In our last article we told you about the tragic case of David Goldner, an L.A. artist whose life’s work was irretrievably auctioned off by the treasure-hunting pirates at Public Storage. Here’s a class-action lawsuit that has been filed on behalf of all Californians who have been defrauded or otherwise abused by the Poblic Storage crinimals:
Category Archives: deceptive business practices
Class Action Lawsuit Launched Against Public Storage for “False Advertising” and Violations of California Consumer Laws
There are thousands of stories about how Public Storage or one of the other greedy REIT’s that run the US’ public storage facilities have ruined people’s lives. But this story is truly heart-breaking. David Goldner, an artist from Los Angeles, CA had his entire life’s work wiped out by the scum at Public Storage because he was a month and a half late on his rent! More than 40 years of work was auctioned off because he was behind on his rent – and now Public Storage refuses to let him know who bought his storage space so he can negotiate its safe return!
Capitalism, at best, is nothing but a trap for the vast majority of the working class who are forced to live under an economic system in which the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care – are considered to be “privileges” granted – or not – by the wealthy capitalists who own the nation’s residential and commercial properties and who own the legislatures of the capitalist world.
Mr. Goldner’s story is republished here from his blog at http://www.laartsdistrictblogs.com/. He also has a Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PublicStorageSleazyThieves
His story is yet another reason why we say: PUBLIC STORAGE SUCKS!
—– Public Storage Sucks
REBUTAL LETTER TO DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER & BUSINESS AFFAIRS
AFTER PUBLIC STORAGE BLATANTLY LIES TO COVER YET ANOTHER ILLEGAL AUCTION
Mr. Anthony Wai
Los Angeles County Consumer & Business Affairs
500 W. Temple St, Room B-96
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2706
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to rebut this non sequitur self serving excuse from Public Storage. After reading their letter, I realized we were dealing with yet another sub-manager within Public Storage who I personally have never heard of before, nor have I ever had contact with him at Public Storage; yet he is claiming he’s telling you facts about me that are blatantly false, and he apparently knows absolutely nothing about the actual facts of the situation, or more likely, considering how blatantly wrong his so called facts actually are, is just shamelessly lying to you as he attempts to wordsmith Public Storage’s statement in an attempt to cover up their illegal and blatantly predatory policies and illegal business practices. Once again, this is what I have come to expect from Public Storage and just goes to show their lack of integrity and ethics, and shows the total contempt all the faceless employees at Public Storage seem to show for their customers.
First off, I’ve been a Photographer / Artist since I was in Jr. High. I was forced to put my entire live /work studio in storage after a VC group defaulted on a contract to fund an Art Based reality show I have created, and have a cable commitment to air. I had given up the lease on my smaller studio and had a lease in my hand for a bigger place to shoot the series. But at the last minute, when the VC group didn’t come up with the funding, and I had given up my old lease, I had to put my entire studio (A live/work studio) in storage while I looked elsewhere for the funding to do the show. The VC guys left me in a bad spot and I’ve been struggling everyday since to get back on my feet. Just a few months before, I had been back in school for almost two years, learning to do photo realistic 3D to blend with my multimedia artwork. And I had built a big computer to do 3D that cost a fortune as well. (This was also in storage at PS) And I did that all on my own dime, so I was very low on personal funds at that point. But I had several big projects I was pushing after school was over and the reality show is the one that everyone loved.
I picked public storage because they had a $1 dollar for the first month move in and I just assumed because they were in the arts district it would be a safe place to store in. I took the biggest space they had. 40 plus years of my life was in there. Little did I know Public Storage would be the predators I would have to deal with. And Dale Washington had a few things to say about their fuzzy math on that first month one dollar special as well. So apparently, I started getting screwed by Public Storage from moment one!
At the time of the illegal auctioning of all my belongings on March 17th, I had no working phone, and I had no current living address, and the District Manager, Margaret Sommers, the one and only person that had contacted me via email was the only person I was dealing with. And that contact was all via email. Margaret Sommers very well knew I didn’t have a working phone because I told her that via email in December 14th- 15th 2014 and can be verified in the email logs I have sent you. Margaret Sommers was also informed that the address Public Storage was mailing auction notices to, was an old address I had moved out of. I told them that fact the day I signed up and moved in as well!
Margaret Sommers was told the address was wrong in December 2014, because she actually asked me if it was correct. And again, I informed her at that time, via email in December 2014, it was not a correct address and was in fact my old address I moved out of. I requested all auction notices be emailed to me. And I told Margaret Sommers that I had no current mailing address or phone number. She knew my situation. So why did she blatantly ignore those facts in March??? Alzheimer’s ? A head injury? Because it was convenient? Or because they have no ethics? I say the ladder is true.
Margaret Sommers had contacted me via email to “REMIND” me they were auctioning off my belongings on December 18th 2014. I was literally 18 days late at that point. But her email just days before was the first notice I had gotten about any auction. And considering all the back rent had been paid, I assumed she was just mistaken. But she was dead serious. I kid you not, sir. I owed for that month alone. 18 days at that auction point!! And they actually did auction off my unit on December 18th, 2014. This is a great example of exactly what their predatory self serving fuzzy math is allowing them to do! Eighteen days late and they thought it was okay to auction all my belongings? I’ll be damned if this isn’t wrong on so many levels! They literally put me through a mental hell with that first auction alone!
Then after the auction, Margaret Sommers told me that the auction was on contingency and they decided they would give me until the end of the month to pay. How magnanimous of them, huh? That’s when I started to castigate her and Public Storage for doing what they did! They put me through a mental hell! Had I had the means to do so, I would have taken my belongings out right then! But I was not in a financial position to do so.
So to easily disprove a few points Phillip Cannon is falsely asserting, let’s start with the first time Public Storage actually auctioned off my unit in December, shall we? As I mentioned, I had paid all my past due, but they still acted like they had the right to ignore that fact because I had paid the past due after the first, rather than the day before, on the 30th. This is how they are getting away with destroying people’s lives! They have literally made up their own non sequitur fuzzy math and say their contract makes it legal. This is a despicable, shameless and totally predatory business practice and needs to be called out by the FTC for being blatantly unethical!
Phillip Cannon asserts that Public Storage was left with no “choice” but to auction off all my belongings on March 17th 2015. Really? Well first off, please ask Phillip to explain what Public Storage’s motivation was on the first auction on December, 18th, when all the past due had been paid? Did they have no “choice” but to auction my unit at that time as well? Saying they had no choice is just pure bullshit! They do have a choice. They do this because they think they can get away with it. They do this because the FTC and local prosecutors are letting them get away with it. They do this because they claim according to their contract, they can, and because they want to! Not because they are compelled to!!! There was absolutely nothing compelling them to auction my belongings except their own predatory business practices and their blatant corporate greed.
Again, Phillip Cannon stated as fact in his Public Storages letter to you that I owed 3 months rent at the time of the auction. This is just another blatant lie! A fictional tale Public Storage is spinning for you to try and justify this illegal auction. I was a month and a half over due at the time of the auction. And in the same sentence Phillip is telling you I owed 3 months rent, he shows you a figure that represents the two months rent I actually owed. Phillip Cannon has tried to make it sound like I had not made a payment since 2014, saying I haven’t had a zero balance since December. Trying to make it sound like I had not paid in more than 3 months and I had abandoned my property and they just had no choice. But he fails to mention, and the payment records will clearly show, that a payment was made just 35 days before that auction. These people are just despicable and have literally tried to justify what they have done to me with blatant lies to you and your agency.
Phillip Cannon also asserts that they contacted me via phone multiple times and I made multiple promises to them to pay. Really? At what phone number? Again, referring back to my emails to Margaret Sommers in December 2014, (14th-15th); I informed her at that time that I did not currently have a phone. And I did not get a phone until after that March auction. And that was a free phone service I had to apply for. So how could Public Storage have called me and gotten promises from me when I had no phone for them to call in that time period? Maybe they can explain that to you? This was blatantly made up by Public Storage! Total fiction, again to help support their story that I was somehow notified about the auction! Absolutely not true! A totally fabricated mendacity! I got an email on Sunday, March the 15th again, “REMINDING” me they were auctioning off my unit on Tuesday the 17th if I couldn’t pay by Monday the 16th. That email just days before was my first and only notice about the March 17th auction. So Phillip Cannon’s assertion that I had ample notice, is just absolutely untrue and just more pure bullshit from Public Storage! I found out on the 15th that they were going to auction my belongings on the 17th. That is not ample notice!
Margaret Sommers very well knew the address Public Storage was mailing auction notices to for that March auction, was not a valid address for me because I had informed her of that in an email MONTHS before in December. But apparently, she just didn’t care and then just kept sending them to the same old address as if that was okay. Does the FTC think that’s okay? And when she contacted me about the march auction, she never once mention the mailed notices when I protested her two day email notice because she knew we had discussed that months earlier. She knew very well Public Storage was sending notices to a invalid address but ignored that fact.
Margaret Sommers could have emailed me the auction notice as I requested in the December email, but she didn’t. Her two day email “REMINDER” was fine with her, but apparently emailing me the actual auction notices when it first went out was too difficult? She is a district manager and she had an obligation to make sure she was doing everything properly. But she blatantly, willfully and I think spitefully didn’t. I was struggling and she knew that and I think took advantage of that fact. And I truly believe it was my reaction to that ridiculous first auction she is spiteful about. She didn’t like being castigated by me for what she and Public Storage had unjustly put me through with their “Mock Auction” in December, so she got even with the next auction. I think it was malicious and purposeful and blatantly illegal. And as Phillip Cannon mentioned, they have a “choice”. And they choose to not care about their customers or the facts, and just do the wrong thing for their convenience and their own personal gain or ego without any conscience about what they do to innocent people.
40 years of my copyrighted Photography and art work is gone! Stolen by Public Storage! These corporate thieves have destroyed my life and my career. Ten’s of thousands of negatives, transparencies and my own custom prints are just gone. All my tear sheets of ads, magazine covers, everything I’ve ever accomplished as a photographer is gone because of pure corporate greed! I have nothing physical to show for 40 years of being an artist! They have wiped it out! Dozens of my paintings from the 80’s to now are gone. All my studio, darkroom, lighting equipment, three computers, my scanner, my printer, my entire business is just gone. All my cameras. All my portfolios of all my work is gone!! My power tools, my telescopes, my camping equipment. Not to mention everything personal that I had left from my family and childhood. I struggled for 40 plus years for everything I had! And they wiped it out like it was nothing! Because it’s nothing to them! I was a month and a half late! That’s all!! And they won’t even tell me who bought my unit so I can try to get my copyrighted work back! Public Storage is despicable and reprehensible and a totally self serving conglomerate of conscienceless corporate thieves!
This 550 million dollar a year company has destroyed my life and they want to claim it was just something they had to do? That they just had no choice? What total bullshit! There was absolutely nothing compelling them to rape my entire life away except their own predatory policies of pure corporate greed. As Phillip Cannon made clear, they do have a choice. But they seem to always choose to do the wrong thing and then try to bury the actual facts with lies, double talk and their own non sequitur fuzzy math that the FTC needs to stop.
This just can’t be happening to people and it’s happening all over. The FTC needs to act now! My case is far from being an anomaly. I may be louder then some, but I am far from alone . This is Public Storage’s reputation all over the internet. So many people Public Storage has hurt have contacted me since my web site about them went up. Their predatory business practices need to be stopped immediately. The FTC needs to take action before this happens to someone else. And I guarantee you it will be happening to someone else tomorrow unless you help stop it today!
We were searching for info on Public Storage’s corporate offices and ran across a
The website isn’t even an actual Public Storage site; it’s one of those bogus “company info” websites that just shows the address and phone number for Public Storage’s national headquarters in California. But apparently people hate Public Storage so much, and it’s so hard to actually find the Public Storage website and register a complaint with them that PS customers have started posting their complaints all over the web in desperation!
Here are a few of the best complaints from the site. See if any of these customers’ complaints sound familiar to you:
[9 June 2014] “Amazingly nice staff until I discovered they broke into my storage stolen and damaged items. To date Public Storage has refused to assist with damages. Insist on small claims. The regional director and corporate staff didn’t deny it’s a problem nor denied it’s there policy to do pulmonary inventory via video surveillance when you move in. I moved over $15,000.00 worth of inventory into my unit. $1000’s stolen and damaged.”
[5 June 2014] “Outrageous Pricing – I’m a long time renter in Chicago since 2010, without missing a payment and never late. My rent has been raised 34 dollars in the last 5 months with no explanation, other than a customer service rep telling me ‘We can raise your rent whenever we feel like it, there’s no limit’ WOW. So I will be exiting as of this month. Thank you for the great relationship!”
[UPDATED!] Public Storage Deceptive Business Practices: Not Notifying Customers of Date of Impending Auctions
[UPDATED 30 April 2014 (see below)]
We’ve been following the slow progress of one of our correspondents’ attempts to keep their personal belongings from being legally stolen by Public Storage in Morton Grove, IL. This person reports to us this week that although the managers at Public Storage have related in phone conversations that the auction is scheduled for the 23rd of April, no written notice of this auction has been received, and though Public Storage has sent him several emails warning that an auction “is scheduled” not one of these emails has stated the exact date for that auction. In addition, when this long-term customer of the company goes to their website to see what is owed on the storage unit, the website mentions nothing at all about a pending auction nor does it give the scheduled date of that auction. These are screenshots of the Public Storage website showing this customer logged in to their account information:
This is clearly a very deceptive move by Public Storage – they make it look like it’s “business as usual” as far as the customer can tell. There are no big warning notices that an auction has already been scheduled – and is due to take place in 48 hours if FULL PAYMENT isn’t made! And this document shows how long this “loyal” customer has been renting this space from Public Storage – since January of 2009! Thus, in spite of the fact that this customer has been a long-time customer and has paid the bill every month for over 5 years – a grand total of at least $12,000.00 – Public Storage REFUSES TO ALLOW THIS CUSTOMER TO MAKE PAYMENTS on an arrears of just $780.75 and is set to legally steal this customer’s belongings and sell them at an auction as if they were abandoned property! This is highway robbery! And they refuse to work out a way for this customer to keep their property! “Storage Wars”? It should be “Storage Pirates”!
We’ll keep you posted if we receive any news on this case in the next 2 days.
This is why we say: “PUBLIC STORAGE SUCKS!”
UPDATE: Our correspondent reports that they were able to come up with the money to pay off the prates at Public Storage the day before the scheduled auction on April 23, 2014; however, there was a strange wrinkle to the end of the story.
When this person went in to pay the bill and inquired about the scheduled auction date, the Public Storage employee on duty stated that the auction had been postponed for a month – until late May. This customer had not been notified by mail, email or any other method of communication from Public Storage to this effect. The customer asked for a copy of the document stating that the auction had been rescheduled; the PS employee replied: “I can’t print this out for you, the computer won’t allow it”. Unable to verify that the auction had, in fact, been postponed a month, the customer elected to pay the amount past due, settling the case. All of the property that Public Storage had essentially confiscated from this customer for the past two months was found intact as it had been left by the customer, in his storage unit.
The customer told us that the reason that he did not believe the PS employee when he told the customer that the auction was rescheduled was because “you simply can not trust these people to tell you the truth”. The experience this customer went through with the managers of the Public Storage facility in Morton Grove, IL was of such an acrimonious nature that this customer no longer believes a word they say. “What if I was to wait, assuming that there had been a new auction date set and just took the employees’ word for it? How do I know that it wasn’t just a trick to get me to not pay the rent on time, and then Public Storage would just go ahead and auction off my stuff anyway?”
It’s a very valid point; and in fact we have received another communication from another source in Morton Grove who told us that he overheard a woman telling someone on the phone that she had just been swindled out of her prized family memorabilia by an unnamed storage company in Morton Grove that misled her about the scheduled auction date for her property. They told her that she had several weeks before an auction would be scheduled; then when she had raised enough money to pay for her rent, and went to pay the bill in person, she was informed that the storage company had “moved up the date” of the auction and had, in fact, sold her property. In this case, we have been unable to confirm that she had been victimized by Public Storage; but we relay it to our readers in order to warn you that these self-storage companies are turning into a bunch of wolves who are out to legally STEAL YOUR STUFF!
Public Storage Sucks!