This might be odd, but I'm actually the employee that got stuck in the middle of this horrible drama.
I'm posting this because I feel so bad about what happened, that I need to rant.
I'm a rental agent for National and Alamo in a college town with two separate campuses. I have no idea why but both the Jr. College and the University decided to have graduation on the same damn weekend. That weekend is next weekend (the 14th - 16th) and we've gotten to the point where as soon as cars come in, they're cleaned and held in the back for this weekend. We're not taking walk ups or new reservations at this time.
My boss, in some half-brained attempt to make more money, didn't close out the inventory though - she simply raised the prices to nearly double and told me it was to discourage people from reserving a car, but if some dumb sap took that rate she'd allow it and "just bump someone else". (Bad Service/WTF #1)
So about an hour or so ago, I had a lady walk up the the counter and when I asked her name, I found that I did not have a reservation for her. Her name was not in the computer. She absolutely insisted she did, so I asked if she had her conformation number. She did not - she'd booked it through Priceline and written down their confirmation number by mistake. No big deal - she just had to call them and get it.
So once we had the correct confirmation number, I was able to pull her reservation up, only to find it had been canceled. I told her, and she said she had not canceled it.
Now, I know my boss; I've complained about her work ethics here before, and she is very prone to canceling peoples reservations if she doesn't think they'd be an ideal customer. In this case, the ladies "strikes against her" were being from Germany (Oh no! A foreigner!! *sarcasm*) and needing the car for 14 days (God knows HOW MANY MILES she'd put on it!!!1)
This shit is ridicules, but there was nothing I could do without blatantly defying my employer (she's the owner of the franchise) and probably getting myself fired for it. I felt like a complete tool having to tell the woman that "unfortunately, it seems like this reservation has been canceled, probably by upper management, but there are no notes in the computer as to why. I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do." then I gave her the 1800# for customer service so she could let them know how she felt, and called Enterprise (who we are affiliated with because Vanguard owns all three of us) and secured her a car with them. They don't do pick ups here on weekends, but they said if she could make it down there they'd hold a car for her.
There was another problem though; she'd purchased our LDW *Loss Damage Waiver Coverage* from Priceline (NEVER, NEVER DO THAT!!!*) and had already been charged for it. She wanted me to guarantee that it would be refunded, but since I don't work for Priceline I could not. Lady was near tears at this point and said she did not want the car from Enterprise if she had to pay for the other insurance on a car she was not getting, so I called Field Support to ask for advice.
* It's very unsafe to buy that stuff seperately from the rental agency because when you go through a third party, it doesn't show up in our computer. We can't tell for sure if you're covered, and if we're not sure, most people will become uncertain or think something went wrong and buy it again, thus paying double - and if you don't contact the other source immediately to cancel it, it's non-refundable and you end up paying for dual coverage, or getting the same raw deal this lady did.
According to field support, we are absolutely NEVER allowed to just up and cancel someone, even if we're out of cars. We can deny them a car in person and tell them why, or just flat out refuse service, but we can't go around canceling peoples shit. Ever. The support worker seemed baffled that my boss would do such a thing, which made me feel better about thinking my boss is crazy, but still didn't help my customer, as what was done was done and my boss is absolutely draconian about what she says goes.
The support lady assured me, though, that there was no reason at all Priceline would refuse to refund the insurance, but it had to be done through them, not us.
So I relayed all of this (all of it) to the customer and told her that it was very important she call customer service and tell them what happened, that way they could prevent it from happening again, and that they would very likely send her some free day coupons to sort of compensate for all the trouble. (Insignificant, I know)
I ended up having to call priceline for her, because they don't have an option for "your travel plans have gone horribly awry" I ended up just pressing 1 until I got someone and asking them to transfer me to the correct department. Then when I got a live person again I told them what was going on, and that my customer needed a German translator for all this technical stuff, then handed the phone to her.
When she was done, she told me that it would take a week for her to get her money back, because they had to call Alamo Corporate to find out what the hell had happened before they could issue a refund.
I'm not happy that she has to wait that long, but I am happy that Priceline has to investigate - if she follows through with customer service and they also investigate it, my boss might get a nice cold slap in the face as to how she's running things. She's been needing it for a long, long ass time.
My would-have-been-customer ended up renting from Hertz because she didn't want to try to find a ride to Enterprise, but the employee (Jacob) over there gave her a decent rate and she was able to go on her way.
In an attempt to make her feel better, I confided in her that I am looking for another job. Ruining peoples vacations is not something I'm willing to do every week.
TL:DR - Suck #1: In preparation for our bussiest weekend of the year, rather then close out the computer, my boss simply hiked the rates up in order to discourage new reservations, and told me that if someone was stupid enough to pay that much, she'd leave customers with premade reservations high and dry - for da moar m0niez!
Suck #2: Despite that corporate policy does not allow us to just randomly be canceling people's reservations, my boss has a habit of doing exactly that for the sake of avoiding foreigners, minorities, poor people, locals (because they're running drugs, of course *eyeroll*) and high milage rentals. I've never had to be the vessle of this bullshit before, but today it nearly drove a customer to tears.