I find out that Saturn has stopped making Roof Racks for my 2003 Saturn Vue which means I cannot get a Roof Rack for my Bikes for road trips, bummer deal. Then I remember how hitch racks have gotten really awesome and that I can get a hitch installed. Well who do you go to for a hitch installation? Google results show that Uhaul is the masters of the hitch install and that being that I call Uhaul. This is where the fun begins, and by fun I mean something akin to stabbing my eyes with a pencil.
There is a Uhaul, to my chagrin, very close to my house, so I figure it will be most convenient to call them. After numerous rings I get to talk with Robin. It doesn’t sound like Robin is having the best of days, or years, or perhaps longer. I tell her that I would like a hitch installed on my car and we go through the make model year routine to determine what I need installed. She wants to know where I want this done, which is an odd question since I called a specific location. We get through that and she gives me the price of $179.95 for parts, labor, and warranty. She lets me know that it may be more depending on how the wiring configuration is done but I let her know that I will not need that since I am putting a bike rack on and that will be it for the foreseeable future. I get a confirmation number and she emails me the receipt. I am also told that someone will contact me to setup the appointment. This is June 10th.
On June 12th, Friday, I still have not received a call so I decide to give the Uhaul location a call back to see whats up with the appointment. I offer my confirmation number but the gentleman just wants my name. He says that the appointment is set up for Wednesday June 17th. I am surprised by this since no one ever called to set that up. I ask if we can get it done on Monday June 15th instead. The gentleman says yes that will be fine and to bring it in at 8am and that it should only take 30 minutes. I enter this into my calendar and go about my weekend.
June 15th rolls around and I go to the Uhaul for my scheduled appointment for the hitch installation. I am greeted by a gentleman walking away from me to talk with another Uhaul employee, or rather Manager/Owner James Flake. After an awkward minute of me standing at the counter 5 feet away from these two gentlemen talking about their work I finally am greeted by the younger one. I let him know that I am here for my scheduled hitch install which causes him to look over my shoulder to James and laugh. He then lets me know that James will be doing the install. I ask if I should bring the car around back and he thinks this is a good plan.
As I pull around I see another customer waiting on James and can see that things are going to be moving slowly today. I wait in my car for 10 minutes until James comes up and asks if I know that this appointment is set for Wednesday. I tell him that yes I am aware that originally it was set for that that but that I had called on Friday to reschedule. He lets me know that its going to take a while as he has deliveries to take care of but that I will be his priority. I am okay with this since I have brought my book along and have no appointments till the afternoon.
10am rolls around and James Flake comes in to let me know its all done. We saddle up to the register and he tells me the total is ~$220 which I inform him is incorrect. I tell him that the total parts, labor, and warranty was quoted to me as $179.95. He snickers at me and wants to know who told me that. I explain that it was Robin to which he responds that Robin does not work there. I let him know that it is irrelevant as I was quoted $179.95 and that is what I will be paying. Another Uhaul employee comes over to see what the fuss is about and they start discussing that I was quoted the online price for the hitch which is cheaper than their price. I stand and say nothing to this.
James is still not willing to offer the price I was quoted so he lets me know that he can take the hitch off. I let him know he is welcome to do so. He then tells me that I will have to wait since he has other customers. This cracks me up because there is nothing better for your other customers than to have one who you are trying to Bait and Switch standing in your store raising hell.
Another Uhaul employee comes over and his name tag says owner as well. By this time I have found the email and let them see it. They agree to honor the price and I am on my way.
Clearly Uhaul has some communication issues between its stores and the central call center that my initial call was routed to. The first issue this caused was that I never got a call back for when the installation would occur. Second when I called to setup the installation time I talked with the store where I was apparently talking to someone too busy to actually write down the appointment that we set up. Third was the price issue.
The customer service issue that I experienced is a different story. From the initial call, to my call back, and to the actual appointment I haven’t felt like such a nusiance since the last time I was at the DMV. Clearly James is overworked and the miscommunication with Uhaul corporate seems to be a common occurrence as I overheard a few others having issues with their transactions while I was in there. This is too bad and I feel sorry for the man. I tried to be as nice as I could but when you start changing the price on me I lose my patience. I can only imagine how many people that tactic works on resulting in an extra $30 for James each time. Things must be pretty tight at Uhaul when $30 makes such a big difference.
In the end there are not many options for getting a simple hitch installed and the ones besides Uhaul are probably more expensive and even less responsive to their customers. I am reminded of something Bob Parsons used to say when I worked at Godaddy: “The customer might not always be right, but the customer always pays.” I would have been happy to have him pull that hitch off and gone down the street to somewhere else.
On the Uhaul site this store has 64 reviews for 4 out of 5 stars. However I am unable to find a way to write a review for them. Also in reading the reviews there are ones that get 5 stars when the written review says that the experience was horrible. This is a FAIL on the part of the site designers and further increases my distrust and refusal to use Uhaul in the future.
I am gonna go for a bike ride.