• Report: #896542

Complaint Review: Cruise America

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  • Submitted: Tue, June 12, 2012
  • Updated: Thu, June 14, 2012

  • Reported By: Lily — Phoenix Arizona United States of America
Cruise America
11 W. Hampton Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85210 Springfield, Missouri United States of America

Cruise America Rentals operated by KOA, Springfield, MO Terrible Cruise America Experience - Renters Beware of Phone Reservation Promises/Statements Springfield, Missouri

*Author of original report: Dispute with Cruise America Resolved

*Author of original report: Cruise America Reservations Practice

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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. 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/12/2012 02:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cruise-America/Springfield-Missouri-/Cruise-America-Rentals-operated-by-KOA-Springfield-MO-Terrible-Cruise-America-Experience-896542. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Dispute with Cruise America Resolved

AUTHOR: Lily in Phoenix - (USA)

On the evening of June 13, 2012, we received an e-mail from Cruise America Customer Relations.  They have agreed to refund the one day in dispute (June 12th rental charge, plus tax).  They indicated they will be crediting our card account.  We had made them aware that we intended to post our experience on consumer websites, since we believed that the reservation practice in our case was not appropriate and that the customer relations phone representative was somewhat argumentative with us.  Basically all they did was give us the address and fax number to file a written complaint, so a phone resolution is apparently not possible at the time the RV is turned in, if there is any dispute with the billing.

We can appreciate that no company likes to receive complaints.  But we wanted to help other consumers avoid the same pitfall of believing a verbal/phone promise or statement of terms that turns out not to be the case.  At any rate, they have rather quickly resolved the problem if they do in fact credit our account, and we have no reason at this time to doubt that they will.  Advice remains the same to other RV renters: do ask a lot of questions if you are offered "extras" in any way.

If the contract you later receive is not clear, or if it seems confusing to you, or does not specifically show any "extras" and refunds you were promised, make sure you contact the rental company to clarify the terms right away.  Also, be sure to check the cleanliness of the unit on your first walk-through.  Floor dirt and some other unclean items may not be immediately apparent until after you take possession of the motorhome.  Thank you.
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#2 Author of original report

Cruise America Reservations Practice

AUTHOR: Lily in Phoenix - (USA)

I e-mailed Cruise America and also copied the campground with what I intended to post.  I received a threatening call as a result.  Threat of a lawsuit against me for what the person called "libel".  They even said they had called my credit card company to report credit card fraud - - by me!  I called the credit card company and they said nothing of the kind had happened.  They advised that the merchant is probably trying to scare me into dropping the dispute and removing any postings.  Interesting also that the cc company wants the written details of the threatening phone call.

It is unfortunate that attempts to share experiences/warn others is subject to threats of legal action. 
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