Tuesday, April 28, 2009

UHaul Ticket Trap

Our friend, David, got quite a shock last week.

He'd rented a truck from U-Haul a few weeks ago and dropped the keys and the truck off at the after-hours drop-off when he was done.

Last week, he received a parking ticket from the notorious Philadelphia Parking Authority with extra charges that had mounted up for non-payment. He was puzzled because although his name was on the ticket, the license plate was his. He checked the date and realized that it was for the rental truck, and the time on the ticket was well after he had returned it.

One of U-Haul's employees had been able to access the keys, gone joy-riding in the truck, parked it illegally and knew that he wouldn't have to pay for the ticket.

David would have contested the ticket, but the traffic court's hours are his working hours. He would have lost more money going to court than the ticket was worth; so he paid up.

The same thing happened to us two years ago. My husband had rented a U-Haul to pick up items for a synagogue yard sale. It was a Sunday afternoon, and they closed early. So he dropped off the keys in a special slot and left the truck.

Two months later, we received a parking ticket. My husband had been sound asleep at the time of the ticket and had never visited the bar in Frankford where the car was parked.

Of course U-Haul denied responsibility, and we got stuck with the fine.

The moral is, if you rent a vehicle from U-Haul, realize that their employees are not trusthworthy and management exercises no control over them. You're better off keeping the vehicle and paying an extra day to return it to a person who signs off on the paperwork than leaving if for some U-Haul employee to drive all over town and park illegally.

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