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1.0 out of 5, based on 19 ratings and
182 reviews & complaints.
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We were forced to buy CDW/LDW
Posted by on
We had a bad experience with Alamo car rental in Orlando airport, FL. We were forced to purchase CDW/LDW insurance, although we had rental car coverage under our own vehicle policy. The customer service woman basically said if something happened to the rental car, we would be charged for rental income loss for as long as the car was in body shop for repair. That could be several months! We were told there was no insurance policy to cover that cost. There was a long line at the rental car desk. We had no time to check with our insurance company. We ended up paying $95+ CDW/LDW for 4 days of rental.

After coming back from the trip, I called our insurance agent. I was told that was a lie! We didn't need to pay it at all!

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dan gordon on 04/05/2011:
also your CC coverage would have paid for any loss of revenue claims your insurance didn't pay so yes you were covered two ways.
SteveWiginowski on 04/05/2011:
I don't think it was a lie as much as they was misinformed about how it works. It is wrong that they would provide incorrect information, but you weren't forced into getting it. It would have taken longer than you wanted to get the correct information and then you still could have decided not to get the insurance.
trp2hevn on 04/05/2011:
"although we had rental car coverage under our own vehicle policy."
I always thought that meant if your own vehicle is being repaired that the insurance company would pay for a rental car for X amount of days.
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Incredibly Bad Service! I feel like I have been robbed!
Posted by on
ST LOUIS, MISSOURI -- I rented a car last Thursday, May 17, 2007, from the Lambert St.Louis International Airport location.

I rented an economy car on a special rate because my car is in the shop and I just needed a car for two days until mine was fixed.

When I got to the car lot, I got very little instruction as to what to do and how to do it! I finally found someone and they said just pick a car of your type and drive off.

They only had one car left, a Saturn Ion. I was OK with this and went to the car. The car had what looked like something had been dripped on
the paint, possibly wax or some kind of mineral that had left some chalky drip marks on the car. I didn't care what the car looked like and I was in a hurry, so I got in the car and drove to the exit. I have rented at other companies, and they all check the car with you before you leave. The lady at the exit gate just took my card that was in the car and let me go. I FOOLISHLY assumed that SOMEONE at that lot had checked this car out before I drove off. I was wrong.

The story continues! I had a flat tire while I had the car. I changed to the spare and then called your 800 number. They told me I was responsible for getting the tire fixed (it sounded like someone from India, every time I called!!) I had no idea what to do. I called the direct number to their desk at the airport, they asked if I had paid for road side assistance? I was never even asked or had it explained to me that this was an option. I did decline the collision damage coverage because my insurance and credit card cover that. I had NO idea that some kind of assistance with a TIRE was extra, the other places covered at least that much!!! They again told me that I had to fix it, setting down the phone a bunch of times, ignoring me, and even LAUGHING AT ME!!!!!! while I talked to them.


So, stupid me, I tried to get the tire fixed. It turns out the tire was already worn out on the sides and could not be fixed!!

This made sense as the tire went flat turning into a PARKING LOT!! I Didn't even drive it after it went flat!!!! So, it looks like I got a bad tire, which explains why it had been handling funny from the time I got it!!

So I called the airport desk again, and was told to make a report to your roadside assistance people. I did so, and they were no help, just took a report, so I called the airport desk AGAIN! This time I finally got someone who said they were manager on the actual Lot. I asked her what to do and how much a flat tire would cost me. She told me she didn't know how much it would cost. After a lot of talk, I finally found out there was some kind of book inside they could look it up. I finally had to ask, "could you please transfer me in to them to look it up?" She said oh, OK... SO... Now I find out it's like a $50 dollars charge.

By now, I am late on my return time as well...
The Indian guy told me it would be my rate plus an extra $11 dollar charge.. actually it's like $35 .. fine, whatever.. I'll pay it.. I just want this car out of my life.

It's 10PM at night, I bring the car back. Now the guy checking the car in puts a note on his sheet that there appear to be some kind of ACID stains on the car finish!!!!!!!!!!!!
And that there is NO NOTE of this from before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!!

I go inside, the girl there was trying to be nice to me, one of the few.. I thank her for that! She takes down another note about the tire, and that I said the marks were there when I got the car, for all the good that will do.

I assume by now I'm just a dupe and someone at that shop probably screwed up and let the marks get into the shop without checking, or maybe they even screwed it up there.. but now I'm sure they're trying to get a customer to pay for it!

I go outside to apologize to the check-in guy, because I was pretty angry when I talked to him, and that wasn't fair to him... he actually turned out to be pretty cool.. I asked him didn't he think this would have been noticed and noted when it was checked in? He said yes, but said that if it was returned between 10PM and 5:30AM, then it WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN CHECKED when returned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got a car that probably had a bad tire to begin with, with chalky spots on the
paint that either didn't get looked at when the car was returned or were caused by the lot where I rented it at. I get treated rudely by just about everyone, and even laughed at!!!!!!

I am going to be calling about this, writing a letter to Alamo, and I have already called the airport and complained and will next call the City of St.Louis and the Attorney General of Missouri to complain.

I have NEVER had such bad service from ANY kind of company in my life! I can't remember being this outraged in a very very long time for something so meaningless! I try so hard to be good to others and to be honest and fair, and I feel like that was all just spit back
in my face!

I have used Alamo in the past, but will NEVER do so again, and I encourage everyone to avoid it like the plague.
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Anonymous on 05/21/2007:
I have posted this before, we always take digital pictures of any car we rent before we leave and when we return. We also ask the check in person to initial the receipt "no damage upon return". It's war with these companies now and they will screw you in a heartbeat if given a chance to do so. As for the tire I think I would have changed it, put the flat one back in the trunk and been done with it. Of course unless it was a space saver. Then I would have gone and bought a $10.00 used tire and had it thrown on the car.
Ponie on 05/21/2007:
I've never had the misfortune of getting a flat while driving a rental car, so have no experience in what problems may arise. However, I've rented many cars and one of my first rules for renting is: Always, ALWAYS make a complete inspection of the car before signing on the dotted line. Make mention to the attendant of all defects so they can be recorded. In one kind of humorous incident, the fellow started writing down what I perceived to be 'rusty streaks' in a crevice. The rental lot was near open fields and it had been an especially windy day. It was just a collection of sand.
Anonymous on 05/21/2007:
Very good advice superbowl. I just rented an Alamo car last week and noticed the road side assistance option (I declined it of course)... but it struck me as odd that if you declined the coverage (and charge) then you were responsible for things like flat tires BUT I chose Alamo cause they were Waaaayyy cheaper than anybody else.. As always there's no free lunch.. you pay less and you get less.. It's up to the consumer to be informed (OMG DID STEW ACTUALLY WRITE THAT)
jktshff1 on 05/21/2007:
good post superbowl. I do the same thing.
tejano66 on 07/06/2009:
This company does not even give an inspection sheet to make notes on ??!! When you mention to the attendant that the car has this much damage, they basically say that the damage is already noted. I do not believe for a second their words, so I have them write down every detail dent or scratch has. Sometimes they still refuse to do it. I would not rent from this company anymore.
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Fraudulent claims on car damage
Posted by on
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 by 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 argueing 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 though 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.
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Alain on 08/10/2010:
Let us know how your class action suit progresses.
goduke on 08/10/2010:
A class action will go on for years (upwards of 5) and, in the end, the only one who wins is the lawyers. They get new house on Star Island. And since Mom rented the car, she's the only one with standing to bring suit.

You're probably better off contacting the attorney general for the state in which Mom lives and Missouri (Alamo is based in St. Louis). The Atty General's office(s) have been much more effective at bringing change to different business areas than class actions.
CaptainSpaulding on 08/10/2010:
I would like to start by thanking you for your service to our country.

If I were you, before contemplating any legal action (which, as goduke pointed out, will only benefit the greedy lawyers), I would write a certified letter to the CEO of Alamo detailing what happened and highlighting the fact that you are an active duty member of the United States Army. I would send copies of that letter to the Attorney Generals of both Missouri (where Alamo is headquartered), and of the state where your mother rented the car. Be sure to include in the letter your intention to contact the media if your concerns are not addressed and favorably resolved. The media loves stories about members of the military who are being screwed by some heartless corporation or bureaucracy.

Good luck, and I hope my advice will be useful to you.
Anonymous on 08/10/2010:
Weird. I always make sure the reps look at the damage and give me a paper before and after the rental showing that there was no extra damage done to the vehicle while I had it. I NEVER just drop off a car without someone inspecting it and giving me my receipt.
ondy500 on 08/11/2010:
My mother will be the one going through with the legal action, not me I'm just helping her with the process. My mother and I's aim is to find a lawyer that only takes a cut of the settlement after he/she has won us the case. That way the lawyer has to actually work for his money. The way I see it is until someone does something about this company or makes it public knowledge they will continue to conduct their unethical business ways, because heck, its worked for them so far. I do appreciate the input and I intend to pass it along to my mother. Thanks for reading.
CaptainSpaulding on 08/11/2010:
ondy500: In order to start a class action lawsuit, your mother has to join forces with other people who have been treated in a similar manner by Alamo and wish to sue them. The best way to do this is to see if there are currently any existing class action lawsuits against Alamo.

This is a useful website to find out if there are any existing class action lawsuits against Alamo (or any other company), or to contact a lawyer who might be interested in your case:

You can also enter "Complaints against Alamo Car Rental" in a Google search to read about people who have similar experiences with Alamo as your mother did.

Again, good luck!
goduke on 08/11/2010:
Let's talk about the "lawyer takes a cut of the money." Here's how it works...

The lawyer agrees to a fee of 1/3 of the total take. What they really don't tell you is that the "costs" of the litigation usually come off the top, before the split. It's an arrangement designed to make sure the lawyer ultimately has zero out of pocket expenses and then gets a big payout on top. It's not designed to help out the consumer.

I stand by my position that you are much better off going to the OAG
ondy500 on 08/11/2010:
Yes spaulding, that is why I put this up to see if anyone else was having issues. And my mother and I found a class action against Alamo that is taking place in Nevada. So we're trying to get in touch with the lawyers and see what happens. Thanks for the link I'm going to look it over tonight.
ondy500 on 08/18/2010:
So far, my mother contacted a lawyer and showed the letter to them which they then revised and told her to "let it rip" and send it to Alamo since they are still coming after us for money. If that does not stop them then the firm will send a letter directly from them, and if yet again they still do not stop, then the lawsuit begins.
PepperElf on 08/18/2010:
good luck on the suit.

out of curiosity is there an option there to let you use your own car insurance vs using the rental insurance? just wondering cos where I've rented insurance was mandatory but you could use either one.

(just thinking that making it mandatory is a good idea for consumer protection... cos that way the rental place may still want you to buy their insurance but ... they also know the big insurance companies are good at going to court over false claims so it could possibly make them behave more.)

but back on topic again good luck.
seantrudeau on 08/27/2010:
I am going through the same thing Alamo and has already sent me through to a collection agency and they have been harassing me. I do not owe this debt! (I rented a car from Alamo in LAX back in April of 2009.. I have sent them the collection dispute letter and the collection agency is still coming after me.. I haven’t called a lawyer yet but I plan to call one soon).. I have done nothing wrong and this is not acceptable. I would love to be a part of this Class Action Lawsuit so please post the info on your lawyer so I can contact them as well. I was a loyal Alamo/Enterprise/National customer before this happened, and since this I have been going through Hertz and Avis.. (who have been awesome by the way)

Thank you!

-Sean M. Trudeau
Charlie on 06/14/2011:
I too have been scammed by Alamo. I had just come from an overseas trip that took over 30 hours between flights and layovers. It was about 9:00pm.
I was very tired and anxious to drive 2 hrs home.
Make a long story short, the car I drove off with was damaged on the passenger side...I hadn't noticed it.
Alamo has since asked me to pay for the damages.

I will never ever use Alamo again....

Beware of my book they are scam artists.
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Lost and Found policy...Seriously?
Posted by on
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 probablyl 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.
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SaMoore on 07/29/2010:
Msbdwhite I would imagine the portfolio is a commonly lost item in a rental car, even a leather bound one. I am actually surprised that $20,000 infrared camera continues to sit in the lost and found at Alamo.

Hopefully, you didn't have anything invaluable in your portfolio and will run member next time ( with all rental car agencies) to double or triple check and make sure that you removed all of your personal items before turning in the vehicle. Sorry for your loss.
Helpful on 07/29/2010:
I can appreciate the overall frustration of losing this type of item. I was very fortunate when I lost mine years ago that it was found. I had the pleasure of returning the favor to a gentleman a few years ago.

Unfortunately, I can also appreciate the policy of Alamo. Items that are lost may or may not find their way into lost and found. That's the overall concept of lost items anyway. Hopefully it wasn't something overly expensive to replace and you could recreate the information you had within.
localgod on 07/29/2010:
This is pretty much covered by their "not responsible for lost items" policy. If you leave it behind, you've lost it.
Anonymous on 07/29/2010:
Now days with rental car places or baggage handlers the disclaimer 'not responsible for [fill in the blank]' has become a license to steal. The companies don't care because they've disclaimed themselves out of any liability. Obviously the local workers don't care perhaps they consider it a perk.

It would be nice if the police would do some old fashion sting operations on these rental car places (and baggage handlers). Purposely leave an iPhone in the console and then slap the cuffs on the cleaning guy when he steals it. How sweet would that be.

Good review and great reminder to people that whatever you leave behind can and will be tossed or stolen.
bargod on 07/29/2010:
If I read the complaint correctly the OP is not blaming anyone for the loss of the item due to it being left behind but rather the ridiculous policy of "throwing away" leatherbound portfolios as if they were a discarded newspaper.
Starlord on 07/29/2010:
This is what rushing does. Had the OP taken a bit more time, they would have realized the padfolio was missing, and would have gone back to check the car again. How does the OP's forgetfullness translate to a responsibility on the part of the rental car office?
Starlord on 07/29/2010:
This is what rushing does. Had they taken a bit more time, they would have realized the padfolio was missing, and would have gone back to check the car again. How does the OP's forgetfullness translate to a responibility on the part of the rental car office?
Anonymous on 07/29/2010:
hmmm...20,000 infrared camera??? What number is their lost & found? I think that's my camera! :D
Anonymous on 07/29/2010:
I was in a hotel once in NYC and forgot a pair of calvin klein jeans I left in the room, When I got home I realized where I left them. Called housekeeping, they told me they would call me back, and never heard from them. The second call to housekeeping I was hung up on. I think someone is laughing and wearing my jeans around NYC. eh wahtever. It was my own fault I left em.
alamocares on 07/30/2010:
I'm very sorry for your frustration through this process. We would like to address your customer service concerns. Please email care [at] Alamo [dot] com with your rental agreement (RA) or reservation number, contact information, and any other details you want addressed.

Please include reference number 100730-003008 in the subject line of your email.


- Kevin from Alamo Rent a Car
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Alamo Hell
Posted by on
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 comapny, 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 nver 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!!!

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Alamo runs a scam.
Posted by on
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 the 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.
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redmx3racer on 11/03/2009:
Hmmm. Were you aware the same people (Taylor Family) that owns Enterprise owns and operates Alamo (and National).
PepperElf on 11/03/2009:
red - really?

that's interesting!
redmx3racer on 11/03/2009:
Yes Pepper-it's true. Avis/Budget are also one and the same. I'm in the rental business-I won't say in a public forum for whom-but it seems each and every company "scams" customers for various things if you read the complaints on here daily. You have to take it with a grain of salt. $150 does not go very far for any type of body damage. This might have been Windshield or tire damage. Alamo has nothing to gain by charging $150 for "fake" damage except to lose customers. Which I don't think they are in the business of doing. They probably waived it because the amount was very small, and not worth the expense of collection past sending a letter. Not because the OP claimed to be a Lawyer.
PepperElf on 11/03/2009:
believe me I have a good stock of salt for just that purpose ;-)

though when it comes to "scams" ... I'm sure you're well familiar with the notion that many of the "scams" arise from people not reading the contract...

as for the OP...

1) You legally HAVE to have insurance in order to drive a rental car.
It doesn't have to be the rental-agency's insurance policy but you have to have something. Whenever I rent I use my regular car insurance policy for this.

2) Whenever you rent you should ALWAYS review the car with the rental agent before you accept it. If you find damage on the car that they have not already noted, then make a note of it on the checklist *before* you accept the car.

believe me that can really cover your backside!

asking them after the fact if they document damage won't help you much. you need to get it documented before you drive away.

Besides... you stated they have no documentation of the damage. They obviously have something though, since they're sending you a bill. I'm not saying you caused (or didn't cause) the damage, just that they have some kind of documentation.

I would suggest contacting your auto insurance company anyway and opening an investigation.

JR in Orlando on 11/03/2009:
If companies had a $1.00 for every time someone with a gripe said they were a lawyer, or they were going to get their lawyer, companies would be overflowing with money.
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Don't rent a car from Alamo San Francisco (Bush Street)
Posted by on
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 Monterey 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 authorise 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 on-line through Holiday Autos UK who say they are dealing with my complaint, although I have had nothing from them yet.

30 Sept2009 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.

Michael Lester UK
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Anonymous on 09/29/2009:
If its a problem I would suggest you stop traveling when the whole rest of the world decides they're going to travel. Let me guess something about your trip. You wanted to leave on a morning flight on a Friday or Saturday, and return on an early afternoon flight on a Sunday. Does that sound familiar? The whole country does that so deal with it!
Skye on 09/29/2009:
Oh come on, who would actually start crying, due to stress at a car rental place??

Slimjim on 09/29/2009:
I think the poster has a legit beef. Three and a half hour wait just to get to the desk and another 2+ to get out with the car?? Nothing normal or acceptable about that. I certainly wouldn't rent from this Alamo location after reading this warning.
Retselkim on 09/30/2009:
I appreciate the comment from justthefax but clearly he or she has not read the post as the pick-up was actually a Thursday and was to be the start of a 15 day drive. No airports involved. If justhtefax is saying that our five and a half hour wait was "normal" then I am surprised that more mention is not made of this in other reviews. Certainly none of the other waiting Alamo customers considered this situation to be acceptable.
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Alamo~in desperate need of new customer service reps
Posted by on
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.
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Anonymous on 09/26/2009:
It's easier for them to charge you instead of having to go after an insurance company. It's as simple as that.
Anonymous on 09/27/2009:
Did you not take out their offered insurance? If not, YOU (or your insurance) pay, and then YOU or your insurance goes after the other driver's insurance for reimbursement. You should have gotten a copy of the police report.

If you had accepted the insurance that is offered with the car (most don't to save money) then Alamo's insurance would have covered it.

Now, on to the misunderstanding. Easton can sound like Eastsound. If you did not spell it out, then a simple misheard word could have occurred. I doubt they left you or the driver in the lurch on purpose.
brandons mom on 09/09/2010:
Washington is a no fault state. Everyone uses their own insurance if something happens. You have to go after the other insurance company if that's what your insurance company wants to do.
clutzycook on 09/09/2010:
The OP stated that he spelled the name of the town to the people at Alamo. Get a copy of the police report. Give a copy to Alamo. If they still refuse to go after the other guys' insurance, turn it over to your insurance company and let them fight it out.
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Overcharging scam
Posted by on
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 he receipt (there was the aprox. 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 behaviour 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.
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JR in Orlando on 09/09/2009:
You traded convenience for money. You had all the time in the world to read the contract, but you chose not to, because you were tired,etc. There is nothing wrong with that choice. Some things, however, require your attention. If you chose not to, there is a trade off whether it be failure to check the gas gauge or failure to get an annual health checkup. I have made the same type of mistake before, and believe me, I check ever place I initial now.
Anonymous on 09/09/2009:
You trusted the agent's remarks? That same agent that gets a commission by making you accept insurance and/or upgrades. He knew you wouldn't read the contract before you left. You allowed him to scam you, which technically he didn't do because you initialed for the insurance. Read your contract!
angry@alamo on 09/10/2009:
well I am not mad at the agent, I am at Alamo and that the scaming has method.

Again: Why would you print out a form with multiple options you print it out especially for your customer anyway, why then all the listed options?
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?
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It pays to ask questions
Posted on
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.
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Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
I'd be very interested in reading some tips and tricks from our veteran road warrior members or any other member with a good 'lesson learned' experience.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
I've never rented from Alamo, but it sounds like you ended up with a good deal.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
Enterprise is pretty easy to work with too. Last May, we rented a car at the Long Beach Airport. I wanted to add an additional person and they needed their D/L info which I didn't have. They made it very easy for us. They called the person, received the info they needed and it was a done deal. No hassles whatsoever. They also gave us a nice car upgrade (Nissan Maxima) and the rates was great. It went very smoothly. I use them everywhere with good results.
skelly39 on 08/10/2009:
So THAT'S what happens when you read a contract. VH
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
Indeed Kia. Our travel office almost always books Enterprise for us when we business travel. They are always awesome. The Enterprise at DCA greets you with an offer of a cold drink. Let me tell ya that ice cold Enterprise free diet coke always taste so good.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
Free is always good, Stew! When I briefly lived in CT, I used a local Enterprise in a small town. They enjoyed my cheerfulness so much, they always gave me their one and only Saab to drive to Boston, at no extra cost. It does pay to be a nice, cheerful customer. You never know what extras or freebies they'll throw in. They told me they got plenty of irate people all the time. It was good to be me, lol. I rented from that location about 5 times.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
The ole K2 charm pays off big. Good advice. I find that 'cheerful' works in a lot of situations. As a consumer or even as a husband I'm always looking for solutions and not conflict. In my experience conflict never pays very good dividends.

Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
No, Stew, it doesn't. It just stresses people out and what may have been a good situation suddenly turns out to be something out of a psycho flick. Who needs it!
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
One tactic I've used with great success in dealing with customer service is asking the rep if they can be my hero in resolving whatever situation is at hand. Sounds silly I know but it lightens the mood and shines a positive light on the rep and their job. You'd be amazed at the lengths CSRs will go to when you acknowledge their power in resolving your issues. I do my best to make the CSR feel good and proud about their job so that I can get their best.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
It does work, Stew. If only more people would chill out when they are trying to get good service, they may be very surprised at what they come away with--and maybe even a smile.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
Good info, Stew. I don't travel often and when I do it is usually with my friend who is always traveling on business. She's asked these same questions... its good advice!
BokiBean on 08/10/2009:
You have learned well from m3c, Young Skywalker. VH.
Anonymous on 08/10/2009:
Thanks Boki-Wan and John.
Voutyblonde on 08/11/2009:
What troubles me is that the Alamo clerk did not offer any options other than to say "No Sir" (nothing like negative responses from the help to promote business). It was up to the consumer to wrangle information from that Alamo rep. Alamo should be training their counter reps to offer information necessary to ensure a positive experience for the customer and encourange repeat business.
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