Sunday, April 29, 2007

Enterprise? Never Again...

Dear Enterprise Rent-A-Car,

I had been planning our family vacation to Nashville since September. Since we would be traveling with 2 teenagers, a rental car seemed to be the most comfortable option. In September, since you are the only rental car agency within a 20-mile radius, I reserved a full-sized car - in my name - through your website.

On April 9th - the day that I was to pick up the rental, my husband and I showed up at 5:00 in the afternoon. I presented my printed reservation - in my name - to the ever-so-smarmy gentleman at the front desk. He looked at my paperwork and said "Oh, we forgot to bring in a car for you." Huh. There was redemption, however, in his next statement..."but you can have that Dodge Grand Caravan for the same price."

His redemption was only temporary.

He proceeded to look over my paperwork (in my name!) again, and I gave him my driver's license. I asked if my husband could please be added as a driver, since we were going a long way and I might get tired. He proceeded to take my husband's driver's license, looked at my paperwork again (did I mention that everything was in *my* name?) and said...

"And sir, where are you employed?"

Yep, that's me - Mrs. Chopped Liver. When my husband said "I'm self-employed" the eyeroll from behind the desk was a little bit much, I think. I offered "I work at Such-and-Such High School, does that count for anything?" And Mr. Smarmy said...

"Not Really."

Hang on, boys and girls, it gets much, much worse...

At this point I wanted to get my car/van and go home to pack for our trip. I handed him my debit/credit card, and he said "We don't take those - you need a real credit card with $250 available on it." Then he proceeded to tell me that I *must* have a credit card, because I had to use one to reserve the car. I told him that no, that kind of information isn't required on their website, and every time I've ever rented a car, no information is required beyond a name, address and phone number. When he told me that I was wrong - I must be "remembering wrong," I held my temper. When I explained that no car agency requires a credit card, he then told me that I was completely mistaken, and to please produce the credit card that I used to reserve the car.

Grrr...I *love* being called a liar...

He then told me that yes, they can use a debit/credit card, but I have to produce a recent pay stub and 2 utility bills. I also had to have my card charged with a $250 deposit and the full cost of the rental - ahead of time. Okay, I guess I can see the logic in that, but the sigh that accompanied that statement was really unnecessary.

We went home, I got my most recent pay stub, and I grabbed my cable bill (paid at their office that morning) and my gas bill.

We returned to the office, and I gave him my paperwork. He looked at my pay stub - dated March 31st (remember, this is April 9th) and he said, "Don't you have anything more recent to prove that you still work there?"

Ummm.....I'm a teacher. I get paid every 2 weeks. I had to actually show him on a calendar that no, it hadn't been 2 weeks since my last paycheck.

He looked at my cable bill (paid that morning!! receipt attached and everything!!") and my gas bill (not the proof of payment, just the most recent bill) and he said

"These haven't been paid. Do you have anything that proves that you actually PAY your bills??"

At this point, Kevin told me - "forget this. We're going to go to Cleveland Hopkins Airport and rent a car," and he went outside.

Truthfully, I am very proud of my composure at this point.

I went over each bill, one at a time. See the gas bill? See where it says "Last month's bill, $214, balance at billing, $0?" See where it says "Due on April 13th, $209?" He said "yes, but the payment stub is still attached - it hasn't been paid yet." At this point, I tried to explain to him the concept of Online Bill Pay, and that I pay nearly all of my bills on the computer. No dice.

My cable bill had a receipt attached that said " $141.00 Paid on April 9th. New Balance for Current Billing: $141, due May 8th." He said "Well, you don't pay your cable bill - you have a balance."

At this point, I felt as if I was dealing with a complete Mental Midget. For one thing, it's none of his damned business if I pay my bills - the $400 charge went through on my card just fine. For another, utility bills are used as proof of residency, not as something for him to pore over to determine if I'm a delinquent.

He finally decided (after 35 minutes of this) that he would *allow* us to rent a car. He took me outside to look over the van and make notes of any dings or dents. He then made the ultimate dumb-ass comment...

"The tank is on empty. I hope that's okay."

What?? Since when does a rental car agency give you a car with anything but a full tank??? When I told him that no, that wasn't acceptable (how on earth do you return the vehicle at the same level of fuel when it starts out empty??), he sighed and made a big production out of going inside and telling the other people working there that he *had* to go get gas in the van - he'd be back in a few minutes.

He left, and brought the van back with....half a tank.

When we were leaving, the lady manning the phones said "have a nice vacation!!" and I said "Well, I hope it goes better than the way it started." When I explained that it doesn't exactly make me happy to be treated like a common criminal, Mr. Smarmy had the nerve to be offended. I also felt bad for the lady in the waiting room, who had just been told "we forgot to get you a car - they're sending one from Wooster. It should be in within an hour or so."

We left, had a very nice vacation, and returned the completely cleaned van (with a little bit *over* a half a tank of gas) on Sunday. When my card was "refunded" the deposit, they were nice enough to only give me $240.77 back instead of the $250. Why? I don't know and I really don't care - I can't bring myself to actually call these wonderful people and ask.

The funny thing is - your people called from the Enterprise main office about 3 days later and asked me to complete a phone survey about my satisfaction with their service. When I expressed my extreme displeasure, they promised that somebody would get back to me to discuss the problems that I had.

That was almost 2 weeks ago...

Customer Service, all around!!


Blogger Lovin' said...



Enterprise is THE only rental car company I have used for several years (they used to be the only ones that accepted cash back in the day). I usually use the one on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights, and lately the one downtown on Saint Clair.

They were represented recently at a job fair at school and I am sure (or would like to believe) those "managers" would like to know exact names of the idiotic unprofessional personnel involved in this fiasco.

To be sure that person does not represent the entire Enterprise, however to say that that bad apple spoiled the whole bunch is putting it lightly.

Kim, I do hope you don't let it drop while not overly stressing yourself out about it. It's just that how can they improve if complaints are not rendered. Grrrr, this pisses me off because as I said they are the company I usually use.

When I think of all I have learned about professionalism, business etiquette and just plain ole "treating others as you would have yourself to be treated" and that I am soon going to be in the job market for a new career, it pains me that ignorant, nasty people like that have decent careers (I'll be t you that dude is a manager in training). You need to bust him out on the for real tip.



8:59 AM  
Blogger sabrina d. said...

You told me that story in person, but aiee again... all I have to say is, someone needs to be hit upside the head with a clue-by-four.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Holy moly - I can not believe that - insane experience.

I highly doubt I could have held my temper through out that ordeal.

Good for you! Hope the rest of your time was excellent.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous mysterious benefactor said...

First and foremost I would like to say that I do not doubt your story one bit. I have been in the retail business long enough to realize anything is possible.

I am a former Enterprise employee and I thought I would tell you what some of the things should have been. Enterprise accepts all forms of payment except cash. The utilities bills and pay stubs would only be used for a long-term rental or when a money order is used, not a vacation. The other thing is that what would get charged to your card is the cost of the rental plus $100. That hundred is generally used if you decide to keep the car an extra day or two. If you return it on time the full one hundred would be returned to you. Also when you rent from a non-airport location the tank should have at least a half a tank in it. The only place it is always full is the airport because they have a gas pump.

Although if it was I and I knew that you were going on a long distance trip I would have had the car full.

The only reason I am writing this is so that if you have to rent from them again you will know what to expect. Also (I didn’t tell you this) but if you complain about that, especially to the district or regional manager, there could be a pretty good compensation. The higher up in the chain you go, the more you can get back. The managers like to keep bad news like this from going high up in the chain.

If you have any other questions I should be checking this every now and then.

3:26 AM  

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