Are Life Storage customers “on their own?”
April 28, 2022
My family of four looked to Extra Space Storage in September 2021 when we encountered unforeseen circumstances in our living situation. A reality that many Americans and those in the Phoenix Metro area are facing.
I received exceptional customer service and had complete confidence in the team.
Our storage units located at Life Storage (formerly Extra Space)-Mesa, 8803 E Pecos Rd Mesa, AZ 85212, were purchased by Life Storage just prior to 2022. Life Storage, a publicly traded giant in the self-storage industry, formerly known as Sovran Self Storage, rebranded in 2017 and boasts of having a “customercentric focus, progressive growth, and innovative technologies.”
On a recent trip to my storage units (at the above location) I discovered water/foreign substance had come through the roof/walls of both my units and the walls appeared to have oxidation setting into the masonry structure.
I reported this to Kristine in the front office via telephone and emailed over pictures to confirm the condition of my units. I did not hear anything back from anyone. I went in person to ask for a walkthrough inspection with a team member, which was done. I was told at the end of the walk-through Life Storage would take no responsibility for any of my belongings in the event they were compromised. I was told the facility has a faulty roof drainage system. This design flaw results in water collected on the
roof not having an adequate escape route off the roof. The conduits which are supposed to carry the water off the roof are positioned/designed to where the openings sit above what would be the pooling water line on the roof. Therefore, the water has no gravity assisted way to be carried off the roof resulting in an accumulation, which is entering into the storage units.
Dave the manager reached out to me (per my request) and offered me some boxes in the event I wanted to move my things to another unit within the facility. He reiterated, because I declined the thirdparty insurance I was on my own when it came to any of my things needing to be repaired or replaced. When I asked who was going to cover the time and cost of the labor to relocate my things, I was told,
“you would.” When I asked who would take responsibility if any of my things were compromised, I was
told, “you would.”
I reached out to Mr. Philip Wilfong, Regional Vice President, who was prompt in responding to my issue and put me in touch with Mr. Sungsoo Chun, Area Manager. Mr. Chun did not support or condone the way things were handled and did extend an apology. To rectify the issue, he committed to refund me a month of rent and agreed to “take care” of moving my things from the compromised units to neighboring units. During a scheduled meeting in early March to move my family’s things and assess the
damage to the contained items Mr. Chun arrived at the storage location with two other employees and a single box dolly to move-out and transfer two 10x10 units. Both full packed. The details of this plan were never discussed with me. He himself and those he recruited were dressed in polo shirts and dress pants. Furthermore, one of the gentlemen with him was at least 30 years my senior. Hear me. This is in
no way to demean or diminish his abilities at all. Rather, it was offensive to me for Mr. Chun to suggest I stand by and let a seasoned man (who given his experience and wisdom should be overseeing all of us there, including Mr. Chun) labor in moving my stuff. This would be the equivalent to a very fit and able body thirty- or forty-year-old standing there watching his father move his things in and out of a said
location, for most of the day. I took exception to this on the basis; 1) a team with no moving experience was a poor and inefficient use of resources (including mine); 2) who was to be held liable/insured if someone was injured or something was broken; 3) it was dishonoring and disrespectful; 4) demonstrated a lack of ownership and responsibility. When he said “we will take care of moving your
things” my expectation, and I believe a reasonable one, was for someone in his leadership role to take full responsibility for the time and finances to hire a moving crew to do it the right way. When I challenged him, it was apparent where his character and leadership fundamentals rest. He refused to pay to have my things moved by a bonified company. When I told him I would be hiring someone and
would apply my one-month credit to front the bill his reply was, “well, I’m not going to just write you a check.” When I gave further pushback about his decision making, approach, and communication his response was, "I'm sorry that's how you feel and think...". At one point I asked him directly if he could remember the last time, he moved his family’s belongings himself. I was inviting him to reflect on how
realistic his assessment and plan to execute the task at hand was. He replied, “I haven’t.” Therein lies the issue. His mindset and behavior were nothing short of arrogant, unsympathetic, and disrespectful. His team had a front row seat to his standards and embodiment of Life Storage. I never did receive any measure of apology from Dave, Site Manager, since our “you would” conversation over the phone. Nor was Dave present during the first attempt to have my things moved out.
I don’t know Life Storage. I know my experience of Life Storage.
I don’t know Life Storage’s leadership. I know my experience of Life Storage’s leadership. I don’t know Life-Storage’s values, mission, or vision (they’re not there). Therefore, all I can conclude is what I know of this company from my experience,
however myopic that may seem. That is, they are following suit with other mainstream corporations in America that have put their corporate conscience on the alter in the name of things like “large”, “world”, and “growth”. This comes at the cost and degradation of fundamental values like responsibility, accountability, and integrity, which companies like Uncle Bob’s Self Storage was founded on in the late
Afterall, my things are just that-things. But, with Life-Storage you may just be “on your own.”
Later that month, I had my things moved out of both compromised units and relocated to a different storage company. There was a white substance all over my military duffels and other items.