An irate self-storage customer turned to WFAA, a local news station in Dallas, after her stuff was sold while she was out of the country.
Pat Daugirda went to Afghanistan on assignment for the Army Air Force Exchange Service to help run a convenience store for American soldiers in Kabul. Before leaving, Daugirda placed everything she owned in a Public Storage unit, and ensured payment by agreeing to automatic debiting from her credit card every month.
When she got home, her unit was empty. According to the WFAA news article, Public Storage took her payments, but still cleaned out her storage unit. When it was brought to their attention, Public Storage's response was, "Sue us," according to the article.
While I know there are many missing facts here—and I can't fathom a huge company like Public Storage uttering "Sue us," to any tenant—there is a good lesson here. The most important is getting good contact information from EVERY tenants. Did Daugirda give the self-storage facility a means to contact her or any friends or family? While the article doesn't delve into that topic, I'm guessing she didn't.
Plus, why would Public Storage oust a paying customer? Chances are her credit card was declined. Again, the news station didn't ask those questions.
It's cases like these that give the self-storage industry a bad rep. For all we know, and let's hope this is the case, Public Storage followed the law and its company guidelines flawlessly and Daugirda is in the wrong. Regardless, the damage has been done to Public Storage's reputation. And while they'll have no trouble recovering because of their size and presence in the industry, a single operator might not be so lucky. One bad story on the local news could really hurt business.
If you have ANY questions about wrongful sales, how to handle collections, your rental lease, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or any other legal issues, the March issue of ISS has the answers. You can also find dozens of articles on legal issues on our website.
There are many people out there looking for an easy payday. Don't become a target.