U-Haul leaves students stranded, abruptly cancels moves

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Photo Courtesy of Raysonho/Grid Engine/Wikimedia Commons

A U-Haul truck sits in a parking lot. The U-Haul company has caused Illinois students much stress after canceling rentals.

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

With the mass migration of students to the Champaign-Urbana area, stress for moving arrangements has kicked into full gear.

However, while last year had a very orchestrated move-in procedure, students have expressed a new issue that has left many stranded.

On July 26, r/UIUC user spoke out about his scheduled U-Haul move being abruptly canceled, and only finding out by going to the U-Haul location on University Avenue. They later had to sell all of their stuff locally and ship what was left over.

A reddit user asks for advice after U-Haul canceled their rental. (Screenshot of Reddit)

Throughout the next two weeks, a stream of anecdotes and outcries from other Illini experiencing issues with U-Haul arose — many citing the abrupt cancellations.

Jack Anderson, former student of the History Department’s doctoral program, spoke out about how his move was shut down out of the blue.

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    “U-Haul canceled my order last Monday via text message,” Anderson said. “I called to see what was up, and they told me that they didn’t have any boxes, or even moving trucks, in the entire state of Illinois.”

    His attempts to get help from customer services were unsuccessful, and he got no compensation for having to find alternatives at the last minute.

    “What’s more, I was told by U-Haul that I’m lucky to have received notice with as much advance as I did,” Anderson said. “They typically don’t notify people until the day before if they’re unable to fulfill an order. Seriously?”

    Reddit users are confused after U-Haul canceled their rentals. (Screenshot of Reddit)

    The Daily Illini was contacted by Kevin Barringer, the Marketing Company President at the U-Haul Company of Illinois, with comments in relation to the student incidents.

    “U-Haul failed to provide a number of Illinois students with the moving equipment they needed in recent days,” Barring wrote in an email. “We know how much students rely on our self-move products and services during college move-in and move-out weeks. In this instance, we came up short. For that we are truly sorry.”

    “We are almost always open to accepting equipment reservations across our network of 23,000 truck-and-trailer sharing locations. This is because we are confident that we can provide moving solutions for every customer when the time comes. This puts a great onus on our local teams to perform at a high level. Allocating the world’s largest fleet of DIY moving equipment entails many factors. We know our one-way fleet inventory will see imbalances in some markets due to migration trends. This is especially the case during busy summer months, and college move-in and move-out weeks, when moves occur with greater frequency.”

    U-Haul went on to cite stress from high moving numbers since the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 were lifted. This caused undesired issues to occur, but U-Haul said it plans to expand Champaign operations in the future to better address the campus population.

    The users of r/UIUC made their struggle loud and clear, but to answer these calls was an overwhelming amount of students supporting students.

    Several made quick requests to local moving and storage services, and even found what they said were comparable prices. Multiple students opened their homes and garages for others to temporarily store their stuff in the haste of getting their packed items safe. Some even lent secured U-Haul containers for those in need.

    Nonetheless, the frustration many students expressed was overwhelming. Jack Anderson put the frustration to words.

    “In an already difficult year, both globally and personally, it was really the last thing I needed,” Anderson said.

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    Editor’s Notes:

    *A previous version of the article displayed a photograph of a Cuyahoga Falls U-Haul associate who had no direct ties or involvement with the University Avenue U-Haul location. The Daily Illini regrets this error. 

    *A previous version of the article stated U-Haul declined to comment. U-Haul recently contacted The Daily Illini with a statement in relation to the Illinois incidents. The story has been updated to reflect these comments.