We reserved a rental car for our trip from Seattle to Kalispell, MT. I called the rental Location in Poulsbo on the Monday preceding our trip (we were leaving on Friday), and verified the rate and the type of car. I was assured that we would have a Toyota Corolla or equal size Nissan. I asked for the Corolla and was told by the man that "That shouldn't be a problem". I then verified the rate that we were quoted on the internet of $99.87 for usage of the rental from Thurs. (pick up at 4:30 pm) until Sunday (drop off at, or before 4:30pm). I was assured that this rate would be honored.
When we stopped by to pick up the rental Thursday evening, we were greeted as we walked into the front door by Andrea. She asked if we were there to pick up a rental, and we told her that we were and that we had a reservation. We were told by Andrea that all of their computers were "down" and that it would be OK, as she could write our contract "The Cave man way". We said "Sure".
As she started filling out the contract she asked us what kind of car we had reserved and we told her. She started writing up the contract and told us that we would need to be charged for Sunday AND Monday, as no one would be back in the office until Monday, so even though the Enterprise web site showed no additional charge for the Sunday drop off (it DID show a small caveat about being responsible for the car's condition until it was checked back into their fleet on Monday) we were now being told that we would be charged for Monday as well. She then had the temerity to say "OK??"
Um, NO that is not OK. I want the rate that your web site quoted me BEFORE I made the reservation (which is mostly what we based our decision to rent from Enterprise on). I told her that if she wanted to rent the car to us for a pick up then, and a drop off on Sunday at 4:30 pm- and IF that rate came out to $99.87, THEN we were willing to rent the car from them. Andrea say's "Well what if I rent it to you for $20.69 a day and only charge you for a half day rental on Sunday and Monday?"
I told her that she could write it up anyway that helped her- as long as the rental came to $99.87 incl. taxes and fees, as quoted on their website for a rental of the same time period we reserved and the same type of car we requested. It is here that I should tell you that Andrea does not have the most effective communication techniques. She has the habit of pausing in her speech. Twice during the above conversation she paused and so I would start to speak, and both times she got snotty and stopped and very dramatically asked "MAY I FINISH??"".
Finally, she says that their new policy is to not only charge for the rental, but also to charge another $100 against our credit card, in case the car comes back damaged. We were surprised at this, because there was no mention of additional charges on their website, and they were already taking an imprint of our card. Not only did this seem unprofessional, but it certainly wasn't "Usual and customary" practice that we had seen from other companies that we had rented cars from.
At this point it was too late to bail out and rent from someone else, as we had to be in Kalispell by 5:30 pm the next evening, and needed to leave our home by 6 am the next morning.
Then it came time for surprise #2- Andrea recovers here composure and tells us with a smile that she is bestowing upon us a free upgrade! As she walks us out to the car she say's that the VW Jetta she is going to upgrade us to, gets "Way better gas mileage than the Corolla". As she shows the interior of the car and asks us if it would do, we don't say anything.
We asked for a Corolla, we were assured that getting a Corolla was going to be "No Problem", and now here we are with an upgrade to a VW Jetta. She gets out of the car (she was checking fuel level), and as she cloeses the door we notice that the entire outer cover of the outside driver's side mirror is missing. What is left, is a miasma of squared edges and cross members and of course the mirror glass.
I am asounded, that she is trying to pawn this off on us! I can't even imagine the road noise and whisting that we would have to listen to all the way to Kalispell, but I am pretty sure we have no desire to find out. Andrea notices our apprehension and say's or, if you want, we can put you in this brand new Hyundai Elantra" and points to the most ravenously purple car I have ever seen.
At this point we tell Andrea that what we would like is the Toyota Corolla, or equivalent Nissan that we had reserved, and asked if the had one. Andrea replies "Yes we do. But it has a maintenance light on that won't go out" so they don't want to rent it. She tells us how happy we should be because, the Elantra gets EVEN BETTER gas mileage than the Jetta with the broken mirror. Oh Joy!
Now it's time for Surprise #3- we leave the rental car store and I drive the car to Safeway (3 miles) and as I am driving, I realize I cannot see out of the windshield because of the thick smoke or haze on the inside of the windshield. When the sun shined directly into the windshield I could not see anything other than smokey haze. After that I drive to the gas station to fill up for the trip.
As I am driving to the gas station, I turn on the heater and the odor of wet dog emanates from the vents. I am disgusted. BUT, I am thinking with enough fabreeze we can still manage the trip to Kalispell. No sooner had these thoughts entered my mind when the first (of many) fleas started jumping on me. That was all I could take. I went home and called the branch, but it is now around 7pm. I get a recording that is so low in volume that even after I turn the volume on MY phone to Maximum, I can only make out the beep at the end of the message.
Surprise#4- As I am waiting to leave a message I am scouring the contract for the contract number so that they will be able to research what car I rented, and who I am. What I notice is 2 things; 1) I was given NO contract number on my contract, and 2) Ironically, Andrea had written at the bottom of our contract "No pets or smoking, please." AND instead of calling the additional $100 she charged us a surety deposit (or a deposit of any type) she wrote it down as a $100 Detail FEE!
We need to leave our home at 6am in the morning to be able to make our appointment in Kalispell on time (the whole reason for our trip). So we are faced with 2 choices- miss our appointment and try to pick up the pieces, or return the flea ridden car in the morning and try to get a full refund, then drive into downtown Seattle to National Rental car and re-rent a decent vehicle there (IF they have one available.
I am certain that with no reservation, it WILL be spendy IF there is one available). As slimy as this whole ordeal has been, I hold very little hope of recovering our charges, not to mention the $100 "Detail Fee". I normally rent from National, or sometime Hertz, but decided to try Enterprise because of their convenient location. I will NEVER, NEVER make this mistake again.
Lastly, I tried to reach Enterprise on their national Customer Service phone number. The first thing I noticed was that there was no touchtone option for "Customer service", or "To reach a customer service person". The second thing I noticed was the part of the message that stated their "offices were now closed, please call back during normal business hours". WOW!! Really?? and this is supposed to be a rental car agency.