This Is So Not A Luxury Vehicle

, , , , , | Working | November 24, 2020

I want to fly home to see my family for Christmas, but after seeing how expensive flights are and that only middle seats are available, I rent a car to drive the 800 miles. About 500 miles in, my rental makes an alarming sound and displays a message that reads, “SYSTEM FAILURE – POWER REDUCED – SERVICE NOW.” There are also several symbols lit up, indicating several things have gone wrong. I pull over and call the roadside assistance included with the rental.

Agent: “Thank you for calling roadside assistance. How can I help you?”

I explain my long drive, the alert, and all the symbols.

Agent: “What lights are displayed on the dashboard?”

Me: “Um… there’s a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it, a car that—”

Agent: “I don’t see that one in my system. Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes. I can take a picture and send it to you, if you’d like.”

Agent: “No, I’ll just make a note. What else?”

Me: “The second light looks like it’s a car bumper-to-bumper with another car.”

Agent: “Hmm, I’m not seeing that one, either. Anything else?”

Me: “The third looks like a car and a traffic cone.”

Agent: “Are you sure you have a [Make and Model] car?”

Me: “Yes, I’m looking at my rental agreement and the book in the glovebox.”

Agent: “Hmm, I’m not seeing any of these. You’re certain?”

Me: *Getting annoyed* “Are you sure you’re looking at the right car?”

Agent: *With an attitude* “Yes. Now, you should take the car to be checked out before continuing.”

Me: “How long will that take? I still have a long drive—”

Agent: “There is a place fifteen miles from you. I will notify them that you are coming. The address is [address].”

Me: “That’s the opposite direction of where I’m going. Is there one between me and [Destination hundreds of miles away]?”

Agent: “No.”

I’m highly doubtful, but I just want to keep going.

Me: “Okay. Can you send someone with a new car so I don’t have to wait?”

Agent: “Until we know what is wrong with this car, we cannot send another.”

Me: “Okay…”

I backtrack fifteen miles, worried the entire time that the car will give up on the road and I’ll be stuck. It does not, thankfully, but the shop didn’t know I was coming and I nearly have to pay for them to look at the car. Eventually, they agree to bill the rental agency, for which I am grateful.

I sit in the waiting room for two hours, only to be told that they found nothing wrong with the car. I get back on the road. I make it less than twenty miles, and the same alert comes up. I call again and get the same person.

Agent: “Thank you for calling roadside assistance. How can I help you?”

I explain everything again, adding the details of my first call.

Agent: “Yes, I am the one you spoke with. You can get it looked at again—”

Me: “No. I’m sorry, but no. I need a different car.”

Agent: “Unless we know what is—”

Me: “I took it to a shop. I wasted two hours. They said nothing was wrong, but it happened again.”

Agent: *Heavy sigh* “Fine. Hold, please.”

I hear him muttering about my attitude while he types.

Me: “I’m not on hold, you know.”

Hold music suddenly starts.

Agent: “Okay, I’ve arranged for you to swap your car for one at our location in [Town fifty miles away].”

I put the town into my GPS.

Me: “That’s further back than the shop you sent me to.”

Agent: “You can get the car checked out again or you can go back to our location in [Town].”

Me: “And they’ll know I’m coming?”

Agent: “Yes. The address is [new address]. Goodbye.”

I drove back and, surprise, they didn’t know I was coming either. I wasted another hour while they tried to find someone who knew what I was talking about and a car I could take. The next car was the same as before, just a year older.

I drove about 150 miles and the same alarm went off. By that time, all offices were closed for the night and I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. I called my parents, who drove the remaining miles and picked me up.

The next day, we went back for the car and had it towed to my parent’s mechanic. The mechanic determined that there was an issue with a sensor related to cruise control. The car was drivable; it just would not have cruise control.

When I returned the car after my trip, I told the staff about all my issues with the cars and the roadside assistance representative. They looked entirely uninterested, thanked me for my feedback, and ushered me out the door.

I guess next time I’ll suck it up and sit in the middle seat.

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Only Scratching The Surface

, , , , | Working | November 16, 2020

My car is at the mechanic, and I am renting a vehicle from a well-known nationwide business.

Rental Agent: “…and you can also purchase our insurance in case the car is damaged while you’re renting it!”

Me: “No, thank you. I’ll only be driving to and from work, and I don’t anticipate having it longer than three days.”

Rental Agent: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, thanks.”

I drive the rental car for two days — true to my word, only to and from work, not more than forty miles all told — and then get my car back from the mechanic and return the rental car with a full tank of gas. The next day:

Rental Agent: “Hi, I need to know your insurance and your deductible.”

Me: “Why?”

Rental Agent: “Your rental car sustained damage while you had it, and since you didn’t purchase our insurance, you’re liable.”

Me: “Please describe the ‘damage.’”

Rental Agent: “Scratches and mud on the lower door panels.”

Me: “There was mud on the door panels because it rained for the two days I had the car. And I want photographic evidence of the alleged scratches.”

Rental Agent: “Um… the scratches were discovered by our Damage Agents; they are specially trained to notice damages that other people overlook.”

Me: “And how was I able to accrue scratches too small for anyone but your special Damage Agents to notice?”

Rental Agent: “Well, driving on roads…”

Me: “Let me get this straight. You want me to pay for alleged damage I can’t see, after renting me a car so fragile that it incurs damage by driving on roads?

Rental Agent: “You should have purchased the insurance; then I wouldn’t have to be doing this!”

Me: “Please transfer me to your supervisor.”

I ended up escalating to the regional representative, but the “damage” report was thrown out and I never had to pay a dime. I’m never renting from them again, though.

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O, Canaduh, Part 11

, , , , , | Right | July 3, 2020

I work at a car rental agency, and I am going about my regular workday. We have a short script-like thing we have to go through, including asking if the customer is taking the vehicle across the border into Canada. Some days are harder than others.

Me: “Are you taking the vehicle up to Canada at all?” 

Customer: “No, no, no Canada. Just Vancouver for a day.” 

Me: “Vancouver, Canada?” 

Customer: “Yes, just for a day.” 

Me: “Okay, so you are taking the vehicle to Canada.” 

Customer: *Blank stare*

Me: “Right, I’m going to get you the paperwork you need for Canada.” 

O, Canaduh, Part 10
O, Canaduh, Part 9
O, Canaduh, Part 8
O, Canaduh, Part 7
O, Canaduh, Part 6

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That Is Not My Job!

, , , , , , , | Working | May 25, 2020

During a storm, a large piece of ice falls off the roof of our house, damaging the windshield and roof of my car. This happens on a Saturday night.

I call my insurance company to file my claim and get referred to a body shop. The shop they send me to is one of their approved/preferred partners. Part of my policy also covers a rental vehicle.

Monday morning, I have to work, so my mom drops the car off for me at the body shop. They ask her if she would like to pick up the rental car at that time. She says no, which is correct. The next day, the agent handling my claim calls to get more details about the incident and follow up.

He asks if I’ve sent the car to the shop yet and if I’ve gotten the rental car. I say yes, the car is at the shop, but because I have a work truck during the week, I am waiting until Friday afternoon to get the rental car. He says that’s no problem; I should just give the body shop a little notice and they’ll arrange it on the day I want to pick it up.

Fast forward to Friday. I get off work around 1:00 pm. I call the body shop to arrange the rental car as instructed. The woman that answers says I have to call the car rental company directly. Okay, no problem. That’s not what I was told, but maybe I misunderstood.

I call the rental company, and the gentleman gets me set up with no issues. That is, until he asks me for a reservation number that my insurance company should have given me. I explain that I never got one. He says that’s okay, I can still go get the car, but I should try to get the number before I get there.

As I’m leaving to walk over to the rental place, I call my insurance company to explain. I’m lucky enough to speak to the same agent that’s handling my claim — I called his direct line first but he was on another call.

I go over what just transpired and request the reservation number from him. He pauses for a moment and I can tell he’s frustrated. 

He says, “Really?! That’s part of their job! They’re one of our approved shops. They should have set that up for you. One moment, please.”

He puts me on hold for a few minutes. When he comes back to me, I’m about a minute away from the car rental place.

“I’ve set you up with a proper rental; your reservation number is [number],” the agent explains. “It may take a few minutes for it to show up in their system but it will be ready for you today. I’ve also sent an email to my superiors about this. It shouldn’t have happened. I’m sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

I tell him, “No, thank you for helping me sort this out. I’m sorry if I made it harder for you by trying to set up my own rental.”

“Not at all! You didn’t do anything wrong,” the agent says. “They shouldn’t have had you do that.”

We finish the call just as I walk into the car rental place. My rental car is already pulled out and waiting for me, and the staff there can’t have been more pleasant. I just wish the process had been easier.

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Pulling The Key Is The… Uh… Key

, , , , | Right | May 16, 2020

I’m the manager of a car rental agency in the downtown/financial district area of Boston. I am transferred to a call from a customer in apparent distress.

The customer yells at me that he cannot get his key out of the ignition of the Kia that he’s renting and I’m personally making him late because I’m an evil, masochistic SOB.

After listening to this for half a minute, I begin with: 

Me: “Sir, have you considered pulling the key harder?”

There is silence.

Caller: “Uh… no.”

There is an audible pop, followed by more silence.

Me: “Sir?”

Caller: “Bye.” *Click*

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