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 its 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.
------ ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ADDED LATER ------
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 travelled 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 (Victor) 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, Victor. 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 Victor 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 -- Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the National Car Rental customer service department.
Before traveling to Mexico, consider taking the bus to your hotel!
COMPLAINT LETTER REGARDING NATIONAL CAR RENTAL AGENCY AT SAN JOSE DEL CABO AIRPORT
Dear Customer Service Department:
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 Nation 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.
EL PASO, TEXAS -- National charged an $40 refueling charge even though I had just filled the tank to brim minutes before. I didn't notice the charge on bill until I was in the terminal.
Thought a quick email to customer service would correct the error. But no!
National service representative absolutely refused to removed the charge. Basically National fraudulently billed for 8 gallons when they could not have fit even 1 gallon into that tank.
This is clearly a scam, and the local and central office are both in on it. I had to dispute the charge through my credit card company.
On a Friday night I landed at Victoria Airport in B. C.I had previously checked the Victoria National Car Rental website via the airport website to see if they accepted cash payments. The website was quite specific that they did as long as certain documents were given to the person in charge at the time of the rental. I also called their customer service just to verify the information was correct and all was good. No problem Sir, is what I was told. As I walked up to their booth at 11:00 pm on Friday night with all my vacation plans in hand the gentleman at the counter said"NO" AND THAT WAS THE END OF THE CONVERSATION. My wife and I stood there in disbelief. Time for plan B, which at the time I did not think I needed. The best was when I sent an e-mail to National wanting an explanation. This is what they said, Thank you for helping us correct any customer service problems, we appreciate you taking the time to write. Are these people for real. My entire vacation plans were totally disrupted not to mention spending hours on a bus and missing out on meeting up with friends. I am so glad I could help them with their customer service. NEVER WILL THEY SEE A DIME OF MY MONEY.
LOS ANGELES / INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA -- In May we rented a car for 3 weeks at National. Now we were charged / debited with an amount of approx. USD 1200 (!!!) for "extensions". We rented the car for 3 weeks, gave it back after this period, so we do not know what they are charging us for.
I called them and after approx. 20 minutes (I need to mention that I live in Germany and therefore called them from Germany - I do not want to think about the costs...) I talked to a person who seemed to be in charge. She promised to write an email to managers and copy me in - I have never received such an email!
So I filled out the complaint form on their homepage and received an automatic email that they will get in touch with me within 2 day - do I have to mention that this never happened...?
So I wrote an email to the address which is mentioned here on the homepage sometimes (care at nationalcars.com) - again, no reaction. So I filled out the form on their German homepage (I asked for a contact in the US) - I have not received neither an automatic email!
I am really frustrated that no one seems to be responsible for complaints!
Of course we contacted our bank and are trying to retrieve the money - maybe then National wakes up ...
In February, I left my overcoat in a National Car Rental vehicle at the Albuquerque airport (ABQ). This became apparent as soon as I went through security. Within 20 minutes I was on the phone with Agent X at the National lost and found at ABQ. She asked me to wait a few minutes while she check and returned to the phone and said, “nothing was found in the car sir.” She said to call back tomorrow and ask for Agent Y or Agent Z, which I did. Agent Z repeated the same response. I asked her what happened to the overcoat and she just repeated the same sentence. We all have a good idea what happened to that coat as well as the thousands of other articles left behind in National vehicles — employees are taking them and the supervisors at the local lost and found offices know exactly who they are and are covering for them. Is this a way of compensating low-paid employees or are they covering for organized criminal activity? You be the judge. If I had left my cell phone in the pocket, I could have tracked the coat and called the Albuquerque sheriffs department. Maybe someone should do this some time to help put an end to this unprofessional and possibly illegal activity.
YELLOWKNIFE, NWT -- Watch out for this bad service, not necessarily on the part of national but one of their licensed agents. To begin with the first car we got was dirty and the "full tank" was not really full, but whatever. The next day we come out of our hotel to go to work and we are greeted by a flat tire. (7am) so I call and get an answering machine and leave a message, when I call back 5 hrs later the response was "oh we are just on our way", nice after having to walk to work in -10. There were also other mechanical issues with the car as well. Fine we get a replacement. The best part is that when we returned the car they have the nerve to charge me 40 bucks for a tire repair in a car we drove less than 10k. So all in all stay clear of National in Yellowknife, they cost a little less than the competition and clearly you get what you pay for, unprofessional shifty business practices.