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Public Storage Hit with Lawsuit Over Business Practices

By Jessica Tyner

 

Public Storage lawsuitMost people are familiar with the orange and purple Public Storage facilities that have popped up around the country. You’ve probably even used one before, trusting that when you put stuff in storage, it’s safe. However, the security of storage items might not be nearly as iron-clad as people think. In Charlotte, North Carolina, a lawsuit has been filed against the company claiming that it puts customers and their property in danger.

Eyewitness News went undercover in Charlotte to see just how secure Public Storage was when they thought no one was looking. In Charlotte alone, there are 35 Public Storage sites, and Paul Trott was in charge of managing them for the past six years. However, he claims in a lawsuit against Public Storage that company-wide budget cuts have caused maintenance to completely stop. There apparently isn’t even enough money to replace burned-out lights, making customers lug around flashlights to access their unit after dark.

A Burglar’s Dream Come True

It’s not just exterior lights that are burned out — Trott says many interior unit lights don’t work, either. This makes Public Storage prime pickings for thieves and vandals, and they’ve been coming in droves. Trott claims in the lawsuit that “numerous break-ins” have happened recently. Burglars aren’t the only danger, since Trott points out that the massive industrial doors are broken as well. Since they weigh over 100 pounds, they could easily kill a person if they fall.

Trott already has a laundry list of customers who have been injured, but fortunately there haven’t been any fatalities yet. Trott has tried to stand up for his customers, but his complaints have fallen on deaf ears. He says he’s told his supervisor about the problems weekly, but no changes have been made. It’s Trott who initially filed the lawsuit against Public Storage after realizing the company he’s worked for the past six years doesn’t care about their customers. But he does.

Trott’s Public Storage Lawsuit

Trott was fired in January 2013, and he thinks it’s because he wasn’t pretending everything was fine. On May 28, 2013, he filed a lawsuit against Public Storage and hopes that the customers he used to try and protect will benefit, and that the company will step up to the plate. Eyewitness News tried to reach a manager or supervisor to comment on the investigation, but no calls were returned. One generic message from Public Storage was sent, stating that the safety of their customers is “of course” of great importance.

Trott wants to send a message to the company and let them know they are accountable for safety and security. Many customers aren’t aware of the violations, or they’re used to the shoddy environment. People store precious and valuable things in storage units, and these items aren’t necessarily covered by all insurance policies.

Storage Unit Lawsuits Target Property Seizures

Trott isn’t the only consumer suing a storage unit company from allegedly improper practices. Lawsuits all over the country are being filed by storage unit customers who had their property seized without proper notice. In states like New York, this is against the law. Knowing your rights can help you avoid losing your property to an unlawful auction.

Do You Have a Storage Unit Complaint?

Did you rent a mini storage unit in New York and had your property seized? You may have a storage unit legal claim and not even know it. Just like renting an apartment, you have rights as a storage unit tenant.

Learn more at the New York Mini Storage Property Seizure Class Action Lawsuit Investigation today. You can submit your information free of charge. If you have a case, a reputable attorney will contact you for a free storage unit claim review.

 

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Updated June 19th, 2013

 

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10 Comments

  • Donavan July 1, 2013

    I hope he socks it to them. This company is the pits. They have terrible customer service and the facilities are falling apart. All the while, their CEO, Ron Havner, received the highest pay increase of any CEO in the U.S. last year. A whopping +459% increase @ $15.4M. This is the epitome of greed- milk all the profits out of the company so those on top can fatten their wallets.

  • Ex-Public Storage July 11, 2013

    You don’t know the beggining of how corrupt this company is. They force their emp.s to push customers to buy locks and insurance, when a customer already has a lock, and when they don’t want insurance.

    We weren’t licensed insurance agants and the written policy is clear, but the district managers threaten your job if you don’t get 100% insurance on every new customer. They grill you on intimidationa nd deception tactics to force the customer to buy insurance.

    And then there’s locks. The written policy says the customer can secure the unit with any lock of THEIR choosing. The district managers implemented a “security policy” for us to say “your lock doesn’t meet our security standards.” They also try to say you HAVE to have a lock at rental (untrue).

    Locks and insurance and merchandise make up a HUGE bonus for district managers, who are basically sociopaths looking to climb the ladder.

    And everything said about maintenance being withheld on facilities is true. One property had leaky roofs for two years, and the district managers MADE us rent out those spaces, KNOWING the customers would have their items get damaged by rain.

    The security is a jioke. The alarms are turned off so they don’t wake the property managers in the middle of the night. As stated, the lighting doesn’t work. There are holes in fences, allowing easy access. Half the time the property managers don’t do their lock checks because they are so lazy, and break-ins go undiscovered.

    I could go on, but hopefully I have given you a good idea of how thoroughly CORRUPT Public Storage is.

    Go to a mom-and-pop place, they actually care about their customers.

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  • Janis Wohl September 30, 2013

    Thank you for the email option as I am SS Retirement $720 per month and cannot always pay the $50 Net10 fee for my phone. My monthly expenses also include $190 car payment, $53 car insurance, gas and maintenance approximately $300 (I live in my car so it is important) and the $75.89 per month to save my family photos and other stuff to Public Storage which I have paid before the due date by check to avoid late fees, having my lock destroyed and having to buy a new one from them, and having them come into my unit and leaving a dead squirrel’s skeleton on the top of one of my piles of belongings. Before I was late that time I would sit in my unit with the door halfway closed to block the sun as I had melanoma previously till she told me I had to have the “door all the way open or no dice”. I haven’t been back since during office hours and left my check in the drop box after hours. I thought I would give notice, get my stuff and sell or give away everything except my family photos which I would keep in the trunk of my car. I am a grandmother of 8 year old Victoria and I thought she would enjoy seeing pictures of her great great great grandmother outside of her little house in Texas. When I went to access my unit, it was blocked. I called the police and the policewoman who responded said she could not force them to allow access. Upon questioning, I was informed that the rent had been raised in June and I had been charged late fees and that if I didn’t have the money now I would also be charged for October and my stuff would be sold at auction and that I would also be charged for the auction and that proceeds in excess of the amount “owed” would be kept by Public Storage and that I would not be allowed to attend the auction.

  • Former Employee.. October 22, 2013

    Everything this article claims is true. So are all the comments. I worked for this company for almost 4 years. I was one of the top 5 in the district and in the top 20 in the region. When I became pregnant the district manager harassed me and refused to accept my doctor’s note putting me on restriction. When I complained they offered to put me at an indoor facility with another property manager. I was left alone and the harassment continued. I pleaded with my doctor to put me on bedrest to avoid the constant harassment. When I returned I was fired 6 days later with no reason or notice. I’ve filed a complaint with the EEOC and Public Storage wants to settle… They know they are corrupt and that they treat their customers as well as their employees poorly.

  • cindy myers February 11, 2014

    my things where stolen from public storage in webster tx by my ex and the employee that was working there my ex starting sleeping with the public storage employee and she helped him steal my things out of my storage im looking for an attorney that can help me in houston tx

  • Rosemary Nieters April 22, 2014

    Id like to join a class suit against this company I worked for them almost 8 years I worked overtime I was told Id get paid for and didn’t (Micheal Riggins) Had to do maintence on locker doors, lighting, fencing, ETC. They would sell locker with out all the proper paper work, I was told to harass customers for their payments, I was told to tell them to get loans, steal from grandma, whatever it took to get them in to pay. I was constantly threatened with homelessness and no job ( I was a onsite live-in manager). I had a angry customer whos unit went to auction they called threatened my life and said they were on their way, I called DM he said they wouldn’t show to stay in office, ya see I wanted to leave, well the customer showed up with weapon, I was able to call police, I had to jump over counter to lock door to keep angry customer from getting to me, after all this I asked for day off I was told if I wanted day off to quit! You can contact me Ill join in, be a witness for them whatever. Thank you and I hope they win!!!!!!!!!!11

  • Chris Keys May 13, 2014

    I would like to give a word of warning to any that are considering renting storage space from Public Storage. As a company, they will likely try to draw you in to renting with them using some offer that seems pretty reasonable at the start. Then, every 6 months to a year down the line, they’ll bump up the rate, citing market rate as the reason. I will note that their idea of market rate is not based on the competition in the area, but on what they feel like they can get away with charging.

    Public Storage claims to give 30 days written notice of increases of the charge and any fees, but I have only ever received notification by email very shortly before that increased charge was due. On top of this, if you do not pay the increased amount by the 6th of the month, they will lock you out of the area where your items are stored until you are up to current, including any increases to charges or late fees that they have made in this manner. In short, you have lost access to any of your items past this point unless you pay their increased charges.

    I first started storing items in a 10′ x 15′ unit with Public Storage in February 2009, with an initial rate of $96.90 from their advertising. What their advertising did not mention is that the $96.90 was listed in their system as a discounted rate, but with a higher rate already in their system. Since this time, I have had my rates increased progressively over the years I’ve been with them to a current rate of $161.00 per month, and a late fee that increased from the one listed in the contract of $20.40 to the current late fee of $32.20. The only notification of increases I’ve ever received from them on the increases to rental rate have been by email, and no notifications of an increase to the late fees until they’ve come up.

    It is possible that this lack of notifications is because of some break in their system. Perhaps there is a flaw that doesn’t update the mail address for notifications, even if you update it in their system. If so, this is still a problem. I’ve called a few times on their corporate line just to make sure my information was current. It is, but this has made no difference in receiving any sort of notifications.

    To give you a better idea of just how much of an increase this is, I have had my rates on the rental go up by over 66 percent since 2009. This is 66 percent increase over 5 years. The late fees have apparently also increased since 2009, though in this case, the increase is a little over 58 percent. All told, I’m paying two thirds more than when I started this thing, all because Public Storage felt they could get away with charging it. When I checked other companies in the same area, the rate for the same size storage unit is currently between about $90.00 to $130.00. None of them came close to what Public Storage claims is market rate. Public Storage claims that market rate is somewhere around $178.00 in that area, even though they list a lower rate for new customers.

    Public Storage figures they can increase the rate each year, as they figure most people will just pay the extra rather than dealing with the hassle of moving their stuff back out. And for those that can’t pay the increases, well, Public Storage has some hefty lien handling and sale fees that they add on as well, taking those and the additional rent and late fees they’ll also charge on the items that can’t be recovered until they get paid. Those fees come out of the proceeds they get by selling whatever is in that storage unit. If for some reason the sale doesn’t make their total of fees, Public Storage will still charge you the additional amounts, too. What this means: If you are late in paying, and you are unable to catch back up, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR ITEMS, and you will be charged more for the privilege of letting them sell off the contents of your storage unit for them to collect on those inflated fees.

    Short form of this, stay well away from Public Storage. They are a greedy company out to gouge you for as much money as they feel they can get out of you, with a particular target painted on long term customers. If you’ve been with Public Storage for years, they figure you will pay whatever they insist is the rate rather than moving. If you must use a storage place, do not use Public Storage. Stay far clear of this company for your own good. Tell your friends to stay away. Tell companies to stay away. Share this message on social media, in your email lists, on your corporate newsletter. Let Public Storage know that they can not treat customers like this in the only way that they will listen to, by reducing their profits. Take away their paycheck, because they certainly haven’t earned it. Don’t rent with them. If you are already renting with them, find a way to stop using storage, or go to another storage company. It will be worth it. Stay with them, and you’ll find yourself wondering why you didn’t listen.

  • stilldoingit June 22, 2014

    These guys have not changed! Their manager told us insurance was a requirement! After they did a bait and switch on their pricing. How are these guys allowed to get away with this?! It makes me sick.

  • denise July 12, 2014

    Bad News. The newest scam now, it the website. It will switch up your payment method, then when that doesn’t go through, they will slap you with a huge fee. The system will “default.” It is a known issue.
    They have been so awful to me. The lock deal is a scam and the monthly rates are calculated to gradually increase. I could go on and on.

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