services 04.7.06

Whatsamatta U?

We like to check in from time to time with some of our least favorite companies either to remind you of the hassles that are lurking, or, in rare instances, to report when companies clean up their acts. It happens.

But apparently not at U-Haul. As it has for many years, the company maintains an unsatisfactory record with the NY Better Business Bureau for complaints in the past three years about advertising issues, credit/billing issues, delivery issues, product quality, repair issues, selling practices, and service issues. There have been no complaints in the past year — that could be a good sign, but the company has earned so much ill will from New Yorkers that at this point they're still far from earning a pass from MUG.

And the problem is hardly an exclusively local one: on the web, you can read hundreds of reviews at Epinions and Planet Feedback about U-Haul. Do we need to even state that the vast majority of these are not love letters? In addition to atrocious customer service, customers complain about shoddy, even dangerous equipment supplied by the company. Last year, CTV in Canada took vehicles rented in four provinces to mechanics — in each case, the trucks failed to meet safety standards.

There are even whole websites devoted to warning about the company: U-Haul Sucks, Don't Use U-Haul, U-Haul Boycott Page.

If ever a company deserved all this opprobrium, it's U-Haul. Just one case in point: when two roommates began a 'U-Haul sucks'-type website in 1998 after rental truck breakdowns turned an 8-hour trip into a 27-hour ordeal, U-Haul sued them for trademark infringement and libel.

Our advice? Use Penske. Number of complaints received by the Better Business Bureau about Penske in the past three years? Zero.
Escolar Sightings
Readers have reported seeing the gotcha-fish escolar at a number of locations around the city, including Wild Edibles, Union Square greenmarket, and Fairway. Note that it is sometimes sold as oilfish, butterfish, or Snake mackerel.

Law and Order
From a reader, about our Law and Order article: "It reminds me of a blog I am currently addicted to, Fluorescent Justice. It is about night court in New York City and paints an interesting picture."


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