Saturday, January 30, 2010
Manhattan Mini Storage thinks they're the best - but I can't even use them
My problem comes down to the fact that unlike other storage places, Manhattan Mini Storage puts a low dollar limit on what you can store with them. I had to put Old Master drawings from my mother's estate into storage earlier today (Mom was an art historian and scholar), and after talking to a number of storage places and researching them online, I decided to go with Manhattan Mini Storage. They're more expensive than storage companies in the outer boroughs and even others in Manhattan, but they convincingly tout their convenience, service and security. The decision to use MMS caused me several hours of problems at the end of a long day and almost prevented me from finding a place for the fragile art on the coldest night of the year. I could not put them back where they had come from, and came within minutes of having nowhere to store them.
Manhattan Mini Storage presents their services as super-convenient, super-luxury, super-secure storage. They have a free taxi service and a free "concierge," have spent time and money making better-looking storage buildings, and their storage units are individually alarmed and have two locks and a mag-card system for computer-controlled entry. They even support the Homeless! But I couldn't use their storage units, because their contract requires you to legally declare that the total value of items in your unit will not exceed $3,000.
Obviously it seems strange that the place that sells themselves as the most convenient, secure and luxurious service is the one that limits the value of what you can put in storage. I've used storage centers in Santa Fe, Miami, Bedford and the Bronx, and this is the first time I've run into this problem.
In my case, as Co-Personal Representative of my mother's estate, I had to store Old Master Drawings that didn't sell after two Sotheby's auctions. If I had used Manhattan Mini Storage, which would have been much more convenient than taking the drawings and ten boxes or so of estate files to an outer borough, lawyers say that I would have breached my legal responsibilities. And the insurance company that insures the drawings would have had a basis for denying or reducing a claim if something happened to the storage unit. But isn't one of the reasons that Manhattan Mini Storage charges more than twice as much as storage places in the Bronx or Queens because of their vaunted security?
After the jump, more minor complaints about Manhattan Mini Storage.
[Continued] I spent time researching and calling New York storage places, finding out about rates and rooms sizes. After a day of cleaning out an apartment, I arrived at Manhattan Mini Storage with 3 guys and a rented truck around 4:30 on a Saturday afternoon. While they unloaded, I handed over my credit card and filled out the forms. Only after more than half an hour did we come to the form in which I promised not to put more than $3,000 worth of things in the unit. The Manhattan Mini Storage employee in charge knew I had the items insured on an art policy with Chubb, a premium insurance company, but he said the terms of the contract could not be changed, even though it was his computer which printed "$3,000" on the previously blank line of the contract. I had to spend the next two hours finding a place in the Bronx that was open for new business after 5, and that wasn't easy. But the one I did find had no value limitations, even though their price for a 5 x 10 room was more than 60% less than Manhattan Mini Storage's price for a supposedly 5 x 7 room that actually had a large pillar in it that made it difficult to fit in the two bookshelves and two large boxes I had. A real 5 x 7 room, they told me only after I saw the supposed 5 x 7 room they sold me, costs more.Last but not least, I got a month and a half free in the Bronx, but when I asked in Manhattan if they had a deal like that the salesmen explained that "other places" say that but then raise your rent after a few months to make up the difference. "We've never done that in 30 years," he said. Interesting then that my contract in the Bronx guaranteed the price for a year, even though I can cancel with three weeks notice, while the Manhattan Mini Storage contract gives the company the right to raise the price with three weeks notice.
Yep no shocker here. Perception is reality with MMS. Overall I think they are highly successful and fulfil a unique need of the high end client. I still think they can be recommended to the average Manhattan consumer.
Matt From Storage Prices
Posted by: Matt From Storage Prices at Jun 28, 2011 3:57:32 PM
What was the name of the place you used in the bronx?
Posted by: John at Aug 18, 2011 5:43:05 PM
Thank you for this warning. Just last night I saw on twitter their account and was almost tempted to follow them but I did not click the button. There are some things that we need to scrutinize more. One of those is this one.
Posted by: Florence Mitchell at Dec 11, 2012 9:04:57 AM
You should really be careful of bogus companies. You pay them but not even a single service.
Posted by: Jason Spriggs at Feb 4, 2013 9:06:10 AM