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Penske Truck Rental - The Ultimate Living Nightmare of a Moving Experience

Jul 17, 2002 (Updated Jul 17, 2002)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Disappointing

  • Customer Service Experience:

Pros:My family and belonging arrived in once piece to our destination

Cons:Too many to on


My family and I have just recently moved from Tennessee to Florida. My husband is self-employed, and due to a recent job change, we decided to move south. Many times when an employee takes a job with a new company, and they chose to move to another state for the job, the company pays for the move. Not the case with us. We had to move ourselves. Which means we incurred the cost of the whole move.

Which is fine with us. We understood that when we accepted the position with this new company. But that meant we wanted to get the biggest bang for our buck in regards to moving expenses.

My husband wrote the book on comparative shopping. He ended up talking Penske down to a competitorís price, so we used Penske Truck Rental to move everything we owned, short of our kids, down to Florida to begin our new life.

** I will be writing on Personal Truck rental rather than Business Rentals, which Penske also provides.

The Product:
Penske Truck Rental is one of many personal moving truck rentals on the market. What made Penske special for us is it guaranteed a newer model truck. Meaning we got better gas mileage, and it was (hopefully) more reliable than the competitorís trucks. Penske also believes in preventative maintenance. This perk means they take care of their trucks to prevent roadside breakdowns. Can you imagine truckiní (literally) down the road and all of a sudden your alternator breaks down. There you are, on the side of I-10 in the middle of nowhere, with everything you own in the back of a broken down truck. They canít fix the truck so they decide to unload your truck and put you in another reliable truck. My worst nightmare, if you ask me.

Penske also offers free 24 hour, 7 days a week emergency roadside assistance in the ďunlikely eventĒ your truck breaks down. Ugh, that gives me cold chills just thinking about it.

You can also rent or buy packing materials from Penske such as packing tape, hand dollies, furniture pads and boxes. Penske offers discounts to their partners AAA, Choice Hotels, AllBoxes and Public Storage . We personal used a AAA discount to rent our truck.

The trucks are supposed to be clean, with a full tank of gas and be fully operational when you pick them up at the pick up location Penske provides you when they give you a free estimate.

Our free estimate was done on May 8, 2002. They gave us a pick-up location and a time to pick our truck up in Knoxville. They also gave us a drop off location in Florida. Along with a time.

Our rental rate is based on the estimated miles it will take to travel from point A to point B, but Penske doesnít charge by the actual mile. Our rental rate quote for a four-day rental from Knoxville, TN to Cocoa, FL was $360 for the truck alone. That included a 12% discount for AAA. We also rented a tow dolly for our van for $99, a utility dolly for $15.00, 1 dozen furniture pads for $15, Limited Damage Waiver for $54, Personal Accident Insurance (ďPersonal Accident Insurance offers Accidental Death and Medical Expense coverage to Penske renters and their passengers. Personal Accident Insurance could save out-of-pocket expenses for the renter and passengers. Most insurance and credit card companies will not cover truck rentals under your current policy. This means that you could be responsible for any and all damage to the truck up to the full value of the truck in the event of an accident regardless of fault. ), sales tax of 11.150% (basically, that negates the 12% AAA discount). And our total quote for a 25-foot truck with all the bells and whistles was $622.08.

This was the least expensive of all the truck companies in Knoxville.

Now, we didnít actually pay that price, however. But Iíll tell you more about that soon.

If you pay Penske with cash or a money order they require an additional $100 deposit thatís required at the pick up location to guarantee your truck and quoted rate. Three forms of ID are required in order to rent a truck. Driverís license, State issued ID, passport, social security care, vehicle registration, phone bill, military ID and credit cards are all acceptable forms of ID that Penske will accept. Remember, you need three!

If you need to change your rental at any time, you call the 800 number, NOT the site where you are actually renting your truck. Trust me, they know just about nothing at the rental site. The rental sites are usually in conjunction with some sort of retail establishment, in our case, it was Kmart.

The Truck:
Our truck was 25 feet and held our whole 2,200 sq. ft. house. But just barely. If we hadnít kept all our electronics in our towed minivan, we would not have been able to fit all our belongings into this truck. A 25-foot truck is supposed to hold 6-8 rooms. We had 7 rooms and some storage. They also offer 10, 15 and 20 foot trucks and our 25-ft truck comes with a loading ramp. The trucks also have a number of comfort and safety options available in their trucks...

 Gas EFI V-8 Engine
 Automatic Transmission
 Air Conditioning
 AM/FM radio
 Power steering
 Bench seat
 Dual faced mirrors for easier vision
 Anti-lock brakes for safer stops

Sorry, no CD players.

Penske trucks can not be driven by anyone under the age of 18. Not an issue for us.

Extra info:
Penske has a moving wizard on their web site that gives you tips on how to pack at their website at

Our Experience:
Our decision to put our house up for sale and move was a very quick process. Our house went up for sale on April 1, and we sold it less than five weeks later. Our buyer wanted to close in less than one month. Exactly, 26 days after a contract was signed. I was a crazy woman for two months trying to keep my house clean to show, and then packing it once it did.

On moving day (the day after we closed on the house) we had hired movers to be at our house at 9 am. We were told by Penske we could pick up our truck at 8:30 in the morning. We wanted this packing job to work like a well-oiled machine. Weíd start at 9 am, and be done no later than 5 p.m. Weíd be able to relax, go to a farewell party given at the house of a friend, and rest up for our long drive the next morning.

What a complete joke!

First of all, my husband and son arrived at Kmart (the local Penske truck rental location) and no one was there. No employee, no manager...nobody. The place was locked up tighter than a drum. I got a telephone call and a knock at the door at the same time. The phone call was from my husband saying he didnít have the truck yet, and at the door was our hired help who was ready to manhandle some boxes and furniture.

What a nightmare!

Finally my husband showed up with truck, tow dolly and three dozen complimentary furniture pads (compliments from the very late Penske location).

When my husband finally arrived around 10 a.m. with the truck, it was filthy dirty. There were nuts and bolds covering the floor. Dust, mold and mildew covered the bottom of the moving truck. I have no idea what that truck was used for before it was deposited into our hands, but a Meth. Lab crossed our mind. The smell was horrible and the filth was unacceptable.

Now, to give credit to Penske, they did reduce our rate by $50 for the lateness, and for the foul truck. They also threw in 3 dozen stinky furniture pads as a consolation prize. Gee thanks!

*** Hey Penske? How about washing your furniture pads every once in a husband had an allergy attack in the back of the truck while loading, as there was so much mold and mildew built up in your furniture pads.

***Tip, check your rates for your truck on the internet frequently, prices drop regularly, and we were able to save $25 from our original quote just by checking the web site each week.

Our One Way Charge for the truck was originally $335, and Penske dropped it to $285. I personally would have fought for more, since there were two infractions (lateness and a truck that was in a state of squalor). I think my husband let Penske off easy, personally.

Due to the lateness of Penske, our movers left before we had finished loading the truck, as we only hired them for four hours, and they had other jobs to go to. We ended up loading the rest of the truck by ourselves; we missed the party and were still loading the truck at 10 p.m. that night. Just the two of us. The fact that the Penske employee (overslept?) was late to work totally threw off our moving day.

When we finally got on the road the next day, we were forced to drive much slower than normal due to the weight and size of the truck. That was to be expected. Our drive took us two days. Normally, the trip takes us 11 hours, and with the moving truck (and towing a vehicle) the trip took us 16 hours. It was a very long two days.

The truck got approximately 5 miles to the gallon. Yes, you read that right, 5 miles to the gallon. We had to stop many times for gas for the truck alone.

The inside of the cab stunk to high heaven. Apparently, Penske doesnít have a no-smoking policy. The cab wreaked of old cigarettes and smoke. Anything and everything that traveled in that cab had to be washed or aired out after our arrival, including my husband and my son.

The door handle on the driver side would not work half the trip. My husband was forced to crawl into the driver side through the passenger side most of the trip. Then, at one point, the passenger side door didnít close. The latch was broken on the passenger door, and we had to physically move the latch with a tool. Very unacceptable in my book. I had no idea if the door lock would even work correctly, or if at one point Iíd see my 7-year-old hanging out the door for dear life. Ok, that was a little over dramatic, but you get my point donít you?

Using Penske Truck Rental was not a positive experience for my family or me. Yes, the truck got my family and our belongings to our destination in one piece, safe and sound. And that is the ultimate goal. But the stuff in between was totally unacceptable to me. I am definitely not satisfied with Penske Truck Rental. If only one of the many negative experiences happened, Iíd be ok with them. I mean, shhhhtuff happens and I understand that. But there were too many negative experiences in this rental, which cause me to have negative feelings towards the company. Iím not planning to ever move across country again (yeah, I know...famous last words), but if I did, Iíd never use Penske again. As a matter of fact, weíll be moving across town in two years and I have absolutely no intentions of using Penske to do it. Another truck rental company will get my business.

The total cost of our truck rental with all the bells and whistles ended up being 511.95 vs. 622.08 we were originally quoted.

Recommend this product? No

Punctuality: Showed up late
Lost Goods: No
Amount Paid (US$): 511.95

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