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.
NEW YORK -- Avoid NATIONAL CAR RENTAL St. Lucia – bad experience. Car was rented knowing there was problems (it was just in garage for repairs – 125,000 miles). They said they would replace car if we had problem when we rented it. They didn't find another car. They left us stranded – we rented from a more expensive company who rents quality cars. Now they want to charge me for a bad car, bad experience.
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.
DENVER, COLORADO -- National Rental Car, I have just about had it with your company. I rent from you every single and for the past 4 weeks I have had issue after issue with you. Over the past couple of weeks I have called almost every department and received very little support or constructive feedback back on various issue so I am now forced to put up negative reviews on your company all over the web.
Issue #1: you rented me a car about 4 weeks ago that was not fueled up and I didn't realize it until I was 90 minutes away from the airport. I talked with your rental agent when I returned the car and was basically told I nothing could be done. Level 5 out 10 in frustration.
Issue #2: I returned a car to the Denver airport and when I rented it I did not take a close enough look at every single part of it to verify no damage was present. I partly blame myself as I am now forced to spend over 10 minutes now looking over every little aspect of your cars as you want to charge me $500 for the tiniest little dent which I did not do but you hold me responsible for. Level 9 out 10 in frustration. I have talked to several of your insurance adjusters and they are determined to stick me with the charge.
Issue #3: I rented a car from Austin, TX and went through 3 tolls which I paid in cash. WELL you charged me $16.60 for tolls. REALLY it was $1.50 a toll, how do you get $16.60??? I like how you can just charge whatever you want on my credit card!!! I never went through a toll and this just had me beyond mad. I called the Austin airport and he basically gave me the number for the toll roads and hung up the phone. Really nice!
I spend over $1000 dollars a month with National Rental Car and this is how I get treated. I will be making a switch soon and I will make sure not to give one more penny to any of your companies including Enterprise and Alamo.
ANYWHERE -- I am an Emerald Card member and rented National many times. Most of my travel was at regular times and I had no issue. In fact enjoyed the free upgrade you receive when you select a type of car. However, most rental companies offer all these services. What makes a company distinguishing in this industry is customer service and able to take care of customer any time or at least be courteous.
I booked a car at Vancouver airport for 1:30am pickup. Website never said anything about not able to pick up that time or when the location is going to be closed. It wasn't mentioned in the reservation receipt either. Flight got delayed and the location was closed. We took a cab to the hotel and I called customer support next day.
The call center service was so poor. I asked her if they can drop off the car at the hotel, as if I go again I would encounter $70 two way to the airport and hotel and that's more than 50% of my rental fee. The woman was so rude and telling me ridiculously that I should have called if I am going to be delayed and there is nothing they can do. I told her if any other location and I am delayed I would have called but it's airport location and delays are expected, how am I supposed to call from the flight when there was half hour delay? They even asked for your flight no. for that purpose to see if they can keep the reservation in case the flight gets delayed.
She lacked any courteousness and ignoring my concern kept asking me if I want to keep the reservation anymore or not. I told her fine but I am not happy with this service. I told her I rented with them many times but what I experienced this time is really bad in a strange city in the middle of the night and may consider discontinuing my membership. She said that is fine.
Then I was getting ready to go to the airport again to pick up and I got a cancellation email. She purposely cancelled my reservation. I thought it could be a mistake, went on to the site and rebooked. Few minutes later she cancelled it again. I just went to the airport to the counter, they said they have no record of who took that call. I ended up going with another car rental service. Will never rent National again.
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- Went to return a car with people I know who were from another country on 12/29/11 at approximately 9:00 P.M. They were confused by some of the charges on the receipt. Went to National customer service and was "helped" by **. I explained the situation telling him that they didn't realize they signed up for a lot of extras because of the language barrier. He told me "If you don't speak English, then don't rent a car". I felt that statement was very rude and discriminatory. Why should someone not be able to rent a car in America just because they can't speak fluent English.
After some arguing back and forth he told me "don't be smart with me". After a while the manager came. I told the manager what happened and all I wanted was an apology from ** for the statement he had made. The manager said he understand the situation and he will have a talk with **. The manager then helped us out with a refund. He went to the back for a while and left us with **. My boyfriend who was with me at the time asked ** if he really was not going to apologize and explained all we wanted was for him to admit he shouldn't have said what he said. At that time I told my boyfriend "just let it go, he's not going to apologize".
Right after I said that ** imitated me and said "YEAH JUST LET IT GO" in a high pitched voiced. ** WAS BEYOND RUDE! I called corporate that night but it wouldn't go through so I called again the next morning and filed a complaint. The lady on the line said I would hear back from them in about 10 days. It's been over a month and no one bother to follow up on the complaint. I guess it was just not important to the company how badly their customers were treated. So I write this review to vent a little and to warn anyone who might have relatives coming from another country to go to another car rental company.