RENO, NEVADA -- Alamo really surprised us with very strange business ethics! To sum up my experience: Alamo personnel give customers false information (about reimbursement and about car details). Alamo cannot handle special requests (we needed a special car and tried to solve this in advance). Alamo rather takes short term money instead of building a long term relationship with a satisfied customer.
The whole story: We made a reservation from Germany and rented a car in Reno. As we planned a camping tour, we needed a stow & go car because we intended to sleep in the back. In order to make sure that we get this special car, we phoned Alamo in Reno in advance which car to book and explained that we definitely need this car type and no other. They told us we need a full-size SUV and promised us that this is no problem.
Once being there, it turned out that the full-size SUV had no stow & go function. Unfortunately, we got into Reno with the last flight, so being back at the Alamo station we found this station already closed and everybody gone. So we had no other chance to take the “unusable” car and stay over night in a hotel. The next morning we drove back to Alamo.
It finally turned out that only the minivan has this function. So they changed our reservation into a minivan. As the minivan was not cleaned up yet, we waited for another 45 minutes to finally find out that this special minivan had a backseat which was not removable at all!!! I really started to wonder if Alamo personnel ever listen to customers' needs? We got back to the station again. Finally talked to the Station Manager. We were really wondering whether Alamo expected to just accept this and sleep outside the car during our camping tour? Unbelievable.
We even tried to solve the situation and asked the station manager to take out the backseats, so we could use the car but she refused. Asking her how to solve the problem because we had no other place to sleep, she advised us to check with other rental car companies. Aha??? She even told us that the money will be reimbursed once we are back in Germany. Even though we were not reimbursed on our credit card, we took the word of the Station Manager and changed the rental car company. Being back in Germany, nothing was reimbursed.
After a long discussion and telling the story over and over again to different call centre personnel (who were unfriendly and even hang up sometimes) and spending a lot of time and money on these phone calls, we were finally informed that there will be no reimbursement. So we ended up paying 681$ for one night rental car driving to a hotel!!!
I am really surprised about how Alamo handles customers in theses cases. It seems that making short-term money is more important than building a long-term relationship with a satisfied customer. I really wonder who is responsible for such customers policies. We are renting a lot of cars in the US, but this has never happened to us. Compared to all other rental car companies, this is the poorest and most unbelievable experience we have ever made. With Hertz this would have never happened. I really wonder how you stay in business.
By the way this was the original answer: "We have tried to book a reservation on the same website that you booked your car through, and the full-size SUV does not list stow and go seating as an option. We do not allow customers to remove seats from our vehicles or they will be liable for any damage to the vehicle so the manager at the station was correct in this fact. We apologize if a misunderstanding was given by the manager concerning a refund but it should not have been promised to you. We regret that no compensation will be given in this situation since a vehicle was provided that you chose not to use."
ATLANTA HARTSFIELD-JACKSON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, GEORGIA -- I really am not sure where to begin this rental nightmare. I'll take it from the top, we have been in our business since 1928, and I have just recently taken the leadership helm. Myself and my staff are diligent about professionalism and excellence in all things [but we failed to do our homework in this area... that won't happen again]. This was to be our maiden voyage business trip under our new staff's direction. All plans and reservations were completed weeks in advance, we called, confirmed, checked and then checked again everything was fabulous.
On the day of our departure all involved were briefed and prepared. We moved towards the airport. Arrival to the airport=excellent; long-term parking and transportation to the terminal=excellent; flight & departure=(you guessed it!) excellent; shuttle to the car rental location=excellent...and then at Alamo/National it all falls down.
We warned them over and again that we were a business party of five men traveling to an undisclosed location approximately 3 hours away. We had done our level best [along with another member of my staff] to emphasize the gravity of having the appropriate command vehicle. That vehicle would be in the form of a Tahoe, an Escalade or a Suburban, and I was assured that there would be MORE than enough of these vehicles available for us to choose from.
Nevertheless, I still felt a little uneasy, so we made over six calls of confirmation that week (I know...I know..that should have been a clue..what can I tell you... that week I was an optimist, plus we had pre-paid to show our level of commitment]. Allow me to continue it gets better, I walk to the counter, I'm greeted nicely, I hand over the confirmation documentation, the credit card and drivers license gets processed..but I keep asking where is the vehicle that I reserved..yet they keep proceeding.
I must have looked like one of those dogs getting dragged on a leash until finally I halt the process and ask for a straight answer. What is my car selection? After all its three options, surely they would have at least one available, correct? Wrong! He starts rattling off cars and mid-size suv's that would barely fit 4 girl scouts with no luggage..Let alone five men with a decent amount of girth and luggage. Did I mention that for business reasons we all had to take the last flight out which means that now its 1:45 am? Not exactly a rush on cars at that time.
He goes to the night manager 1:45 am, 2:00 am, [I'm still not furious, after all God wouldn't be pleased with that kind of disposition] 2:15 am, 2:30 am, 2:40 am "Sir you can't get what you wanted, can we accommodate you with something else?" I'm thinking sure...that Prius looks roomy and will save gas. I should have asked for that in the...."OF COURSE NOT THAT'S WHY I MADE A RESERVATION FOR THOSE PARTICULAR VEHICLES!".
Anyway, it's 3 am we have to get going. So "what are my options?" After reviewing the list we pick the Cadillac dts sitting right outside...errr "No, that car is reserved." "What?!" so was mine, only my reservation is not virtual, it's in your hand!"...The manager does a bunch of scenarios to include two cars for the price of one but I'm trying to minimize our liability with one car full of weary travelers instead of two.
Beaten we agree upon the Jeep...[did I mention it took over 20 minutes to bring that Jeep from the other lot?...nevermind]..We begin to load up, we jump in the car and...it won't start..the keys don't work. The staff goes through approximately 6 people including the individual who drove the car over before they realize "hey..the key doesn't work". We off load the truck and I return to the counter again...Only this time my swagger is gone and I concede defeat..."Please ma'am just give me anything so we can go".
Finally, after an exhaustive search they come rolling over with a Toyota. It's moving forward so we'll take it. Right when we begin loading the car they call over to tell us that if we want to wait 20 minutes they can get another Jeep and the key should work. Yes we got a discount, yes we did get a car but for the entire trip we were squeezed on top each other when prior planning should have been enough to facilitate that not happening.
The truth be told Alamo/National ruined what otherwise would have been a perfect trip and marred the confidence in our leadership that we were trying so hard to display competence that we were so anxious to try to forge in our leaders. You can't put a price on that. Alamo/National's lack of professionalism and ignorance of customer service left me speechless. You can make a note that unless "strong" concessions are made on their behalf I nor any member of our organization will ever do business with that organization again.
My recommendation to all of you. Read the reviews from this website as a baseline and make an informed decision about who you do business with. Find a reputable car rental agency, and use them, because this agency OBVIOUSLY is not.
TORONTO -- I am one of the owners of The Urban Dog located on Whyte Ave in Edmonton, Alberta. In February I went to Toronto for a business trip. We needed a rental car and found a deal online to get a vehicle from Alamo/National. What we thought was a good deal was not one at all. Once we arrived at the airport, we signed a deal with them for a rental for 4 days, unlimited km, and a GPS unit. We decided that we should rent a GPS unit from them so it would be easier to navigate around the busy streets of Toronto. We rented a SUV and enjoyed the vehicle very much.
We were leaving Toronto on an early morning flight on Sunday and would have to drop off the vehicle and leave the keys in the mailbox at the Alamo rental store as the business was not open until 7:00 am. We didn't have time to fill up the gas tank, and we went on a toll highway, and knew that there would be an additional charge for those items. What we didn't expect was an EXTRA charge of $349.00 for the GPS unit on our bill.
Alamo said that we did not return the GPS unit (this same unit can be purchased for around $200.00 at Best Buy) with the car rental. When we returned the vehicle we put the GPS unit in the glove box so if anyone was walking by the vehicle they would not be tempted to steal it or break into the car, locked the doors and put the keys in the Alamo return box.
Alamo is accusing us of not returning the GPS unit. These are my theories on what happened. One of the workers that checked the vehicle forgot to check off that the GPS was returned, they did not check the glove box, an employee saw this was an opportunity to take it (theft from any business by employees is not uncommon), or the GPS unit was still in the vehicle upon the next person renting the vehicle and the new customers took it. Not only on the bill we were charged for the GPS unit they still had enough nerve to charge us for the rental of it for the 4 days we had the vehicle!
Alamo also included in their bill a letter stating that we would not be able to rent from them again in the future, which of course after this occurrence I would never rent from them and not recommend their company either. We also checked with Visa to see if they could do anything about this bill and they said because we signed a contract the rental car company can basically charge whatever they want afterwards.
This bill is an expense that will be written off as a business trip anyway but it has left a bad taste in my mouth front renting from this company (we always rent from Enterprise and have had nothing but the best of service from that company) and for thinking that people in the big city of Toronto are dishonest. Living in the WEST is the BEST. This incident does not want me to go back and do business in that city again.
I have phone the Alamo rental at Pearson International, left messages and nobody is returning my cars. Please make consumers aware that when renting a vehicle, NEVER drop a vehicle off as you do not know what kind of extra charges may appear on your credit card after you leave.
I want to share with you recent experiences we had with Alamo Car rentals on three different occasions in a 6-week period in the US and Canada. We used our travel agent to make reservations for three separate car hires with Alamo in North America: 1) Los Angeles 1 day 24 August 2007 Invoice **, Contract ID **; 2) Vancouver 3 days 25 September 2007 RA **, Contract ID **; and 3) Los Angeles 7 days 28 September 2007, Contract ID **, RES # **. Each time, Alamo insisted that we agree to pre-pay them to refuel the car with a full tank of gas, instead of our following the usual practice of returning the car full.
We have been renting cars through DTN in North America for the last 15 years and have never been denied the option of refilling the fuel tank ourselves until our recent experience with Alamo. They said they had the authority to do this because of the tour operator's agreement (with DTN), and that they were unable to vary this requirement. Their comment: “Blame your travel agent for not telling you”. There was no disclosure of this policy in the written documentation we received from DTN, or verbally from our travel agent, United Travel Browns Bay. Had we known about this policy we would have rented elsewhere.
In fact they are gouging the customer – using fees that look reasonable when quoted by DTN to travellers as ‘bait', with the intention of making extra windfall profits from every car rental by not having to completely refuel a car after they have required their customers to pay for a full tank of fuel in advance. This policy is contrary to Alamo's own signage at their offices and contrary to the wording in the rental agreement between Alamo and each driver.
Refueling service. The Vehicle will be provided to You with a full tank of fuel. You may choose one of the following options: (my emphasis) a. (Prepaid gas) You may pay an upfront, non-refundable Fuel Service Option charge; and b. (Return Full or Pay) If You do not elect the Fuel Service Option, You may return the Vehicle with the same amount of fuel as when You received it. You will then not pay a refuelling Service Charge. We were given no choice in this matter, even though Alamo claims every driver has this choice. It appears to be a deliberate and cynical attempt to profiteer off vulnerable overseas travellers.
The first hire was at Los Angeles Airport on August 24 this year. It was for 24 hours, and our intention was to drive from the airport down to Redondo Beach nearby. We drove a total of 28 miles altogether. There was no way we could use a full tank of fuel in one day. Why would we want to pay in advance for the car to be completely refuelled?
The clerk insisted we sign the agreement, and said the computer would not allow him to change it, but did say we could try to negotiate a refund with the manager on returning the car. Eventually on our return the next day the manager did agree to credit the refuelling fee – but it added considerable time to the whole check-in process.
The second hire was for three days at Vancouver airport on September 25 this year. Our plans were to drive to a motel in Burnaby, an inner Vancouver suburb, and visit friends – using the car only for shopping, and short trips to restaurants and our friends' house. Again there was no possibility of using a full tank of fuel. This time Alamo was completely inflexible.
We also had a third hire at LAX for 7 days from September 28 to October 4. In this case we did foresee the possibility of using at least a full tank, and the tank was low on fuel as we approached LAX when returning. Given the difficulties of the two previous rentals, and the time pressure we were under, I did not refuel the car.
The reasons why this policy is unfair and unreasonable are obvious: Windfall profits to Alamo, and added expense to the renter, if a car is not returned empty. It is very stressful attempting to judge the fuel level accurately when attempting to returning a car almost empty of fuel to an airport. It encourages unnecessary driving in order for a driver to ‘get their money's worth'.
This is wasteful of the driver's time, hastens depreciation of the vehicle, and is very environmentally insensitive given the finite supply of oil on this planet. It is common wisdom that it is best practice to refuel any car before it is ‘empty' because the bottom of the fuel tank tends to collect impurities.
We complained to DTN after we returned home, and they pointed out that they had not been informed by Alamo about this policy. They contacted Alamo, and their response was to offer us a one-class upgrade on our next rental. This offer is derisory, and we will not be accepting it.
Alamo is in the tourism service industry. If people choose not to rent their cars they would go out of business. Therefore it is surprising that at no time either when we rented the car(s), or after we complained, did we feel that we were treated like valued customers. Instead, we were exploited, by being charged for services we had no possibility of using.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I see they already wrote a review on this!! At LAX I went into Alamo to rent my first car. They asked me if I wanted the insurance and I, too, have the coverage on my personal car insurance and I said "No". Then I got the paper to sign and it said over $100 more than it was supposed to be. I asked the guy why it was in the $400s instead of $338 and he said bc of the insurance... I said "ohh the insurance" I said "that I DIDN'T want???" I told him not to charge that to my account but he said that he already had.
I filled out the paperwork crossing out the amount and writing in $338 and declined the coverage. I checked my checking acct balance and had they charged me the total w/ insurance my car payment would have bounced. I flipped out on the guy and all he could say was it was a misunderstanding. So I talked to another guy who printed out another paper w/ only the $338 which I signed.
I returned my car on the 25th, and I checked my acct balance today to find out I'm overdrawn over $100... talking to my bank I found out that there were two holds on my account, one for the $338 and one for the insurance. They told me I was charged $35 because they covered my car payment for me.
So I called Alamo and told them they need to fax an order to my bank saying to release those funds. They said that it is not in their policy to fax anything - BULL!!! And I got them and my bank of the phone together. We went around and around in circles. I was even talking to a "Manager" What manager can't break policy when it was the company's fault!! He said that I won't in the end get charged the insurance fee but he can't release the hold. Tell me WHY there is not only a hold on my account for something that was NOT authorized, but ALSO WHY would you hold something if you are not going to be getting it in the end anyway?
Because of them and their incompetence, I got charged a fee as well as being short over $100 for who knows how long. This "manager" gave us another number to call... the guy from my bank asked if someone was going to pick up at that # and the guy said "Yes", then he "had to go" because he had "another customer waiting". Hmm sure sounds like good customer service to me - NOT!! SO we called that # he gave us and it went to some woman's voicemail. And in that message it gave another # which led to another person's voicemail. I'm about to call back and try to talk to someone w/ a little common sense.
I don't know what will come of it but I do know one thing... I will never, EVER rent another car from Alamo again!! I can understand if there was an initial mistake made, but to be unwilling to correct this matter for me is just ridiculous and just goes to show they don't care about their customers at all.
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. UNBELIEVABLE!!! 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!!!!!!!!!!!!
So, 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.
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- I left a white box in the car I rented. I've called Alamo at least 20 times and I've been given the run around. No one is willing to help me. I've been transferred to a VM to someone who is on vacation until the 22. I need my items. I also contacted customer service 888 number and they are not helpful either. The car was rented on an emergency basis.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- Despite a reservation (made with a major credit card) they would not rent the car because the person that I rented the car for did not have a credit card (which is why I reserved the car and paid for it with my card). Unsatisfactory resolution. I will never rent from them again and would not recommend them to anyone.
HAWAII -- I rented here in February of 2011 because they had the "lowest rates". What a mistake! When I went to get my car, they proceeded to try to hard sell me all kinds of extras which I did not need. Then they told me that I should pre-purchase my gas with them to save 11 cents a gallon. I was told that it would cost $67 dollars and that there were no refunds, so I should bring it back as empty as possible.
After waiting in line for an hour, I was then told that the mid-sized car that I had reserved was unavailable. They had no mid-sized cars even though I made my reservation six weeks prior. I was told to pick any car at no extra charge which meant I got a Jeep because that was all that they had in the lot. Although I didn't really want a Jeep, I took one.
When I brought it back at the end of my trip. They first tried to charge me $25 for a small amount of sand in the floorboard. They then informed me that I owed them $102.00 for gas. Remember they had quoted me $67. When I told the attendant that I had been quoted the lower amount, I was informed that was only an estimate and was then reminded that I was told this because there were managers initials on the contract that indicated so. When I said this was not true, I was more or less called a liar.
I asked to speak to a manager and was then scolded by this attendant for being rude and told that she was going to write down everything I had said in my file. That's when I lost it and refused to pay until I had spoken with a manager. She then left and returned saying no manager was available but that I could get $25 knocked off the bill. I still ended up paying more than was agreed.
It is my opinion that this company purposely and deceptively makes customers pay more than the original agreed amounts and I will NEVER do business with them again. I encourage anyone reading this to use another company if you value your hard earned money and your peace of mind. I was also told by two different people that someone from the company would be in contact with me to resolve these issues. That was almost two weeks ago and I have yet to receive that call.
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.