Enterprise: Chips off the new block

Perils of car rentals

As I returned the car, the Enterprise employee said “There is a Chip in the windshield. Was it recorded when when I picked it up?”

“No, it was there when I hired it but only noticed it the second day”, I truthfully said.

The size of the chip was small in just to the right of the driver’s wiper. You wouldn’t notice it unless the sun was shinning directly on it. When I picked the car up, it was late evening and I only drove a few miles staying at the airport hotel while I waited for Mrs Caesar to come in on a late flight where she had missed her connecting flight. I did see it when we drove off the next day.

The employee didn’t say much more or ask me to sign anything and printed out my receipt, we were on our merry way. At ~$549 for 3 weeks for a Toyota Avalon, I thought the rental was good value.

Fast forward a week and I get a letter from Enterprise Damage Recovery Unit for details on how I was going to pay for the damage. There was no explanation on what they were claiming nor how much it was going to cost. I emailed them asking for such details with the claims number and 1 week later, I am still waiting.

Nevertheless, not wanting to bother with this anymore and already suspecting what it is all about, I phoned American Express card services who took all the details down and said they would take care of it all. They said not to speak further with them and they would update me on the progress.

I used (and recommend to anyone) Amercan Express’ service called “PREMIUM CAR RENTAL PROTECTION” where you can pay a flat one off Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) at $24.95 instead of a per day LDW offered by Car Rental Insurance. After about 2 days, it pays for itself.  This is the first time I have made a claim and so far the service from AMEX was smooth.

If you search Enterprise damage claims on internet, you find a lot of people complaining about Enterprise Holdings and their aggressiveness in pursuing damage claims. Here is one such article.

Morales discovered other problems. She said Enterprise employees faked the amount of miles she drove. The return slip for the vehicle shows that in two weeks, she drove almost 17,000 miles. (The starting mileage number is crossed out with a second smaller one handwritten in.)

“I would have had to drive to South America three times,” she said, when she only used the vehicle for a daily 40-mile roundtrip commute.

The return slip states in large, handwritten letters, “No damage on truck.” Yet she was charged for damage two weeks after the truck’s return.

She questions whether the photo of proof the company sent her is of the truck she rented. Other Enterprise customers have told me that the company sent them a photo of a damaged car different from theirs.

Christopher Elliot has documented many problems on his elliot.org people had with Enterprise Holdings. Windshield damage is one of the popular items for claims.

One of my close friends, Jasonious, had a problem with Enterprise in Houston before where it was claimed he had broken the passenger seat. He was the only one who had ridden in it where he had only rented it to take advantage of low weekend rates so as to not put mileage on his high end muscle car. Enterprise claimed the passenger must have been heavy set. It eventually got resolved but my friend said he’d never rent with the company again.

Now that I think of it, I have rented before with one of the smaller Enterprise locations in Houston before once when my Hyundai was in the shop due to a warranty repair. I remember getting a car which had no gas in it and the warning light was on. Thinking this was an anomaly, I didn’t think about it until now but I did annoy me since one of the first things I had to do was fill up in a bad neighborhood. I also had to think about how I would bring the car back nearly empty.

Another friend, Macnallius, had sworn off Enterprise due to their hard sell on additional insurance while in the UK. He was furious about it to the point where he also will not rent with them again.

Since Enterprise Holdings company own Enterprise, National and Alamo, it will make me think about renting with any of them again if all other things are equal. I am not ready to ‘throw them to the lions’ as many of the complaints about damage claims seem to come from smaller franchise owners rather than the airport rentals which I’ve not a problem with before.

However, if I do rent again from them and reading some of the horror stories about frivilous damage, I will spend more time looking that car over and even videoing the entire walk through. I will not take their word that “it is a small scratch, don’t worry about it”.

Augustus
 

Head Emperor of Roam. Originally born Gaius Octavius in 63BC, Augustus has great deal of experience running empires, dealing with civil wars, subdueing barbarian tribes and that sort of thing. Currently living in Katy, Texas, Mr Caesar is the architect of modern day Roam with aspirations of starting up a new virtual empire. In his spare time Augustus is a family man.