SINGAPORE — Netizen YT Ong has shared her harrowing experience with Lock+Store, a storage facility in Singapore, on her Facebook page. She rented a storage unit from the company for a year and stored most of her possessions there while looking for a new place to live.
However, when she retrieved her items after the rental period ended, she discovered that there was water leakage in the storage unit, which had caused extensive damage to her belongings.
In her Facebook post on Monday (27 February), she said she paid S$4,075.82 for the rental of the storage unit, but the damage to her items was estimated to be around S$16,000. Her leather products, including luxury items, were badly damaged by mould, and sentimental items were also destroyed. The boxes were so wet that they tore while being loaded into the lorry.
“There were obvious signs of water seepage on the wall and condensation on my items,” she said.
To make matters worse, the smell of dampness and mould had permeated through all her items, and she had to wash and dry her fabric items at the auto laundromat.
“Moving house is already a very tiring process. Having water leaking and destroying my items added to the stress exponentially,” Ms Ong said.
Ms Ong demanded compensation for the damage and loss of her items, but she alleged that Lock+Store’s response has been unsatisfactory. She said the store offered her a S$2,000 goodwill offer and S$500 to restore some of her items, which Ms Ong found insulting given the extent of the damage.
“The reason for the offer above is because the contract that I signed upon renting the storage facility is iron clad, protects the company from all liabilities,” she said.
Ms Ong said she plans to file a small claim with the Small Claims Tribunal to seek justice in this case.
Another netizen asked whether there was any insurance included in the storage agreement. She also mentioned that she usually rents storage units with air conditioning because the spaces can be very humid.
In reply, Ms Ong said there was a basic protection plan that costs S$3/month, but it did not cover any of her damages.
“I really didn’t expect my things to be damaged like that,” she added.
She also said that due to the alleged water leakage, her stainless steel table had turned rusty, which would not have happened if it was just due to humidity.
She later discovered that the unit opposite hers was a Swiss chocolatier, and they kept the air conditioning turned down low, which may have caused condensation or leaks that affected her belongings.
Lock+Store denied the damages caused by water leakage
In response to Ms Ong’s complaint, Lock+Store has released a statement on their official Facebook page to address the issue.
According to Lock+Store, the matter was looked into promptly as soon as they received feedback from the tenant. The country manager reached out to the tenant to provide regular updates on the issue.
However, the company updated the post yesterday(28 February) night, claiming that the mould in the non-air-con unit was caused by condensation due to temperature changes and humidity conditions, and not water leakage, as confirmed by their insurers.
“Our country manager had reached out to the affected tenant previously to convey our apologies for the frustrations she experienced and to provide an update on the progress of our investigation, including the outcome of the investigation. ”
“We would also like to reiterate our advice that tenants should assess the value of their stored items and are strongly recommended to purchase additional insurance coverage for their items should they deem the basic insured sum under the basic protection plan to be inadequate. ”
Netizens have tried to comment on the post but have had their comments deleted.
When one claimed that the company had been using bots, the company wrote that it would be filing a police report against the individual for the allegation made.
Now, the company has restricted comments from being posted on its statement on Facebook.
Netizen suggested users to inspect store unit before renting and avoid spaces next to cold rooms
Ms Ong’s terrible experience highlights the importance of ensuring that storage facilities are properly maintained and safe for customers’ use. Netizens commented that Lock+Store should ensure their storage units are in good condition to provide a safe environment for customers’ items.
However, a netizen pointed out on Mothership‘s Facebook post that a storage service should meet basic requirements to ensure the safety of stored products, including protection against theft; a pleasant environment to prevent damage from water, extreme heat, termites, or rats; and other necessary measures.
Another netizen suggested that it is important to inspect the site when renting and avoid spaces next to cold rooms that store items like meat or ice cream, as the water condensation on the walls, floor, and ceiling can cause dripping.
However, he also advised the affected user to seek legal advice as this situation is out of the ordinary.
However, netizen Mervyn Lim suspected that it is not condensation caused by normal humidity, as moisture and condensation alone would not have caused cardboard boxes to be damaged to such an extent.