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  1. #1
    Sparky is offline Member
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    Default Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    I was hoping to get some input from other facilities on how they handle the confidentiality of their renters. I have always told my manager to not give out any information to anyone about a renter or what a renter is storing unless that persons signature is also signed on the rental contract. I have told the manager to not even tell a person if someone is renting from us. I would be interested if other facilities do this also and how far do you take it. What if the wife comes in to set up the space and is the only one who signs the contract, will you give account information to the husband if he calls or comes in or if he doesn’t have his code when he comes in will you let him in? Where do you draw that line, I question sometimes where I should. Also do you take payment from anybody to pay an account, I’m thinking I can is that right? Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. #2
    aWESome's Avatar
    aWESome is offline Senior Member
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    Smile Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    Information about a renter's account, or whether a particular person is a renter or not is held in strict confidence. When a tenant calls to ask questions about his or her account, even if I recognize their voice, I'll ask them to tell me their security code to verify they are who they say they are. Most of the time, I can recognize their voice, but it makes the tenant feel a little better knowing we are looking out for thenm.

    Recently. a private investigator questioned our operations manager at one of our other locations about a particular tenant. He even presented a court document stating he represented a certain client, but it wasn't a court order or search warrant. Our OM apologized to the man and informed him he wouldn't be able to provide any information. The PI then left, and we were spared a potential liability.

    I do allow anyone to make payments if they know the unit number or the last name on the account. If it's not someone I am familiar with, I may make a note on the tenant's account that someone other than the tenant came in to make a payment, and get some information from them as a courtesy.

    I think it's best to stay on the safe side when it comes to protecting your tenant's privacy. Sounds like you are on the right track.

    Cheers,
    Wes Merriott
    Property Manager
    Mansfield Road Storage Center
    Shreveport, LA

    Vires in Arduis!

  3. #3
    JamestownStorage#8's Avatar
    JamestownStorage#8 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    I was hoping to get some input from other facilities on how they handle the confidentiality of their renters. I have always told my manager to not give out any information to anyone about a renter or what a renter is storing unless that persons signature is also signed on the rental contract. I have told the manager to not even tell a person if someone is renting from us. I would be interested if other facilities do this also and how far do you take it. What if the wife comes in to set up the space and is the only one who signs the contract, will you give account information to the husband if he calls or comes in or if he doesn’t have his code when he comes in will you let him in? Where do you draw that line, I question sometimes where I should. Also do you take payment from anybody to pay an account, I’m thinking I can is that right? Thank you for your thoughts.
    At the bottom of our storage application it says:

    [B]Person (other than tenant) authorized for access: ________________

    Tenant's signature: ____________________________________________[B]

    When customer leaves this blank we explain if ANYONE asks for gate code, if their name is not there we will not give out gate code. We also check ID to make sure person in front of us is not a disgruntled ex-relationship who happens to have gotten hold of the unit key!!

    Hope this helps!
    ______________________
    Pat Friddle
    High Point,NC
    AAA Self Storage


    Success always involves risk; you can't steal second base with your foot on first. - Frederick Wilcox

  4. #4
    Sparky is offline Member
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    A big thanks to all for the information it REALLY is a big help. I like this idea of putting the "authorized for access" at the bottom of the contract. I wonder though if I represent that I would only allow that additional person could I be more liable if someone that they carelessly gave the code to in the past came through the gate without us knowing? Also, a question for anyone, if a husband and wife both sign the contract then a year later they devorce (or seperated) and one of them come in and want to remove the other from access, how do you handle that? Thanks again, I'll stop with the questions now!

  5. #5
    Tom Litton is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    A big thanks to all for the information it REALLY is a big help. I like this idea of putting the "authorized for access" at the bottom of the contract. I wonder though if I represent that I would only allow that additional person could I be more liable if someone that they carelessly gave the code to in the past came through the gate without us knowing? Also, a question for anyone, if a husband and wife both sign the contract then a year later they devorce (or seperated) and one of them come in and want to remove the other from access, how do you handle that? Thanks again, I'll stop with the questions now!
    You bring up a really good point Sparky. Authorized for access lists have become disfavored in the industry overall. That does not mean that if you are using them you are doing anything wrong. The reason they are disfavored is that they present greater liability to the facility with virtually no benefit conveyed. Tenants also make the same argument presented by Sparky, "Does the disclosure of others authorized for access obligate the facility to verify the identity of every person driving through the gate?"

    Another common misconception is that "others authorized for access" allows the parties disclosed to enter the space when a tenant passes away. However, when a tenant dies, the access lists dies with the tenant and therefore, the individuals disclosed on the access lists can no longer access the space.

    In a recent court decision, Cook v. Public Storage, this issue arose when the Cooks argued that the access lists was evidence that Public Storage knew of the existence of a co-tenancy.

    Most facilities that use "others authorized for access" lists do not address the collateral issues such as "How does the tenant remove or add others, via writing only?" or "What constitutes access, disclosure of the gate code only, lock removal upon request, neither or both?" These issues need to be addressed via specific contract language for access lists to work well.

    Since these issues present greater liability and subsequently diligence by the facility management, these provisions are disfavored. In other words, more work and liability for the manager, only grief when things go wrong.

    DISCLAIMER: This is just my opinion, it is not legal advice. Consult your own legal counsel. Take him/her to lunch, add them on your Facebook account and remember, "ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FOREST FIRES!"

  6. #6
    CrazyDave is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    At what point, however, does our desire to protect ourselves from liability exceed our desire to provide customer service? Our clients are the greatest voice in what their expectations are. If you have come to know your client base, then you should feel comfortable in weighing what it is they are asking. For example, consider the mother who sends the son to get something from her storage unit yet forgets to give him the code. We entrust the tenants alone to dictate who they authorize access (in other words, we do not use the authorized access form). A simple phone call would suffice to determine the tenants wishes. A good manager has the ability to discern when something is just an oversight and when it's a real security concern. A good owner ensures rental agreements protect the manager. It seems there are many managers who treat their assignments as if it were an issue of National Security to the extent that it begins to impede their ability to meet customer expectations. After all, the vast majority of storage clients use our service ofr the lowest priority possessions. Just an observation....

  7. #7
    MusicCity Gal's Avatar
    MusicCity Gal is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    I agree with everything that has been posted so far. But let me just share with you some REAL LIFE experiences that I have personally had happen:

    1. Lady calls, she is a lawyer for an estate and needs info - If you are a lawyer then you know I cannot tell you anything. - Well what if I call the police! - Go ahead and call them.....never heard back. Anyone can call you and tell you they are a lawyer, DUH!!

    2. Snap On Uniformed Employee comes in. We think we have a former employee who has stolen tools stored here - Sorry, can't tell you anything. Happy to cooperate with a court order.

    3. Uniformed POLICE OFFICER with a Badge, I need to know if so and so stores here - You know I cannot tell you anything. I am happy to cooperate with a court order.

    4. Tenant pays rent with a stolen credit card. We didn't know. Her employer who owned the card pressed charges. The one and ONLY time I have ever gotten a supoena. When it is real the police are more than happy to get you what you need.

    Just beware that People are SLICK!!
    Stephanie Tharpe
    Operations and Marketing Specialist
    A+M Group, LLC
    Nashville, TN

  8. #8
    MusicCity Gal's Avatar
    MusicCity Gal is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Keeping Customer Info Confidential??

    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyDave View Post
    At what point, however, does our desire to protect ourselves from liability exceed our desire to provide customer service? Our clients are the greatest voice in what their expectations are. If you have come to know your client base, then you should feel comfortable in weighing what it is they are asking. For example, consider the mother who sends the son to get something from her storage unit yet forgets to give him the code. We entrust the tenants alone to dictate who they authorize access (in other words, we do not use the authorized access form). A simple phone call would suffice to determine the tenants wishes. A good manager has the ability to discern when something is just an oversight and when it's a real security concern. A good owner ensures rental agreements protect the manager. It seems there are many managers who treat their assignments as if it were an issue of National Security to the extent that it begins to impede their ability to meet customer expectations. After all, the vast majority of storage clients use our service ofr the lowest priority possessions. Just an observation....

    Until you get smacked with that first lawsuit for thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, we have to be careful. We are in a unique situation to discern our own tenants and their needs. The older ones who have a history with us that we know very well, sure mom can call. But why can't son call mom to get code.....He can even use my phone to call her!!

    After attending a legal seminar sponsored by our SSA, we have learned that crooks are targeting our industry. Rent a unit, don't pay and then wait to see if every legal procedure is done correctly. Miss one dot over the eye and you are in court.......

    I say it is better to be safe than sorry. AND if we are all on the same page, customers will learn these practices to be industry standard. My first job is to protect my tenant. Period.....I have never had a tenant complain when I explain it is for their protection.
    Stephanie Tharpe
    Operations and Marketing Specialist
    A+M Group, LLC
    Nashville, TN

 

 
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