The Long Summer Of Rental

, , , , , | Right | November 15, 2018

(We do roadside assistance insurance. Depending on what kind of insurance you have, we might cover the costs of a temporary replacement vehicle, but only if the repairs will take longer than 48 hours. If that is diagnosed, we look for a car at a car rental company. Since we deal with members traveling through Europe, these often need to be international rental cars. After one summer working at the company, I really hate the word “rental car.” Here are some examples why.)

Caller #1: “Why the h*** does it take so long for you guys to get my son another car? Come on; your company is so big! You have cars in stock in Europe…”

Me: “My colleagues are working on it, ma’am.”

Caller #1: “Oh, come on! Just make it happen! You are working at [Company], so don’t try to make me believe you can’t do it right now for me!”

Me: “I assure you that I can’t, ma’am. I’m not qualified, and I have never rented a car in my life.”

(Yes, because I work there, I’m supposed to push some button that makes a car available right now. Another example is people expecting service late at night and everything magically showing up in front of their face.)

Caller #2: “Will the people of the car rental pick me up here?”

(Also, some people not only expect the car to appear out of thin air, but they also misunderstand when my colleagues tell them the estimated time they will call back.)

Caller #3: “Hey. I was told there would be a rental car here in an hour, but I still don’t see anything.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Sometimes it just takes a little longer. I heard things are very busy in Germany today. You’d better make sure you find a place to stay.”


Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I really can’t help this. But Google Maps shows there’s a hotel very close to you, a few streets away.”


Me: “Do you perhaps have a credit card, sir?”


Me: “We can’t help this situation, either, sir. Do you want to know how to get to the hotel or not?”

Caller #3: “You know what? I’ll just hang up and call back, and then I’ll get another guy on the phone!” *click*

(Apparently, we are responsible for his poor preparation and his far-too-high expectations? Finally, there are also people who REALLY don’t get the 48-hour rule.)

Caller #4: “Hello, I had a breakdown a few weeks ago, in Germany. I rented a car, but how do I get compensation for that from you guys?”

Me: “Let me check the file, sir. Um… I see you had a breakdown on [date]. You rented the car yourself, sir?”

Caller #4: “Yes. But I can get the money back through my insurance, right?”

Me: “Well, sir, sometimes that’s possible, if later it turns out to take over 48 hours to repair. But I see the car was ready next day, is that right?”

Caller #4: “Yes, but because of that I had to wait, anyway.”

Me: “I understand, sir. But if the car was ready the next day, the repair clearly took under 48 hours. A replacement vehicle is only covered if it takes over 48 hours.”

Caller #4: “Yes, but I had to wait, anyway.”

Me: “I heard you the first time, sir. But under 48 hours, the costs of a rental car aren’t covered. I’m sorry.”

Caller #4: *some vague sounds implying the caller has gotten angry and handed the phone to his wife while arguing with her*

(And all of this… only a few examples of a very tiresome summer!)

Insurance Forced Into Payout Provides Satisfying Reading

, , , , , | Working | November 9, 2018

I am working for an agency as a temp receptionist and admin, often only staying at each company for a week or so.

One Sunday I get home to discover that my passenger door of my car has a massive dent in it, right across both panels, looking like someone turned too early reversing out of a space next to me. This is around February and I don’t often have passengers, so I haven’t seen this side of the car in the light for well over a week and have no idea when it might have happened. I’ve been working at a couple of places, so I don’t even know where.

I take the car to a couple of garages for quotes, and it’s going to be over £800 to fix. Bearing in mind I am 23 and have been working agency for a week here and a week there for several months, this is money I don’t have. My insurance excess is £500, so I decide I’ll give them a call to find out whether it would be better to make a claim or whether the impact in future would make it a bad idea.

I ring up the insurance company and get a lovely young man on the phone who assures me that as it isn’t my fault, that if I make a claim it won’t affect my premiums, and even better, that I won’t have to pay the excess for the same reason, and that he can arrange for me to have a free hire car while mine is in the garage. This is a heck of a lot better than I expected, so of course I say sure, let’s go ahead and claim, then.

He goes ahead and puts in a claim, and says that their estimator will come out to look at it and the hire car company will contact me within a couple of hours to arrange for the courtesy car.

An hour later, the hire car company rings as promised. We get through the basic name, address, etc., and then they ask for the details of the other driver. I don’t know who did it, I reply, and suddenly they clam up, saying they can’t provide a car and that the insurance company will ring me.

Sure enough, the phone rings to a different insurance agent informing me that as I don’t know who did it I’ll have to pay the excess myself, I can’t get a hire car, and my premiums will go up massively because they can’t claim against the other person’s insurance.

I am in tears at this point trying to explain that I rang to ask all of this and only put the claim in because I was assured it wouldn’t have an impact. I ask them to put the claim on hold as I’m informed they can’t remove it.

Eventually, I get my wits together and put in an official complaint, asking them to listen to the previous call, given they are flat out denying I was told what I was.

The result is them having to honour their first employees words. I get a hire car for two weeks, the work is done through my normal garage as I trust them, I don’t have to pay the excess, and it won’t impact my premiums.

Well, I say that… I have to ring and fight them again to collect the car when the garage hasn’t been paid the excess. Then, come my renewal date, I have to fight again, including another complaint, after they remove my no-fault claims and put my premium up. But in the end, that employee, who I assume was new and just misunderstood no-fault claims, probably cost the company close to £2000 between the repairs and the car hire, etc.

Usurping The Border

, , , | Right | October 19, 2018

(I get a phone call from one of our client members.)

Member: “Hello, we’re here in Germany, at Rees, and our car broke down. Our membership number is [number].”

(I fill in the number. It shows a roadguard insurance for Netherlands only.)

Me: “I see you only have insurance for the Netherlands, sir. Is that right?”

Member: “Yes, but we are very close to the border. About twenty kilometres.”

(I look up the location.)

Me: “That’s true, yes. Hm… You’re still out of the country, but I might be able to do something. Can you hold, sir?”

Member: “Yes.”

(I go and talk to my superior about this.)

Me: “One of our members has broken down in Germany, very close to the border. But he only has an insurance policy for help in the Netherlands.”

Member: “Hm. There is a policy of sending out Dutch roadguard to certain German areas close to the border. But it really has to be the right area. You should call the inland department to ask them. If it’s the right zone, we could tow them to the Netherlands, out of courtesy.”

(Courtesy indeed, since they officially have no policy for help in foreign countries. I call the inland department, and tell the story.)

Colleague: “I’m sorry. I can’t put the location through. They’re clearly in the wrong zone.”

Me: “All right, then. At least we tried. Thank you.”

(I go back to the client, who is still on hold.)

Me: “Sir, I’m sorry, but it turns out we can’t send out a Dutch road guard over there, due to legal jurisdictions and everything. The only thing I can do is text you the phone number of the German road guard. That way, you could at least receive some help.”

Member: “And we have to pay for that ourselves?”

Me: “Yes, sir. I’m very sorry, but your insurance does not cover for help on foreign soil. But I’ll be texting you the phone number of the German road guard.”

Member: “Well, I think I won’t use it. I’ll just contact a local towing company. I mean, it’s all good that you usurp all these bureaucratic rules, but to be honest, I’m quite fed up with this! We’ve been members for years, and this is no service!”

(I’m still not quite sure what he meant with us “usurping” rules. Later I recount the story to another coworker.)

Coworker: “I don’t get the man. Either you have an insurance or not. If you don’t have a fire insurance and your house burns down, you won’t go to your health insurance, will you?”

(I’m still quite amazed that he blamed us for not being insured himself. And that, with all the effort I put in it, he still acted as if I hadn’t done anything.)

A Breakdown Of The Breakdown Services

, , , | Right | October 17, 2018

(Our roadguard insurance covers quite a lot of stuff, like sending a road guard for repair on the spot or for towing your broken vehicle to a garage. It does not, however, cover the costs of repair at the garage — since these tend to be quite high — or any unforeseen additional hotel costs. Somehow, many people just assume certain stuff is covered, without carefully reading the terms and conditions. We often receive phone calls from people who don’t get it.)

Caller: “Hi, my car broke down in Germany, a while ago. I’m back home now, but I have a question. It’s [license number].”

Me: “Yes, I found it.”

Caller: “The repair costs at the garage were €150. Apart from that, I had to book a hotel for two nights, with some meals, making that a bill of €140. Can I get these covered?”

Me: “Unfortunately, sir, these costs are no part of our roadguard insurances. However, it might be possible to declare the unforeseen hotel costs at your travel insurance. Do you have a travel insurance, sir?”

Caller: “Yes, I do. So, I should declare the hotel costs there?”

Me: “Best thing you could do, sir. You should contact that insurance to check that.”

Caller: “But how about the repair costs?”

Me: *tactically* “Well… usually that is not a part of the roadguard insurance, either.”

Caller: “Well, I have been a member for ten years, and have paid my insurance premium every time, without any trouble or damage. I think that should be worth something. If not, why do I have an insurance?”

Me: “For road help, sir, which you got. We covered that.”

Caller: “Is there really no way?”

Me: “Well, you could try to declare the hotel costs through our declaration form. However, I can’t guarantee any success.”

(I’m just saying this in order to finish the call. I know this won’t work, but at least the guy will stop, and I have pointed out it might not work.)

Caller: “Okay, I’ll go to my travel insurance with the hotel bill. And I’ll try to declare the garage costs through your online form. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll simply terminate my insurance with you.”

(That means he won’t get any covered assistance at all next time. With an insurance, he could contact us and report his problem to us in his mother tongue, while we sent out the order to the foreign roadguard and covered the costs of that, which in a worst-case scenario can cost over €350!)

Doesn’t Know Any F-Words

, , , | Right | October 14, 2018

(Because we work with Americans, as well as many international clients, we get a lot of interesting people. The best way to get any information to prospective clients is through email. This is one exchange I had with a prospective client.)

Me: “All right. What I can do is send you all the information you are asking for through email, and CC an agent so that she may answer any questions you have.”

Client: “Okay.”

Me: “All right, what’s your name?”

(The client spells out his name slowly, using the “B as in ‘Boy’” thing.)

Me: *inwardly* “Thank goodness! I don’t think I would ever understand him.” *outwardly* “All right, and your email?”

(The client begins spelling out his email using same technique, then says:)

Client: “F as in ‘Edward,’ at [rest of email].”

Me: “Um… Okay, just to make sure I have this down correctly—”

(I begin spelling out the email and put extra emphasis on the F.)

Client: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay, I will get this information to you by the end of the day.”

Client: “Thank you!”

(It ended up being an E. I don’t blame him, though; an F is just an E without a bottom!)

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