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U-Haul asks for patience with reservations, rentals

Published On: Aug 08 2013 06:57:49 PM CDT   Updated On: Aug 09 2013 10:13:37 AM CDT
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One of the largest moving companies in Madison is asking for patience from families and students leading up to the biggest moving day of the year next week.

U-Haul said it is working with customers to ensure they will have options "in the face of the most chaotic moving environment (with the exception of a natural disaster)."

Most leases near the UW-Madison campus wrap up on Aug. 14, with new ones beginning on Aug. 15, creating a situation where customers may not be given the vehicle they'd reserved and for the duration that they reserved it.

If that does happen, Tom Hodel, the president of U-Haul of West Wisconsin, said the company will pay the customer $50 and do our best to find an alternative solution.

"It is possible, especially if a customer does not return equipment on-time and we are put in a position of not having what a customer needs when we agreed to have it for them," Hodel wrote in a statement emailed to News3.

Jeffrey Lynn had that happen to him at the end of July as he was moving from one apartment to another in Madison. He reserved a U-Haul truck online for 48 hours only to show up on July 31 and find out his reservation had been changed to eight hours. He had to rent a second vehicle for the second day of his move, incurring further cost and frustration.

"Why was I able to reserve it online for two days and no one told me that it changed?" Lynn said. "The end of the line was, 'We can't help you.'"

Lynn said his advice to students moving next week is simple.

"Double-check your reservation," he said. "Even if you got a confirmation, better call them back, because I had a confirmation and it didn't mean anything."

Hodel was critical of the situation and said U-Haul was doing its best to respond.

"The real story here is the sheer chaos that is created by the school and local housing -- a small group of people who inconvenience an entire community," he wrote. "U-Haul would rather not handle it this way."

The company is encouraging its customers to complete their moves in six hours so as to accommodate as many people as possible.

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