JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A disabled local man and a storage company are boxed in over how much he should be paying for a storage unit, so he reached out to Action News Jax's Ben Becker to unpack the dispute and get answers.
"You saw it [the price] and you thought, 'Hey pretty good deal?'” asked Ben.
“Yeah,” responded Craig Walters who wanted to rent a storage unit at Extra Space Storage on Girvin Road.
Walters -- who is hard of hearing and has a learning disability -- made an online reservation for a 10 x 7 unit for $79 per month. He also saw an online ad offering the first month free and 15 percent off. The free month is also advertised on the building and on an electronic sign at Girvin Road.
“They said, 'You misunderstood. It's either one or the other,' and I said, 'No,'” Walters told Ben.
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Complicating matters, Walters said he was given a pamphlet by the manager, with the monthly amount written in as $79.
He said the manager told him to sign this contract for the regular price of $113 a month and corporate would fix it later, but Walters' father -- who was with him at the time -- said that was a mistake.
“They should have never told us to go ahead and move in,” Charles Walters said.
But they did, and soon after, Craig Walters said the company told him it would not honor the $79 price and then claims things went from bad to worse.
“I got back with the general manager and he's the one that told me, 'What are you, stupid?'” Walters tells Ben. “'You don't understand the advertisement.'”
“I'm going to try to get you some answers,” Ben told Walters.
“Thank you,” Walters said.
First, Ben went to Extra Space Storage and asked about Walters' situation.
“Walters says he was quoted a price of $79 per month,” Ben told the manager, who responded they were not allowed to talk.
Becker pressed on: “You're not allowed to talk to me?”
She responded, “No.”
So, Ben emailed and phoned corporate headquarters and later that day, a spokesperson sent Ben this statement:
“The promotion under which Mr. Walters made his reservation was for a discounted rate of $79, an offer which did not include a first month free. Our store manager informed him that a first month free offer was not available together with the discounted rate of $79, however, if he preferred a first month free she could provide a free month at the standard rate of $113/month thereafter. Mr. Walters chose to accept the first month free promotion at the rate of $113 instead of the discounted rate of $79, and initialed on the lease form that he was agreeing to a rate of $113/month. While we believe his options were clearly explained, we have agreed to reduce his rate to $79 to show Mr. Walters that we appreciate his business and value him as a customer.”
As for the accusations Walters made about being disrespected, the company spokesperson says:
“As I have reviewed the situation with anybody who had contact with the customer, I can’t see anything that would indicate that any of our employees said anything insulting to the customer. Specifically, none of the notes indicate that our employees viewed this as an overly controversial interaction, so I can’t see why anybody would have been upset with him. It would be out of character for any of them. In fact, all of them were surprised to hear he went to the media because they didn’t feel like it was an overly tense situation.”
Walters said he's happy to have a resolution but has this advice for others when signing any contract
“We need to let them know to make sure they really read everything,” Walters said.
The Better Business Bureau also suggests you research any business and look for online feedback when making a purchase.
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