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.
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.
NEW YORK -- I went through Hotwire to rent a car at Westchester County Airport. Hotwire gave me National Car Rental. I have never used National. On arriving at the airport I did the paperwork at the rental counter, one person operation; he was very nice, gave me the keys and I headed out to the car lot. My wife and I put our bags in the trunk and I notice scratches on the driver side bumper. The rental agreement does not have a walk around checklist sheet and there was not an attendant around (very small operation).
When we return the car the employee who did my rental agreement was in the rental car lot talking to some friends. He came over and got the keys from me and he notice the scratches on the bumper. He asked me if we had an accident. I said no, the scratches were there went we picked-up the car. This is when the NIGHTMARE begins; he said he had to do a car history search to see if the scratches were noted. He had another employee do the car history search. The employee made a remark to the other employee that the car history was out of date and he continues to search the records.
I stated again that I did not have an accident and that the scratches were there when I picked-up the car. The employee doing the search said I should had come back into the airport and reported the scratches to them. I told him that it was their job to check the car or have someone in the rental lot to do a walk-around. He completed his car history search and could not find a report on the scratches and because I did not come into the airport and report it, then I was at fault. He completed an accident report and I said I was not going to sign the report because I did not have the accident.
He told me if I did not sign the accident report then the company would hold me responsible and he was forwarding the report to the claims department. I sign the report under protest. I call the customer service immediately and filed a statement as I waited for my flight. The lady taking the statement said more the once, that this was a common problem at these small operation and she would document my statement. We will see what happens.
SEATAC, WASHINGTON -- Upon return to SeaTac, I dropped off the car in your return area. After passing through the terminal inspection area I noticed that I had left my camcorder in the trunk of the vehicle. I returned immediately to find that the attendant could not locate the car. After twenty minutes of persistent coaxing, I was able to help him find the vehicle which was already in the queue to be rented out again. Interestingly enough, the car was not serviced in any fashion. It was dirty on the outside and still had garbage inside of the vehicle as well as in the trunk. But alas, no camcorder.
I continued to ask for assistance and was turned over to the manager, **. With **, we tried to determine which attendant provided the service to the vehicle in order to ask if the camera had been found and placed in the lost and found box. Again interestingly enough, there was no record of anyone servicing the vehicle. The car had mysteriously moved itself from the return queue to the "TC" Ready for rental queue all by itself.
The camcorder is gone, I realize that and the tracks were covered very well but I want you to understand that on the camcorder were two days of video recordings of competitive soccer play that were going to be used for a group of 16 year girls as college tryout videos. These girls and their families had spent a lot of hard earned money to travel from Sacramento to Tacoma to participate in this unique opportunity. And now, thanks to the honesty and integrity of your workforce, its all gone. I wish there was some way to just recover the memory card that had the soccer games on it.
Cameras can be replaced but the expense of sending an entire soccer team and now the disappointment that these young ladies and their families must endure cannot. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the camera was taken from the trunk of the car in your facility. I also wonder why there are no surveillance cameras in place in that specific location of the garage and how the car ended up in that location without being serviced. Can you honestly say that you believe in your heart that one of your employees is not responsible for the theft?
I made a reservation with National to compare to others and let me say I am not impressed. To start with, I was dropped off at a group of cars that had no sign to show what cars were what (luxury/premium/full size etc.) and most were all dinged up and dirty. After flagging down a lot attendant, he was nice and dug out a better car for me in the rear behind all others, hooray for him, didn't get his name though. The car was hastily washed and was still dirty, the interior smelled of cigarettes. I washed the car on the way home and had the car wash freshen the air.
The girl at the exit booth seemed confused and asked if I even had a reservation. Then she said the card on my profile had expired, I gave her the card on my profile to show it had not but that was not the same card or number, I think she may have had another persons profile on the computer. During the trip someone on the road told me my right rear stop light was not working, being LED lights there was not much I could do, so I drove 9 days with only one stop light.
Are these vehicles inspected before each rental? Apparently not. All this I can live with so far. I return the car today and the greeter asked if I had a return authorization. What? What is that? I said no, and he said a receipt will arrive in my email. I get home and the O'Hare manager sent an email stating "you have dropped a car at our location, can you give me your name and dates of rental". What is this all about? I have never dealt with this kind of disorganization at Hertz.
I sent all of my info to the O'Hare manager and am waiting to hear back. I just checked my National profile and noticed a rental in my profile that I never rented. Somehow, they mixed my reservation with someone else's and charged his credit card for my rental and his. Plus, the receipt sent to me has the wrong vehicle on it. I am still trying to have someone at the joke of a business to return my call and try to talk to a person with higher than a first grade reading level. I am really scared to use National or Alamo again because of this confusion.