About 40 students at Harvard are fed up with looking for their stuff.

When they returned to their dorm rooms this fall, the students’ belongings were supposed to be there. They’d hired Collegeboxes, a leading campus storage company, to store their sheets, rugs and furniture during summer break. But when they came back for the first day of classes, their property was missing.

Students who called to complain said they found Collegeboxes customer support less than satisfactory. When Harvard sophomore Lindsay Maizel tried to find out where her furniture was, nobody would return her calls for several hours, she said.

In addition to losing items, the students are alleging that Collegeboxes lied to students and delayed reimbursing those who had lost property.

In response to the complaints, Harvard’s Undergraduate Council began investigating the company’s actions. The student government passed a resolution urging the college’s administration to sever ties with Collegeboxes.

According to the company’s website, Collegeboxes offers its services at the University of Michigan as well. But so far, it hasn’t had much luck getting customers.

Collegeboxes CEO Scott Neuberger said it’s hard to gain a market share in Ann Arbor because local companies, like John’s Pack and Ship, dominate the campus storage business here.

The University Housing office prefers to work with select local companies, Housing spokesman Alan Levy said.

Since 1997, that company has been John’s Pack and Ship. Run by University alum John Kazanjian, it provides similar services to Collegeboxes but has a contract with the University.

Under the contract, Kazanjian’s company can send advertising directly to students’ parents and can enter most Hill and Central Campus dorms before students move in. When students return to their dorms in the fall, items they stored over the summer are already there.

Levy said it’s important to use a company that provides jobs to locals and is part of the local community.

“This Michigan connection is important,” Kazanjian said. “Everybody in the Housing office knows me.”

There’s another reason why a local company may be better.

Unlike Collegeboxes, if students have a problem with storage or delivery, they can quickly talk to somebody at John’s Pack and Ship, Levy said.

Neuberger maintains that the mistakes at Harvard were a fluke. He said he has revised his company’s strategies and expects this will improve customer service in the future.

Levy said the Housing office doesn’t plan to work with a national company like Collegeboxes.

“We feel much more comfortable that it is a local company,” Levy said.

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