ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA -- Whatever you do, AVOID this Alamo branch, if not, all of the Alamos in the DC area. I have rented for years without ANY problems with companies such as Enterprise (which Alamo happens to now be under, ironically) and Avis, to name a couple. I have never had any problems with my rentals and their post-inspections.... until I used this company at this location. I purchased a deal off of Hotwire, thinking "what a great deal Alamo has." I was even "upgraded" from a Dodge minivan to a Chrysler. I thought, "Wow, this company is great."
That afternoon, I took some friends out to MD in this van, had a great evening, and returned the van back to DCA via the late night drop-off (a little past midnight). No damages done to the van whatsoever and I have witnesses. I dropped the keys AND rental agreement in their mailbox-looking thing, double-checked the van for anything out of the ordinary, and off I went.
Then, I get a voice mail in the morning claiming they found scratches to the vehicle. Of course, I am surprised, upset, and VERY suspicious. I have never gotten into an accident in my life and my driving record is clean. I denied the damages, of course, and yet they insisted they needed to write up a claim. I go on my honeymoon. When I get back, I receive an invoice of $1000 and an estimate with non-time stamped pictures of the alleged van with scratches. $1000 for scratches!! On top of that, the YEARS of the vehicle didn't match.
Let's just say that 1/2 a year later, I'm still fighting their bogus claim. I've contacted the Office of Attorney General and the Better Business Bureau. Alamo has been uncooperative, unreliable, and, quite frankly, untrustworthy. I've done extensive research on bogus car claims, and, well, what do you know... Alamo shows up. Google it. Learn from my mistake and the mistake of many others. This company will take advantage of you if you're not careful.
Avoid this company at all cost. But if you're one of the unfortunate to HAVE to rent from them, force them to do a walk-around (they insist it's "up to the customer"... other places I've rented did that automatically), sign documents to confirm the condition of the vehicle, take PICTURES and VIDEO inside and out, and when you return the vehicle, take pictures and video AGAIN and make sure you do one last inspection with a representative and confirm the condition. It's a hassle. But, you never know if you'll need the evidence one day, as I've read stories about companies who write up claims even AFTER an inspection.
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.
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.
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.
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- We rented a car from Alamo at the San Jose airport. We were offered the fuel service option with a guaranteed price of $3.81 per gallon. However, it was not explained that we would be charged for a full tank of gas and that we should bring it back empty, just that we were guaranteed that price. So when we dropped the vehicle off with a half a tank of gas, we assumed that we would be charged just to fill it at the price of $3.81. Our receipt showed a full tank, but I assumed they just were showing what a full tank would be and that they would adjust it accordingly. Wrong.
I called Alamo this morning to see what the final price was and they said it was the same. The customer service rep explained that we had agreed to purchase a full tank, but very quickly offered to refund half since we returned the car with half a tank of gas. I was fine with that. She then put me on hold and when she came back on, she said that she could only refund me $25 since she had to use the refueling option at $5.63 per gallon.
I told her that it was outrageous that they were charging that much per gallon more. The gas station outside the airport was $4.25 and we definitely would have filled the tank had we known that we would be paying $5.63. I then spoke with a manager who was of no help whatsoever and finally ended up accepting the $25 refund.
So be forewarned if you choose this option and make sure that you bring the car back absolutely empty. If they had just refunded the half that they initially offered, I would have been happy, but they have definitely lost this customer and I will be sure to tell everyone I know about this experience. They obviously don't care about losing customers.
GERMANY -- While in Germany I rented a car for 7 days. The second day the oil light went off, I called the assistance to know what I had to do, they sent a technician that said there was NO oil in the car, I had to pay for the oil. The third day I got up at 5 to take my husband to the airport, and the car would not start, did not have cash only American Credit cards that the cab would not take, we had to stop someone on the road and beg for a ride to the airport. I called assistance (and I was very upset, I am sure it is in their notes) another technician came said the battery was not good, he jump-started it and told me to drive around for an hour to make sure it would recharge well.
(Said the battery might be too small ?!) When I returned the car I explained to them what happened, they refunded the money that I paid for the oil and then said that they will probably give me 10% off my rental for the inconvenience and the tip my husband gave to the person that drove him to the airport and the fuel that I used to drive around Munich for an hour during rush hours.
Since then I have been emailing back and forth with the customer service and they say there is no proof of evidence that I need a refund. They say they will not refund me because the car did not need any repairs after we brought it back... (who knows for sure?) And I mean, that does not even matter because... it had a lot of repair done while we had it!! NEVER USE ALAMO/NATIONAL in EUROPE. I don't recommend it. Customer Service not very friendly and not very customer oriented.
SEATTLE AIRPORT, WASHINGTON -- Alamo took advantage of my inexperience and deceived me by not explaining what their terms mean. When picking up my car at the Seattle Airport they rushed me through the process. One does not have the time to read the fine print while standing in line at the airport. This should be explained on the website when booking cars and this can be explained in 10 words or less at the counter. I was told that I had a choice to fill up the car myself or to let Alamo fill the tank. They did NOT tell me what that meant... I was supposed to know that they charge for a full tank whether I used a full tank or not. If they fill the tank for you, they charge $6.99 per gallon!
I drove 119 miles - used less than 1/2 a tank of gas and they charged me for a full tank of gas at $78.57!!! Rip-off!! Fill your own tank! Also, be aware that the City of Seattle and the State of Washington charge the rental consumer astronomical fees for renting in their municipality. I paid to the City and State: Customer facility charge $16, Concession recovery fee $58.38, Vehicle License recovery $2.24, Washington Sales tax of $44.97 and Washington Rental car tax of $49.01. So my fees to Seattle for renting the car in Washington for 4 days was $170.60, plus a tank of gas at $78.57 are astronomical.
I paid more in fees and gas than my rental charges. I will never ever use Alamo again and hope you don't either. I will spread the word to everyone I know personally and on the internet to avoid this company. I could have used a car service for a fourth of the cost to rent this car. I was ripped off totally. After speaking with Customer Service, I am even more disenchanted with their "We couldn't care less" attitude. Screw the customer is their motto.
VALPARAISO, FLORIDA -- We reserved a full size Chevy Impala in February for an August Florida vacation that was advertise to seat 5 individuals. We only needed the vehicle for to and from the airport and an occasional trip to the store during our stay.
When we arrived in Florida to pick up the car - the attendant advised that there were no Chevy Impalas available and that they had a comparable full size car (the Ford Fusion) at the same price that would meet our needs. I replied "fine as long as it gets all six of us to and from the Hotel." The attendant then began to tell me how uncomfortable the Fusion would be for six of us and that they had a Volkswagen CC that was a larger car and would be much more comfortable for an additional 70 dollars a week. I know nothing about car sizes and trusted that a car rental company knew what they were talking about. Worst mistake I made all year!
We only rented the car based on Alamo's recommendations - After I started researching the VW CC - it actually is a smaller car than both the Impala or Fusion (front & rear leg room, head room, hip room - smallest Trunk room ever and smallest passenger volume of 94 cu ft).
What it boiled down to is that the size of all three of the cars were comparable - however the VW was classified as a premium with GPS and Heated Seats - two of which we didn't want or need..... GPS was worthless and I brought my own / who needs heated seats in Florida for Aug. So there was no size upgrade only worthless unnecessary features. I feel that Alamo misrepresented what we were paying for and were overcharged the 70 dollar upgrade fee. I will not use Alamo again.
COMALAPA, LA PAZ -- Was a loyal customer for six years traveling 3-4 times a year to El Salvador. Have not always had any real good condition cars, but finally had the worse experience with Alamo this past weekend.
When I received the vehicle I noticed missing vehicle safety feature that protect the car logos from being stolen. As a third world country, stealing car logos and reselling them helps impoverished individuals make money. Anyway, not even 24 hours after someone had stolen the logos. I immediately contact Alamo to explain the situation and was told that I have to pay for the logos even though I paid full coverage for the car. Apparently, there is no protection coverage of missing logos as I was held responsible for them.
The day of returning the vehicle I discussed the matter with the fleet manager and escalated to a bigger matter because he refused to waive the fee for the missing logos even after acknowledging that it may not have been my fault but still pushed the matter that I would be charged. I made him aware and was going to refuse the charge after returning to the US. His response was that if I refused to accept the charge he was also going to refuse to provide me with transportation to the airport because of this. This was very unprofessional of him, if you ask me!
In the end I had to figure out how to get to the airport on time with all my luggage since the airport was two miles away. After my return back home, I was surprised to see that they successfully applied the charge and disregarded my complaint and dissatisfaction.
After this EXTREMELY bad experience I will NEVER use Alamo and suggest anyone in using them if touring in El Salvador NOT to use them and save yourself from any hassles and bad unnecessary headaches. Alamo in El Salvador has proven to be nothing more than the type of expert rip off company they can be.
Dear Mr. Angel, we understand our country is not the safest place, but we would like to assist you further with your complaint. Please contact us at this email.