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That Escalated And Then Went Nowhere

, , , | Right | CREDIT: HenriquesDumbCousin | June 7, 2022

I work for a car rental company as an escalation agent. Basically, when a customer demands a supervisor, I take the call.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Rental Car Company]. My name is [My Name]. May I have your name, please?”

Customer: “[Customer].”

Me: “Thank you. How can I help you?”

Customer: “I had an emergency, and I won’t be able to return the vehicle tonight. I need to return the vehicle in the morning.”

I see her rental agreement and see that the vehicle is due tonight at 1800.

Me: “I do apologize, ma’am, but if I extend this to tomorrow morning, you will be charged for an additional day.”

Customer: “Why?”

She’s one of those customers…

Me: “My hands are tied, ma’am. I do apologize for what you’re going through.”

Customer: “What did you say?”

Me: “My hands are tied. I’m sorry you’re going through this, but if you extend the reservation, the charge is valid.”

Customer: “You guys are horrible!”

Me: “My apologies for the inconvenience.”

Customer: “I was told they would give me an additional discount because I’m a nurse.”

Me: “This reservation has a discount applied to it already.”

Customer: “That’s the airline discount, not the discount for being a nurse.”

Me: “You already have the vehicle, ma’am. It’s too late to add any additional discounts or coupons to your rental.”

Customer: “You’re being an a**hole, you know that?”

Me: “No ma’am, I’m giving you facts.”

Customer: “You’re an a**hole, and you’re a supervisor?”

Me: “That I am.”

Customer: “I can’t believe that you’re a supervisor.”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

Customer: “When you need to go to ER and need a nurse, good luck.”

Me: “Thank you.”

The customer hung up.

You Can Plan, But Sometimes The Universe Screws You Anyway

, , , , , , | Working | May 18, 2022

My husband and I are planning to move. As we have a busy schedule and a lot of pets, I start arranging rental trucks and movers more than two months in advance. I foolishly assume this will make everything easier.

Sadly, the universe has other plans.

One week before our actual move-in date, we plan to move some items into storage, so I book a van from a well-known moving company. I make this reservation about six weeks in advance. They take my credit card information and send me reminder emails, and everything seems good to go.

When we arrive to pick up the van, though, the store says there’s an issue and to call the corporate number. Confused and worried, I dial their number and am immediately met with a hostile tone. 

They tell me they are denying my rental because I listed my husband as an additional driver and his name is linked to someone who didn’t pay their bill from six years ago! Neither of us recognizes the name.

The representative does not believe me and accuses me of covering for this stranger.

[Company #1] Rep: “Unfortunately, you’ll be permanently banned from renting from our company unless you resolve the debt.”

Me: “Neither my husband nor I know this person, so obviously your records are wrong. And why wasn’t this an issue when we rented a truck from you two years ago?”

[Company #1] Rep: *Pause* “You must have given us false information then so it didn’t flag our system. Tell you what. I can even settle the account for $150.”

I tell her I’m not paying some stranger’s debt and hang up.

Desperate to find a vehicle and stick to our schedule, we turn to another well-known rental company. I reserve a van on their website for the next day. When my reservation time arrives, we show up at the store only to be told their website is wrong and they don’t have any vans.

I tell the representative that I would take a small truck or anything really, and she asks me to wait. I wait an hour and a half before I can get her attention again. Suddenly, her tune changes and she acts like I am an idiot for expecting the vehicle that I reserved.

[Company #2] Rep #1: “You really have to request vehicles far in advance.”

I think about my six-week reservation that was just pulled out from under me and scream internally.

Me: “I assumed that your reservation website was accurate. When would you have a vehicle available?”

[Company #2] Rep #1: “We’re booked up for the next few days. Just call back and maybe something will get returned sooner.”

Wondering why the heck she asked me to wait, I decide to leave and cancel our moving plans for that weekend. 

But wait, that’s not all. A couple of days later, [Rental Company # 2] charges me a $75 NO-SHOW fee for not picking up a van. Furious, I call them. 

Me: “I need this charge refunded. I waited an hour and a half only to be told you didn’t and wouldn’t have my vehicle.”

[Company #2] Rep #2: “Unfortunately, ma’am, you have to actually cancel your reservation with twenty-four hours’ notice.” 

Me: “How would that be possible when I showed up on time and you told me you didn’t have the van?”

[Company #2] Rep #2: *Pauses* “When we cannot complete a reservation, policy states that we must charge a fee.”

Me: “So, let me get this straight: your website accepts reservations for vehicles you don’t have, and then you get to collect a fee when you can’t complete those reservations?”

The rep hung up.

I ended up contesting the charge with my bank and getting the money back. We finally reserved a truck through a commercial vehicle company that made an exception for us. 

I couldn’t help but send an email to [Rental Company #1] with the amount I had paid the Commercial Truck Company (in cash) to show how they’d lost a sale because they wrongfully linked me to some stranger’s six-year-old debt. 

Long story short, this is how I learned that planning ahead doesn’t necessarily mean things will go well!

Caught In A Loop

, , , | Working | April 16, 2022

I speak English, but I currently live in a country where English isn’t the primary language. While I can speak and understand some of the local language, communicating in English is much easier, especially over the phone.

I rent a car during the summer for a road trip. Because of a [health crisis illness] flare-up in the city where I rented the car, I need to return it to a different location. Fortunately, the company I rented the car from has a phone number for English speakers. I call the number.

Agent: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Me: “I need to return my car to a different city.” *Gives identifying information*

Agent: “This is the hotel line, not the car rental line. I can help you translate to the car rental people because they don’t speak English. But, in the future, you can call [number I called] and it’ll take you directly to the car people and they will speak English.”

I write the number down, only realizing later that it is the number I called. I get the options for returning the car and say that I will call them back once I make a decision.

A day later, I’m ready to make the reservation to drop off the car (which is a thing with less busy rental companies here). I call the number the guy gave me, which is also the original number I called. The same guy answers.

Agent: “Hello, how can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, we spoke yesterday.” *Gives identifying information* “I’m ready to make the reservation to return the car.”

Agent: “I can translate for you because the people on the line don’t speak English. In the future, you can call [same number I already called] to speak with the car people. They have an English speaker who can translate.”

I did not bother to tell him that A, he had given me the same number I called, and B, he was likely the English speaker to whom he was referring. 

Fortunately, my language skills are okay enough and the process of returning a car is simple enough that I was able to conduct the return without any problems.

Great! Now We’ll Have To Put Up More Signs For Customers To Ignore!

, , , , , | Legal | February 25, 2022

I was asked by my friend and his father to help them move across Waikiki from one apartment to the other. They had reserved a fifteen-foot truck but neither of them could drive — my friend doesn’t have a license and I believe his father was injured — so I was asked to be their driver. I wasn’t looking forward to navigating downtown Waikiki with a fifteen-foot-long rectangle, but I agreed under the promise of dinner.

We arrived at the local truck rental dealer and encountered an employee outside. He gladly showed us the truck we were renting and ushered us into the building to do the paperwork.

Midway through, this happened. 

Agent: “Oh, I don’t have the keys.”

Me: “Oh… maybe it’s in your dropbox?”

Agent: “No, I just got all the after-hours return keys. I bet the woman before you left them in the truck. I’ll be right back.”

The agent left and was gone for all of three minutes before he burst back through the front doors like a tornado, knocking over an innocent hand truck on display. 

Agent: *Grabbing the phone* “THE TRUCK IS GONE!”

All Three Of Us: “What?!”

Agent: “Someone stole the truck! She left the keys in it! Hello, police, please!”

We had to wait until the agent finished reporting the vehicle as stolen. We found out later that the previous renter DID, indeed, leave the keys in the vehicle, and a random passerby jumped into the truck and drove off while we were doing the paperwork. 

We ended up with a nine-foot-long van instead of a fifteen-foot truck because that was all they could offer us now that our intended vehicle was on a joyride across God’s creation. The agency waived a ton of the normal fees, discounted the base rental, and threw in that hand truck I mentioned earlier for free. 

I enjoyed the maneuverability of our cargo van, and navigating Waikiki’s congested and narrow streets was much easier with a “normal” vehicle; however, without the extra space, the move took eight trips back and forth across the city instead of the one we were hoping for.

Renting A Car Can Be So Tiring

, , , , , | Working | January 17, 2022

I recently rented a car for a cross-country trip. One morning, after having camped by the ocean, over 2,000 miles from where we started, I noticed that one of the front tires looked quite bald. At first, I thought it was covered in mud from our parking area. But on closer inspection, it was actually pretty treadless. I looked at the other front tire. It wasn’t bald but it didn’t look great. As we left, the tire pressure light came on the dash.

Once we got to a stopping point up the coast a bit, I called the car rental agency.

Me: “The tire pressure light is on and there is a message on the dash that says, ‘Requires Maintenance’.”

Agent: “Can I have the rental number?”

I rattled that off.

Agent: “Yes, it looks like the car is due for maintenance. You’ll have to bring it back to where you got it.”

Me: “That’s not really possible. I’m several thousand miles away from there and still have several thousand miles planned for this trip.”

Agent: “Well, you can bring it to a shop and save the receipts.”

Me: “I don’t think so. This isn’t my car. I’m not going to authorize service, pay for it, and hope that your company reimburses me.”

Agent: “You can trade the car in at a rental location.”

Me: “That works. Where is the nearest one?”

Agent: “What is the zip code where you are?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m traveling. I am in [Town in Northern California].”

Agent: “You can drop it off at the LA airport and get another car.”

Me: “I’m pretty sure LA is about 500 miles from here. This tire won’t make it that far and I’m driving north.”

Agent: “Well, there is an office in [Town about 100 miles south].”

Me: “That isn’t as bad. Is it open?”

Agent: “No. Since this is Saturday, it is closed. It reopens Monday at 9:00 am.”

Me: “Okay, again, that won’t do. I’m heading north. The tire is very bad. It needs to be replaced today. Quickly. Nearby.”

Agent: “You can go to a tire shop, pay for the tires, and keep the receipt.”

Me: “Again, I don’t really feel like giving your company a loan. Already, when reserving my car for noon on pickup day, I was called sixteen hours before pickup time and told no car would be available until 4:00 pm that day. I lost half a day’s driving and missed out on plans. Now I am going to have to sit in a tire store, missing out on plans.”

Agent: “You can go to one of our partnering shops and we will pay for the tire.”

Me: “That sounds better. Which tire shop should I go to? One that is open and within at most fifty miles of me?”

She found a shop, called them to make sure they’d take the payment by phone, and gave me the address.

I drove there, got two new tires — as the other front tire did not pass inspection — and then I sat for THREE hours while the tire shop sat on hold trying to get paid.