Thursday, April 19, 2012

A little story about not getting screwed by corporate America, or F YOU, ENTERPRISE CAR RENTAL

Several weeks ago, the Man had his Subaru worked on, and in order to get around (to work, to ski) he rented a car from the local Enterprise car rental place.
He zipped around for several days and then one night we returned the car because he'd gotten his other car back and was leaving early the next morning. The Enterprise place has a sign that clearly states that if you bring a car back at night/after hours, you are responsible for whatever damage the car may sustain overnight. The car was in good condition when we left it, but there's always the chance that something could happen to it between 10pm and 8am. Noted.

The next day the Man got a call from the people at Enterprise telling him that the roof had been badly damaged. So badly damaged that it was "practically caved in". (I put those words in quotation marks because it is a direct quote, btw.) Since the Man was out of town, he asked me to go to the Enterprise place and check out the damage and report to him what I found. Perhaps some hooligan or drunk rage-a-holic had smashed in the roof after hours?

I made it there after work and spoke with a representative, who kindly drove the car around for me to look at it. The "damage" was a dent approximately the length and width of my hand and less than one inch deep. It looked as if someone had lightly bounced a basketball against it. That is what "practically caved in" means to Enterprise, FYI. I suggested that this damage had been overstated and the rep told me that it would be a super-cheap fix, and that the shop might not even charge for it at all, because they'd probably just pop out the dent in a few minutes. "Well, that's great", I thought. I called the Man, and we were happy that they'd made such a silly error.

The next day the Man called Enterprise's claim department and they didn't have any information. They said he would be contacted if there was a bill.
And whoa. Was there ever a bill.

Last week the Man got a bill for $1700. The damage report indicated several problems with the car and the repairs list included a new roof, new left and right rear quarter panels, a new luggage rack (it may be worth noting that I don't think this car even had a luggage rack when I saw it, but whatevs), and several internal fixes. There was obviously a large labor charge and a fee for keeping the car out of service for eight days.
Um. What? Excuse me?

The Man called, calm but seething with rage, and let them know that he was certain that these damages were not his, and that they'd clearly allocated more of the repair cost to him than was appropriate. After trying and failing several times to get him to "just put it through his insurance" so that he wouldn't have to worry about it, they agreed to look into the matter. He filed a formal complaint with them in writing stating all of the things that had happened up to that point. He called back several times to get an acknowledgement that they'd received his complaint. But still no information.

Then, yesterday, he received a letter from their claims department stating that they were dropping the matter entirely.


But people, let this be a lesson to you about what kinds of things Enterprise feels comfortable charging you for. I wonder how many other people who drove that little car got a bill for $1700? How much repair work do they double/triple/quadruple charge to people hoping to make more money? And how many people just pay it without even bothering to read the bill?

So, caveat emptor, I guess. Right?

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