At Storage West, we want our customers to have the best possible self-storage experience. We are a regional storage company that understands you have many choices of where to store your property.
Being in the service business for more than 135 years has taught us that if a problem arises with a customer, it’s best to solve it quickly and fairly. To do that, we have created a streamlined Customer Satisfaction and Dispute Resolution program as described below.
What disputes will this Program resolve?
This Customer Satisfaction and Dispute Resolution Program (the “Program”) is the sole and exclusive method for resolving any claim, controversy or dispute (collectively, “dispute”) of any kind that you may have against Storage West or that Storage West has against you, except for any statutory lien sale (auction) or eviction proceedings. The Program covers, but is not limited to, the following: any dispute from a customer or former customer regarding your Here for You Guarantee Lease, Basic Lease or Rental Agreement including the Preferred Lease Addendum (collectively, “Lease”), any product or service provided by Storage West, personal injury, property damage, negligence, breach of warranty or representation, statutory or common law duty, torts, vicarious liability, payment disputes and any other dispute that isn’t specifically excluded. All disputes that are covered by this Program can only be brought by you or Storage West on an individual basis. You and Storage West agree to waive any right to join or consolidate claims with others, or to make any claims as a representative or member of a class, or in a private attorney general capacity.
How Does Dispute Resolution Work?
We use a step-by-step approach to try to resolve a dispute as quickly and easily as possible. At each step, you will have the opportunity to express your concerns, and hopefully we can solve it in a way that works for both of us. If we can’t, we may take the dispute to the next step, up to a final decision by a neutral arbitrator. At each step, both you and Storage West agree to make a reasonable good faith effort to try to resolve the dispute.
The steps are:
- Step 1: Talk with Your Local Managers
- Step 2: Review by our Dispute Resolution Team
- Step 3: Mediation
- Step 4: Small Claims Court or Arbitration
Preferred Lease or Here for You Guarantee Claims
The procedure for handling any claim under our Preferred Lease is in the Preferred Lease Addendum to your Rental Agreement. The Here for You Guarantee procedure is in your Here for You Guarantee Lease. If you are not satisfied with a Preferred Lease or Here for You Guarantee payout, you can skip Step 1 below and go directly to Step 2.
Step 1: Talk with Your Local Managers
Most disputes can be resolved by talking with your Storage West Facility Manager. You can communicate with your Facility Manager in per- son, by telephone, email, or US Mail. If you and the Facility Manager cannot solve the problem, ask the Facility Manager for the local District Manager’s contact information, or call the Storage West Dispute Resolution Helpline (see Contacts, below) and we’ll put you in touch with the District Manager directly. The District Manager will listen to your concerns and try to find a way to resolve the dispute that will satisfy you.
If you don’t get a response from the Facility Manager or the District Manager within 10 days, please call the Storage West Dispute Resolution Helpline (see Contacts, below).
Step 2: Review by our Dispute Resolution Team
Any disputed Preferred Lease or Here for You Guarantee payout, and any other dispute that isn’t resolved to your satisfaction by the Facility Manager or District Manager using Step 1, will be reviewed by our headquarters management team at your request.
You must submit a written description (by US Mail, email, or fax) of the dispute to Storage West Dispute Resolution (see Contacts, pg. 6) with- in 60 days of the date you first contacted your Facility Manager about the dispute. Include your full name, address, the best way to reach you, identify the Storage West facility and your storage unit number. A member of our management team will contact you within 10 days of our receipt of your request. If no one contacts you, please call our Helpline (see Contacts, below).
Step 3: Mediation
If our headquarters management team cannot resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, you may take it to mediation. In mediation, a neutral mediator qualified by FairClaims, a third party online dispute resolution platform (“FairClaims”), helps you and Storage West reach a resolution (More information at www.fairclaims.com/how_it_works). The FairClaims mediator does not decide the outcome of the dispute and does not represent either party, but acts as an intermediary and facilitator.
To request mediation, send written notice to Storage West (see Contacts, below). Storage West will arrange for the online mediation to take place and you will receive an email notice from FairClaims with a link to participate in the mediation.
Step 4: Small Claims Court or Arbitration
If the dispute isn’t settled by Steps 1, 2 or 3, it will be resolved either in small claims court, or before a neutral arbitrator, the choice is yours. To the extent permitted by law, either you or Storage West must file a small claim or request for arbitration within one year from the date the damage or loss arose, or it will be deemed waived and barred for all purposes, regardless of any longer time period established in any statute of limitations.
Either party may file an action in small claims court in the judicial district where your property is stored with us. If you choose to file an action in small claims court, it will be resolved there. If Storage West files an action in small claims court, you may choose whether to have the dispute resolved there, or have it resolved by a neutral arbitrator (see Arbitration, below).
Most small claims court limits are enough to cover the total value of stored items you agreed to in your Lease. However, if you store with us in Arizona, Arizona small claims court limits your award to $3,500. In fairness, if you win your small claim against us in Arizona and are awarded the maximum allowed damages of $3,500 but your actual proven damages are more than that amount, we will pay you the amount of your actual damages, up to the total value of stored items you agreed to in your Lease.
Arbitration. If either party chooses to resolve the dispute through arbitration, neither you or Storage West will have the right to file a law- suit or have a jury trial. In arbitration, each side has the opportunity to present its case to a neutral arbitrator (a lawyer or retired judge) who decides the dispute by applying the law to the facts. Arbitration procedures are generally simpler than the rules of court, and discovery (the procedure for obtaining evidence from the opposing party) is limited. Other rights you or Storage West would have in court may also not be available in arbitration. Arbitration decisions are as enforceable as any court judgment and are subject to very limited review by a court. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding on you and Storage West, except as provided below in “Authority”.
Requesting Arbitration. To request arbitration, send written notice to Storage West (see Contacts, below). Storage West will arrange for an online arbitration to take place and you will receive an email notice from FairClaims with instructions on how to participate in the online arbitration. If either of us wants to refer our dispute to an arbitration provider other than FairClaims, we must both agree in writing, and the party requesting arbitration will be required to pay for any arbitration fees up to the amount of the filing fees that party would have paid had it filed a lawsuit in state court. (See Fees and Costs, below)
Governing Law. You acknowledge that Storage West’s business, as a regional storage company that operates in several states, involves interstate commerce, and you agree that arbitration under this Program is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act and not any different or inconsistent state or local law, ordinance or judicial rule.
No Class Actions. Neither you nor Storage West will have the right to make any class action claims in arbitration. You cannot represent other persons (such as self-storage customers) who have similar claims against Storage West. You cannot be a member of a class represented by someone else. You cannot bring any private attorney general action on behalf of the public against Storage West. These same restrictions apply to Storage West.
Violation. If either party files a lawsuit in violation of the terms of this Program, the other party will have the right to have the lawsuit removed from court at any time before the trial begins and submitted to FairClaims, or other arbitration provider as provided in this document.
Amount in Dispute. If the disputed amount is more than $25,000, the party requesting arbitration will not be eligible to use FairClaims as the arbitration provider. The party requesting arbitration will select either the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (“JAMS”) or the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) and will be required to pay for any and all of the provider’s fees and costs for arbitration up to the amount of the filing fees that party would have paid had it filed a lawsuit in state court. AAA and JAMS contact information below in “Contacts”. If either of us wants to refer a dispute more than $25,000 to an arbitrator other than AAA or JAMS, you and we must both agree in writing, and the party requesting arbitration will be required to pay for any arbitration fees up to the amount of the filing fees that party would have paid had it filed a lawsuit in state court.
Disputed amounts $25,000 and below will be re- solved under the provisions of this Step 4 and FairClaims Arbitration Rules & Procedures and Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) Rules in effect when the request for arbitration is filed. If the disputed amount is more than $25,000, the rules will be either AAA’s Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes or JAMS’ Streamlined Arbitration Rules and Procedures in effect when the request for arbitration is filed, depending on which the requesting party chooses. If any of those rules conflict with this document, this document will control. If you wish to review those arbitration rules, you can find them on the Internet or contact arbitration providers directly (Contacts, below). You can also call our Helpline to request copies of the rules be mailed to you.
Each party has the right to be represented by an attorney at its own expense. The arbitrator will apply applicable substantive law to the facts of the dispute. The arbitrator may award any relief available in court, except as otherwise specifically provided herein. The arbitration will be confidential, but you may notify your attorney, spouse and any government authority. At a party’s request, the arbitrator will provide a brief written explanation of the award, paid for by the party requesting the explanation.
Authority. The arbitrator’s authority is limited to disputes between you and Storage West alone. Disputes may not be joined or consolidated unless you and Storage West agree in writing. An arbitration award and any court judgment confirming it will apply only to that specific case and cannot be used in any other case except to enforce the arbitration award. The arbitrator’s award will be final and binding, however, either party will have 30 days to file a petition to correct or vacate the award in any court having jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. Sec 1, et seq, with written notice of its objections to the other party and to FairClaims (or other arbitration provider).
Arbitration Fees and Costs. If you store with us under our Here for You Guarantee or Preferred Lease, Storage West will pay the fees and costs to FairClaims to provide arbitration. Under any other Storage West lease option or circumstances, or if your dispute doesn’t qualify for FairClaims, you will be responsible for paying your share of the arbitration fees (including filing, administrative, hearing and other fees), up to the amount of the filing fees you would have paid if you had filed a lawsuit in your state court of general jurisdiction. Storage West will pay any additional arbitration fees and costs. If you select an arbitration provider other than FairClaims, as provided in “Requesting Arbitration” or “Amount in Dispute” above, Storage West will not pay for it, except for as provided in this paragraph. At your written request, we will consider in good faith making a temporary advance of your share of the arbitration fees, or paying the reasonable fees of an expert appointed by the arbitrator for good cause.
Your Right to Opt Out
You may opt out of Step 4 arbitration of future disputes by sending a written rejection notice by certified mail to the Storage West Dispute Resolution Team (see Contacts, below). Your rejection notice must be mailed within 30 days of the date of your Lease. Your notice must state that you reject the arbitration provision and include your name, address, the Storage West facility where you store with us, your storage unit number and your personal signature. No one else may sign the notice for you. If your rejection notice meets these requirements, the above arbitration provision and any other arbitration provisions between you and Storage West will not apply to you going forward from the date postmarked on your notice, but will continue to apply to any disputes arising prior to that date. Rejection of this arbitration provision will not affect your other rights or responsibilities under the agreement or affect your ability to store your property with us, or any other benefit, product or service we provide.
Storage West Dispute Resolution Team
500 S. Grand Ave., Suite 1300
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Helpline (213) 260-9998
Fax (213) 627-8649
Dispute Resolution Provider fairclaims.com firstname.lastname@example.org
American Arbitration Association (AAA)
Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS)
This Program is incorporated by reference in the “Disputes” paragraph of your Lease and is a legally binding modification to your Lease. If you do not wish to be bound by these terms, including any future changes to the Program, you may opt out as provided above, or you can terminate your Lease at any time by giving notice to your facility manager and vacating the storage unit. If you do not opt out or terminate your Lease and vacate the storage unit, you will be deemed to have irrevocably accepted these terms and consent to arbitration as provided above. Opting out of arbitration or terminating your Lease will not affect disputes that arose before you opted out or terminated.
This Program document contains all of the understandings between you and Storage West on this subject and can only be changed on 10 days written notice from Storage West to you. In the event of any conflict between this Program and any other part of your Lease or other agreement you have with Storage West, this Program document will control. The terms of this document will be interpreted in such a way as to render them valid whenever possible. The terms of this document will not be strictly construed against Storage West, and if any part of it is held to be unenforceable or invalid, it will be modified to the minimum extent necessary to make it valid and enforceable, and if it cannot be so modified, it will be stricken and the remainder will continue in full force and effect. Paragraph headings are for convenience only.
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