Door-to-Door Storage in San Jose: an exercise in incompetence

First let me say that my experience with Door-to-Door Storage in San Diego was exactly the opposite of the story I’m about to tell. I’m about to tell a story of a business that has proven unable to get even the smallest thing right on the first try. To the best of my knowledge, the absolute incompetence is strictly local — although the corporate HQ hasn’t seen fit to do anything about it.

It started when I moved overseas. I sold my house and disencumbered myself of most of my stuff (so much stuff!) but there was a nucleus of belongings that I thought would be useful when I started my next home in the US. So I paid a monthly charge to have someone else store it. Door-to-Door was awesome because they brought a big box to my house, I packed it, and the they took it away. Because they can store the boxes efficiently in a big warehouse, it costs less than a self-storage place.

Over the next few years I would visit my stuff now and then, and the people in San Diego were friendly, accommodating, and helpful. I never had an issue with them (except the one that was totally my fault, and they were cool about that once we got it worked out). But I don’t live in San Diego, and there’s a Door-to-Door facility up here, less than five miles from my apartment. Eventually my sweetie and I decided it was worth the considerable expense to have the big box of stuff moved up the coast to Silicon Valley.

And then the nightmare began. Before the move I agreed to a new rate based on an annual contract, and made sure that there was nothing else I needed to do. Nope; money was paid, contract was set up, and the box with most of my worldly possessions was loaded on a truck and hauled up to San Jose.

Two months later, I wanted to visit my stuff in its new home. It’s a pretty simple procedure; you call in and make an appointment and they make sure that the box is pulled from the warehouse and waiting for you when you arrive. I called to make an appointment. Confusion ensued.

The system didn’t show my box in the San Jose warehouse. I spent some time on the phone with a very friendly guy in the national office. He determined that the box had been properly recorded leaving San Diego, but had never been checked in in San Jose.

Well, crap.

After a few more days it was discovered that yes, the Big Box of Stuff was indeed in the San Jose warehouse. Hooray! As a way of apologizing the corporate guys gave me two months free, based on my annual rate. After all, my annual contract was in the system. (We actually had an extended discussion about the contract based on a misunderstanding on my part.) At that time there was no doubt at all that I was paying an annual rate.

So, finally, I made an appointment to get into my Big Box of Stuff. The day arrived and my sweetie and I went down to the facility. There wasn’t much in the way of signage, but we found the office and the woman recognized my name. She told us how to get to where the BBoS was waiting.

It wasn’t there. We checked and double-checked, and the BBoS was not there. We spoke to the guy who moves the boxes. He flipped through all his work orders and there was nothing about our BBoS. At the front of the building they knew my name; at the back no knowledge of me had penetrated.

There is obviously a computerized system that manages where all the various BBoS’s are. Just as obviously, the people in the front office of San Jose’s Door-to-Door storage don’t know how to use it.

Anyway, the fetcher of boxes left and some time later returned with our BBoS. The only catch: it was still sealed shut from transit. Usually (according to the very friendly box-fetcher), boxes are sealed with two or three screws. The San Diego Boys had used maybe seven, all clearly marked with spray paint, and Friendly Box Fetcher didn’t have the proper tools to unseal the BBoS.

Our man persevered, and eventually we got to our stuff. The important takeaway here is that Door-to-Door San Jose took more than one try for every single operation.

And then the invoice arrived, charging us at the monthly rate, rather than the annual. Twice as much, even as it showed the initial “incompetence credit” (my phrase) for two months at the annual rate.

It has taken months to get this straightened out (if it truly has been – I got a call the other day that I didn’t pick up). In that time I dealt with friendly and competent people at the national level (email replies in minutes with useful information, with a real feeling for personal attention), but the errors made by the San Jose folks took a long time to erase.

I’m hoping they’re erased, anyway.

Message to Door-to-Door: I like you guys, but your San Jose franchise is awful. Do something about it.

3 thoughts on “Door-to-Door Storage in San Jose: an exercise in incompetence

    • Well, in fact I got a message on the home phone from them the other day, from someone who said she’d like to discuss my blog article. I’ll call back after the holidays.

  1. Actually, it sounds like the fetcher of boxes did the best that he could with what he was provided. So there is some competence in the place — it’s just not in the management area.

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