Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Rental Regrets

Some rental trailers can be a little more trouble than expected.
Every holiday weekend the Ontario Provincial Police initiate a safety blitz. They blanket the major highways between civilization and cottage country and troll for idiot drivers and unsafe vehicles. Aside from writing piles of tickets and pulling piles of unsafe vehicles these blitzes yield some spectacular examples of idiocy. Such greats as one driver who had a sign in the back window of his car that read, "For sale, needs brakes." Apparently the advertisement accurately represented the product in question.

MMmmmmmm....... finger licking good.What this blitz did for me was to reinforce something I already knew. In my checkered past I have performed varied job functions, and in that time I had one that required the use of many rental vans and trailers. From lumber and sheeting to sewage encrusted waste and scrap, we had need to haul all manner of stuff, preferring to use other people's vehicles for obvious reasons. Our company, through trial and error, had determined the right and wrong companies from whom to rent these unfortunate necessities. While we had a few companies that we could use as options, there was one outfit that we were informed was considered to be off limits unless all other options had been exhausted. These orange, white and silver monstrosities were used as a last resort and typically left us stranded almost every time.

These U-Bawls as we came to know them were always in a pretty sorry state and during this blitz they were true to their reputation. Out of 15 U-Bawl rental vehicles, 11 were not up to standard according to the OPP. An officer said "They continue to be over-represented (with safety violations) and we have no similar problems with any other rental companies," Even a Toronto newspaper investigation last month found half of U-Bawl vehicles failed roadside safety inspections.

OOooohhhh.......pretty!I initially thought this was a problem unique to the Niagara area as that was where we were renting them from. From failed brakes and doors that wouldn't close to gaping holes in the sides of these units, there isn't a lot of vehicular trauma I haven't seen. This was proven to be a false assumption after a drive out west. The wife and I were going west to a wedding and decided to drive to enjoy the scenery. Along our trip through the scenic Canadian Shield in northern Ontario we enjoyed the beauty of nature. We also marveled at the number of these rental beasts that dotted the roadside. In a one hour stretch we counted 13 individual units at the side of the road. At first we thought they may have been enjoying the splendor of the view and majesty of our fair country. Upon closer inspection we realized that one does not marvel at the beauty of nature by placing their head under a vehicles hood and screaming expletives at it. Nor do they worship the beauty of nature by kicking the crap out of tires and screaming at them while their wives look like someone has stolen their children.

I was thinking that over the years they had reformed their act as people couldn't keep supporting an organization with obvious disregard for their customers. The more I think about this the more I realize that is false, people still shop at Future Shock and Wally-Mart don't they? This false assumption was proven to be dead wrong when reading Martini's blog about his moving day adventures over at DMC & Me with his U-Hood. If you ever wanted adventure and excitement I can honestly say that renting one of these bad boys will definitely put some excitement in your day. Unless you get one of the 30% of them that seem to be fit for use.

Rent at your own peril folks, just remember the approach I take. I wouldn't loan a vehicle that I owned out to most of the customers that rent them, so to drive one that many of these people have had access to before me really freaks me out. It's comforting to know that when you pick up a vehicle or trailer in one place, and leave it at your destination you are also shipping the blame for its maintenance along with the unit.


Blogger Scarlett said...

Very useful info for someone getting ready to skip a few state lines in a year, but I'll be honest.. I still haven't gotten over 'sewage encrusted waste'. Bleck!

9:22:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

The last U-Bawl I rented was to move duaghter to your fair city. They left us dangling for a day by not having a truck when they were supposed to. Then they gave us a monstrosity that, according to the sticker,was many thousands of klicks beyond its service date. It was awful to drive, just awful.

9:34:00 AM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I've been "lucky" enough to use their services a few times.
You just need to pretend you have joined the army or something.
"It's not a rental it's an adventure"

9:42:00 AM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Wow...thanks for the tip. That's just downright scary!

10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Sask 1 said...

Now youve made me nervous.I need to rent one at the end of the month and ive never driven one before.

10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Schotzy said...

Wow it just proves there are always adventures for us just outside our front doors. Just add a little quest music on the cd player and we can become heracules or xena. S

11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

I rented one once, but didn't have any trouble with it. Seems like I was one of the lucky ones.

12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

...and I would like to add, that our U-Haul was mechanically unfit for the road. Just driving it in a straight line proved nearly impossible, as the steering wandered as though possessed by a raging demon. I nearly sideswiped half a dozen parked cars because of this steering problem .

1:07:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

I believe tents are much safer, but you can't travel in them.

1:56:00 PM  
Blogger Cody said...

I think everyone I know that has rented a UHAUL has gotten one that either smells really fowl or the breaks were almost entirley gone.

2:12:00 PM  
Blogger Running2Ks said...

I had to give up on them when they rented us a heap to go cross-country. So we're penske people now.

6:16:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

My friend out in Kuwait just sent me some stuff over but it's in pdf format. As soon as I've figured out how to get it on a blogI'll post it.

It's sort of related to this stuff.

7:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ms Vile File said...

Hauling sewage encrusted waste...

May I ask why and what?

8:47:00 PM  
Blogger ms. creek said...

used them twice, been fine both times....

but i'm glad that pic wasn't of martini on his move!

9:46:00 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

well i never heard of this place before. i have rented cars before and i always use hertz. i have had good luck with them through the years.

12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

[shudder] I just took a road trip in a rental. Thankfully, the car appeared to be new - 500 km on it, and the clock suggested it had been driven in from the Maritimes.

We had no problems with the car. Stacked another 700+ km on it. :)

1:53:00 AM  
Blogger deni said...

We've rented them more than a few times, but then we stayed local, never went across country.

7:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

Yeah, we rented with them a few years back to move a whole block away. NEVER AGAIN! Hubby said if it was further than that, he would have returned the beastly thing. He wasn't comfortable driving it as the brakes were really spongy. The A/c and radio worked really well though!?!

9:05:00 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I packed up a U-BAWL for a move from Texas to Michigan many years ago. It died on us and we had to get a new one and reload everything. It was AWFUL! I've heard many other stories.

12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Rainy you always put up a great post! You're exactly correct with this story ... have had two lousy experiences with U-Bawl myself. Ryder wasn't the best either, but it blew the doors off the aforementioned outfit.

7:53:00 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

Though my experiences with the company have been far from stellar, the vehicles did not fail on me so I guess I was lucky?

8:54:00 PM  

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