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Rental car rant. You gave my car away? Login/Join 
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Planned a family ski vacation to Big Sky Montana. (Spoiler: just returned from the trip, it was great.)

I am big on communication and keeping records for my travels. Each trip gets a folder and every aspect of the trip goes into the folder. Printed confirmations, receipts, any notes, phone numbers, it all goes into the folder. I try and leave as little to chance as possible.

So when our flight was delayed from Orlando to Dallas (first leg) I called Enterprise to let them know what had happened. Mind you, I had already reserved and paid IN FULL for the vehicle I required (4WD Tahoe or Suburban) as there are 5 in my family and I'd be driving in snowy conditions. When I reached the Enterprise counter in Bozeman I was told that my rental had been "released" at 11am. (I originally told them and had on my printed confirmation that I'd be picking up at 6pm!)

At first I was concerned but I gave them my information and figured they'd get me another Tahoe (or similar)...NOPE.

"I am sorry sir but we have NO CARS of any sort to rent to you."

I explained my confusion and asked to speak to a manager. (I then had my wife start calling all the other rental agencies in Bozeman to try and get a vehicle)

The manager was apologetic but unhelpful. I explained repeatedly that Big Sky MT was a resort that really REQUIRED a vehicle. It is a small resort that does not have much of a village and we had planned on driving to different areas to do snowmobile tours etc. The manager was unmoved. Apparently just like airline seats rental cars can be oversold and I was out of luck.

I ended my conversation with the manager by saying, "You have at least two and a half hours before I will be in Bozeman with my family. Please make every effort to get an appropriate vehicle to fulfill your commitment to me. Without a car I may as well turn around and fly back to Florida."

Then I called American Express (I booked my lodging, rental car, and some miscellaneous items using AE Travel) I was surprised that the first person I spoke to said there wasn't much that could be done. "That's the way rental cars work sometimes, I am sorry."

I explained the situation to him and asked to speak to his supervisor. (At this point I am hearing the gate agent call my group for boarding. I sent my wife and kids to board the plane so I could keep talking to the AE supervisor.) While I am boarding the plane he is telling me about having two Toyota Corollas for me THE NEXT MORNING. Well, something is better than nothing.

I reiterate my situation and thank him for whatever effort he can make on my behalf.

Then I spent the next three hours fretting over what could be a drastic alteration of my vacation plans. I am thinking of trying to get lift tickets refunded, lessons refunded, rental equipment refunded...I am dreading losing thousands of dollars and having a very disappointed family on my hands. There's nothing that bothers me more than letting my wife and kids down...I tried to stay calm. Did I mention it was December 23rd and this vacation was to be our family Christmas present? Ugh.

When we landed in Bozeman I made my way to the rental counter and was one of the first in line. The most cheerful young lady greeted me and asked my name and if she could help me.

I said, "I sure hope so." Then I gave her my information.

Her eyes got big and said, "Oh, you're Mr. Browning!" She then turned around and gave me the keys to a Toyota Sienna van and said, "I don't know who you spoke to but this van was driven here from Helena and delivered not long ago."

I thanked her while making a mental note to call and express my appreciation to some people.

I asked her about the rate and found it to be inline with what a minivan should rent for then confirmed my refund for my REAL reservation.

The van served its purpose and we had a great time. I would have been more comfortable in a larger 4WD vehicle but when faced with the choices I had...

I guess I have never been completely rebuffed at a car rental agency before. Has anyone else experienced something like this?

Yes, Para does appreciate humor.
Posts: 7237 | Location: East Central FL | Registered: January 05, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shit don't
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Posts: 5039 | Location: 7400 feet in Conifer CO | Registered: November 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Three Generations
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Another reason I don't care to travel anywhere I can't drive my own vehicle to.

I have only minimal impulse control and virtually NO patience. I would probably have gone completely postal.

It's bad enough that they've totally failed to fulfill their end of the deal, but the attitude that "We're the Rental Agency (phone company, electric company, airline), we don't have to care and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!" just exceeds my ability to cope.

Be careful when following the masses. Sometimes the M is silent.
Posts: 12760 | Location: Downeast Maine | Registered: March 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In all my years of traveling I never had an issue until a few weeks ago when we needed a rental for one night while our cars were in the shop. I reserved one and a couple hours later the lady said she didn’t have the mid-size so upgraded me to a full...but charged me the difference. I told her that charging me a higher price when I showed up was bullshit and was told either I pay more than the reservation or not get a car. I took the car and called corporate. They refunded my money.

Georgia Carry MemberNRA Lifetime Member

“With no police to protect you, did you own a gun? Did your neighbor?” - The Division 2

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Posts: 13660 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
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got rear ended back in Apr last year
totaled my Cooper,

dude that hit me was covered by Nationwide, they assured me to go the local (to me) enterprise and they would have a car ready when I got there, just give them an hour or so to get the stuff sent over (carrier pigeon I guess, I thought electrons moved thru the net pretty fast)

wife and I stopped at an emergency care place to look me over (took all of 20 minutes) , and stopped and had breakfast,

pull up at Enterprise, a place I had dealt with before with 0 issues,

the had no idea why I was there, no car ready, and when I told the guy what the lady at Nationwide said, he said they never work that way, that Enterprise prefers we set up an appt,,,,,,

meanwhile I got smart alecky and said my appt is now,

I got a Sentra,
drove it home and started putting some stuff in it and noticed the rear bumper cover was loose,

call to nationwide,
call to enterprise,
drive back up to enterprise to get another car, and get a Mitsu Mirage,
total POS, but it was all they had,
(Coopers are considers small cars, based on size, not performance, )

meanwhile, I go out of town for a day or 3 and come back and notice the rear bumper cover of this POS Mitsu is flopping,,

drove it for 3 days, Nationwide was no help, Enterprise expected me to be there , they would not come to me,

got is switched for a funky little imported chevy that had just returned from the body shop,
not cleaned, not washed, some overspray here and there, but it was all in one piece,

after we settled on my Cooper,and I returned the rental, I notified the DM of the issues,
he was apologetic, offered me a car for a weekend, free,

fast forward a few months, some dipshit backs into my new to me car in a parking lot,
this time the guy had USAA,
great people to deal with, your rental car will be ready, blah blah blah, just drop your car at the body shop, we will have enterprise pic you up and get you a car,

so they did,
on time, nice young lady, pleasant to talk to,
we get to the rental place and they have no cars,
no prospects of cars coming in soon,

I got a Dodge Ram fullsize pickup,

kept it one day and made a call, (hated that damn truck) since I needed to do a road trip to DC and did not want to attempt to park that damn truck at the 930 club, or pay the piss poor gas bill,, and ended up in a Canadian Licensed (and all gauges in metric) Ford Edge,

that was a decent SUV,

did not bother to call the DM, since he had apparently not done anything to help out or fix the issues at that location
Posts: 8483 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Happened to me on my wedding/honeymoon. Reserved whatever they call a Fusion/Camry/Accord analog. Get there, no car. Offer to rent me a luxury car or a sports car and I only have to pay a portion of the difference in cost. Nope, not acceptable. After a bit of polite back and forth someone emerges from the back of the lot with a SUV. Told me they would upgrade the reservation for free. Ended up happy with the end result, but annoyed I had to wait forty minutes. They really have no clue what the word reservation means.

The little SUV we got (Equinox I think) did well for the trip, climbed the mountains, and got good gas mileage.


Sic Semper Tyrannis
Posts: 17315 | Location: Loudoun County, Virginia | Registered: December 27, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Ex Enterprise Rental Car Wrangler here: I went to work for great gal who had an Enterprise rental franchise. Both cars and trucks. Right outside the gate to WPAFB. You would think... Wow! Great place for a rental agency with a captive audience ready to cruise. Wrong. The department that was responsible for getting her cars and trucks for her customers routinely stiffed her and left her to deal with folks who were at a level of pissed off that was unheard of in other businesses. This often occurred when there was a major sporting event in Columbus or Cincinnati. She lasted three years.
My only advice to avoid this situation is to hope there is a non airport rental agency in the city you are traveling to. The non airport location may have a car when the airport does not. But even this tactic is no guarantee you will get your car.

End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
Posts: 10784 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eschew Obfuscation
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Originally posted by rsbolo:
Then I called American Express (I booked my lodging, rental car, and some miscellaneous items using AE Travel) I was surprised that the first person I spoke to said there wasn't much that could be done. "That's the way rental cars work sometimes, I am sorry."

First off: I'm glad to hear that this situation was resolved without ruining your trip.

Second: While I can't recall ever being screwed by a rental car company, last year I got the same treatment from American Express.

Despite my wife's grousing, I upgraded to the Amex Platinum card for the benefits, especially the "concierge" travel services. We bought a plane ticket for my son to come home and visit, booked the flight through American Express Travel and paid with the Amex Platinum card.

Stuff happens and my son can't make the flight. I call the airline. They are no help. I call American Express and learn that one of the 'privileges of membership' is a 30-minute wait before a rep gets on the line. I finally get a rep on the phone and am told basically the same thing you were told: 'That's the way airlines work, I'm sorry'.

I cancelled the card a couple of days later. Mad


NRA Endowment Life Member; ISRA Member

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Posts: 4968 | Location: Chicago, IL | Registered: December 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We normally book direct with National (and pay upon departure) and have the Emerald club membership and it has been pretty flawless. Last Enterprise rental we had was awful this Spring for a funeral. Was not worth the savings. The plastic molding skirt literally fell off the car and it smelled like a farm. When I rented for work it was Hertz, National and Enterprise and Enterprise was always bad. Personally I avoid them. Glad it wasn’t worse for you.
Posts: 5219 | Location: CO | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I recommend joining the rewards program for the car rental company before you make the reservation.
I am in the hotel business for many years and overbooking happens with rooms just like plane seats and rental cars.
It is the nature of the business...people will make reservations and not show up. In your case with a prepaid, they screwed the pooch and they should have had no issue having your car unless there was a unforeseen circumstance, like cancelled flights out of the city and people hold the cars for an extra day etc.
Posts: 151 | Location: Florida | Registered: May 02, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Drill Here, Drill Now
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Enterprise is good for when your vehicle is in the shop, but I wouldn't depend on them for a business trip or vacation. Shops get delayed on customer's cars which causes rental car extensions and the traveler coming in for a car is S.O.L.

Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity

DISCLAIMER: These are the author's own personal views and do not represent the views of the author's employer.
Posts: 19293 | Location: N. Houston, TX | Registered: November 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Not as lean, not as mean,
Still a Marine
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Just a heads up to ANYONE who rents a large vehicle around Christmas.

Enterprise and Avis have agreements with Fedex and UPS to rent their large vehicles for extra delivery drivers. They will grab everything available (and even ones that aren't) from after Thanksgiving until after New Year's.
U-Haul will also rent out vans and small box trucks, making their availability crap as well.

I had an accident in my Chevy Express work van on Dec 22nd, and the largest vehicle available in my extended area was a Jeep Patriot. That was a very long 2 weeks for me!

I shall respect you until you open your mouth, from that point on, you must earn it yourself.
Posts: 2707 | Location: Southern Maine | Registered: February 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
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"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" I could explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
Posts: 40678 | Location: fl | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I just looked up the distance from Helena to Bozeman. 151 miles! You definitely should thank corporate for that.

"I'm yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you're old and weak!" - Calvin, "Calvin & Hobbes"
Posts: 16778 | Location: Sonoma County, CA | Registered: April 09, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
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Originally posted by Orguss:
I just looked up the distance from Helena to Bozeman. 151 miles! You definitely should thank corporate for that.

It's only 90 miles and an easy drive. But yeah, kudos to them.


"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
Posts: 16343 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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3 years ago, I went to Disney World, and reserved a car to drive to Savannah for 5 days to visit the in-laws, then drive back to Orlando. I was going to pick it up at the Alamo kiosk at Shades of Green, then drop it off at the Airport on the return (I found out that it was actually cheaper to drop it off at the airport for some reason). Anyway I reserved a compact car as that was all I needed. When I went to pick it up at 0900, the counter guy said that it hadn't arrived yet. Either I could wait for it to arrive (1-2 hours), or I could take the only car that he had at the Hotel for the same price as the compact for 5 days to drive to Savannah and back. He had to TWIST. MY. ARM. to agree:

RS Camaro Convertible

Posts: 1474 | Location: Washington | Registered: August 30, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I always think of this...LOL. I don't think I have ever taken possession of I vehicle I have reserved.

Originally posted by 1967Goat:
[FLASH_VIDEO]<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe>[/FLASH_VIDEO]

Houston Texas, if the heat don't kill ya, the skeeters will.
Posts: 359 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 02, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Corgis Rock
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Had to rent from Enterprise while my car was in the shop. Didn’t need anything special, just very basic transport.
Picked up the car on a cold January day. The rep had a clipboard and suggested we say time and not have to go inside. We wen5 inside.
You guessed it, the little add ons cost more then the rental of the car.

“ The work of destruction is quick, easy and exhilarating; the work of creation is slow, laborious and dull.
Posts: 5796 | Location: Outside Seattle | Registered: November 29, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Comic Relief
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I hate it when customer service says "I'm sorry" about your issue. I don't want to hear about your sorrow or regret. "I'm sorry" doesn't make a difference, it just gets you off the hook for responsibility. I want to hear what actions you will take to resolve the issue.
Posts: 4609 | Location: Indianapolis, IN | Registered: September 28, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was traveling with a 2 person crew to do a decent sized shoot (read 3 adults, camera cases, light cases, multiple pelican cases plus personal luggage. I reserved, confirmed and reconfirmed an SUV from Hertz but, you guessed it, we arrived to no SUV, minivan or even hatchback. After showing them the gear pile we had they came up with a solution that I scoffed at initially but I'll be dammed if it didnt work....rolled out of there in a brand new Town Car with about miles on it...the trunk in that car was massive!
Posts: 3954 | Location: Peoria, AZ | Registered: November 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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