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When I moved my household goods I decided to rent a cargo van / truck rather than pay a commercial moving company.

I think all-in-all that decision worked out better (and significantly cheaper) for me.

Like in most everything I do, I spent a fair amount of time comparing prices and reviews of various companies.

I found U-Haul to be the most expensive, and from the reviews have the poorest maintained equipment, and the worst record of actually having what you reserved available when you got there.

I found that Budget looked like a contender, but really none of the reviews were bad or good.

I found that Penske had by far the best reviews; the newest equipment; and their price was almost the same as Budget.

So I selected Penske, reserved the truck and auto-carrier with a 20% discount — but had to test my truck on the auto-carrier before they would confirm (not a problem, it did involve a trip over to Oakland to the district office — but they confirmed that my truck could be safely carried).

The day I picked up the truck, all seemed to go well — it was available as promised, and I got it to the house and ended up waiting a little for the moving labor to arrive (but I expected that).

When I went back to the Penske dealer to pickup the auto-carrier and load my truck (which I’d left there) we found that it wouldn’t fit.  But my rental record showed that the truck had been tested, and I knew that it worked in Oakland.  After quite some time I noticed that the tie down straps were a different color; the shop person who was helping me realized that the newer straps were yellow (not blue) and that they might be longer.

So other than slightly over an hour delay, I didn’t have any issues at pickup.

On the road, the truck handled like a truck — and loaded down that heavy had a tough time making it up the grades (I choose to bypass the Los Angelos basin and took I-10 cross country to minimize grade changes).

I made it all the way to Baton Rouge Louisiana without incident, and just about right on schedule (I actually even made up for the one hour delay and horrible rush hour traffic leaving San Francisco).  Just after crossing the Mississippi River I was going up a grade at an overpass and the  and the high pressure oil line blew out — coving the truck and my truck with oil and forcing the truck to a dead stop.

It well over a half an hour to just get through to the emergency call number and get a tow truck dispatched (something U-Haul doesn’t have period).  Fortunately a police office was on the scene in a minute or so to help direct traffic around.

In all it was just over three hours of delay to have the truck repaired and be back on my way; but my truck was covered with oil and soiled everything that came near it.

My schedule was a little upset, but nothing so major since I was near my destination.

I returned the auto-carrier the next day (that was supposed to save me some of the daily charges); however when I returned the truck the invoice did not properly generate the credits.  The Penske customer service center indicated it was because the facility that I returned the truck and auto-carrier to did not know how to properly process the invoice (I would have thought it would have been automatic).  They indicated I’d have to deal with them — but when I said I already tired they said I’d have to take it up with the district office in Mobile (AL).

I’ve written a letter to the Penske district office in Mobile; and I’ll let you know how all of this plays out.

The short of it I’m not sure whether or not I’d rent from Penske again — certainly what had potential to be a good experience has been marred with incompetent customer service… and surprisingly the break down itself is not what diminishes my view of Penske, it’s the people who’ve made the rental significantly harder and more time consuming than it needs to have been.

Follow Up

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