Enterprise Rent-A-Car Complaint - How Enterprise handles a problem
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- I am not particularly writing to have you do something about what I encountered, but to have you let others know about a problem I encountered on a recent trip.
I rented a van from Enterprise and took my 10 year-old son and 16 year-old son and his 16 year old friend on a 2.5 week trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and on to Daytona because the friend had never seen the ocean. We left on June 3, 2006 and returned on June 19, 2006.
To begin the sad tale, the first van they wanted to rent me had bald tires and my husband refused to let me take it on the trip and I appreciate that. The second one had a major undercarriage problem they had "overlooked". I am very glad my husband caught that. The third was a nice new Dodge in great shape with only 400 miles on it. We figured it should be good for the trip. I should mention we were traveling from Charleston WV to Orlando FL. The trip was being made by myself and the three boys, none of whom could drive, so the condition of the vehicle was very important to me.
As far as the vehicle itself went, it ran well and we had no mechanical problems. The first week we were at Disney and all went well. The second week we moved to the Hard Rock Hotel to go to Universal. The second week is also when Tropical Storm Alberto showed up. On Monday it rained hard all day, but the park didn't close so we were able to ride a lot of rides. On Tuesday when the valet brought our vehicle to us, it was absolutely full of ants. It seemed like there were millions of them. The hotel tried to sweep them out for us and put in some stuff that was not a pesticide to try to get rid of them, but it was obvious more would need to be done. My youngest son is extremely allergic to pesticides. I called one of the local Enterprise locations to see if they could help by getting us a different car to use while helping us fight the ant problem.
I am aware the ants weren't Enterprise’s fault and I wasn't blaming them, just asking for some help to rescue a long planned for and saved for vacation. I was informed by a "lady" named Jennifer at the Clarion Hotel Enterprise location, that we had not rented the vehicle from her and basically there was nothing she wanted to do with the problem. We would have to contact the office where we rented the van back in WV. She made it clear it was not her problem and she wasn't interested in helping. I called back to talk to the office I rented from and was told the person I needed to talk to was out of the office. In the meantime I contacted my mother who lives in Charleston and she began trying to get some assistance through the Charleston office. She also contacted the customer assistance line listed on the internet for Enterprise and the pleasant fellow there gave her a name and phone number for the District Manager for the WV area and said he thought they should just get her a vehicle to use till the problem was solved. Needless to say, she got a voice mail, left a message at 9:00am in the morning and he did not return her call till about 4:30pm that day. In the meantime, she continued to try to get help for us and we worked trying all kinds of things to get rid of the ants. The hotel finally found a detailer who came to the hotel and tried to shampoo and vacuum and get the ants out, but it was becoming obvious we would have to get the bug bombs and put them in the car overnight. During this time we did get a promise from the Charleston office to pay the cost of the detailer. The management of the hotel went out of their way to work with us and try to help us, even giving us a complimentary meal since we could not drive to any restaurants and frankly the cost of the meals at the hotel were very expensive and we had not budgeted to eat more than breakfast there. The manager and the valets were very concerned about the pesticides and their effect on my son. They took me to get the bug bombs and took the car to an area close to the hotel so we could set them off in and under it. The detailer was also concerned and he arranged to come back the next morning and clean it again to try and get as much of the pesticide out as he could. The hotel also gave us some sheets and towels to cover the seats. However, Wednesday morning after he detailed the car again, there were still loads of ants coming out of the carpeting and doors and from under the seats.
During all this time, we were continuing to try to work with Enterprise to get some assistance, but it always seemed everyone we needed to talk to had "just stepped out". My mother called a different location in Orlando to see if she could get someone to respond and was treated even more callously than I had been the day before. A manager whose name was Chris told her that frankly since the car had been rented in Charleston WV, he really didn't care what happened to it. It wasn't his problem since it wasn't rented from his location. He was very rude and obnoxious. He said they rented very few vans and he had nothing available and would not have.
The lady in Charleston named Shannon who had agreed to pay the detailer on Tuesday evening was very upset and unpleasant when we called her back the next morning to tell her we needed the detailing done again and said that the man must not have done a good job. That was very uncalled for as the incident was much more than just cleaning, but was also trying to remove the ants. We also were working with a manager named Paul in Charleston who seemed to try to work things out but appeared to be getting the same run around. I don't know if he was or if he was just saying so.
By this time we had lost all of Tuesday and part of Wednesday as far as going to Universal. On Wednesday morning, while we were waiting to see if the bug bomb got the ants by the afternoon, we rented a cab, $40 each way and got to go to SeaWorld for a couple of hours. When we came back, the hotel and the detailer agreed we would have to do another bug bomb. So they took me to get some more and we set off another two that night. Thursday we were to check out and drive to Daytona. All the time we were trying to get some help through Enterprise. The hotel extended our check out time and checked our luggage till we again got the van cleaned out. About 5:30 pm Paul from the Charleston Enterprise called and said if we could get to the location about 15 minutes from the hotel, they had a trailblazer they would let us have but we would have to bring it back to Orlando from Daytona and bring our original van back to Charleston. The catch was they closed at 6:00 pm and were not about to wait till we could get to them. If we weren't there by 6:00 they would leave. I tried to get to them and got tangled up in traffic. As I was waiting for a stoplight, a trailblazer pulled up beside me. It would not have held half the luggage and there was nowhere to put the car top carrier. I would have to find somewhere to store it till we could come back. I made a quick decision and turned around and went back to the hotel. There were less ants and I felt like if we just got to Daytona and left the van open to air out, maybe the bombs would continue to work.
I went back to the hotel and the manager gave us more sheets and towels and the valets covered everything so my son would not touch much of the interior of the car. We loaded up and went on to Daytona. As soon as we got checked in, he took a shower and changed clothes. He had a rash starting on his face, but we had given him some Benedryl before we started and it helped. We let the van sit the rest of Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday and did not use it at all. Sunday when we were ready to check out, I took the sheets and towels I had taken to a laundromat and covered the seats again. It looked like most of the ants were gone, but we wanted to be sure the pesticide residue didn't touch him and drove back home.
I'm sure everyone at Enterprise feels like it was just as well for everyone after all, but I feel like I lost a week of my vacation. The places we had planned to drive to and several of the things we had wanted to do just got put on hold while we dealt with the car. Of course the kids got to swim in the hotel pool and play in the game room, but that isn't what they went to do. We couldn't drive around Daytona or down to the Space Center like we had wanted to do as we were trying to avoid the pesticides as much as possible. We were unable to use our second and third days at Universal and had wanted to go back to Epcot before we left Orlando.
Why am I writing you? I would like everyone to know what kind of experience I had with Enterprise. How would you feel if you trusted your family to a company you thought was so well known all over the country and any problems you had could be taken care of. To find out that if you didn't rent from the local office, they could care less about what your problems are. One of the reasons I rented a vehicle was because I felt I had a better chance of help with a vehicle problem than even a car dealer might have done. Since I was going to be the only driver, I wanted to be sure there was help available. There was no help available from Enterprise. I am unhappy that I lost so much time and even though we couldn't do the things I had planned, we had paid for tickets in advance and could not use them. The hotel was very expensive, but close to the park and the room key got you in front of the lines at the rides. We had not planned to stay in the hotel all the time, but there was no way to drive to inexpensive restaurants or the store to get sandwich stuff. The hotel went out of their way to help me and I am very grateful. They took time to find the detailer and the valets tried themselves to help so much. I can't thank them enough.
There will never be an opportunity to do this trip again as it was very expensive and planned and saved for almost a year in advance. My 16 year old will be long gone before we would ever have an opportunity to do this again.
I just want to go on record with how disappointed I am with Enterprise and hope to let others know how I was treated so they won't run into the same or similar problems just because they didn't "rent locally".