SAVANNAH, GEORGIA -- Had a nightmare experience with Alamo. Wrote below letter to CEO Apr 14, 2016. Never heard back. Contacted "customer escalation" on May 5, 2016. They submitted an "open inquiry" to the DNR department. Said DNR would contact me in 2-3 days. It has been one week. Still no response. Stop playing games, Alamo. I want my $300 reimbursement!!!
April 14, 2016. Dear Ms. **: This requests a $300 reimbursement from Alamo/Enterprise Holdings for a rental situation last week that caused me much expense and emotional distress due to Alamo's gross negligence.
BACKGROUND: I rented an Alamo car through CarRentals.com for pickup in Savannah, GA on Tues, Apr 6, 2016. The total fees for one week were $127.24. To get a good price, I shopped and shopped and booked two months in advance of the trip – on Feb 19.
When I arrived at the Alamo counter on Apr 6, I was told that I was on the “Do Not Rent” list. I was shocked! I am an infrequent renter and had never heard of such a list. And I certainly did not know I was on it. I was never notified of it. I phoned Alamo for an explanation and they said their research into it would take up to two weeks!!! It was late afternoon and would be getting dark soon. I was in a new city. It was three days into the Augusta Masters Tournament. Attendees flew into Savannah to drive on to Augusta so demand for cars was high, cars limited, and fees costly. I had no choice but to rent from another car rental company. The total cost was $426.91 through Thrifty.
I was devastated. This was +$300, or +335%, over what I had budgeted for the Alamo car. This extra cost was more than the combined cost of my round trip flight, the original Alamo rental, and two nights at an Airbnb. The incident cast a pall on my stay in Savannah and caused me much distress. I am a senior and on a fixed income. This new cost was not in my budget.
SUMMARY / CONCLUSION: Had Alamo notified me that I was on a “Do Not Rent” list, I certainly would not have rented from Alamo. And why didn't CarRentals.com know of this so that they could steer me away from Alamo? I should not have to pay the price for Alamo being grossly negligent about notifying me and/or third party vendors. This is very wrong. I expect full and immediate reimbursement of the $300 – by May 1, 2016. Thank you.
DOWNTOWN DISNEY ANAHIEM, CALIFORNIA -- There were only two good things about my experience with renting this car from this Alamo location at Downtown Disney Anaheim... The staff was friendly and the rate was the least expensive that I could find. The car, a Chrysler 200c, was ok but I wouldn't want that same car again. However, the logistics involved in using that location are ridiculous. The Alamo office, buried deep in Downtown Disney, is difficult to even find. Inconspicuously placed at the corner of a large bldg complex only accessible on foot. You can't park or even get dropped off anywhere near it.
The Alamo sign is placed high near the roof line above the entrance and its orientation is so that you can't see it from either of the directions you can walk in from. So, after being dropped off and walking across a couple of streets and a huge parking lot, I then walked right by it the first time. After renting the car and receiving the key, I was instructed by the Alamo staff to walk "about 100 yards" to another parking lot where the car was parked. Exactly where in that parking lot they didn't know and couldn't tell me. I was told to simply wander around the parking lot and then push the panic button on the key and see which car lit up.
So I headed out as they instructed, but I traveled a lot farther than 100 yards and finally had to ask the valet attendant at another parking lot where the Alamo lot was. They instructed me to go back another block and a half or so where I found a parking lot with a group of cars on the far side of the lot and I started pushing the panic button, and eventually found the car. The lot was completely unmarked. No sign saying Alamo, or anything else.
Then when I returned the car it was the whole process and reverse. These logistics wasted an incredible amount of my time and energy. Very inconvenient. I will not use this location again and this experience will make me think twice about using Alamo car rental again.
We've taken note of your comments and appreciate your feedback, as we are constantly looking for ways to improve on our services. If you would like to further discuss your experience, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org including your contact information, your rental agreement or reservation number, and any further information regarding your experience with us.
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Alamo Rent A Car
BOZEMAN, MONTANTA -- We called after returning the rental car, because we had forgotten an item. They told us they would call back if they found it, however they didn't. I called back the next day, and sure thing, the item was found. Now I live in the same city as this place, so I was told I could stop by anytime during the day to pick it up. 2 hours later I get this call, that they need to ship the item to me right away at a cost of 20+ dollars. Their reason: because they are "not a storage facility and cannot hold the item for more than 12 hours." Note I only knew they had found the item 2 hours earlier.
I then asked to speak to the manager, and this person (Mark **) then goes on and says 12 hours is incorrect, and that they ship things as soon as found. I've never dealt with such incompetent people. Not once, but twice do they mislead me, in a single day (never mind in the same call). This manager was so rude. I literally wish I was in front of him to punch him in the face. I will take the high road, and simply NEVER USE THIS CAR RENTAL SERVICE AGAIN. I advise you to do the same, simply because, should you have a problem, you can be sure you will be treated like a dog, because that's what these people think of you.
BOZEMAN, ALASKA -- Count on Alamo to leave you stranded, broken down and helpless. On our short honeymoon, we rented an Alamo car from Bozeman, Montana Alamo to tour Yellowstone Park. On our way back to Bozeman, we were driving up a highway incline in the middle of nowhere, when the car slowly came to a stop. We were able to pull off the road just in the nick of time. I quickly reached for my phone because the Alamo brochure boasts about its new 24 hour emergency roadside assistance. Of course, because of our remote location there was no cell service.
After troubleshooting, we decide to start walking to try to get within cell range. After walking a mile and finding one particular spot, we could just manage to get the phone to dial Alamo in Bozeman. After explaining to the customer service agent our situation, our location, and the danger of our situation, I quickly explained how I might lose my cell signal at any moment and that they needed to get a tow truck on its way.
Instead of having concern for us and the situation we were in, the agent began to question if we had run out of gas or if we had used diesel and so on, implying that we got ourselves into this situation and never once saying they will help and get a tow truck on the way. After repeatedly stressing I could lose my cell connection at any moment, the agent put me on hold for 5 minutes and then again for 10 minutes, which is when I lost my connection. After again finding a cell hot spot, I tried calling the Alamo number for the next 20 minutes, only to get a busy signal.
Since the lackadaisical Alamo agent was unconcerned about our situation and safety, our only hope was for a good Samaritan to pick us up before night set in. Luckily for us, a good Samaritan reluctantly stopped and agreed to give us a lift the 2.5 hours back into Bozeman. I called the agent once we were in cell range, to find out he had never sent a tow truck or anyone else to help us for that matter and he never once apologized for the situation, but instead said that once we dropped the keys off at the office they would send a tow truck to pick up the vehicle.
And then to add insult to injury, he proceeded to threaten us with the $600 towing charge if it was found that it was our fault that the car stopped working. Unbelievable! Alamo customer service saying should be, "We have no concern for customer safety and the customer will always be assumed to be at fault, even if they end up stranded on the side of a remote highway.” This took up a day and half of our honeymoon.
The next day we spoke with the manager who was useless and uncaring, the equivalent of the company robot. After calling everyday for over a week, leaving messages for the manager and waiting to hear when we would be, at the very least, refunded our rental fee, we finally heard from Alamo that it was a mechanical issue (no fault of ours) and we would be refunded. There was never an apology or gesture by the company for the poor customer service that put us in an unsafe and dangerous situation. Shameful!
LOS CABOS, MISSOURI -- Alamo defrauded us of money during our trip to Mexico. For the last 2 months, I have attempted to resolve this matter and Alamo's customer service has been worse than deplorable. The Cabo franchisee lied and defrauded us, and the US operation has refused to issue us a refund and continues to rely on the lies of the Cabo franchisee.
This company should step up and refund our $. Over less than $500, Alamo is willing to be sued. Alamo's CEO has ignored several emails and calls, and nobody will call me. Avoid Alamo and its sister companies at all costs. Alamo - step up, adhere to your customer service mantra and give me back the $ you stole from us!
Daniel - I am not sure you are aware of the history of this matter, and if not, I request that you look into Alamo's notes and the extensive correspondence on this topic. Yesterday, American Express Executive contacted me, and then conferenced in Alamo, in an attempt to expedite a resolution. Yet, as expected, I am transferred to yet another customer service representative. The long and short of it is that:
(a) The Cabo Alamo employee lied to us about the insurance and overcharged us for the rental after poaching us 2 feet out of customers at the Cabo airport,
(b) the Cabo Alamo location charged us over $150 for non-existent damage to the first car,
(c) the Cabo Alamo location refused to show us the alleged damage on the day the car with the flat was picked up or on 12/1, when the second car was returned,
(d) the Cabo Alamo employee who swapped out the cars said nothing about damage to the first car, which he presumably drove back to the Cabo Alamo location without incident; and
(e) Cabo Alamo, after over a month, produces a generic picture of a wheel of a VW to somehow substantiate its assertion that we caused damage to the first car. The level of misconduct by your company and franchisee continues to rise.
My patience has worn thin with your company. Your company has been non-responsive, including communications to your executive management. I offered a fair compromise, to which your company has yet to respond. At this point, I request that someone with decision-making power contact me directly or process the refund. I very much do not want to file suit over a relatively small amount of money, but you are leaving me with little choice. As I am sure you are aware, due to Alamo's (and its parent company's) world-wide presence, suit may be filed in Dallas, County, Texas.
As I am also sure you are aware, Dallas County courts will send this case to mediation. Economically, this case makes no sense to either side. However, if Enterprise Holdings wishes to use its corporate muscle over less than $500, then I have the time and energy to bring suit to recover the money owed to us, as well as my attorney's fees. I do not believe a Court will be sympathetic to the shenanigans that have occurred on the US customer service level with both Enterprise Holdings and Alamo, not to mention the underlying fraud committed by your Cabo franchisee (all of which is documented).
I also am shocked that your company would subject itself to the negatively publicity over a small amount of money and when your company and its franchisee are clearly in the wrong. Again, do the right thing and live up to your company's customer service mantra. I await a prompt resolution.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA -- Whatever you do, AVOID this Alamo branch, if not, all of the Alamos in the DC area. I have rented for years without ANY problems with companies such as Enterprise (which Alamo happens to now be under, ironically) and Avis, to name a couple. I have never had any problems with my rentals and their post-inspections.... until I used this company at this location. I purchased a deal off of Hotwire, thinking "what a great deal Alamo has." I was even "upgraded" from a Dodge minivan to a Chrysler. I thought, "Wow, this company is great."
That afternoon, I took some friends out to MD in this van, had a great evening, and returned the van back to DCA via the late night drop-off (a little past midnight). No damages done to the van whatsoever and I have witnesses. I dropped the keys AND rental agreement in their mailbox-looking thing, double-checked the van for anything out of the ordinary, and off I went.
Then, I get a voice mail in the morning claiming they found scratches to the vehicle. Of course, I am surprised, upset, and VERY suspicious. I have never gotten into an accident in my life and my driving record is clean. I denied the damages, of course, and yet they insisted they needed to write up a claim. I go on my honeymoon. When I get back, I receive an invoice of $1000 and an estimate with non-time stamped pictures of the alleged van with scratches. $1000 for scratches!! On top of that, the YEARS of the vehicle didn't match.
Let's just say that 1/2 a year later, I'm still fighting their bogus claim. I've contacted the Office of Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau. Alamo has been uncooperative, unreliable, and, quite frankly, untrustworthy. I've done extensive research on bogus car claims, and, well, what do you know... Alamo shows up. Google it. Learn from my mistake and the mistake of many others. This company will take advantage of you if you're not careful.
Avoid this company at all cost. But if you're one of the unfortunate to HAVE to rent from them, force them to do a walk-around (they insist it's "up to the customer"... other places I've rented did that automatically), sign documents to confirm the condition of the vehicle, take PICTURES and VIDEO inside and out, and when you return the vehicle, take pictures and video AGAIN and make sure you do one last inspection with a representative and confirm the condition. It's a hassle. But, you never know if you'll need the evidence one day, as I've read stories about companies who write up claims even AFTER an inspection.
EL SALVADOR, SOUTH CAROLINA -- The cars are old and not maintained. Besides, the prices are high. Once you get down there they want to add some insurances besides the require one for very high prices. Besides, in my case the phone they rented me never work causing frustration and by not knowing the country, it was very difficult to contact anybody or go buy a new one which I end up doing the next day. However, after reporting it the credit was never issue even after calling weeks later and leaving messages two month later and no credit back. It's ridiculous in the way this company just steals the money from us. Bad one.
DULLES, VIRGINIA -- I am totally frustrated and will never use Priceline or Alamo again. AFTER Alamo accepted our price on Priceline - when my husband went to pick up the vehicle - they refused to accept our Visa - Check Card. Refused to release the car without a Major Credit Card. Guess that was so they could just gouge what they wanted.
Immediately, contacted Priceline that Alamo refused to release the car. Advised that AFTER the drop off date - which was 5 days away - it would take another 10 business days for them to investigate and issue a refund because they could not contact the retailer as it was AFTER our pick up time but long before they closed, which made NO sense to me. I will never use either again. Here we are nearly 1 week later still no refund so they are making money on the interest of our money for a service they refused to provide.
I went to Los Angeles on vacation/business back in April of 2009. I got a vacation package with Southwest Airlines that included stays at the Holiday Inn and a rental car from Alamo. Southwest was a great flight (they were actually early!) and I have high marks for the Costa Mesa Holiday Inn we stayed out. Alamo on the other hand is a different story. When I confirmed the reservation I asked for a subcompact. When we got to the airport and went to the Alamo terminal, there was quite a long line.
When we FINALLY got to the terminal the representative was OK. She kept trying to get us to upgrade to a larger car. We had to refuse several times until she took the hint. She then pushed the CDW waiver on us big time. I also said no to that because I have rental car coverage on my insurance. We finally got away from here to go pick our car up. When we went to the compact area, there was not a SINGLE car out of many spots. We found a porter and asked what to do, and he said take a midsize. So we went to the midsize area.
There were NO midsize car's either. I found another porter and she said that we had no choice but to take a large car. So after all that haggling with the front service desk rep, they didn't even have the car we reserved!! So they ended up giving us the Large car at the compact price. And they knew that they had no compacts but were still trying to charge us for a larger car.
So from the get go, this company is a shady business. We went about our vacation and had a great time. When I got back I checked the car in at the airport. I did the run around with the gate agent and he told me it “looked fine” and I specifically asked him if “we were in the clear” and he said yes. We flew home and everything was fine.
Then 3 months later I get a letter from Alamo saying that I owed them “$700” because the car was all scratched up. I tried calling the guy on the letter “**” numerous times to discuss but he never picked up nor called me back. They just sent me “after” pictures of the car with all of the scratches. You couldn't even see the scratches in the pictures! So I disputed this charge and they have sent me to collections. The collection agents have been harassing me. I have sent them certified letters disputing the charges, but they are still persisting.
I will be getting a lawyer soon and I plan to sue Alamo and the collection agency. I have also found a class action lawsuit being started. I plan to be a part of that as well. And just to note, I had used Alamo 3 times in the past and Enterprise 4 times… I was a loyal customer that was always happy with my service. Now I will NEVER use any of the ERAC companies again (Enterprise, Alamo, National). I have traveled 3 times since then and I have been using Hertz and Avis. When I told the gate agents my experience with Alamo they couldn't believe that a company would be so terrible to a loyal customer.
I think it's a case of “You get what you paid for”. Pay a little bit more for an UPSTANDING rental car company and you won't have to go with what I am going through. So yeah, Alamo your pettiness in trying to get a measly $700 is going to cost you a customer for life. Plus I have been telling all my friends, family, posting in forums about how you treat your customers.
KAILUA/KONA, HAWAII -- Although I don't expect much can be done about this fraud, I do think attention needs to be paid to the exorbitant methods Alamo uses. On May 8, 2010 I picked up a rental car from Alamo at the Kailua/Kona airport in Hawaii which I had reserved through Priceline.com some weeks earlier. The Priceline rate was quite good for an intermediate car. Our flight was delayed for three hours so when we arrived at 11:30 pm everyone rushed to the rental car lots.
The Alamo people were quite insistent, even though the lines were long that I should pay an addition $19.00 per day for insurance. I said my American Express Gold card covered any damage and declined the coverage, as American Express has recommended I do. Even though people were waiting the agent persisted at some length that I was taking a serious financial risk in not buying their coverage. I again politely declined the coverage.
There were no intermediate cars available so they provided me with a full size Chevrolet Malibu at the same rate. The agent who gave me the keys insisted that I inspect the car carefully for any damage before I drove out of the lot. Apparently that was my major mistake. The lot was very poorly lit at that midnight hour and I walked around the car twice examining fenders and front and back for any scratches or dings. I found none that I could see. I was then required to sign that the car was free of any damage or blemish before I could drive out of the lot.
I used the car on only one of the five days I was in Hawaii. The rest of the time I spent in the pool or with my brother-in-law who had rented his own car. I know no damage was caused to the car during the time it was parked in the condominium lot because the lot was nearly empty. When I returned the car on May 13, the Alamo agent again examined the car carefully.
She found what appeared to be a small one inch by three quarters of an inch blemish on the top of the bumper immediately underneath the trunk key hole. It could have been caused by a liquid spill which discolored the paint, or perhaps a suitcase which was being removed from the trunk scraped the paint. The agent claimed it was a dent or crack in the bumper. That was an exaggeration. However that was only the first such overstatement.
The manager of the Alamo lot at Kailua/Kona claimed that since I had not purchased their insurance I would be responsible for paying for the repairs and that Alamo would contact me at home about what I owed. Within five days of my return I received a letter from Alamo indicating I would be receiving a bill. I then contacted American Express and started a rental car damage claim with them. In a phone call I asked the Alamo agent to forward the bill to American Express and gave them American Express claim # which I received when I called American Express about this matter.
I should state that American Express was extraordinarily helpful in resolving this matter and I have no complaint about their practice. I am concerned about Alamo's fraud however. Three weeks after this conversation with Alamo I received a bill with an estimate of repair costs from an auto body shop in Kailua. The total bill was $719.77! This included $569.37 for "collision repair" and 144.37 for "administrative fees and loss of use." The auto body estimate is clearly outlandish.
An auto detailer could have removed the blemish for less than $100. Within two weeks American Express informed me that they had paid the $569.37. I told the American Express agent that I thought this was fraud on Alamo's part and that there was no damage which would require the payment they had made. The agent thanked me and said they were following their own procedures for resolving a claim.
On July 9 I received another call from Alamo stating that although American Express had paid part of the claim, they still required payment of the remaining $144,83 for "administrative fees and loss of use." When I called American Express about this they indicated that Alamo had not provided the documentation required for such a payment. They needed some justification that the "administrative fee" required some documentation which demonstrated that it was additional work beyond their normal business activity.
American Express also indicated that "loss of use" would need to be demonstrated by a rental log which indicated that demand for the car was such that it required reimbursement for this loss. Alamo would not provide this documentation to American Express.
I emailed the Alamo claims department and said that if they expected my payment for these charges I would like similar documentation. The Alamo agent called me and said "we are not obligated by law to provide you such proof." The agent further stated that if I didn't immediately send payment - within ten days - they would send this bill to collection. However the agent did say, if I was agreeable and sent them one - half of the amount they would consider the matter settled.
I was extremely upset at the time but finally realized that nothing was to be gained by continuing this conflict. I sent them a credit card reimbursement for $75.20 which (with the taxes they had included) was half of the cost of the administrative fee and loss of use charge. I don't expect to get this money back but I am outraged that Alamo can get away with this fraud. Clearly they are insisting on exorbitant rates for their own damage insurance.
When renters decline this coverage they engage in fraudulent exaggeration of damages and fraudulent auto repair estimates. Unfortunately American Express seems to be enabling this fraud by agreeing to pay for these damages. I do think government officials need to investigate this matter because it is an instance of consumer fraud. Although American Express acted in a most helpful way in settling my claim, they should inform their Gold Card customers that some portions of a rental car company's repair charges may not be paid if required documentation is not supplied.
Thank you for anything you can do to alert the public to this consumer fraud. I will never patronize Alamo again and will inform everyone I know of their fraudulent practices.