Do Morons In A Hurry Rent Moving Vans?

from the uHauled-what-now? dept

I recently became aware of yet another lawsuit where it looks as though a big companies with deep pockets appears to be bullying a small competitor through questionable use of intellectual property laws. The lawsuit was filed by uHaul against a small startup called HireAHelper, but also against HireAHelper’s founder and his wife personally. You can see the full filing here:

The main gist of the story is that Michael Glanz had signed up with a uHaul subsidiary, named eMove, offering his services as a mover. Later, Glanz ended up starting his own startup called HireAHelper, in part claiming that his experiences with eMove made him believe he could do a better job helping people find a variety of helpers (beyond just moving help apparently). Of course, here in the US, there’s a long history of people breaking off from a service or company they found inadequate and creating a better competitor. That’s competition, and it drives innovation. But, to uHaul, apparently it’s a threat that needs to be stamped out.

The lawsuit covers a variety of different charges, almost all of which seem questionable from what’s presented. The most complete charge appears to be trademark violations, but the two trademarks in question seem highly questionable by themselves: “Moving Help” and “Moving Helper” which are both generic and descriptive — which are two no-nos in getting a trademark. If we applied our ever popular moron in a hurry test, it seems unlikely that anyone (even folks who worked for uHaul) would be confused and believe that HireAHelper was somehow connected to eMove/uHaul.

After that, it appears that uHaul’s lawyers just threw everything they could think of at Glanz and his company: including copyright infringement (of what? not clear), “business method material” (here in the real world, we call that competition and think it’s a good thing), design logos (of what? not clear) and trade secrets. There may be more to the trade secrets claim, as the lawsuit provides almost no details other than to suggest that the trade secrets are from being a member of eMove — something that many, many, many other people are, so it’s difficult to see what the trade secrets are since most of the info is widely known.

Given how there are so many different claims without a clear explanation, I contacted uHaul by phone and email a week ago with a list of questions, hoping they might provide some more details and clear up some of the confusion over the lawsuit. To date, there has been no response (I can’t even get a “no comment” apparently). From what we’ve seen, it certainly sounds like uHaul is simply lawyering up to get a much, much smaller competitor to shut down, in part because he was better at getting his site listed well in Google compared to eMove. Consider it the crime of being a better marketer.

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Companies: emove, hireahelper, uhaul

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Comments on “Do Morons In A Hurry Rent Moving Vans?”

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ehrichweiss says:


I don’t think those are nationally recognizable trademarks so they’re gonna have a hard time proving much of anything about them other than the courtroom will likely be the first time anyone has heard them in conjunction with uSucks^H^H^H^H^HHaul. If you can’t prove they’re nationally recognizable, the best they can do is get them to cease and desist for the most part.

oorgler says:

This confirms it...

Big business will ruin us all! Just for a few more profits!

In the end, it will be the hardcore gamers who save us all. With their amazing hand-eye coordination, combined with robots from the future, there is hope!

…i decided to go for the “casual insanity” rather than just go “blaugh this is super depressing for futurists and innovation in general. looks like things wont get better without bloody court bs”

Shells (user link) says:

going after the little guy

Seriously – this is ridiculous! I think everyone would agree that UHaul is out of line to come out swinging against a smaller but perfectly legitimate company over some trumped up charges. What’s worse is the lengths UHaul is going to completely shut down HireAHelper. If anything, it proves to me that Michael Glanz is really on to something and is offering a much better service (almost a weird compliment to his management and services that he has caught the eye of such a big company, though I’m sure he can do without this headache). Seriously though, isn’t competition a trademark of capitalism??

Go HireAHelper!!

Jeremy Ricketts (user link) says:

Comment #9

Comment #9 is right on. “uhaul has enough cash on hand to shamefully abuse the US court system indefinitely, therefore, uhaul wins even if uhaul looses”.

This is the sad part. With enough cash, you can make the courts your stooge and use the process itself wot drain down your competitor. Especially if they are young and bootstrapped.

It’s shameless and it’s pathetic.

You can read more here: SEOMoz and Conversation Marketing

Mark Regan says:

U Haul has a history of anti-competitive practices

In the 1950s and 60s U Haul would order many more trailers than they needed from manufacturers, then at the last minute cancel many of the orders and concurrently slow pay the manufacturers, thereby throwing them into bankruptcy. Then a knight in shining armor, U Haul, would come along and buy the distressed company, and fire all their managers. Pretty soon, U Haul owned or controlled all the trailer manufacturers in the country, and ran Nationwide, Jartran and many other smaller competitors out of business. Then they did the same to Ryder, Budget, Hertx, Penske, and others. This company has used threats, extortion, murder, fraud, false advertising, and many other such tactics to remain in control of every step of truck and trailer rental, including manufacturing and re-manufacturing (did you ever notice that their 1980s model trucks have gotten new coats of paint, and are now ID’d as year 2000 trucks?) Even their dealerships find the profitable one way rentals are skimmed off by the corporation, and they are left only with the “loss leader” $19.95 business. Hopefully, the new administration will sic the anti-trust boys on them for numerous RICO violations.

Jeff Mooney says:

U-Haul’s move seems altogether suspect to me. Glanz and company seem to have every right to engage as they have and U-Haul, while they have every right to litigate at will (as they have), seems to have simply bumped into a smaller guy with a bigger brain. My guess is that this move, if it goes further public, will display U-Haul as an aging company, with little future, grasping for whatever they can to maintain the status quo.

Tom Patterson says:

Re: Darwin was right

I used UHaul a few years ago. Those nazis told me if I didn’t get the insurance and was in an accident, they would sue me for the full replacement cost of the trailer. When I said no, his boss jumped in and told me I would be put in jail if I was in an accident with their trailer.

The two men said continued about this with a straight face, oblivious that they stood in front of a tasteful white pegboard on the sales floor, complete with red blinking lights atop of the security cameras. I guess the company worried people would steal empty boxes or packing tape.

The experience was truly something else– I honestly couldn’t keep a straight face.

I hope HireAHelper wins. Competition is great.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Darwin was right

Rented one of their trucks with manual 5 speed transmission.

Had sports car at the time with manual 5 speed transmission.

Car and truck manual transmissions are completely different. In a truck reverse is where first gear is in a car.

Ask for and got complet vehicle coverage.

Dropped trailer with loaded truck at their drop point which then required one to go up 20% grade hill.

What a stupid place to put a drop point.

Halfway up hill had to make emergency down shift. Being accustom to car down shifted as car.

It took a very big wrecker to hall the truck home so it could be unloaded.

ggg111 says:

Re: A better mousetrap?

i’m a service provider on both sites. Yes, U-haul has many many problems.
I think they are run terribly, and that’s an understatement.

But while HireAhelper keeps the same percentage as Uhaul (15 percent), they tack on an extra $50 service charge ( more or less), which the service providers never sees a cent from. this is not disclosed to customers.

This clearly makes them less competitive than emove. I don’t think most potential clients want to pay that extra cost when many of the same companies are listed on both sites.So a better mouse-trap? Not quite.

A better run company? Seems like it. I’ve only been with HireAHelper a short time, so we’ll see. HireAhelper actually answers their phones, unlike emove. also changed their name to, likely to be in a better position to go after the little guys.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

HireAHelper uses “Moving Help” in the title of their website, which is trademarked by UHaul

But, as mentioned in the post (you did read it, right?), “moving help” is both generic and descriptive — two things that would make the trademark void. And, since there’s almost no likelihood of confusion, there’s no trademark claim here.

and the defendant signed an NDA, which UHaul could easily prove that he violated.

How? What did he violate? What did he “disclose” that was covered by the NDA?

Victoria Volkman says:

What on earth?

Wow, this is crazy. Hireahelper doesn’t even seem to be doing much of the same thing. I thought hireahelper was not merely for movers but also for any kind of job. I was really looking forward to the access of having “helpers” even come and rake my lawn – I am confined to a wheelchair and can’t do that myself. Also maybe at some point – hire a helper to help clean my house, dishes, etc.

What is America coming to when a business can’t offer more than merely moving to people who need it?! Come on Uhaul – is this site really moving in on you? I think they were bringing a great new thing to the table!

ggg111 says:

Re: What on earth?

I’m a service provider on both sites ( hireahelper as of today! yay! Emove since 2003). Emove used to provide all kinds of services ( snow removal, yard work, cleaning, electronics installation, etc). they recently removed most of them. Likely to focus on moving (their bread and butter) and possibly be in a better legal position with lawsuits.
I am following this one with interest.

Victoria Volkman (user link) says:

What on earth? (part 2a)


One last thing… this breach of contract basically creates a law where anyone who uses this kind of technology or takes part in life on the internet can never work to improve the system. It’s not like he’s stealing some secret idea – everyone knows how these things work but a SELDOM FEW can really figure out how to improve it and actually get it done.

So good work Mr. Glanz and yours… they may attempt to steal your hard work (which is SAD) but they can’t steal your brilliant mind or determination!!

Uhaul – PLEASE DROP THIS… you’re hurting the little guys! PLEASE let me be able to hire a helper to do yard work since I can’t do it myself!

Anonymous Coward says:

Joe Shoen...

Joe Shoen makes claim that he answers that phone anytime he is “not in church”… what a joke. The history of uHaul is ridiculous… it reads like a dime store novel… the whole inbred family of hicks sued each other over and over until just 2 of them ended up with the company. The federal court judge said on the record that he was disgusted at their display of American capitalism.

Peter Blaise Monahon (profile) says:

Subtle misunderstandings in original write up

I’d like to offer some insight in clearing up what I think are conceptual, er, misconceptions:

Earlier: “… competition … drives innovation …but, to [the law suit filer] apparently it’s a threat that needs to be stamped out …”

No. Attempting to stamp put competition IS an expression of competition. Attempting to get our taxpayer dollars to help by asking the government step in is anti competitive marketplace. They are, in effect, asking for government protection against competition as a monopoly. I think the author knows this, but the subtlety of the point is worth exploring, I think.

Earlier: “… generic and descriptive — which are two no-nos in getting a trademark …”

No. Anyone can use anything as trademark, The author is talking about getting a federal trademark registration, where the legal examiners in the trademark office have legal criteria to review before registering a trademark. But, no one needs a registration to have a trademark. Yes, it good protection to have a successfully registered trademark. I think the author knows this, but the subtlety of the point is worth exploring, I think.

Tony (user link) says:


U-haul can’t even make their website work properly ( – even with a detailed bug report provided to them months ago, they still haven’t fixed it.

I’m not at all surprised at their approach here. It’s the same approach that most big businesses with outdated business strategies seem to employ.

Unfortunately, the big guy legally bullying the little guy into shutting down is the way the game will continue to be played, until we get something like loser pays, so the little guy actually has a chance to fight back.

Brian Walsh (user link) says:

They are a HORRIBLE company

Their legal antics do not surprise me in the least – I had an absolutely horrible experience with them this past weekend. It is fairly obvious that hey are not concerned with their customer’s, only squeezing the pennies. This is a company that is ripe for good competitor – it will eat them alive.

We called Friday evening for a Saturday morning rental – would need it from 8 AM – 1 PM. We called back 5 minutes later to postpone by 2 weeks, but it was too late. They would charge us $50 for cancellation. Instead, we agreed to come in, rent it and return it, which would only cost us $19.95.

Upon arrive at 10 AM, we were told that we were being charged the $50 cancellation fee. The reason? Because we were over 30 minutes late in picking it up. What’s the sense it this: we have a 5 hour window to rental, showed up during that rental window, and were charge for not being on time. Their reason? They could have rented to someone else. Huh? We were there to rent it during the agreed upon times – they couldn’t have rented it to someone else.


Rusty Garrett says:

I feel your pain

I just today, 10/30/08, had to resign from a company after one full year of service due to management lying to customers, inept managing, and dictatorship style managing. I find lying repulsive so I had left after my manager was sided with by his boss. My direct manager would continually after meetings with his managers reply “F… them, I’m running this facility my way, which just happened to be in circles most of the time. If you need any help, I’m looking. Best of luck to you with your legalities.
Rusty Garrett

keith (user link) says:

emove hire a helper

well i myself was unaware of the additional $50 dollar fee hire a helper charges as i am also a service provider foor both services.
when you sign up as a service provider with emove( – this was changed earlier in 2008 when the site went from to at that time our service provider rating system was adjuste so customer cancelations now affect service providers as well as our own only sp provider cancelations counted before.

but here is the kicker when they changed to thye new system they now use we were required to agree to a new non compete clause(most likely not legal in the world of free enterprise) where we caant work with a another company like them or do anything that would circumvent the system and take revenue from emove,uhaul or americo the head corparation owning all of those companies.this was added as a result of the website being formed also if you are moving in new england and do need moving labor my company is listed there an you can go directly to our emove profile @

Margaret Weathers (user link) says:

Uhaul & Emove

I can give you some additional perspective from a few angles.

First, I too have rented substandard equipment, not being able to drive 300 miles over 45mph. Yet they wanted all their money for this crap.

Secondly, when I opened a full service moving company, I became a Uhaul dealer just to have some extra revenue stream. I would bust my butt for pennies. I couldn’t get equipment from them, so I started convincing my unloading customers to let me return their truck, rather then have it go to where Uhaul told them it MUST go (which it doesn’t, it can go anywhere in that geo area). I was the only dealer in my part of town and was open round the clock. We “rented” one to ourselves to move someone to California from KY, it broke down in Arkansas both going and coming back.

As far as the maintainence on the trucks, the crappier trucks are supposed to be local. Dealers are not supposed to do ANY maintainence at all. An alert comes across the screen telling the dealer it is time for a certain maintainence (ranging from 5K to 30K)but no one really enforces it.

Third, obviously, we also became an Emove service provider. Emove keeps 15% of the gross. They recommend customers book more hours than they really need, which pisses off the customer and then Uhaul/Emove keeps their 15%. Now that the customer is pissed, they ask me for a refund!

Uhaul/Emove also send an email to every customer after we have been paid asking only 3 things in exchange for their $5.95 refundable deposit. 1. Rate the provider (1-5 stars) 2. how many hours did you actually use (in case we are not reporting additional hours to Emove so they can take their 15%) and 3. to leave comments. Some customers think we ARE Uhaul/Emove and rate us bad when their truck breaks down or they booked too many hours. We do really good work and are typically in the top 3 of our market (although their ranking are sometimes suspect, because service providers with 4 stars will be ahead of me with 5 stars). Last week, they found a clerical error with an email address on my account. So they have deactivated my account and told me I can apply for reactivation. I did so, and with no explanation at all, said no. And didn’t even spell the one sentence correct. When I responded, they copied the misspelled sentence and pasted it back at the top. Last week I called Emove to inform them them I would not be servicing the moves that have already scheduled, to which Shawna, the Emove CSR informed me that I am obligated to complete all moves already scheduled. Supposedly, it is in my agreement. I said, well, I won’t be there, so you may want to call the customer, because I don’t have the # since you deactivated my account, and let the customer know they may want to make other arrangements before it is the last minute, it is Emove’s customer after all. She said she would not and that she would note the customer’s acct & when the customer called in she would let them know that I refused the job. Well, I ended up getting the customer’s info through other means, tried calling her. Guess what, Emove put in the wrong area code, 503 (instead of 509 as I found out when the customer ended up calling me the following day) and so I could not even warn the customer. I did email her, but she did not get it as she was traveling. Emove is very incompetent. The service providers have a message board that they all complain on, but Uhaul/Emove refuses to do anything to remedy their concerns. Until about a year ago, if you had problems putting in your payment code, you had to leave a message and it took about a week to get a call back. I still have a move that the customer never gave me the payment code and I can prove we did the work through signed contracts, but they stand behind their policy that the customer has to give you the code. The customer had me do a lot of extra work picking up the truck, putting gas in, picking up the appliances at Lowe’s, driving to Fed Ex ground, returning the truck etc, never got a dime for 2 men, 9 hours plus fuel, because of course, Uhaul’s never have gas in them.

At the end of the day, I provided good service as a moving provider and as the only dealer in a poor area of town. They crapped on me both times. They are the monster that wants all the money and swallows the little guys up. I didn’t really make a lot of money as a service provider, but I was able to touch a segment of the market that otherwise would not have called us. So the next time those people moved, they just called me directly. Emove/Uhaul also collects payment for those moving services when they book the job. So when the customer thinks I have been paid, really Emove/Uhaul has been paid and collecting interest on all that money.

I agree with about every post before me. HireAHelper is a great company thus far. There are also a few others, like Budget has theirs (iselfmove), ABF has theirs, there is easymovinglabor, too. But Emove/uhaul says that you can only be part of theirs, not also on any other. Ridiculous.

When customers call me (not through uhaul) I always recommend a Penske or Ryder(local only). Both typically have great trucks and sometimes are actually cheaper than Uhaul.

Just wanted to give some perspective from someone who has working knowledge of a few aspects of just how rotten Uhaul/Emove really is.

Max Efarstan says:


Microsoft tried that too…if you were let go by them .your contract said you couldnt work for any other tech firm for 5 years….courts threw it out…you cant be penalized that way…forbidden from making a living……if they were afraid of tech espionage…there are other recourses to take to protect your patents..but NOT to forbid them from working…

Dan Beyer says:

Thank God for U-Haul!!!

Because of U-Haul and Emove I’ve been able to realize a need: Bring quality, top-of the line professional moving help to the public for an affordable rate!

I am an extreme perfectionist and U-Haul and Emove has helped me bring my experience and attention to detail to those looking for a perfect move.

I couldn’t have done it with out U-Haul and Emove’s help!

Thank you U-Haul and Emove!

Dan Beyer, Five Star Moving.

Bernie Epstein says:


I have used emove’s services and wasn’t very impressed. I do understand that the affiliates have to pay a percentage of the fee to emove which I don’t find fair. My most recent move I used these guys.

If you are looking for a Dallas moving company ,then you should definitely visit Movers4Dallas. You can also reach us at Address: 2255 N State Highway 360, Grand Prairie, TX 75050, (972) 310-4402.

National Furniture Supply (user link) says:

Other moving helpers

We have used couple of moving helpers. How can Uhaul sue anybody for getting such a company. I dont see his is different from or or

There are so many local companies too for helping in moving.

Is it fair to use Hire A Helper ?? We were thinking of using them in opening a new office in california for National Furniture Supply

Shhh I wont say says:

Emove/moving help

ha they suck and they know it.Being a previous emover I know how they operate. they don’t care about the people who make them money , they only care about the money. The will put anyone on there website no matter what. They claim to be a neutral venue when they are not. The agreement they have for the helpers is written in a way that they do what they want when they want and the always break the agreement, and sit back say they are right.
Well We have a lawyer looking over there agreement and by the looks it will be a little money coming out of there pocket for once.
Also they have a clause in the agreement that you have to be on there a year before you can break off and make your own web based moving system…hmmm…Looks like they are batting at a blank ball if they think that they have any rights to anything that hire a helper is doing.(they can suck an egg) .
So go HIRE A HELPER and be taken care of by a company whocares.
Hire a helper is by far better then emove ever thought of being. So they have my support in this, and they allready know I will back them 100%

Vonn (user link) says:

Improve on Moving and Get Hurt

While everyone should have rights to protect their intellectual property – to a degree – this sounds like a classic case of the small guy doing it better then the big guy. The small guy doesn’t seem to be piggypacking on U-haul’s efforts, but doing it better. Unfortunately, big companies care very little about someone actually doing better by the community, unless it results in profits.

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