PHOENIX — In what it calls a first for the move-yourself industry, U-Haul International has unveiled a self-serve truck-rental option designed for people seeking to conduct the entire process online — day or night.
U-Haul’s “truck share” program allows anyone to select, pay for, pick up and drop off a U-Haul truck entirely through a smartphone. The camera in the smartphone plays an integral part.
The program is offered around the clock, allowing customers to connect with any of U-Haul’s more than 21,000 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
As part of the online process, customers use the smartphone’s camera to upload photos of themselves, their driver’s license and the truck’s fuel gauge and odometer, as well as pictures of the vehicle’s condition, before and after rental. They also can purchase insurance through their phones.
Once a person has been verified and a transaction aproved remotely by service staff located at U-Haul’s Midtown Phoenix campus, customers are given instructions for retrieving a vehicle’s keys from a nearby lockbox. They later return the keys in a similar fashion.
Around 150 “live-verify” specialists work around the clock in shifts in Phoenix, among more than 3,800 employees of U-Haul and parent company Amerco in Arizona.
U-Haul will continue to allow customers to check out vehicles in the traditional way, but the new service enables people to skip lines at counters and conduct business at odd hours of the day and night.
“We intend to disrupt the self-move industry that we created in 1945,” said Joe Shoen, chairman of Amerco, U-Haul’s parent company. The new program “modernizes the transaction aspect of our business and takes customer convenience to a new level,” he said in a statement.
The expedited program, which U-Haul spent nearly a decade preparing, doesn’t require a membership fee like many car-share programs. Anyone who does business with the company will be automatically enrolled.
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