Q: We recently rented a 26-ft. U-Haul truck and an auto-transport trailer to move from New Brunswick to Toronto.
The truck was seriously underpowered. On one hill, we were only going 5-10 km/h in bottom gear by the time we reached the top.
On level roads, we were able to maintain 80 km/h, but on upwardly sloping roads we’d fall to 40 km/h and back up the traffic behind us.
Upon returning the vehicle, I complained to the dealer in Toronto about the lack of performance of the truck, which was not overloaded. They said they’d have it checked, but this is of no comfort to me.
A: Bruce Bennett, president of U-Haul Company of Atlantic Canada, replies:
Once I’m made aware of a customer complaint, it’s my job, as president, to follow-up in that regard.
In late August, I was sent the complaint and launched an investigation as there’s nothing more important than our customers receiving a well-maintained truck. The company records show no history of complaints, repairs or breakdowns with this truck either before or after this rental.
I had the truck taken directly to an independent garage in Fredericton for inspection and shared the customer’s report. No error codes were found and the mechanic determined that the rental truck was in good working condition.
I then called the customer and apologized for not following-up sooner. Unfortunately, my office never received the original complaint sent to the Ontario return location.
I advised the customer of the actions I’d taken to investigate the rental equipment and shared my findings. We also discussed his travel time from New Brunswick to Ontario, as I noticed that he’d returned his equipment two days early. We both agreed that he, in fact, had made really good time. He estimated completing his move in 18 hours, whereas MapQuest suggests continuous travel time alone (not including breaks) would be 15 hours.
U-Haul has a 24/7 emergency roadside assistance number if customers experience any problems with their rental equipment.
Eric Lai adds:
Three other possible explanations for the reported lack of power include, driving in the wrong gear (low gear setting), an overloaded truck and auto trailer combination, or a speed-limiter.
U-Haul states none of their fleet includes speed-limiters or governors.
Toronto litigation lawyer Gregory Chang (www.bcbarristers.com) adds:
It might have been easier had the reader complained en route, once this problem arose.
In general, if the trip was significantly delayed because of the driver’s inability to travel at highway speeds and the reader then had to spend an extra day or two to complete this trip, the extra costs incurred could potentially be claimed as damages. This would include extra hotel and truck rental fees and extra associated travel expenses, within reason.
It is unknown whether the reader had a deadline to meet for arriving in Toronto, which might have been missed and whether any further expenses arose.
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