• Report: #70920
Complaint Review:


  • Submitted: Mon, November 03, 2003
  • Updated: Wed, June 09, 2010

  • Reported By:Bakersfield California
2929 E. Brundage Lane Bakersfield, California U.S.A.


*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Correction

*Consumer Suggestion: These things happen

*UPDATE Employee: Can never predict

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My husband and I rented a 15 ft truck from Penske in Bakersfield, CA. On 11/2/03 at 4:15 am while 1 mile up the grapevine on interstate 5 the truck came to an abrupt stop while we were in the middle lane. My husband and I both hurried to put on the emergency flashers and exit the vehicle.

Meanwhile large trucks were passing on our right, cars on the left, trying to avoid hitting us. We got to the shoulder of the road; my husband called 911 and alerted the CHP and asked to have a tow truck sent immediately.

We stood out in 30 degree freezing temperatures and waved by oncoming traffice to avoid hitting the truck. Twenty minutes later the CHP officer showed up. He parked his car behind our rental truck and placed several flares on the road. He stood back on the left side and we were on the right. We watched in horror as multiple semi trucks and cars approached the vehicle and swerved all over the road to avoid hitting each other AND the rental truck.

Thirty minutes after the CHP officer arrived the tow truck came. We were so relieved to get the rental truck off the road and onto the shoulder. After standing out in the cold for 1 1/4 hours (We were practically frozen) and experiencing the worst and most frightening thing that has ever happened to us we finally headed home in the tow truck. We were asked to take the truck to the Penske company in Bakersfield.

When we arrived were were told that "we are not responsible for the contents of the truck". Needless to say at this point Penske has done nothing for us except demand that we pick up the truck's contents immediately (as of 4pm on 11/3). As far as we know they still intend on charging us for the truck. They have no intention of reimbursing us for the items which were broken during the tow.

The manager told me they opened the back of the truck so I have no idea if everything is still there. My husband and I were nearly killed. We sat in a vehicle for two minutes or so (as we sat there I prayed to God that we not die for the sake of our children and grandchildren) in the middle lane of one of the busiest freeways in the state of California in pitch black wondering if we were going to be hit from behind at any second.

We feel that we were put into an unsafe vehicle. We were lucky that we walked away. Others in the same situation may not be as lucky. The bearing in the differential went out. This is what caused our near fatal accident. Could this have been avoided?

Bakersfield, California

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/03/2003 10:05 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/penske-truck-leasing-company/bakersfield-california-93307/penske-truck-rental-penske-truck-leasing-company-near-death-experience-on-the-grapevine-70920. 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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#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: Skoaly - (United States of America)

Actually Penskes Customer Breakdown Service (SOS) is in Reading, Pennsylvania


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#2 Consumer Suggestion

These things happen

AUTHOR: Stymiehugo - (U.S.A.)

Look, trucks break down. That's just what they do. They are reliable machines that are abused to the point that they break down. Truck leasing/rental is a tough business. I worked for two different ones for 10 years (neither of them Penske). We all have our brand of trucks to offer. Some are the same. Some are different.

In my honest opinion... A truck is a truck. Rental/Leasing companies can sell you on one thing only - Service.

Sorry for your problem, but it appears you failed to get the rental company involved in this breakdown. From your report, the CHP & Tow services were called, not the rental company. Penske has a breakdown service. It is printed clearly and boldly on your rental contract. It's probably on three or four stickers on the inside and outside of the truck. Penske would have called CHP and the Tow Truck or repair provider. Then they would have gotten you on the road again. Instead you and your husband decided to handle it your way.

As for the cargo, no rental/leasing company will accept any liability for cargo. If you have damages, file an insurance claim. Didnt purchase additional insurance? Gee, looks like you two struck out again with trying to handle things your way. Damages are no more likely during tow than they are on straight and level road travel. The damages are indicative of your loading skills.

If you follow the simple procedures, you would have a leg to stand on here. Penske's Breakdown Service (although call-centered in India), would have made all the proper calls, repaired quickly or replaced the rental truck, plus they probably would have had the folks at the rental location swap the load for you - or at least, help.
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#3 UPDATE Employee

Can never predict

AUTHOR: Jackie - (U.S.A.)

No one could ever predict something like that to happen. Something like this could happen to a new truck as well as an old truck. You could inspect that truck up and down and inside and out but they don't take a transmission apart daily to check it and they certainly can not take a diffential apart to check it daily.

It is very unfortunate that this situation happened to you or anyone on a very busy freeway and must have been very very scary for you and thank the big guy upstairs for not allowing anything more tragic to happen to you or any part of your family on that highway or in any sort of circumstance like this. "Empathizing immensely"
I do not feel it is fair to blame a company as a whole for something no one on this earth could have prevented, even if you yourself owned the vehicle or any vehicle.

Mis-haps happen all the time, it is ashame for your inconvienence, but as a whole, Penske trys their very best in EVERY department of the business to keep all the trucks running on the road safe and clean 7/24/365 days a year. Glad you and your family are safe!
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