But on a more positive note, it's not too often that I feel a company sincerely cares about its customers above everything else. However, based on my experience with Enterprise last week while vacationing in Las Vegas, I can say I am impressed.
When we arrived at the rental counter August 29th I was given the keys to a Chrysler Sebring convertible. I specifically rented a convertible, even though it isn't the most frugal option, because I wanted to treat myself. I was expecting a Ford Mustang - a fun car - but since this is what was offered to me and I had never driven a Sebring, I was up for the opportunity to try something different. That was a mistake.
Who Needs a Window, Anyway?
The first problem with the car arose when we arrived at our hotel. The rear quarter panel window would not go up. We managed to get it up with one of us pulling on the window while the other pressed the button inside the car. This happened every time we left the top down and then put it back up. Glad I wasn't alone!
GPS? So Overrated...
Second, the cigarette lighter adapter on the console was defective. As we were driving to Phoenix during this trip, I would have to rely on my GPS several times. There was a second adapter in the little cubby box in the console, but the cord to my GPS frayed over time from being clamped down by the lid to the console.
Rock and Roll
A third incident, one which frightened the crap out of me, happened while we were driving through the desert near Phoenix. The car started vibrating and the check engine light came on. At first I thought one of the tires was flat. We pulled over, checked the tires, and waited a few minutes before restarting the engine. Magically the problem went away.
You Have the Right to Remain Nervous
The last and final straw came after I was pulled over by a Nevada State Trooper. I learned a long time ago to be extra careful about following the rules of the road when out of town, so I didn't have the slightest clue why I was being pulled over. Turns out, the vehicle's registration expired. Four months ago. After a stern warning in which I was advised that I should be more observant in the future and a recommendation that I swap the car out, I decided it was time to speak up.
The drive from the Suncoast Hotel in Summerlin to the Las Vegas airport isn't short, so I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts and decide NOT to be angry. I pulled into the car rental return area, got out and politely asked to speak with a manager. The gentleman who had greeted me as I got out of the car said he was a manager so I explained all the problems I had experienced. There wasn't much the manager could disagree with since I was able to point to the outdated sticker on the tag as well as the defective window. Interestingly, he asked me how he could make me happy... something along the lines of "what percentage of your rental was affected by this?"
I suggested the car was only worth half what I paid and the manager didn't argue, instead offering to deduct $150 from the rental fee. He directed me to the rental booth and said someone inside would be waiting for me to swap cars. This is where my expectations were exceeded. If all Enterprise had done was deduct $150 from my bill, I would have been satisfied. But, I wouldn't be praising them. When I reached the rental booth a second manager was waiting. He apologized again and asked me what I'd like to drive. He suggested two choices: a Mustang convertible or a Chevy Camaro. Since I'd never driven a Camaro (only salivated at the one in Transformers!), that's what I chose. And, to top it off, he told me not to worry about refueling the car before I returned. This could have been a very valuable offer, but since we planned to stay put in the same area the last two days we used very little gas. Still, it was an unexpected gesture that I really appreciated.
All in all Enterprise made a great recovery. It would have been very easy for me to swear them all for all future rentals and talk bad about them every chance I get. Instead, they took care of me. Good job, Enterprise.