I rented a storage unit in June 2015. I thought it would come in handy because the timing of turning in the keys to one home and obtaining the keys to the next was uncertain, and it would be safer and less costly to rent a unit and stay in a hotel for a night or two if necessary than to pay another month’s rent. It would also allow us to take our time moving the furniture and other things into the new place, which was important because due to chronic illnesses, I have no physical endurance. I also had a training in Colorado to attend around that time, so having the ability to do a little at a time was great.
Treat your customers like numbers
So I found the local storage company. I discovered that they are 100% automated: a customer rents a unit on the company’s website, then takes his own lock and moves his items into the rented storage unit. There is no human interaction. Barring some disaster, the storage company owners never have to do a thing but watch money enter their bank account—must be nice. Not having to worry about when attendants are on/off duty is nice for customers, though.
Then I read all the terms of service (I know, I’m a nerd, but I didn’t want any surprises). I learned that we couldn’t put any chemicals or cleaners into the storage unit, just in case something were to explode (Really? My Windex might blow up? Okay). The agreement was something I could live with. I rented a unit, bought a lock, and we loaded the storage locker with our things.
We got settled into the place we’re currently leasing, and over the course of a few months, I gradually emptied the unit. In September, we brought the Christmas tree and winter clothes to the house and cleaned out the storage unit completely. We didn’t need it anymore, and there’s no sense paying $35 a month for something we’re not using, right?
So, like a good customer, I went through the emails I’d been sent when I signed up, to find out how to stop renting the storage unit. There was a nice welcome, and a statement about recurring payments being automatically charged to my bank account, but I sure couldn’t find any information about how to stop the payments from occurring. Then I went to the storage company’s website to see if there was any information there.
I couldn’t find anything there, either.
What’s a customer to do? My three options:
- Keep paying on an empty storage unit (only a fool would do that).
- Have my bank stop payment (a company wouldn’t like that, and it would cost $25 at most banks to do that).
- Contact the company about it.
The smart thing to do is to contact the company, right?
That’s what I did.
I sent a nice email apologizing for not knowing how to close out our account and asking for advice on that, and thanking them for the help.
Here’s the response.