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Tips to Avoid Common Truck Rental Problems

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Moving day always has the potential to go terribly wrong--inconveniences can arise due to a number of factors and make your already stressful experience even more frustrating. However, proper preparation, research and knowledge can greatly decrease your chances of encountering trouble during your move.

Common Truck Rental Problems

To ensure a smooth truck rental move, read on for some common problems that may arise during the move and how to avoid them.

Last minute truck rental reservations

When renting a truck for your move, it's important to make sure you schedule your reservation in advance. A common problem for DIY-ers occurs when waiting until the last minute to make a truck rental reservation, especially during peak season--only to find the company is all booked up. If you are planning a move during the summer or at the end of the month, be sure to reserve your truck at least two months in advance.

Another common problem occurs when a rental truck agency you booked is not reliable and doesn't hold your reservation. Angry customers have complained about making reservations, only to discover there is no truck held for them on moving day. To avoid becoming a victim, be sure to conduct a thorough background check on the truck rental company before using their services to verify they are reputable and trustworthy. And also make sure to have the contract you have signed in writing.

Difficulty in driving the truck

Handling a cumbersome moving truck can be difficult for the drivers who are inexperienced in operating large vehicles. Driving a moving truck should be done with extra care and caution to avoid accidents and other problems on the road. To ensure your trip goes smoothly, be sure to plan your route in advance to adjust for road weight restrictions and low bridges that will not accommodate your truck. Always take turns slowly, pay attention to the traffic signals, and check your mirrors before changing lanes.

Age restrictions for the driver

It's common to take turns with a friend or family member while driving the truck. However, many truck rental companies fix the age limit of the driver. Some may not allow a person below the age of 18 to drive while some companies suggest that the minimum age should be around 25. In such a case, you may have to pay some charges (also known as the young driver fee) to include a driver below the allowed age limit. Also, you need to get the other person protected against any mishap for which you will have to bear the cost of insurance as well.

Extra fees

Rental truck companies may tack on hidden fees not included in your initial quote. Always read the fine print in your rental agreement and ask questions before signing. You may be quoted a flat rate for your truck, but incur extra charges for mileage, late return, moving tools, and fuel costs. You will often be charged more for a "one-way move"-- if you are moving long distance and have to return the truck to a different location, you may be charged a higher rate. The ultimate cost of your rental truck depends on a variety of factors--getting the best deal requires thorough research and knowing the right questions to ask the truck rental company.

Renting poor quality vehicles

If you rent a truck without doing the proper inspection, you may wind up stranded on the side of the road with the vehicle full of your belongings. For your personal safety and the protection of your goods, a well-running rental truck is essential. Transporting your shipment cross-country in a sputtering jalopy will only ensure more headaches and stress during an already exhausting experience.

When you arrive at the agency on pick-up day, be sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle before signing any papers. Ensure that any physical damage, interior or exterior, is clearly documented on the inspection sheet so you cannot be blamed for it later. Ask questions about the truck's history, any accidents it was involved in, and the dates of its last service.

Insufficient space

A major roadblock on moving day occurs when you load up your truck and find that you underestimated the volume of your goods. Having a lack of storage space to transport your belongings can wreak havoc on your moving schedule. Will you have to make two trips? If you are moving long distance, this may not even be plausible.

Determining the size of the truck you should rent can sometimes be tricky and difficult. So, it's always a good idea to rent a moving truck at least 10 to 15 percent larger than what you expect you'll need. Even if it means spending a little more money--you'll be grateful you did if you realize later that you needed the extra space. Additionally, having a little more room on the truck allows you to properly load your belongings so that they remain safe during transit.

How to avoid these truck rental problems

Now that you know about some of the common issues that may arise and things that can go wrong while renting a truck, the following tips will guide you to avoid these problems and ensure a successful move.

  • Conduct background check on the company

    Always conduct a thorough background check before you sign any deal with the truck rental company. You can also check the profile of the company on the Better Business Bureau and scan websites such as Ripoff Report and MovingScam.com. Also, visit FMSCA website to verify the company's US DOT number.

  • Read reviews

    Reading customer reviews for truck rental companies is helpful for determining the quality of their customer service. So, before signing a contract with the company, go to their website and check out what customers are saying about their services.

  • Ask questions

    Never be afraid to ask too many questions before making your truck reservation. The more you know, the less vulnerable you are to scams or unethical business practices. Be sure to ask about any added or extra fees, reservation guarantees, and truck conditions.

  • Get estimates

    Always get at least three estimates from three different companies before choosing one for your move. This will allow you to compare your options and choose the company that offers you the best price and service. Remember, don't always go with the cheapest option--if the quote is too good to be true, it probably is!

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on December 11, 2013

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