the truck when you pick it up. Photos are much better than a paper inspection.

Last comment ... the client admits they booked to late to get a direct rental to the Victoria Island. They even mentioned that U haul did not have any trucks. I think UTR getting them moved at all was a big step in the right direction.

Moving Tip ... reserve at lease 4 to 6 weeks in advance and have a moving plan B just in case.

Sincerely Steve Baty

Universal Truck Rental Has Poor Customer Service
StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 1/51

KITCHENER -- My first impressions of this company were great! I had excellent customer service and felt that I had received a good deal. I was looking for a one way truck from Halifax to Toronto and it seemed like I would be saving a lot of money. I then received an email saying that I had been "upgraded" to the larger truck for free. I told them that I did not feel comfortable driving a larger vehicle and they told me that I would "have to wait" for them to hear from another customer before telling me if the smaller truck (that I CONFIRMED the reservation for) was still available. It ended up working out that I got the smaller truck.

When I arrived to pick up the rental truck at Maritime Fleet Centre (they use another company's parking lot) in Dartmouth, the staff said I was "lucky" because they are "normally already closed by 4:30 pm on Fridays." My scheduled pick up time was 4:30 pm. They also informed me that they were not surprised by the fact that Universal Truck Rental company would have made an appointment during closed hours. Needless to say, this was not a good start to what I thought would be a simple/easy process.

The gas tank was not full when I picked the truck up and the driver's cabin was dirty. There was garbage left behind by the last driver. There was a chocolate milk bottle, a muffin wrapper and crumbs everywhere, an empty pop bottle and used napkins. The washer fluid was also completely empty. The visor on the driver's side of the truck was broken and borderline dangerous. The clip is broken off. It sagged down into the driver's line of sight. This vehicle is not safe for anyone to be driving.

Also, I was charged $60 for "not filling the tank fully". I was then told that there would be an admin fee to see a scanned copy of the receipt showing that they added gas to the tank. Prior to dropping the truck off, I filled the tank to the point where gas spit out at me and onto the side of the truck. They do not do the inspection while you are there-- take a photo of the dash before you leave the truck with them. The mileage on these trucks are horrible. It cost me $600 in gas for 1840 kms.

Lastly, I am very disappointed with the customer service overall. I asked Shauna for a senior manager's name/contact information and was denied because she could "not give out that information." I called the Mississauga office and they provided me with Steve **'s name and number, no problem or questions asked. Needless to say, this was a horrible experience. I would pay the extra cash and go with a company that doesn't have an average rating of 1 star... You get what you pay for!

Company Response 04/08/2013:

My name is Steve Baty. I am the managing partner with Universal Truck Rental Canada. I have read this clients comments over many times and dealt with this clients feed back initially. I am really sorry but I am not sure what the issue is.

The client was offered a FREE upgrade and turned it down. Therefore, they received the vehicle size requested. So what is the issue?

Universal Truck Rental offers a 24 Hour 7 days a week self check in - check out program. The truck was scheduled for a self service check out at 4:30 Pm. The renter picked up the truck at 4:30 Pm and talked to the day shift as they were getting ready to go home. The truck was parked where it was promised, at the time promised. With the keys in the ignition, as promised. The computerized satellite tracking system engaged the starting system, so the truck would start, as promised. So what is the issue?

Universal Truck Rental's outbound digital inspection record indicated the truck was full of fuel. The fuel gauge is digitally photo recorded between every rental.

What this client failed to mention was they drove the truck home. Once they got home they recorded the fuel gauge with a photo of their own. Well of course the fuel gauge was not full ... they drove the truck and burned fuel.
So what is the issue?

YES the truck cab was dirty. Universal Truck Rental has discussed this issue with our Halifax dealer. They oops and confirmed the truck was not cleaned after the last rental.

The sun visor clip was broken and UTR has a digital photo showing the broken part. The part was ordered and replaced asap. The client drove from Halifax to Mississauga, so I am not sure how this would rank as a safety item. The client obviously felt comfortable enough driving the vehicle 2300+ km. So what is the issue?

This client received a copy of the inbound digital inspection photo indicating the truck was not returned full of fuel including a copy of the fuel receipt. FULL means Full and the client signed off and accepted the fuel return program.

They were informed up front they would be charged if the truck was dropped off requiring fuel.
So what is the issue? Return the truck full of fuel or pay the fees, no exceptions. UTR provides a web based video to assist our clients with the minimum fuel return expectations.

Yes cube vans have a gas engine and use a lot of fuel. They will get approximately 8 MPG moving 4000 lbs of payload and or 840 cubic feet. This is the best the industry manufactures ... So what is the issue?

Unfortunately this client had a bad rental experience. I suspect the bad rental experience may have been slightly exaggerated because this client asked for compensation over and over including free top off fuel.

They indicated they would pay extra for "a better experience" why did they not just pay the extra and top up the fuel tank? Problem solved.

Universal Truck Rental has very clear guidelines on compensation spelt out on their web site. None of these client's issues met the minimum compensation criteria.

As per the fuel incident. The client confirmed they received the inbound dash board inspection photo showing the fuel gauge did not read full... Full means Full. If the truck is returned requiring fuel, regardless of the factors. Please be prepared to pay the admin fee and cost of fuel or PLEASE bring the truck back FULL OF FUEL.

Universal Truck Rental takes client comments very seriously and offers a process for customer feed back. Unfortunately this client wanted to by pass clients services to communicate directly with senior management to ask for compensation, with disappointing results.

To recap;

The client picked the truck up as promised, where promised, moved their house hold furniture from Halifax to Ontario as promised then dropped the truck off at the location provided, as promised.

So what is the real issue?

A few items accidently left in the cab of the truck from a previous renter and the top off fuel?

This client had high expectations for compensation. Unfortunately Universal Truck Rental does not participate in a complaint for compensation program.

We welcome all client comments and feedback. UTR has the highest satisfaction level in the One Way Truck Rental business in Canada. Regretfully we disappoint a very small few ... very rarely.

Sincerely Steve Baty

StarStarStarStarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 4/51

EDMONTON ALBERTA -- Moved from Fort Saskatchewan to Vancouver Island. Great experience. Saved over $3000 using this company, wow.

Absolutely most horrific experience - zero customer service
By -

CALGARY -- "Without Prejudice" - When deciding to move provinces I made the standard phone calls to companies with trucks for rent, as my family is a 3 person family (Myself, Husband and little girl) my main concern was that there was enough seat belts to accommodate us.

I stumbled upon Universal Truck Rental and gave them a call, during the initial quoting phase I advised the agent that I needed 3 seats to which she replied that in order to get that I would need to get a 24' straight truck as the smaller model does not have 3 seats despite the fact that this truck was too big for my move I was willing to eat the cost as I was the one with the need for the 3rd seat.

After checking with other companies I found it standard that the bigger trucks had more seats and after doing my homework (checking websites, and making calls) I decided to book with universal as I was GUARANTEED I would have a 3rd seat along with the website stating that truck specifications also said 3 seats.

I was advised to make a reservation with an additional company so as not to be left stranded if they could not get me a truck, so I made the second reservation and a few days later I was told I had a truck and AGAIN I asked the agent if there was a 3rd seat and I was again told yes. (Not once was I advised it was a possibility there would be no 3rd seat.)

I was sent an e-mail with my rate quote, and all the info I needed but when the time came to collect the moving truck we arrived and there was ONLY 2 seats, I called the company immediately to sort out the problem and I was greeted by an agent who argued with me that the truck did in fact have 3 seats and apparently I was blind! After arguing for a few minutes I told her I could send her a picture to which she replied "OK maybe there is no 3rd seat", I immediately advised her that without the 3rd seat this truck was useless to me and she then advised me...

Company Response 11/21/2012:

Hi my Name is Steve Baty the Managing partner for Universal Truck Rental and this issue concerns me as all client issues do.

The client claims they asked for three seats ...
they even comment as follows.

"I resorted to advising the man on the phone that his website stated the 3rd seat and when I went to copy the page I noticed he had now changed the website to reflect what he was saying, as I am sure he anticipated I would not have a leg to stand on however, when I returned to their website it had been changed to reflect what he was now saying that a 3rd seat is not a guarantee."

All I can say is the web site clear states the number of seats each truck has.

...We suggest if seating is an important part of your rental talk with your reservation coordinator up front.

Very, Very Bad Experience With Universal Truck Rental
By -

SASKATOON -- I totally agree with another review in about the Universal truck rental. "When we first reserved with Universal Truck Rental the staff was efficient... It was a surprise when the service charge was added to my credit card.... From that point the representative was the most arrogant, rude service person I ever have the misfortune to encounter. He had access to my credit card, and a huge sense of entitlement. Our experience was a mixed one, we had a truck that did not start properly and one representative who has not been trained to deal with people." That is so true.

The company and service person is the worst company and worst person I have ever met. I had almost the same experience. I moved on Jan. 31, 2011 from 2KM away. When I made the reserve, I called the service person, he told me that there will not be a cold start problem. But when the truck cannot be started, I called for the emergency help. I was waiting outside the cold weather of -31 degree for 4 hours until somebody came to boast the truck, but boasting didn't work. So a towing company came and tried to tow the truck back to the company location. He didn't care about what I going to do. At that time, all my stuffs were in the truck.

So I decided to ask the towing company to tow the truck to my new place, which is only 2 KM away. I paid 40 dollar to the towing company for towing to my new place. However, when the bill comes, I found that I have to pay another 270 dollars for this sucking moving. When I asked the details of the bill, the guy even threatened me that he will charge me $25 for any more email and phone. In conclusion, this is the worst service I have ever met.

Company Response 04/29/2011:

Hello...I am the managing partner of Universal Truck Rental Canada and I agree this was an unfortunate experience for both the renter and rental company.

Unfortunately the rental truck would not start because of a cold start problem. A third party service provider checked the vehicle for mechanical defects and did not find any problems. Unfortunately our rental agreement does not cover cold starts & no starts and if the truck needs to be boosted or towed the renter is financial responsible.

We clearly state our cold start and no start policy on our on line rental agreement and every renter must sign off acknowledging their acceptance. See Link Below

When a vehicle will not start for no apparent reason there is a good chance a human was involved and did not plug in the block heater.

Unfortunately, this client was expected to pay the invoice for the service call because they called the 24 hr emergency road side service. All our trucks are equipped with block heater for cold weather starts.

This charge could have been avoided by double checking that the block heater was plugged in and working.

Please note this renter lives in Saskatoon and acknowledged the temperatue was minus -31. We confirm with the clients statement that "he should not have a cold start problem"...what was left out was..."if you plug the block heater in for a minimum 4 hours". (Really ... who lives in Saskatchewan in minus -31 degree weather and does not know to plug a vehicles block heater in.)

Rental trucks are not magically trucks. They require the same care as your personal vehicle in all weather conditions.

We are committed to helping Canadian's move cost effectively, worry free and with excellent over the road support. We are glad to hear the emergency road side provider was responsive and efficient.

We look forward to your business and can be contacted at 1-866-518-0150 to book your next truck rental needs.

Sincerely Steve Baty
Director of Sales & Marketing

GREAT Experience w/ Universal Truck Rental!
StarStarStarStarEmpty StarBy -
Rating: 4/51

CANADA -- Seriously, I do not understand all the bad reviews! I booked this truck on the phone, the woman I spoke to, Shauna, was as friendly, helpful, and polite as can be. The price was great. She really helped me to keep the cost down, and it was all smooth. When I read all the terrible reviews I called and spoke directly to the owner, Steve. He answers the phone. Anyone who says they can't reach him sure isn't trying very hard. I expressed my concerns based on the reviews, and he did his best to put my fears to rest.

Over the next two weeks I must have called Shauna at least 4 times changing the reservation - pick up day, pick up time, drop off location even! Every time we spoke Shauna was again super friendly and helpful. She would have been within her right to start getting annoyed at me! But she didn't.

When I picked up the truck it was in great shape. My only complaint was the engine was running when I got there. I was 1/2 hour late arriving, which means 1/2 hour of gas burned and emissions released. I didn't love that. But otherwise the truck was great. No problems at all. The inside was clean - not Mr. Clean clean, but who the hell expects that!

I had no mechanical issues. The ramp design is bad - you need a second person to hold the catch out of the way when you push it back in. The door in the cab rattles like mad. And their gas policy is ridiculous. In order to make sure I have NO empty space in the gas tank, it went to overflowing both times! A bit too much. But that is minor.

Overall I had a great experience, and I would definitely use them again! Don't be scared by these other reviews. I had a small business. I know how easy it is to anonymously slam someone. It's a power trip, and often what's written is not even true. So try these folks out. I was happy I did, and it saved me a lot of money!

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Universal Truck Rental Rating:
Star Star Empty star Empty star Empty star
1.8 out of 5, based on 11 ratings and
14 reviews & complaints.
Contact Information:
Universal Truck Rental
1625 Shawson Drive
Mississauga, ON L4W 1T7
1-866-518-0150 (ph)
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