ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- Not only did they not have the van I reserved, they refused to find one. You can't tell me that in the whole combined car rental place in the world's busiest airport, there wasn't one minivan to rent. "Sir, if I could build you one I would." said the manager. "It's not my fault." Well, who's fault is it? I don't want you to build one, just find one. She was totally non responsive, which is shameful for a company that says "total commitment to customer service." **, you should be ashamed. No service, no resolution. Nothing. Calling the toll free number didn't help either. I rent cars a lot, I'll not be returning to National.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- Two weeks ago, I returned the rental car (2013 Chevy Malibu) after a 4 day rental at National Car Rental at LAX. After a minute of wait, a representative walked towards me from the far side of the (vacant) lot came towards the car, walked around it and told me that there was a damage to the car. I asked her where the damage was. She said something like "front...". I couldn't get the second half of what she said. I walked to the front of the driver side and couldn't see any damage. She ducked down and showed me the damage to the bottom of (rather under) the side skirt below the driver side.
Standing about 2 feet away from the car and looking down, I couldn't see it. I had to duck down to see it. My trip was a normal Monday through Thursday normal rental which I do several times a year (I rent from National for at least 100 days a year for the last 3 years). There was nothing unusual about this trip nor I hit any object on the road. I do walk around the car to look for any damages. But, this damage wouldn't be visible if you stand in-between cars parked in the emerald club aisle and walk around it. Yet, the representative claimed that it was my responsibility and started writing a pink ticket.
I subsequently called the Damage Recovery Unit (DRU) and spoke to a representative about this incident. I explained her how walking around the car wouldn't help finding this damage as it was in the bottom and one has to duck down or walk several feet away and look at the bottom to see the damage.
The DRU representative told me: The damage was not reported during any previous rental (if the damage is not visible in plain sight, how anybody can find and report it?). The branch manager at LAX location determined that it was my responsibility (on what basis? Walk-around the car without ducking down will not reveal the damage. There is also no video/picture record of "before and after" condition of the car). There is no way to override the manager's decision. She also told me that there is no further means to escalate or contest this. (Unbelievable!)
First they (themselves) determine that it is my responsibility without any proof that the car was damaged during my rental and then there is no way for me to contest this! I'll update this post as things progress in this case.
Update: 11/22/2013 - Early this week, received a letter from National Car DRU an estimate of the damages. Also today, I've written to the email address provided by the National Car Rep.
Update: 11/22/2013 - After posting my first update for the day today, I noticed something in the picture of the damage in the claim report sent by DRU. (I'm unable to attach it to this review for some reason.) There are 2 pictures showing the damage and they clearly show the reflection of the person (on the car door) taking the picture, ducking down to take the picture of the damage. This makes it evident that the damage wouldn't be visible if we walk-around standing next to it. I've sent another email to the National Car care email ID mentioned above with that picture.
Update: 12/3/2013 - I got a call last week from the National Car rep. She was very professional and went through my case details with me. Based on the information I provided and that the damage was less (total of about $430), she would close the claim and not pursue me for any damages. I subsequently also received a letter from National DRU confirming this. I'm glad there is somebody to whom I could escalate and resolve the issue. Thanks National!
One lesson learnt is to take picture/video of the condition of the car before leaving the lot. Not just walking around but to duck down and check the fender etc! Also, to do it when returning the rental, I've started doing it in more detail! I know the looks I get for doing it. But, I know what I've been through! So, I don't care!
National car rental closed the claim
CALAGRY, ALABAMA -- My name is **. I am a customer of National Car Rental for over 3 years. My Club number for national is: **. I was in one of your location on 24th November 2012. I just wanted to give you some feedback about the service I got on that day from your employee.
I booked a car online for a week on 24th November around 4:15pm. I usually book and pick up car from your airport location in Calgary. As that day your location was closer to me I choose to select your location for my rental. I called your location around 4:35 to make sure they are still open and have a car available for me as I understand I booked it last minute. When I went there the lady told me I am getting a KIA SUV even though I booked a mid-size car. They were doing a free upgrade as they didn't have any mid size car available. I personally owned a KIA before and did not had any good experience.
I thanked her and asked: "will it be possible for me to get either a ford edge instead as I see there are 2 parked in the lot." She told me one for oil change and one need to cleaned. I asked her again that what if I don't need a clean car. I am OK with a returned one. She asked me to wait and she said she will talk to the manager and went in to the lot. I came out and I see her talking to the manager. I asked the manager that, there were over 10 ford (edge, explorer, escape) were parked and if I can get any of them doesn't really matter as I just don't like KIA.
She told me all were sold out, and I should be happy because even I booked at last minute and she is giving me a car. She also mentioned I am getting double upgrade as she was offering me the KIA full size SUV. I requested her that "you have the other cars available. Please give me any of them." She told me again all those car were sold out. I asked her again that cars are usually sold by the size. Never by make or model. And someone will be happy too by getting a full size KIA rather than a escape. She replied: "this is your only choice I am giving you, you take it or not, I DON'T CARE. If you don't take it you can leave. I need to go."
I was kind of surprised with her behavior and I request her one more time that other cars are available I can see, is there a reason I can't get it? She asked for the keys back for KIA and I was happy by thinking that she is going to give me a different car. I asked her "so which car am I getting?" The reply was nothing. I told her I need a car, I have a reservation and you have to give me a car! She said: "no I don't." Then I asked her who was the station manager? I was shocked by her answer that it was her.
I then went inside with her asking for her card. She went inside the room and swearing (I could hear by standing beside the counter). She came back with your card and said "I don't have my card at this point. This is the person I report to, and I will write down my name." Name: **. She also replied that she manage both location in downtown!! Then I asked her one more time for the car. As I need the car. I didn't made any other reservation. She then asked me to leave very rudely and said she will call the cops if I don't leave? I asked her to call the cops and then she went to the main door turned of the light and swearing all the way. She also tried to lock me.
The main surprise was still waiting for me, that she came back to me and pushed me from the desk to the door. I was just thinking where am I? I was trying to select the record option in my Blackberry as she was swearing and she just didn't gave me any time. I asked her if she could give me one moment, just tried to buy some time for her. She kept pushing me and swearing and saying "try to get me fired if you can" and kept swearing. On my way out I asked the name for the other lady and she said "I am not giving you my name." I believe you have surveillance and you can look through it.
I got out of your station and I was shaking and thinking about the customer service experience. Now **, I am a manager in a customer service business too. And sometime I have to deal with some customer opportunity. But this is the first time I got such experience where the customer (myself) didn't swear or raise the voice but the employee was yelling and swearing. In some bad situation I had to ask some customer to leave, but that was when the customer were swearing to me or my staff and there were some sort of threat.
Now my question to you **, what have I done wrong? As a customer asking for a different car was it my fault? Or making the reservation in 11th hour was not expected by you guys? What was the actual reason that ** had to push me out of the location? What would be the reason that she turned off the light me being inside. Was there any valid reason that she was swearing at me? I would like to apologize if I have done something wrong, but I personally believe that either ** was tired or stressed out for whatever reason and she was totally out of her mind. There is no way she can push me without letting me know.
If I didn't leave she could call the cop but when she pushed me and when she turned the light off I was really scared. And her searing words are non describable. **, I am not trying to get anything out of this. I could took that KIA SUV and went to the airport and they would be more than happy to change the car for me. It's not about the car, it's the behavior I got. I am not a person who will complain. You can look through my rental history and National always did above and beyond for me and I do appreciate this.
All employees in Toronto airport Calgary airport they always says: "don't worry we will take care of you, you are one of our elite member." But that day I just asked for something very small and she could easily take care of that. If she couldn't she just can swear or push me, neither try to scare me by turning off the light. I believe this kind of behavior should be corrected. If you need any further info or if you like to discuss anything about the situation feel free to contact me.
Did I mention 24th November (the incident day) was my birthday and I was trying to take my wife and kid for a surprise dinner? Thanks.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI -- I was sent on a business trip to Kansas City, MO and my only available option for a rental at that time in the class of vehicle I needed was National. I usually rent vehicles once a month or so on business trips for my job, and usually use Enterprise with no problems what-so-ever. I knew from stage one of the experience that National would be different. After the extremely rude treatment by the employees at the desk (rude as in they acted like I was bothering them by walking up to the desk and asking them to do the job that they chose to accept and get paid to do), my car was very dirty.
They have a policy where you choose any car in the lot in your class. So I picked another car, that one was dirty too. I had to look through about 5 Chevy Impalas before I found one that was relatively clean. Even that car was in poor condition as little things where broken inside such as the lever to lean back the driver's seat.
After my stay in the area was extended by my company, I needed to call National to extend the rental by 9 days. I called their 866 number, waited on hold for 20 minutes, and received a call center in India. I absolutely hate companies that utilize Indian call centers. I could barely understand the rep, who I had to ask "What?" to 5 times to understand him saying "May I have your RA number?" and he became very angry that I was having a hard time with HIS poor English, again, when HE chose a job that requires dealing with English speaking people. He said he could not help me and transferred me to a number that was disconnected.
I hung up, called again, waited another 20 minutes, received a different Indian service rep with a language barrier. I explained what happened, and this rep said she would transfer me to the correct number. Again, number was disconnected. I called a 3rd time, was on hold a 3rd time, explained that the number I was being transferred to was wrong. The 3rd rep obviously did not understand what I was saying and transferred me to that same disconnected number. The 4th time I called I received the same rep from the 1st call. This time he transferred me to a wrong number, a private residence.
Now this was at 10:30 PM when I was making these calls, so the gentleman who was woken up was rather angry about it. So finally I looked up the Kansas City office number myself. I called that number, received an automated answering service, and guess what... was transferred back to the Indian Call Center when I chose what I thought was the appropriate selection for whom I needed to speak with.
After calling back and spending 10 minutes choosing different options on the automated line, I FINALLY received someone at the desk in Kansas City. I explained to her how frustrated I was, and she completely blew me off without so much as an apology or "thank you for your patience." Completely and utterly unprofessional. I spent 2 hours, literally 2 hours, just trying to get a hold of someone who could help me, my company was spending over $1400.00 on this rental, 1/15th the value of the car they rented us, and I don't even get an apology for their inept call center.
So here's the best part. After explaining to her what I needed, she said she couldn't help me, and transferred me back to the Indian call center. I drove the car back the next day, handed them the keys, walked over to Enterprise, and settled for a smaller car and good customer service.
ENGLAND, UK -- I rented a car at Gatwick Airport outside London, drove for about 2.5 hours, a motorcyclist crossed the road and scraped my car then slammed into the vehicle behind me (and survived... somehow). I'm not at fault, the policeman almost point-blank said it at the time but covered himself about "investigations" and so on. All fine. And, according to the contract I signed, they kept a damage deposit of about $1,500 until liability could be formally declared. This is fine, I understand that and prefer that to be the case as it's safe for both them and me. That's mid-September of 2007.
Fast forward to March the next year: the insurance department has lied to me repeatedly about what they've done and when, they claim they've sorted things out last winter when I did it - inside of two days - in January (and if I hadn't done that I'd *still* be waiting for them to pull their thumb out), my chequing and VISA accounts are now closed, there's a collection agency chasing my PayPal account debt.
And what's the line National UK (PremierFirst Vehicle Rentals; Vanguard Rentals... etc)? "Well, normally this sort of thing takes at least eight months, you know. We've done nothing wrong, so why should we apologize?" I've never had such lousy service in my entire life, no matter *what* side of the Atlantic you'd like to discuss. Litigation is imminent for them.
However, the details left out about the accounts - skipped in trying to make this a little less than saga-length - basically would explain that the PayPal account, the chequing account, and the VISA account are all inter-connected, as is required by PayPal. They want your credit card information, and they want a real bank account to deposit into or draw from.
As for the destruction of all of those accounts, the money for the damage to the car was held until liability was fully declared (and that's fine by me) and after for four months I stepped in and did the job of resolving the issue of liability for the guy in the office with the file (and that's *not* fine by me). Additionally, no one warned me the charge was coming down before it happened - and I wasn't worried, because it wasn't my fault, and I had insurance, right?
So I'm suddenly landed with triple my credit limit on my account. Money gets sucked from every direction into the VISA account, I've got cheques bouncing all over the place because I paid bills when I got back home but hadn't got the VISA bill yet, I ordered a bunch of books from other people in my industry (I'm in publishing), thinking I was fine with all of my finances balanced. And suddenly I can't use my VISA, my bank account's over-drawn, my PayPal is locked...
Yes, I'm a "publisher", which sounds great, but we're in start-up mode, so we've not pulled a dime for ourselves yet. So, here I am with no money, no credit, I can't order supplies to use in the creation of re-selling product so I can't make an income for the business, I can't write a cheque to pay any personal bills... good thing the house is in the wife's name.
And National continues to say that they did everything they could, yet I solved the liability being agreed to by the other side in 48 hours, after they'd sat on their hands for four months. "This sort of thing usually takes eight months to work out, so this has gone quite quickly!" Okay, it's gone fast because *I* made it happen, and if you regularly take that long to sort this simple a case, maybe I ought to be working there instead of that lot!
Again, hit the site for the complete details. It's not a spam-bot site, I'm not trying to suck your details out of your computer, I'm not even using Google Ad things for revenue. I only want to create a place for people screwed by this specific company to band together.
BILLINGS, MONTANTA -- If you read the fine print carefully, the National Rental Agreement Terms and Conditions specify that driving "off paved roads" negate the terms of the contract. I would bet that this rental agreement condition is common among the major competing rental car companies. However, I learned the hard-way what this truly means at National Rental Car.
On September 1, 2007 I rented a Chevrolet Suburban from National/Alamo for a week in Montana on a fishing trip to the Boulder River. On the last day of our trip, at approximately the 33rd mile point on Forest Service maintained, well-traveled, unpaved portion of Montana road 298 (running parallel to the Boulder River), the right rear tire blew a flat. We changed the tire, and to our great astonishment the spare tire was also flat!!!
Upon contacting the National Roadside assistance number, we were immediately informed "there is nothing that National can do to help." Receiving the explanation that the onus of the cost of vehicle recovery, repairs, "loss of use", and so forth was mine, was not so much of a setback or concern. The significant impact was the sensation of blatant abandonment when informed that National was going to provide zero assistance or help with our situation. To quote the representative, "you are on your own."
A second representative with whom I spoke appeared deceptively helpful. His advice was to tow the vehicle to a paved road surface (which was about eight miles from where the vehicle was located at that time). He indicated that once the vehicle was on a paved road surface National Roadside Assistance would be able to help. While as ludicrous as this sounded, I felt quite desperate, so I complied.
After repositioning the vehicle, and another conversation with a National Roadside Assistance customer representative, we waited for well over three hours with no sign of help. I then called National Roadside assistance for the fourth time. With as much detail as possible, I pleaded with the representative to help our situation. While the representative appeared compassionate to our circumstances, she was brutally honest and informed me that our contract had been designated as a "Recovery" and that someone would be out within THREE DAYS to tow the vehicle to Missoula (over 260 miles from where were currently located).
In a state of disbelief, I asked her about the status of someone coming out to get us, her response was that there was nothing noted in the log about that, and there was nothing she could do to help. Again, we were on our own. At this point of utter dismay and fury at the National customer service treatment, I cannot express how grateful I was to USAA insurance! Their roadside assistance was an absolute opposite experience. They came to our rescue within an hour after my first call to report our situation.
A wrecker drove both the vehicle and the four members of our party back to the rental location at the Billings airport, where, upon which, to add insult to injury, the agent at the National airport counter unconvincingly told me that she had attempted to call me to inform that someone was going to come get us.
My long-standing loyalty to National/Alamo is now terminated. My wife and I have used National for years. Between us, our yearly travel requirements exceed at least a dozen car rentals, if not more. Our experience has always been decent (not spectacular), but we have always enjoyed the convenience of the Emerald Isle where you can by-pass the agent counter and walk straight to a vehicle and drive it off the lot.
However, with similar service options available at competing companies (i.e., Avis), the transition to move to another company for regular business is just too inviting. I cannot imagine a worse customer service experience than what National put us through.
MERIDA, MEXICO -- I had reserved a rental car through National Car Rental through their website before I traveled to Merida.
Problem #1:The confirmation page said, Pick-Up Location: Merida Int'l Airport and Drop-Off Location: Merida Int'l Airport. Upon arriving at the airport, there were 5 or 6 auto rental offices within the airport, but no National Car Rental. I inquired, and was told that National Car Rental does not have a location in the airport, yet their information on the confirmation said they did. Though I should have just booked a car from a company that did have an office at the airport, I decided to take a taxi into Merida, approximately 10 miles away, to the National Car Rental office, costing me about $10 USD.
Problem #2: I gave the clerk (**) at National's office my confirmation and he looked it up. He had no explanation for the erroneous information about the "airport location" other than to tell me, "We don't have a location at the airport." Great... thanks, **. He proceeded to calculate the rates and added the "optional" insurance collision coverage at approximately $20 USD per day. I told him I would waive the coverage because my corporate Diners Club/Mastercard covered it.
Six months earlier, I had no problem waiving the insurance at the same location and my corporate card agreement specifically covers it. This time, I was told by ** that the "optional" coverage was mandatory and that he would not rent me a car if I didn't accept the "optional-mandatory" insurance. We went through this many times and I reiterated that the same office rented me a vehicle six months earlier and I waived the "optional" insurance as I had the right to, but, I suppose being motivated by his personal greed, maintained he would not rent me a car unless I paid the extra $20 USD per day for 16 days.
The clerks must be commission-driven to sell the collision insurance and I had every right to waive it. The last time at National Car Rental, they simply ran an imprint of my credit card, then tore it up after inspecting the car when I returned it. After much frustration, I decided to take the car, pay the fee, then address it with National Car Rentals customer service department when I returned.
Problem #3: I wrote to National's customer service through their website's email address and explained the problem. They didn't disagree with the point I was making until they denied my request for a refund two weeks later after I sent all the documentation they asked for (rental agreement, receipts, etc.) and I also sent them a copy of my corporate card terms & conditions, which specifically said that UT covers collision damages. They gave me a bunch of legalese, denying me the refund of the "optional-mandatory" coverage for approximately $250 USD. All they offered was to pay the $10 USD for the taxi from the airport, which was an insult.
I got the impression that they were nervous about authorizing the small refund and more concerned about their little refund budget. It's embarrassing for National Car Rental to have to take over 2 weeks to answer a simple question... why was I charged for insurance when I should have been able to waive it??? Then... come up with a bunch of garbage to save themselves a few hundred dollars.
I am a frequent traveler and work in a Top 10 Fortune company and associate with many business travelers. Everyone I have spoken to said that I should have been able to waive the fee and save the $250 USD, including our travel planners. I really feel like I was ripped off by a greedy, commission-driven sales clerk who committed customer service fraud and was supported by the National Car Rental customer service department.
SAN JOSE DEL CABO -- Before traveling to Mexico, consider taking the bus to your hotel! I recently took a trip to Cabo San Lucas and rented a car from your agency at the San Jose Del Cabo airport (SJD). When I made the reservation prior to the trip, no mention was made of the company's policies and rates regarding Mexican travel insurance. I recently looked on the National Car Rental website and found no written policies regarding the need for Mexican car insurance there either.
Here is my situation: I arrived at the rental agency rather late at night and was told by the National Car agent at the airport desk to go outside, where I would be met by their van. I was warned not to speak to anyone on the way out of the airport, as they would be trying to engage me in signing up for a timeshare presentation. I eventually worked my way through the crowd of “timeshare hawkers” to meet the driver of the van.
Upon arriving at the National Car Rental offsite office, I was chagrined to hear from the agent that I would have to take out Mexican auto insurance at the double the rate of the daily cost of the rental car (20 American dollars per day, in addition to the daily cost of the car). When I tried to argue that my credit card company and American auto insurance company would cover the cost of an accident, I was told that the only way I would be able to take the car off the premises was to allow the agent to place a $2,000.00 imprint of my credit card on file with their office.
In addition, if an accident occurred, he told me that I would immediately be charged with the total cost of the car, until such time as my own insurance issued a check for any damages. I was told that the car I had rented (a tiny, poorly maintained vehicle) cost in the neighborhood of $30,000.00, and that I would need to be prepared to come up with that amount of money in case of an accident.
Now here's the most infuriating part: He was willing to give us a $200.00 voucher to cover the cost of the insurance, provided that we sign up for, and attend, a timeshare presentation at the Sheraton in Cabo San Lucas. Apparently, after all of the admonitions NOT to speak to timeshare agents, we were, in fact, dealing with a timeshare agent all along; and that person was disguised a rental car agent with your company.
After returning to the United States, I learned that the only type of Mexican insurance I needed to purchase was liability insurance, in the event that I might injure someone with my vehicle. In fact the expensive comprehensive insurance package he pushed on us ended up negating any insurance that would have been provided by my credit card and auto insurance agency in the United States.
It was late at night, there was no cab in sight, and we were, quite frankly, frightened into signing all of the papers and attending the high-pressure timeshare presentation just to cover the unnecessary cost of the insurance. That presentation ended up costing us a full morning of our vacation, not to mention a high-priced gas bill in traveling from San Jose Del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas. I believe that National Car Rental owes me the cost of the Mexican insurance that was unnecessarily foisted upon us under false pretenses by an agent with clear conflicts of interests.
I also believe that National Car Rental should make all information regarding the need for Mexican insurance explicit on their website, and caution renters to check with their credit card companies and auto insurance agencies before renting vehicles. The fees for such insurance should also be clearly posted along with the daily rental car rates. Finally, I believe that National Car Rental should make sure that all of their agents are clearly working for the renal company, and NOT FOR TIMESHARES OR OTHER BUSINESSES.
Should you desire to reimburse us for the cost of the insurance, I will happily provide you with the necessary paperwork. I look forward to your immediate response to my complaint.
LAX, CALIFORNIA -- Over 20 people and growing as people with reservations arrive and there are no cars! They have no idea when cars will arrive! Waiting 30 minutes so far!
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please send us a detailed email to Care@Nationalcar.com with complete details such as:contact information, reservation/rental agreement number and reference #150909-003213. As customer service is of the utmost importance, we would like to look further into this situation for you. Thanks for posting and we look forward to hearing from you soon. -Tatiana
TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, MEXICO -- Charging previous bumps: I traveled to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. When I first rented the car, they filled a paper with marks where previous bumps and scratches were before I took it off. When I returned from my trip, they wanted me to pay a new scratch that according to them was not in the paper. We show them it was marked in the paper they filled in the beginning. They brought up the manager and first he told us it was not there... when he could not deny the obvious he told us it was there, but now we made it bigger (so.. I managed to hit the car again exactly in the previous scratch!). We were losing our vacation time, so we had to pay the scratch and leave.
Awful international customer service: I first placed my complaint to Mexico's customer service office. I had not received an answer for a month so I tried international customer service. I sent all the papers that proved the scratch was there previously. They answered again almost a month and a half later (and because I asked them again if they had news) when they told me I would receive answers in 8 days. Their answer was everything looked all right... and guess what? They sent me again the original paper where you can see clearly the scratch was marked before I took the car. They just don't even read what they are sending.