R (joyfulchaos) wrote in bad_service,

car rental woes

First: I have a ZipCar account, which is essentially a car-sharing system or co-op. I made a reservation over a month ago for one of the cars Saturday-Monday. I was planning a long weekend trip to Connecticut for two big events, hence the planning ahead.

On my way to go pick up my car on Saturday, I received a call saying that the reservation had to be cancelled because the car was in an accident. I immediately get upset, start crying (hey, i had really been looking forward to this trip), and get even more upset as I learn that they don't have a SINGLE car to replace my reservation. These things happen, it's one of the downsides of the zipcar... that rarely happens... and just so happens to happen on the long weekend that I need it. Whatever, I talk to zipcar's people, they are very nice, give me a driving credit, etc. This is obviously not that "bad service" part of the story.

That comes now... I just so happened to be in front of Avis when I got off of the bus, so I go in to see if they have anything available... and luckily, they do. The old man was very nice to me, but busy... there were several people waiting behind me, and he was the only person waiting. It was 2:00 and I explained to him what had just happened with the zipcar and that I'd want to bring the car back at 3:00 Monday afternoon, etc. He explained to me the coverage charges for the insurance, had me initial it, then sign the contract and got me in my car with an estimated charges bill for $166. I thought I was all set.

I went to return the car at Avis today, and I was running about 15 minutes late. I pull in, park, and go in. Once again, there's one person working in there & she asked me to move the car to another spot because I happened to be blocking someone... so I did. Finally, after waiting almost 30 minutes, it's my turn in line, and she goes to inspect the car, then charges my credit card & I notice that the charges are $250.43. I ask her about it... and :

Her: Well the car is almost two hours late, just sign here...
Me: No, I got here at 3:15, the car is only 15 minutes late.
Her: You were supposed to have it back by 2:00pm, so it's late & there are people waiting in line
Me: That's not my problem, and I was supposed to have it back by 3pm, not 2pm... I told the man I wasn't going to be back in town until three.
Her: It's in the computer as return at 2pm... see right there on your contract THAT YOU SIGNED it says "24:00".
Me: Ok, well then that's a mistake. I told the man 3:00...
Her: Well, even if you HAD told him 3:00, you're still past the grace period. And he wouldn't have put 3:00- our minimum charge is 24 hours, so you can't just have it for an extra hour.
Me: What's the grace period? (every time I've rented a car elsewhere it's been a one-hour period)
Her: 29 minutes... it's now 3:45.
Me: I was here at 3:15- you asked me to move the car, remember?? And I've been in here waiting in line ever since.
Her: You should always get here early because I can't backtrack in the computer. And besides, I can't do anything because our minimum is 24 hour period. I can't do anything about that.
Me: That makes no sense whatsoever. It's NOT my problem that you're understaffed and I had to wait so long I've now expired my grace period. And the previous gentleman did NOT explain to me the minimum 24 hour period, and he said 3:00 was fine. He never mentioned ANYTHING about grace periods, being late, or minimum charges. May I speak to your supervisor?
Her: I'm the only one here, you can call the 800 number, but your cc is still going to be charged.

At this point, I see I'm getting nowhere with her because she keeps looking past me, rushing me, half listening, etc. So I just sign & decide to call the 800 number. The guy that ends up talking to me is beyond rude... tells me, "Why did she tell you to call here? I can't make adjustments. You have to talk to the desk. You are at fault... it says right on the contract 2:00. Etc etc"

But this is my thing... I would have had NO problem waiting until three to get the car on Saturday if the guy had told me ANYTHING was wrong with me bringing it back at 3 today. I would have no problem if I felt like this were my fault at all. The man didn't explain anything to me or go over the contract with me.... and most likely because he was in a hurry due to him being the only person there.

And the girl at the counter clearly pawned me off on the 800 number because she was too much in a hurry to provide proper customer service. I feel very, very frustrated and cheated. I plan on calling the desk again tomorrow morning and seeing if there's a supervisor because I feel like this is a classic case of bad customer service. How am I supposed to just KNOW there's a minimum of 24 hours if nothing like that was explained to me?? They shouldn't assume that everyone knows all of their policies.
Tags: didn't read the box/sign/instructions, read the fine print, reading is for squares
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