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Mice ruin family's belongings in storage

Posted: 10:22 AM, Aug 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-23 10:22:12-04

A family is trying to salvage some of their belongings after much of what they own was ruined in a storage unit.

Nate and Rebecca Browning were having a new home built, so needed to put their furniture and clothing into a storage unit for almost nine months.

So they chose PODS storage, for its A Plus rating from the Better Business Bureau , and its promise of secured indoor storage, as opposed to an outdoor storage facility.

But when it was delivered to the new home, they were stunned by what they saw inside. 

A family of mice, it appears, got into everything from cookie jars and their toaster to bags of clothing and their baby bouncer seats.

"I went over and opened it," Rebecca Browning said, "and as soon as I did, the baby seat was one of the first things I saw and it was actually covered with mice droppings."

She says "I was devastated. I mean those are our baby's belongings and now it's ruined."

The Brownings had expected secure, climate-controlled indoor storage.

But Nathan said, "We found that probably 75 percent of the things in our pod were covered with mouse feces and urine."

Company Responds to Complaint

We contacted PODS national headquarters, which told us in a statement that, "PODS prides itself on customer satisfaction. It is a standard practice for our storage centers to have regular pest control protection. We are working directly with Mr. And Mrs. Browning to resolve their issue."

The company is now offering the Brownings two months free rent and some other concessions, though the couple says it's still not enough to replace all the clothing and baby goods they are throwing away.

"We're frustrated," Nathan said.

PODS says it continues to examine their claim and has not decided on a final settlement.

Storage Unit Caution: Are you Insured?

This leads to a bigger question: What are your rights if your things are ruined while they are in storage?

The Better Business Bureau receives more than 1,000 complaints a year about storage facilities, most concerning water leakage, mold, and insect and rodent damage.

But the BBB has the following advice for renters.

  • Most storage contracts specifically state the facility is not responsible for any damage.
  • That is why it is essential to make sure you are covered by your homeowners or renters insurance, or by insurance you may be able to purchase from the storage company.
  • Check with your insurance agent before moving into storage, because you may need a separate "rider" even if you already have homeowners insurance.
  • Whether it is indoor or outdoor storage, its a good idea to place all clothing in closable plastic bins, and wrap all beds and couches tightly with plastic, to keep any stray rodents out.

That way you don't waste your money