COZUMEL, MEXICO -- I am wanting to warn all consumers about Alamo car rental in Cozumel Mexico as we had several issues, which the last one happened today. My family and I had a great cruise vacation which one of our ports was Cozumel Mexico. When we got off the boat and headed down the pier we were approached by an employee at Alamo, letting us know that they had great rates on Jeeps, and that we could rent it until 6pm that day for only a grand total of $40. We decided to take the deal so we could see the whole area.
The manager of the location filled out the contract and the total was $125 not the $40 as promised. He then stated that the guy who approached us on the pier did not include tax and insurance and other customary charges. I then told him never mind, but of course had an upset wife and kids who were looking forward to going out and exploring the area. We finally came to an agreement of $85 including tax and full coverage insurance. This was in my opinion a sucker them in move with a lowball offer and we will negotiate from there.
After signing all the paperwork, contracts, and credit card receipts we were then told the vehicle was on the way and would be there in 10 minutes. This became another huge debacle. We waited and waited and waited and were continuing to be told it was only 5 to 10 minutes away. Now mind you we have limited time before the boat boards and we leave at 5pm. A total of 1 hour has passed and no vehicle. Of course my wife and I are very upset. The manager then comes and says that he was mistaken and that they have no Jeeps available. He then says they can have a higher class vehicle there in of course 10 minutes.
The problem for us is we waited all this time and have no other plans and it's too late to book anything else, so he has us. Of course 10 minutes come and go and after 20 minutes the vehicle shows up. To my surprise it's a decent vehicle with lower miles. The manager apologizes for wasting one and half hours of our vacation time but to my surprise never offers to discount the vehicle and when I suggest it even gets defensive about giving us a higher class and more expensive rental. Either way I was not going to waste anymore time. From there on everything goes as planned. No issues until we get home.
I get my American Express bill and was charged as promised. On the whole vacation and in fact over the past 9 months this is the ONLY place my wife has used her American Express card. Now fast forward a couple months and today I get a call from American Express security wanting to know if my wife, myself or someone we knew were in Cozumel Mexico and used my wife's card to charge $540 worth of electronics.
The security agent said that the charge was done in person and since my wife's card is still in her wallet that they must have made a duplicate copy of it from the Alamo receipt or it was scanned by one of those scanners to make a copy at a later date. When she charged the Jeep at Alamo the guy swiped it several times before running it through one of those older types of machines with paper where you put the card on top of paper and run the device over top of it to make an imprint.
Sorry, so long. But I just wanted to warn anyone going to Cozumel to please be careful with your credit card and NEVER USE A DEBIT CARD TIED TO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT. Alamo in Cozumel either has someone copying the cards to commit credit card fraud, or at the least is careless with the paperwork that has the credit card information on it. Either way that is very poor business and will have this loyal Alamo customer looking at other car rental companies. Thanks for your time to read this.
ARIZONA -- I recently graduated from AIT (advanced individual training) from the army and my mother and friend drove out to see me graduate. They rented from Alamo and we used that car for about 2 days and returned it. When my mother was filling out the paperwork for the rental they asked her if she wanted to buy insurance just in case the car was damaged. She said no and that was the end of it (or so she thought). We returned the car in the same condition it was rented and when it was returned they wrote no issue of damage on the receipt and we left.
A few days after getting home to new jersey we received a call about damage to the car. My mother argued it and has all the documentation to back it up. She spent about 6 hours of her time arguing it that night. A few days later she was contacted again and this time the claim was turned over to a collection agency. She then spent more time providing documentation and doing some research and mailing it to them. A week or so later she got a envelope in the mail saying the collection agency thought the claim was valid and was going to pursue it when it is not valid at all.
Reading reviews and scouring the internet I've come to find this happens all the time. It is their policy to not inspect the car and to push to have the insurance purchased or file faulty claims. There is reviews of dysfunctional cars that have led to accidents and injuries as well as a slew of other things. This company needs to be set straight. No one seems to have done anything about it, because they are afraid and or do not know the system so they just pay the money. This is wrong. My mother and I have decided to file a class action lawsuit against this company.
MOBILE, ALABAMA -- My husband and I sought a rental car for a weekend trip and ended up going with Alamo at the airport in Mobile, AL. While the rates were better than the other airport rental companies, the lack of customer service and cavalier attitude displayed by the regional manager, along with the logic behind what gets placed in "Lost and Found" and what gets "tossed" was not worth the few dollars of savings. We were hurried to get the car back before 9pm and in the rush of getting the baby out of the car in the back, we did not check the floorboard of the front seat where I had placed my leather bound work padfolio.
When I discovered my error the next morning, I immediately called and got the regional manager's voicemail when I followed the lost-and-found prompt. I then contacted someone at the counter who assured me a call back that day. I was never called back so my husband stopped by in person. He was told that there was no such padfolio in the Lost and Found and that it was probably thrown away! What, then, is the purpose of Lost and Found? I was very puzzled and anxious by the notion so I attempted to contact the regional manager, again, the next day.
This time I did get a return call from the voicemail that I left. Essentially, the regional manager was very cavalier, told me that he didn't know what a padfolio was, until I explained/described it, and was then told that it would be a "common" item to be thrown away. He also informed me that the car we rented was rented back out within the hour and they are not responsible for lost items in the vehicle. I told him that I certainly understood that they were not responsible but I could not understand why a sturdy, leather bound, padfolio that clearly contained work items would be classified as trash.
I then asked what types of items did make their way to Lost and Found. He responded that he currently had a $20,000 infrared camera and a projector in the Lost and Found. My next question was that the value of the items, then, determined what was placed in Lost and Found. He responded "no" but that "common items" like notepads would be thrown away. I tried to explain that the padfolio was not simply a notepad but a sturdy, leather bound notebook that was very substantial and would be hard to confuse with a fast food cup or a newspaper (items that he also mentioned as being common to get tossed).
I then asked their policy for receiving policy or process improvement suggestions as I think they should definitely review their policies on this. Of course, he responded that I could email him or send a letter to corporate that would get pushed back down to him. Well, I will see how far that is going to go but I will be submitting that letter to corporate, nonetheless. So, PLEASE CHECK FOR REMAINING ITEMS before you return the vehicle.
Alamo's Lost and Found policy certainly doesn't give me much faith in their concern for the customer and I will not be renting with them again, if for nothing else than general principle. As a final note, I can't help but wonder if one of the local Alamo staff is now outfitted with a beautiful leather bound portfolio, courtesy of me.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I recently had to travel for emergency business for NASA near Melbourne FL. I work in software design and was called down to troubleshoot the latest Atlas rocket that was to be launched on Friday Nov. 13th 2009. I drive a corporate car for business, insured by my company, and rent from Enterprise at least 4 times a month. I have NEVER had an issue with Enterprise but had to rent from Alamo since they were the only ones open when I would be arriving.
The reservations were made, including all pertinent information (License number, etc.). I arrived at the rental counter at 11:30 pm, and was finally greeted by an gruff, obviously not happy to be there, annoying clerk. After giving him my reservation number, he disappeared for 10 minutes. No explanation as to why, or when he would return. After handing him my reservation papers and my drivers license, he inform me that Alamo had me on the "DO NOT RENT" list. No explanation, no nothing. I have never had this happen before. I would have been stranded at Orlando airport and had to take a cab the 45 miles to my hotel.
Luckily my fiance accompanied me on this trip and she was able to rent a car, after much hassle from the clerk. I was not able to even put on the car as a second driver. When I finally got a car, there were none available. We had to wait 30 minutes for a car to be brought from another terminal!!! When it finally arrived, the girl handing out cars actually threw the keys at us. No looking over the car for damage, no nothing.
The car had a defective lighter which made our Garmin impossible to use. My fiance, instead of having a relaxing week in FL, had to shuttle me to NASA every morning, and pick me up every night. She had no idea where to go during the day, since our Garmin didn't work, and I had to hike from the main gate to the operations center daily. She could not drop me off at the op center since she did not have proper credentials. When the car was returned it was filled with gas, yet the gauge did not register completely full. The attendant asked us to present the gas receipt to the Alamo rental desk, which he signed off on. When we got to the rental desk, again, no one was there.... What a lousy way to do business.
When I finally got an answer from Alamo regarding my "DO NOT RENT" status they said it was because I had rented form another company within the last 2 weeks, and I had had an auto accident in the past. Mind you, that was over 2 years ago!!! Then they sent me a bill for the additional gas (2 gallons) and since I didn't sign up for their fill up program they charged me 56.00 for 2 freaking gallons.
Their customer service sucks, they are rude, (including their customer service dept) and their cars don't always work. I am disgusted with them and will never rent from them again. When I returned to NY, I told this story to my fellow co-workers and they have had the same "DO NOT RENT" experience.
P.S. The Atlas mission had to be scrubbed, but it wasn't my fault!!!
OMAHA, NEBRASKA -- Beware - Alamo Car Rental runs a scam through Priceline. Here is what happens: First, Alamo accepts an extremely low bid via Priceline (planning on getting money out of you in other ways). Second, they hard-sell their comprehensive insurance. (I have no problem with this - all companies try to sell you this). If they get you to buy the insurance - then they've made their money. However - IF NOT - THEY WILL SEND YOU A DEMAND LETTER INFORMING YOU THAT THE CAR WAS DAMAGED.
The scam likely works well with most people. They do it intelligently. They will tell you the damage came to about $150.00 or so (below most people's deductibles) - that way you won't call your insurance company about it. After all, if you called the insurance company, they would ask if Alamo documented the damage to the car before and after you rented it. THEY DON'T. I even asked about it when I picked it up and dropped it off. They insisted there was no need. Obviously, they don't want it documented, so they can then scare you into believing there was damage done to the car.
In my instance, I knew good and well that there was no damage done to the car. I called Alamo, informed them I am a lawyer (which I am) and asked them how they planned to prove there was any damage to the car. They immediately backed down. However, absent being a lawyer and challenging them, they likely would not have backed down so easily.
I highly recommend never renting from them. This was obviously a calculated scam, which the company knows about and endorses. Horrible company. Never rent from them. Personally, I have never had any problems from either Dollar or Enterprise. Can't speak too much for other companies... but stay away from Alamo.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- Having prebooked a car to be picked up on 6 Aug 2009 at 10.00 am in Bush Street, San Francisco, we were appalled to discover that the queue for the Alamo desk stretched to about 100 people long in front of us. We had to stand out on the street with luggage in the hot sun with nowhere to sit for THREE AND HALF HOURS before we reached the desk.
There were three Alamo attendants manning the desks. And whilst they were clearly stressed, two of them were able to remain reasonably polite. But the third attendant actually accused a fellow (non-English speaking) customer of disrespecting him and started a rant about Europeans not being able to drive automatic cars and that it was not up to Alamo to provide tuition, reducing the already stressed customer to tears.
Having signed all the forms when we finally reached the desk, we were informed that the car would be ready to collect in 15-20 minutes and that we should wait in another area inside a private multi-deck car park. Again with no seating or amenities other than a disgusting toilet with a broken door lock. We waited here for another TWO HOURS before we were handed the keys. (Meanwhile, there were other customers still waiting for their cars who were in front of me in the original queue, I have no idea how long they waited).
There was no time available to ask questions about the car and because it was given to me in a position where it was holding up other cars, I had to drive it out of a dark basement and into three lanes of traffic without any familiarisation period. Not easy when you normally drive a manual gear-shift, right-hand drive car in the UK.
The total wait of FIVE AND A HALF HOURS for the car meant that the first day of our driving holiday was totally messed up. We had to drive straight to our prebooked accommodation in Monterrey rather than spend a leisurely day touring and sightseeing to get there. The delay in picking up the car was, we think, because that Alamo did not have cars immediately available. Cars were being returned by customers finishing their rental periods during our wait and were, we think, being turned around quickly for the next hirer, and in consequence were not fully checked out apart from a basic valeting.
After a couple of days use a warning light appeared on the dashboard, although the car was behaving normally. There appeared to be no handbook in the car so I had no means of knowing what a red "engine block" symbol meant. I tried to call the Alamo emergency help line but gave up after being put on-hold for a few minutes (with a UK cell phone it was costing a fortune!). I checked the oil level and found it to be about 1.5 cm below the min line. I had to add two quarts (4 pints?) to bring it back to the required level. However this did not solve the warning light problem immediately, though it did disappear the next day.
Eventually after trying on two other occasions I managed to get through to ask advice about the car, as by now a warning message had appeared on the dashboard saying that the car was due for an engine oil change at 20000 miles (at this stage the milometer read about 19500, but we still had another 1250 miles to go). It was suggested by the advisor that I could arrange an oil change myself, or call in at another Alamo office and exchange the car. Neither of these suggestions fitted in with our touring schedule so it was agreed that it would be OK for me to continue through the full rental period ignoring the warning message.
I have never used Alamo before and certainly won't be using or recommending them in the future. I am still awaiting a response for compensation for the lost day of our holiday and the cost of a full tank which was taken off my credit card even though the tank was full on returning the car. (It is true that I signed a clause on the form at the start of the rental to authorize this, but in the chaos of the pick-up the implications of returning with a full tank were not explained to me). The rental was arranged online through Holiday Autos UK who say they are dealing with my complaint, although I have had nothing from them yet.
30 Sept 2009 Update!! Alamo have come good and through Holiday Autos have offered me compensation for the "lost" day and the full tank of fuel. Thank you to Alamo for seeing reason.
So my wife and I rented a car in Seattle and drove up to the San Juan Islands, Orcas island in particular. For those who don't know you need to cross over on a ferry. The last day we were there a person backed up into our car with their company vehicle puncturing the radiator. The person was very apologetic and told us it was their fault, the officer who was called said so as well. Fine, an accident. They happen. Called Alamo and talked to two separate service reps about the situation and what occurred.
Explained to them in detail where we were and what town the island was on. We spelled out the name even. Eastsound, Eastsound. Two times, two different people. Even the person who hit us talked to the service representative at one point and told them where it happened. They told us to sit tight and wait for the new car to be towed to us from Seattle WA. It would take 2.5 hours. Wow I thought, they have it together. They must really know the ferry schedule well to make a quick call like that. Three hours later we get a call from the towing company. They said they could not find us in EASTON and were getting frustrated.
That's not when I lost it, it gets better.... soo we explained to him that we were in Eastsound and not Easton. They called Alamo and got it straight while we talked to one of the Alamo big wigs and got it straight as well. We ended up paying for a tow to the ferry parking lot. We left the car and grabbed our belongings and headed across. The accident happened around 1pm and we didn't meet up with the also very frustrated tower with the new car until 11pm. Alamo did not explain to him that none of this was our fault. Alamo told him all this was our fault. So we explained to him what was going on and he agreed with us Alamo dropped the ball.
He slept in his truck to wait for the ferry the next morning while we took the new car and headed to our new destination. I stupidly assumed the company insurance of the person at fault in the accident would cover all repair costs to the old vehicle. That's what the deputy on the scene told us. He also told us the police report he wrote would be sent to Alamo.
Fast track a couple of months. I got busy with life and forgot about this mostly. Today I open the mail and read that Alamo is billing me for the TOTAL repairs cost to the vehicle. Close to 3000.00 called them up and they want my insurance info. They explained also that a police report was never received and that I'm solely responsible at this point.
Amazing but not beyond belief Alamo would drop the ball, or rather never pick up the responsibility and leave a customer hanging for so long and in the end pin the bill anyway on me. This is worth fighting and I intend to not pay one dime, me or my insurance. It simply sad a large company treats at least some of its clients this way.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- We rented a car through Alamo and paid for it in advance and declined the insurance already as we booked it.
At the airport we arrived tired, 2 kids, long line. The employee asked if we want insurance. We DECLINED it. Then he kept talking with me about upgrading the car as he marked the places to sign to decline stuff (like in 4 places). I signed fully trusting his marks and thinking that I can look it up later, just in case, but the copy that I got was just a printout not including my signatures. On the printout there is a lot of stuff: no way to know later where did you sign.
Anyway I didn't think much at that time, not even as I returned the car and got the receipt (there was the approx. the same amount I paid for the car and a balance of $0.0, so I thought this is the rental fee that I have already had paid. As I got home I saw that amount charged on my card. I thought that might be a double booking but no, it seemed that I was misleading to sign an insurance of $20 a day (that I already have and never needed and declined more than one time). So I ended up paying almost double for a compact rental: nice way to make profit scamming your customers.
It turns out some other people complained about it and that this behavior has method. They were rude to my complaints and stated that I should read carefully what I sign (true, but with a long line in your back you kind of trust them to put the x-es on the right place or at least not to talk to you like a waterfall as you sign). So if you book Alamo expect huge lines in the future!!!
They gladly take your money and do not cooperate and if you want to see your signatures on the damn contract you have to request it in written and wait 4 weeks :)) I am still not sure I signed there actually but they say I did, I assume they are right otherwise the scam is much more than that... Why not fax a copy over right away to clear the doubt????
And why would you print out a form with multiple options if the customer denied it verbally already? (We have computers now and you print it out especially for your customer anyway, why then all the listed options) Yep, I think this has method and it is intentionally set up like this! And why do not provide the customer with a signed copy of your contract so you can see your wrongdoing 5 min later as you get settled in the car?
I have serious doubts of the validity of a contract with multiple options where I cannot see later exactly what I signed! To me this seems like organized scam. And from a big US company like Alamo I wouldn't expect this at all. It makes me mad and sad that a US company will go so far just to make profits. We as consumers have to stop this or we'll all have a lot of bad days in the future.
I rented a car from Alamo for my trip to Alabama. I usually choose Alamo for my road trips because they offer very attractive weekly rates, unlimited mileage and the driving area is the entire Continental United States and Canada. I book under my corporate contract in order to get all the insurance coverages and additional drivers at no cost. I use googled Alamo Coupon codes and prepay to save an additional 10 percent. (Alamo has a very fair cancellation policy) I also have a butt load of Alamo upgrade coupons courtesy of our corporate travel office. Overall I'm always satisfied with Alamo.
This last trip I got a mid-sized Saturn (free upgrade) for a base rate of $143.10 a week, minus a 20 dollar internet coupon, minus 10 percent prepay discount which comes to about 111 bucks a week plus 16 bucks in taxes. Since the Alamo in OKC is off airport I get to forgo those nasty Airport surcharges. Anyway, all in all sweet deal.
So time passes and I'm having such a blast in Alabama catching miniature catfish and enjoying the locals that I decide to delay my return. I see by the Alamo rental agreement that extra days will be billed at $89 dollars a day. I'm going to be three days late so with taxes that comes out to about $300. This does not please me in the least. Holy cow that's more than double my weekly rate. So I did what every good consumer should do and called the Alamo reservation line in order to find a more favorable and reasonable solution to my problem.
I asked the Alamo guy if I could get billed the weekly rate instead of the daily rate for the additional three days. He said 'No sir'. I asked him if the daily rate was negotiable. He said 'No sir'. I see on the rental agreement that I can extend the rental up to 28 days so I asked him if I could extend the rental by a week at the $143.10 base weekly rate. He said 'Yes Sir'. Cool. I asked him if I extended my rental by a week but turned the car in four days early would I still get the weekly rate. He said 'No sir, you have to keep the car at least five additional days to qualify for the weekly rate'. Okay, Gotcha. Extend by rental by a week at the weekly rate which he did.
Bottom line is by reading the rental agreement and asking the right questions I was able to save about 150 buck by merely keeping the car an additional two days. I don't understand the logic of the Alamo policy but hey whatever saves me money. I actually enjoyed the car so much that I kept it for the full seven day week. It was like pennies from heaven.
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.