My husband and I booked an RV from Cruise America/KOA campground in Springfield, MO, by phone last week. We needed it for 3 nights, June 8, 9, and 10. The phone reservations agent said "why don't we book it for 4 nights, just in case you can't return it on time? The unused day will be fully refundable (if you return it on June 11th)."
We were not sure why 4 days would be "just in case", since we had plane tickets back to Phoenix on June 11. Furthermore, we never left
the campground where we rented the unit, because we were attending the
state soccer championships all weekend just a few miles away. We
thought "well, maybe if there's a tornado or other bad weather and our
flight gets postponed." So we agreed, since the extra day was "refundable".
Long story short, Cruise America not only did not refund the unused day ($199!) - - they said the contract clearly called for a 4 night rental. And that when we returned the RV on June 11, it was now designated an "early return." The contract said "1 Freedom Rate" for a total of 4 days of charges. It said "0" days under "Daily Rate." Their customer relations representative told us yesterday, when we returned the RV to the KOA desk and called "Heather", that the "daily rate on our RV's is $199, but your contract clearly states that you agreed to "no refund" for "early return." She refused to let us speak to a manager. We signed our credit card bill marked "In Dispute" and with the date and time and names of people spoken to.
We were told by a campground staff member that this "had happened to another customer (there)" in their presence, and that the other customer felt they had been cheated. The phone reservation agent CLEARLY stated that any unused day would be refunded to us. But of course, this is verbal, and our word against theirs. When we received the contract and then the final billing, we saw only the (quantity) "1 Freedom Rate" at what is apparently a $199 per day charge, but not broken out as such, and therefore is "not refundable" according to Cruise America. We filed a
complaint with our credit card company and gave them all the details. I
have also been in touch with my attorney.
The main office for Cruise America is in Mesa, AZ, so it will be geographically easy for me to pursue the dispute. Frankly, at the very least, the phone reservationconversation was patently misleading and possibly worse. I told the credit card company that another customer felt cheated, also, in the campground's own words. I am presently researching the legal requirements for vehicle rental companies in the states of AZ and MO - - the failure to place a daily rate on the bill, and to lump it all into something called a "Freedom Rate," maypossibly be legal, but when the reservations desk tells you the extra day they suggested is fully refundable, this was not honored in our caseand, in fact, heavily disputed as being refundable (of course) by Cruise America. If this "extra day" suggestion is offered to you, I would strongly advise you not accept it. In my opinion, this is poor business practice at best, and possibly much worse than that. We will find out.
Side note: the RV was filthy!! The floor rag was literally black with grime when I mopped it - -which I did on the first day, since the floor felt a little grimy to our bare feet. The stove and microwave were greasy. Even the stall shower pan was covered in brown dirt and spots. The whole unit was beaten up. They took us on a quick "walk through" when we rented it, and it was obvious that some things were a little beaten up (to be expected, I guess), but we found out later that the front privacy curtains were broken (we had to hang towels from the top bunk to get some privacy to change our clothes), the water hose connection leaked miserably, the counter tops had grime on them, the microwave and stovetop were greasy, and more.
I bought some antiseptic wipes and paper towels and cleaned the floors and counters thoroughly. I told the KOA operator (who is a Cruise America authorized vendor - - they rent them there) that the lack of cleanliness was despicable for the price they charged. Then, further, the KOA operator refused to give us a copy of our inspection sheet when we returned the now-clean unit to them. They knew we had a dispute on the billing, since we called Cruise America in front of them yesterday morning. This entire experience cost us nearly $900, much of it in dispute now.
Oh, and by the way, the Cruise America phone reservation agent freely admitted they were charging us "twice the usual daily rate" due to the soccer championshipsin town. Hard to believe they would tell us that, then refuse to refund us our "unused day" that they seemingly had no intention of honoring. Major, major profit forthem at our misery and expense. "Highway robbery" - pardon the pun.
I vowed that if we had something to say about it, no other person would get into this kind of thing and be faced with what we now have to go through. My husband and I are veteran travelers and have spent many years in hotels, RV's, timeshares, etc. and this was BY FAR the worst travel experience we ever had. RV Renters, beware. Thank you.