My son arrived at the DIA Advantage rental facility at 12:15 AM on December 24, 2011, after a two segment flight from California. He waited in line for nearly two hours while customers ahead of him argued about the Advantage policy when they found that the rental class they had reserved was sold out. When my son finally reached the counter, it was nearly 2:00 AM, and he had heard numerous unresolved arguments from those customers in line before him. He was told that the car class he had reserved was sold out, and he was given two options: 1) Take an upgrade vehicle and return it the following day at no extra charge, or 2) take an upgrade in class and pay additional. In my opinion and from my experience, neither of those was a legitimate option. First, he was 130 miles from his ultimate destination and to return the vehicle would have required a five hour drive (roundtrip) the following day. Not like he was in Denver where such an option would have been reasonable. Secondly, it was 2:00 AM, he had already been in line for two hours and he was 130 miles from his destination, and at that point, with no other legitimate option, he chose to take the upgrade, and was required to pay the difference. When I called the Advantage facility at DIA the following day, and spoke with the manager on duty, she was unapologetic and said that he was offered a third option, which was to wait for cars in his class to be transferred from another facility. He was not offered this so called "third" option, and even if he was, who knows how long the wait might have been.
Come on Advantage, is this a reasonable policy? Those were not legitimate options, expecially given the hour and the fact that the reserved car class was "sold out" and not the fault of any of the customers who expected to get the car they had reserved. What kind of policy is that, especially on Christmas eve and when customers are not really given much of a choice. Very poor public relations.
Would it not be better to avoid risky business practices and unethical behavior. It seems that the manager, even after being told through a phone call with the national reservation line that this was not right, represented the company poorly. Are short term profits really worth the customer backlash?
It is my hope that this might get the company to review and correct bad business practice and poor leadership.