Public Storage: A Cautionary Tale

Often we write about our own experiences in our newsletters and blogs. Here we go again. We are advising all our clients and friends to think twice before renting a storage unit at Public Storage, Inc. in Alabama. Here’s why: We have rented a unit for about five years in Birmingham. Our house is just not big enough for some of our furniture and other belongings. We’ve paid our rent and insurance monthly, automatically charged to a credit card. Last weekend we visited the unit for the first time in about a year. After entering the code allowing us access to the floor where our unit is located, we found our unit, but the keys to our padlock would not open the lock. Immediately, we went to the office and the Public Storage employee told us that on at least two occasions over the last year, there had been break-ins at the facility.

Apparently, the burglars had rented a very small unit for a month. Then, using the access code to enter the floor, they cut the padlock that Public Storage required us to purchase from them, looted the units and replaced the destroyed lock with one they had bought. We were then informed that we could not enter our unit unless a District Manager was present, and that she would not be in Birmingham for another week. We asked why we were not notified about the break-ins. The employee told us that they had no duty to inform us, but that she believed the criminals had been caught. We then asked to see the police incident reports that were generated during the Birmingham Police Department investigation. She told us that we would have to subpoena them. We still do not know exactly what was stolen and Public Storage is blatantly daring us to sue them. I guess we will have to.

We finally read the fine print of the insurance policy that Public Storage requires the renter to purchase before renting a unit. If a loss is incurred due to burglary, the company only pay one-half of the value of the claim, up to a maximum of $5,000.00. We made a big mistake by trusting Public Storage to do the right thing. Please don’t make the same mistake!