What we found at the sketchiest U-Haul place ever
My parents rented a U-Haul truck to help me and Pickles take our things from London to Montréal. This was fantastic. We couldn’t have done it otherwise. Seriously. Hooray for U-Haul!
But when we tried to return the truck, some weird things happened.
First, I tried calling a local U-Haul location to ask if I could return the truck. They told me to call the 1-800 number on the contract, which I did. Several times. No one ever picked up.
So I tried calling the “roadside assistance” telephone number. Fortunately, there was an option for talking to a U-Haul representative about non-emergency issues. I spoke to an operator who told me to take the truck to a particular place that I won’t mention by name or give the address for, in case it’s a drug front or something. I will refer to it from here on as “Sketch-Land.”
Pickles and I drove to Sketch-Land, and walked into the side of an auto-repair garage. In it, there were a couple of boys working there who appeared to be 12 years old. I approached the only adult there and asked him if this was a U-Haul location. He shook his head, and said “No,” as if he were offended or something.
We left, and walked around the side of the building, where we saw a door with a couple signs on it, one that read “Ouvert” (“open” in French) and another that read “U-Haul.” Seeing these signs, we immediately thought that we must have just gone in the wrong door. We opened the door and found an empty office with a piece of paper on the desk that said, “Be back in 10 minutes,” followed by a phone number.
We waited a few minutes and looked around the office. Taped to the side of the desk was a card that said, “U-Haul Authorised Dealer” and then, presumably, identified the name of the man in the garage and that it was valid from December 2008 to December 2009. (I took a picture of this with my camera phone.) I called the number on the note, and asked if I had reached a U-Haul location. The all-too-familiar voice on the other end of the phone told me, “No,” in an increasingly annoyed tone of voice. Pickles noticed that she could hear the man on the phone through a doorway out of the office that led into the garage that we were in beforehand.
The man whom we had spoken to earlier was the same man who was on the phone, and he entered the office a few seconds later, and started yelling at us for coming into his office uninvited. I gestured to the “Ouvert” sign, which, in my experience, means that a business is open for customers to enter. I asked again if he was sure that he was not a U-Haul dealer, indicating the “U-Haul” sign on his door, and the card that we found taped to his desk, but that only made him more angry.
We left when he started to raise his voice in broken English, and phoned U-Haul again, who gave us the address of a local U-Haul dealer that was remarkably legitimate-looking in comparison to Sketch-Land.
If you’re ever trying to return a U-Haul truck in Montréal, let me know and I’ll tell you what place to avoid.
Update: I emailed all this to U-Haul, and they sent me a gift certificate! Hooray for U-Haul!