Alamo Complaint - Bogus "Cleaning Fee"
ERIE, PENNSYLVANIA -- I took a flight back into Erie, PA, which arrived on a Saturday afternoon (08/12/2006).My usual rental car company (Enterprise) for some stupid reason does not keep their Erie airport location open past noon on Saturdays, so I went to the Alamo counter and rented from them. The car was very nice, and I had it for 3 days with no problems. But when I brought it back, I was in a hurry to drop it off and catch a bus, so I didn't fill up the tank, and they charged me $6.00 per gallon ($48.00 for half a tank). Enterprise only charges $3.90, and the retail price in Erie is currently about $2.83. That was the first ripoff.
The next day I noticed that my American Express account had an additional Alamo charge for $31.80. I called to ask why, and they said it was due to the fact that they had to take the car to a car wash and vacuum dog hair off the seats. I have 3 short-haired dogs, who were in the rental car for a grand total of 30 minutes. No other company has EVER charged me a dime for vacuuming a car - it is a miniscule part of their cost of doing business, for God's sake! I even had a 4-day, cross country rental with Hertz last year, when my dogs were in the car for 4 days, and there was no "cleaning fee" charged. Besides, what national car company DOESN'T have the capability to clean their own cars on the premises?! And, hello, any flunkie can pump 4 quarters into a machine at a gas station and have a car vacuumed in 60 seconds. $31.80 (which I am sure Alamo never actually spent) would have been enough money to get the car washed and waxed too!
I couldn't let the second rip-off go uncontested. I have challenged the $31.80 charge with American Express, and sent a nasty letter to the Alamo at Erie Airport, copying Alamo Corporate and also American Express customer service. Now that I've seen other complaints on my3cents.com, I know never to rent from the scam artists at Alamo/National again.