Of Privacy And Patience

, , , , | Working | March 18, 2018

(I am the customer in this story. My husband booked a car online in his name, but we couldn’t find his credit card, so we used mine. Then, once we booked, we realised the credit card was meant to be in his name. We didn’t want any trouble when we collect the car, so we called the next day. This is an abbreviation of two days and over two hours of phone calls. Call #1:)

Me: “Hi. My husband made a booking last night for a car, but his credit card wasn’t working, so we used mine. I noticed the terms and conditions say the credit card has to be in the driver’s name. What can we do about it?”

Rep #1: “Ah, okay. Well, the driver must be the cardholder.”

Me: “I understand that. But we have made a booking, and my card has been charged. Maybe we can change the credit card number on file? Or add another one?”

Rep #1: “No. It is not possible to change the credit card on the booking once the credit card has been charged. In this case, we would need to cancel the booking, issue a refund, and redo the booking.”

Me: “Will that cost anything?”

Rep #1: “No, no, that is fine. It will not cost anything. But it’s a public holiday here in Germany, so that department is closed. You need to call back tomorrow.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that.”

(Call #2:)

Me: “Hi. I’m calling because my the credit card on file for my booking is not the main driver’s, and I was told to call back today to rectify this.”

Rep #2: “Yes, that is true; we need the credit card holder to be the main driver of the vehicle.”

Me: “Yes, I understand that, but I don’t want to be the driver; my husband is. That’s why I’m calling: to change the booking.”

Rep #2: “And you will not be there at the time to collect the car?”

Me: “Yes, I’ll be there, so will my husband, and so will both our credit cards.”

Rep #2: “Ah, okay, that is fine, then. Yes, you will be able to change to use his credit card when they print out the rental contract.”

Me: “Really? Even though it’s already been paid for?”

Rep #2: “Yes, that is correct.”

Me: “Great! Can you email me that, so I have proof when I go to the counter?”

Rep #2: “No, I don’t have an email here, but I will contact the German office to send you that in an email.”

Me: “Great. Thanks!”

(Six hours later, no email. I call again. Call #3:)

Me: “Hi, I just spoke to someone.” *explains the situation* “I never received the email. Can you confirm?”

Rep #3: “Well, I don’t know why she said that, but that is not the case. The main driver must be the credit card holder.”

Me: “Yes, I know that. That’s what I’m trying to fix. I was told that I could change the credit card at the counter.”

Rep #3: “No, that is not the case. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do. You will need to email customer service; they can help you.”

(I email customer service asking if they can confirm that I will be able to change the credit card upon arrival. They respond, “The driver must be the credit card holder. You can add an additional driver for €60.” Call #4:)

Me: “Hi.” *explains situation* “It is pre-booked and already paid for on my card. So, I would like to know what can we do about this.”

Rep #4: “That is fine. Yes, you can indeed change the credit card when you pick up the car.”

Me: “Really? Even though it’s already been charged? Because I’ve heard different things from different people. Can you email that to me so I have confirmation?”

Rep #4: “Let me check with my team leader.”

(I’m on hold for a while, then…)

Rep #4: “Unfortunately, actually, because the credit card has already been charged, we cannot change it. But we can change the driver to your name for €20. Otherwise, you can email customer service, and maybe they can help you.”

Me: “What?! But you just said I could! I don’t want to be the driver. Also, I shouldn’t be charged for being the driver, as that isn’t changing anything. I am the cardholder, so I am the main driver. And I was told I could cancel it for free. Okay, I will email customer service, but can you please get me the recording of my earlier call? I was told that it would be recorded, so I would like access to that, please.”

Rep #4: “Let me check.”

(After being on hold again…)

Rep #4: “I spoke to my team leader, and we cannot change the credit card number on file, as it has already been charged.”

Me: “That’s not what I asked for! I asked for the recording. It is illegal for an EU company to fail to hand over data about a customer if they request it.”

Rep #4: “No. The question is not whether this is illegal, but whether we can change the credit card for you, and we cannot do that. Please email customer service.”

Me: “This is illegal. I am requesting information, and you are refusing to hand it over. Please put me on to your supervisor.”

(More holding, then…)

Rep #5: “Hi. I understand you want to change your credit card details, but unfortunately we cannot change it, as it has been pre-booked. You agreed to the terms and conditions when you booked, so there’s nothing we can do.”

Me: “No! That is not what I asked. I am requesting information that you hold about me, and you are refusing. Agreeing to the terms and conditions did not waive my rights. If you cannot hand over the call records, I will have to take legal action.”

Rep #5: “If you want the records, you can email customer service.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll do that. But if they don’t come through, I will take legal action. All I want is to remake the booking with a different credit card, which I was told I could do!”

Rep #5: “Oh, I understand! Actually, as a gesture of goodwill, I can cancel the booking and remake it without charging you anything. And for your trouble, I can reduce the price a bit, as well.”

(I think they realised they were in trouble when I knew the EU data privacy laws!)

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