To Store, or Not to Store

Don’t Get Boxed Into a Bad Storage Situation
June 13, 2012

Consumers considering storage space should avoid companies hoarding too much baggage. Within the past three years—Better Business Bureau’s standard reporting period—BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington has received 61 complaints on “storage units – household & commercial.”

According to the Self Storage Association, there are more than 50,000 storage facilities in the United States and 90 percent are run by small business entrepreneurs who operate only one location; additionally, nearly one in ten American households rents a storage unit.

“Renting extra storage space is a great way to keep important belongings that don’t fit in basements or garages,” says Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But trust is critical when possessions are at stake.”

BBB offers advice for those considering storage services:

Lock down reliable companies. Thoroughly research storage businesses before signing contracts: check out BBB Business Reviews on; visit locations to ensure proper security; obtain written estimates for comparisons; and verify 24-hour contact information.
Secure details. Carefully examine contracts to determine:

  • Costs: Consider packing, transport, electricity or pest-control fees. Always make payments on time and monitor monthly statements to avoid inadvertently abandoning units, which may be at risk for auctions.
  • Duration: Make sure to understand deadlines and early termination costs.
  • Units: Think about needs, such as climate-control, space and accessibility.

Insure possessions. Many homeowners’ policies include storage insurance; check with providers and consider purchasing additional coverage for important belongings.

Better Business Bureau stores more consumer tips and marketplace news on

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, founded in 1918 and serving more than 9 million consumers, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2014, people turned to BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington more than 5 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 264,000 local businesses and for Charity Reports on more than 1,200 local charities, all available for free at