Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The one about our rental car experience

* Update: I finally took time to call customer service again. I coincidentally spoke with the same girl from almost 2 weeks ago (who hung up on me). I reminded her I had spoken with her before and briefed her on what had happened. She said that the San Diego office should have offered us a free upgrade since they didn't have what we rented. I let her know they didn't... She proceeded to spout other information- some of it not even correct. I told her I wanted to speak with a manager. She put me on hold. She came back and said she could give me a 50% discount on our upgrade fee. I asked her why I had to pay anything when they didn't have what we reserved. We reserved a midsize SUV that sat 5 people- they did not have that. I reminded her that the law requires seat belts- and the SUV they had for us only had 4. She put me on hold again. She came back and said as a "courtesy" they would refund us the upgrade fee... But as she said earlier in our phone call, we should never have been charged an upgrade fee in the first place since they didn't have what we had reserved. So shouldn't she have said, "Sorry for the mistake. We will refund you." Glad I got the fee back, but sorry I ever had to deal with this in the first place. This is a great example in customer service. Had they given us an SUV that sat 5 people without a charge in the first place (since that is what we reserved), we would have left happy and would have rented from them again. Instead, they overcharged us and we left very unhappy. We told quite a few people about our experience in California and now experience is on the world wide web for anyone to read. This sort of "publicity" is not what a company wants.

Well the moral of the story for you remains the same: DON'T RENT FROM FOX RENT A CAR.

* * * * *

I had done some research on renting a car before our trip. This is our first time traveling as a family of five so I wanted to be sure that we rented a car that would fit three car seats. We needed to do a one way car rental, which isn't cheap. Fox Rent-A-Car turned out to be the best deal and we have rented from them in the past. I called the San Diego Office to find out what cars they rent for their mid-size SUV. They told me three models and said that the Jeep Liberty is the most common one they rent. I looked at all three cars online and knew they would work, so I rented the mid-size SUV.

When we got the rental office on Friday morning, we were tired. We had already been up more then 7 hours- and it was 9:30AM. Luke said he had a bad feeling about the rental agency. That should have been CLUE #1. CLUE #2 came pretty quickly. The mid-size SUV they had for us was 2 door Jeep Wrangler. Yep, I'm serious. Here is the picture of a 2 door Jeep Wrangler.
According to the Fox website, this vehicle is supposed to seat 5 people and have space for 4 suitcases. Does that look possible to you? It's not. One reason is it only has 4 seat belts. And the only way it's going to fit four suitcases is if they are the size of Eliana's "Dora" rolling backpack. Luke talked with the rental agent. I talked with the rental agent. She said they could upgrade us to a Dodge Journey, which was a Standard SUV. (Which was actually one of the three SUV's that was "midsize" according to the person I spoke with on the phone prior to our trip.) The rental agent wanted to know the name of the person I had spoke with. Guess what? It was over a week ago and I don't take down the names of the customer service people I speak with *in case* they give me bad information. I do plan ahead, but not that much! The manager was not at all helpful. The rental agent continued to tell us that we were getting a great deal for a Standard SUV- and she was correct. But we wanted what we had a rented at the price we had rented- and they did not have that. They did not have a midsize SUV that seated 5 people like we had reserved. The bottom line is was had to pay more. After an hour of waiting, I was tired of arguing and had a headache. I just wanted to eat and In-N-Out was calling my name.

We left in our Dodge Journey, which was not at all clean, and I immediately called their corporate office. The phone rang and rang. I called back and got a real person. I explained that I needed to talk to a manager about a problem I had at a rental office. She asked which office. I said, San Diego. She immediately routed me to the San Diego office. I had already talked to the manager there- and he didn't care! So I hung up and called back. The phone was picked up (apparently by the same girl who must have had caller ID) because she immediately routed me back to the San Diego office without even a "hello." I hung up and called back. This time she picked up the phone and immediately hung up on me. Yep, I am serious. So I called AGAIN and as you can imagine, I was pretty annoyed. The same girl picked up and I went off. I explained that I wanted to talk with someone at corporate and not the San Diego office. She listened the the situation and said that because the "ticket was open" (ie: we still had the rental car)- she couldn't do anything about it. She said she made notes in the computer letting the San Jose office know of the problem, and they could refund us the upgrade fee when we returned the vehicle. And you'd better believe that I took down her name! :)

When Luke went to return the vehicle on Monday morning, the San Jose office said they could not refund the upgrade fee and that we would need to call corporate. Really??? Because dealing with their customer service again is not something I really want to do. But I will. 

The moral of the story for you: Unless you want a hassle, don't use Fox Rent-A-Car.
The moral of the story for me: Between airport and rental car craziness, next time DRIVE. 

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