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Credit Card Chargeback for unit break in?

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  • Credit Card Chargeback for unit break in?

    This is kind of a long story....

    Customer rents 10x20 unit in September of 2017. She does pay rent every month until the first week of May in 2018 when she actually goes to her storage space. She comes in the office and says that's not her lock on the unit. The owner goes back with her and cuts the lock off, large pieces of antique furniture are missing from the unit according to the customer. We have no idea when the lock would have been replaced as the customer has not visited her space since January.

    We check that all units are locked at the beginning and end of every day and the owner drives through in the evenings and days the offices are closed.

    The customer is understandably upset and wants the owner to pay for the items she is missing. We are sympathetic to the situation, but we don't know what happened and we don't know when it happened and that's why we strongly recommend insuring the contents because, as all self storage operators, we are not responsible for anything that happens to the contents. The owner explains that we aren't responsible for the contents. She screams at us (literally) about attorneys and suing us. We decide that arguing with the customer is not helping and ask her to contact us at our office address in writing with any legal proceedings.

    We have since enhanced security procedures after being alerted to the problem that will help in the future.

    Customer moves out of the unit at the end of May, she shows accessing the gate on a regular basis throughout May, the unit is unlocked and empty a day before rent would be due for June. The unit is vacated.

    Approximately 2 weeks after the unit is vacated, we receive a chargeback from the credit card company for March, April and May rent for this customer disputing that "goods and services were not received". We respond within their 3 day time period with the lease signed by the customer (outlining the possession and care of contents section) the signed, chip read receipts for payment and gate access logs.

    The dispute resolution team responds that our response is "insufficient to address the card holders claim that the paid storage services when she went there in May all her belongings were gone and you would not help and services were not received". They now want us to "provide documentation that services were rendered". We have no other documentation outside of what we sent and they can't give us a specific definition of what they want.

    The owner has called the dispute resolution team and they are apparently swinging toward the customer at this time, which surprised me. We let them know that we do not agree that they are correct and they said they would "escalate" the complaint. (I have no idea what that means?)

    I would think this would be a civil matter for the customer and I'm confused as to how the credit card company can essentially disregard a separate legal contract we have with the card holder?




  • #2
    What kind of info did you give the c/c company about making tenant aware of her responsibility for her belongings when it comes to insurance? How can she prove what was in there? All her belongings were not gone, just some according to the tenant.

    Rent or house payments on where she lives is not credited back after a home break in. The break in is handled by insurance, just like she should have had. IMO she is ANOTHER "entitled" person who wants to blame others for her mistakes.

    If you want, offer to not fight the 3 month charge back if she signs away the idea of suing you. If not, let her sue. If you have the lease signed and initialed correctly and you cover your bases at move in, then she can pound sand. All my tenants know and sign off that they are responsible for their insurance needs.

    Last but not least, document every step of every thing that has and will happen.
    "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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    • #3
      I sent them the lease she signed and specified the section dealing with the contents. She did initial the insurance section. The property they store not being covered by us is explained to everyone ad nausem in 3 different places at the lease signing to make things clear.

      I'm sure that she consulted with a lawyer prior to handling it this way and found out it was not going to go her way.

      I was just surprised at the cooperation of the credit card provider response.

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      • #4
        The c/c company is her c/c company. She is their customer. They will say what they have so far. I would dispute it to the end. It already sounds like she found out she has no legs to stand on for a law suit. The only recourse she was told about is the 3 months rent. You don't need a lawyer to dispute the chargeback, so fight on. Plus, document, document and if I didn't say it yet, document.

        Years ago a lawyer friend of mine told me, "If it isn't documented, it didn't happen".
        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

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        • #5
          By all means go after this person, this kind of stuff erks me to the core!!! principal, principal, principal
          Dave (Woodee) Scott

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          • #6
            Did you look at the security camera footage?
            You can tell a lot about a tenant from his padlock.

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            • #7
              She last accessed in January, this came up in May. Our cameras don't retain video that far back. And I don't know when I'd have time to watch all that.

              I was more concerned that the credit card provider is even entertaining issuing these payments back basically disregarding our rental agreement and the precedent this sets for anyone who vacates their unit and decides after they're done that they "didn't get services" and we then have to prove they did.

              I assumed only a judge could interpret a legal contract as lawful or not, not a credit card dispute resolution team.

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              • #8
                How long was she on the property in January? Long enough to remove several large pieces of furniture? When you say she initialed the insurance section, does that mean she said she had insurance for her belongings? Or she was refusing it? Do you know if she ever filed a police report? Most people will file a police report if they have something stolen, especially what she is claiming was stolen. If she didn't, that's a red flag to me that those things were never in the unit. Wouldn't it be more important to notify the police instead of your credit card company? Fight this as long as you can, and get your facility attorney involved at some, if they aren't already. This sounds very fishy to me and makes me wonder if she hasn't tried to pull this same thing at other facilities in the area. Maybe call a few to see if you can get any info on whether or not she rented anywhere else and a similar "theft" occurred??
                Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

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                • #9
                  The owner doesn't want to require insurance but we strongly recommend it, we are up front with customers that there have been break ins here. so there is an area on the lease to initial that we explained insurance availability with Storsmart and are not covering the items in storage and they initial the section on the lease covering that. We have since made another in house addendum that also goes over the point that we don't cover the contents.

                  We received response that everything we sent them "is unable to prove that the cardholder acknowledged receiving the services" and "provide any card holder signed documentation specifically stating that they acknowledged receiving the services and they benefited from them"

                  What?

                  I don't have a signed documents from ANY of the customers specifically "acknowledging they received services or benefited from them".

                  We are pursuing this as far as it's cost effective because we believe we are correct and I feel like they are asking for documentation for a "state of mind" or something which they also know we can't provide.


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                  • #10
                    First of all, start requiring all customers insure their belongings and they must provide proof or participate in your pay with rent options.

                    2nd. Let the charge back go and mark it as a lesson learned that insurance should have been required.

                    The hassle, headache, and cost of fighting this claim is certainly not worth it. My gut tells me that this customer never put any of the said items in storage to begin with. Believe it or not, there are scammers in our business. Another reason to require insurance.

                    Just my humble opinion, however I have been in our business for almost 20 years and have learned which battles to fight, and which to let go. If it were one of my properties, that is the decision I would make.

                    Respectfully.....
                    Stephanie Tharpe
                    Senior VP of Operations
                    A+ Storage of Tennessee, LLC
                    Nashville, TN
                    http://www.aplustorage.com
                    615.288.2162

                    TNSSA Board of Directors
                    www.tnssa.net

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MusicCity Gal View Post
                      First of all, start requiring all customers insure their belongings and they must provide proof or participate in your pay with rent options.

                      2nd. Let the charge back go and mark it as a lesson learned that insurance should have been required.

                      The hassle, headache, and cost of fighting this claim is certainly not worth it. My gut tells me that this customer never put any of the said items in storage to begin with. Believe it or not, there are scammers in our business. Another reason to require insurance.

                      Just my humble opinion, however I have been in our business for almost 20 years and have learned which battles to fight, and which to let go. If it were one of my properties, that is the decision I would make.

                      Respectfully.....
                      I am not sure requiring insurance would of prevented the charge back, I would resend in the access control logs showing the tenant using the property as your proof the services were rendered. That is going to be your best way to prove this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We are self-storage. The service we provide is an empty box for them to load as they choose. You provided those services, and they used those services. End of story! Any loss goes to insurance, not credit card.
                        MamaDuke

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