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Connecticut BBB Offers a Checklist for Safe Commercial Storage of your Belongings
In 2011, BBB received more than 1,000 complaints against storage unit companies from consumers who say they had their goods damaged or stolen while in commercial storage space.
There are many reasons to rent temporary self-storage space, such as emptying overflowing garages and basements, stashing possessions while remodeling or moving or storing business supplies for future use. While most facilities are operated by reputable businesses, Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends carefully checking out a self-storage business before handing over your precious belongings.
In 2011, BBB received more than 1,000 complaints against storage unit companies. Many of the complaints were from consumers who were never able to access their units after paying a deposit, had their goods damaged while in a storage company’s space, or had their possessions stolen.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends considering seven major factors before selecting a temporary storage facility:
Cost - Obtain written cost estimates from at least three facilities. Most will insist on inspecting your items before offering an estimate. Costs to consider include the monthly rental fee (usually a minimum monthly storage charge and a minimum number of month’s storage), storage preparation, padding, packing or transportation fees and charges for extra options you may choose, such as electricity, pest control and insurance. Ask how the fees are to be paid and by what date.
Size - What size storage units are available? Is there a maximum weight limit for unit contents? Can you jam-pack the entire unit from floor to ceiling?
Climate - Consider the general climate and whether your belongings might be subject to mold or water damage. If so, you may want to consider an environmentally-
Insurance - Make sure your items are insured from theft, fire and other damage. The facility may provide basic insurance or you can choose to purchase insurance from an alternative source. Some homeowners’ policies cover self-storage risks. Check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered.
Safety - You will need a secure, heavy-duty lock to protect your storage unit. Ask if the facility has surveillance cameras on the property and if a system is in place to restrict access by strangers. Ensure you have contact information to reach someone at the facility in case of an emergency, both during and after business hours.
Contract - Get everything in writing such as the size and location of the unit, available options, termination regulations, insurance coverage and payment terms. Make sure the facility has several different ways to get in touch with you (home phone, cell phone, email, etc.) in case there is ever a problem with your unit or payment.
Access - What are the hours and are there are related charges for accessing your unit? Is there adequate room for parking and is the distance from your car/truck to the rental unit acceptable? Does the facility offer dollies or hand trucks to help you move your belongings in and out? Make sure you can easily move your possessions with reasonable ease.
Finally, as with any recurring charges, pay attention to your monthly bill or credit card statement to make sure you are up-to-date on your payments and not being charged for unauthorized charges. You don’t want your storage unit to be labeled “abandoned”
For more tips you can trust, visit http://ct.bbb.org/