Troubleshooters: Frustration over PODS storage containers and how to get them removed

The company says it is 2022's #1 moving and storage company.
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Whether you're in the city or the suburbs, you've probably seen moving and storage containers popping up fast and furious.

The issue can be once they're delivered, how do you get them removed?

Neighbors of Pam Doggett and Blaise Graham in South Philadelphia expressed their frustration over having PODS storage containers sitting on their blocks for weeks.

"It's annoying to look at," said Scott Krzywonos.

"Buses have a hard time getting through," said Roisin Fox.

"Not having parking is really frustrating," said Krzywonos.

It had gotten to the point where someone posted a note on a POD to get it removed.

"Definitely not the way to make friends on the street, for sure," said Graham. "Getting it picked up has been a nightmare."

The container Graham ordered had been on the street for 50 days.

The one Doggett rented, two blocks away, sat for 25 days.

"It was supposed to be picked up within 24 hours," she said. "I can't get them to pick it up."

The containers are owned by PODS.

The company says it is 2022's #1 moving and storage company. The commercials talk about convenience and only having to move once.

That's not the case for Doggett. She paid PODS for two storage containers to move from South Philadelphia to Sacramento, California.

"They never delivered the second POD," she said.

So Doggett said she had to pay another company to move her remaining things from a friend's garage. And PODS has yet to move the first container that Doggett did fill with her belongings.

"It's so upsetting. This has been the worst experience ever," she said. "So what I'm doing today is I've hired another moving company."

A third company was needed to unpack the POD, load the items onto its truck, move the stuff out of the friend's garage and finally get everything to California.

"So I basically started completely over," she said. "Having said that, I still don't have a way to get this POD out of here."

"It's gotta get out of here. I mean nobody in the neighborhood deserves that."

Graham used his POD to move from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia. He says he called the company at least 10 times to get it removed.

"They just never call me back," he said.

Complaints related to storage containers have spiked in Philadelphia. Related 3-1-1 complaints are up 69% from this time last year.

According to the Better Business Bureau, customers give PODS one out of five stars.

And on top of aggravating consumers and communities, Graham says, "They've kept billing me. They tried to bill me again today."

The Troubleshooters worked their magic to get refunds to appear and the PODS to disappear.

"And that night, at nine in the evening, I got a text saying the POD would be picked up first thing in the morning," said Doggett.

And the POD was gone.

The same with Graham's container. It was gone within 24 hours.

And both consumers got their money back. Doggett received a refund of over $7,000. Graham got back more than $500.

When asked if Doggett would recommend PODS to someone else, she said "no."

The Troubleshooters asked PODS a lot of questions. This was their response:

"PODS reviews all customer reviews and strives to provide a seamless moving and storage experience for all customers. We are committed to working with our customers to resolve any issues as they arise.

"We are aware of these customers, as our team worked with them directly. We are pleased to share that both cases were fully resolved."

So what can you do if a PODS container isn't being picked up in your neighborhood?

A complaint of a POD not being picked up can be reported to 311.

The Streets Department's Right of Way Unit investigates if there is a valid permit for the sitting POD as some PODs are placed unpermitted.

If a permit is found, the citizen to who the permit was issued can be fined up to $150 ($75 per inspection of POD removal).

If the POD is not removed, a letter is sent to the POD company through the City's Law Department.

While the service agreement for reserving a temporary storage container is completed between the consumer and the storage container owner, the Streets Department recognizes there are disparities between the policies of some storage facility companies and the regulations regarding duration and costs established under the City's Right of Way Unit.

The Streets Department is preparing literature to guide citizens' rights and responsibilities including incurred costs and fees when issued a Temporary No Parking Permit for temporary storage containers.
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