I just spent 13 hours driving to Dobson, North Carolina and then back. Why, you ask? Because Enterprise Rental Cars is a bunch of parasitic motherfuckers who should spend eternity tossing Satan’s salad.
Last night, on the way home from Florida after their vacation, Gerald, Landrea, and the kids hit a coyote around there, and it rammed the radiator into the engine and basically killed the car. It could still move, but Gerald knows a thing or two about cars and knew it should not be driven more or it would do more damage. So he pulled over and called Enterprise, who promptly told him to fuck off.
You see, Gerald and Landrea did not have roadside assistance included in their package, which they did not include because they have roadside assistance through AAA, something I am sure many of you have also done as you have it through AAA or your personal insurance. Apparently, though, Enterprise Rental Cars reads that to mean “sucks to be you, not our problem.” BTW, this was at about 10 o’clock at night in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, and I say bumfuck nowhere as someone from a town of 350 in West Virginia and who damned well knows a bumfuck nowhere when he sees it.
Enterprise told them that they would send a tow truck, but they would only be able to fit two people in the cab of the truck, so three of the people would just have to walk to the next exit. The kindly NC State Trooper who was already on the scene didn’t even let Gerald tell Enterprise to go fuck themselves before interjecting “That’s not going to happen.” Although one would think it is common knowledge that you do not leave three kids on the side of a major highway in the dark, this is apparently news to the good folks at Enterprise, whose twitter handle is, ironically, @enterprisecares.
So the cop made Gerald limp the car down the road to the next exit, and they stayed at the Hampton Inn and spent the wee hours trying to get a new car from Enterprise, seeing as how the current one was exploded and they had paid for a rental car through the 17th of July and it was, according to my math, ONLY THE FUCKING 14th. Enterprise gave no fucks and told them to pound sand.
Here’s the thing. They didn’t need roadside assistance. They did not have a flat tire. They did not have a dead battery. They had not locked the keys in the car. They had a fully unfunctional car, and they needed a replacement. Enterprise informed them if they got to Charlotte airport, they might have one they could get.
I talked to Gerald this morning and he basically told me there are no buses, no cabs, no ubers, and no way for him to get to Charlotte, not to mention they didn’t even know if they would have a car. Enterprise’s helpline is so helpful they COULDN’T EVEN CHECK THEIR FUCKING INVENTORY. Maybe if they could confirm there would be a car there, he could have just fucking hitchhiked there or something. Or begged the minister next door at the church for a ride. All the local Enterprise places were closed on Sunday, although there was one in Greensboro, but they did not open until one o clock so it would be one before he would even know if they had a car for him to pick up. If they didn’t, then it would be 1:30-2:00 pm and the short day would almost be over and they would still be fucked. ENTERPRISE’S HELP LINE IS THIS FUCKING HELPFUL.
So I drove 370 fucking miles down there, we crammed all six of us and the luggage in the CRV, and came back. BECAUSE ENTERPRISE RENTAL CAR IS A FILTHY BUNCH OF CORPORATE SCUMBAGS.
On the upside, the boys now will have to cut my yard for the rest of their lives, so there is that.
You’re a good man, John Cole.
A Ghost To Most
Fucking greedy no-account assholes. They are now on “the list”. I’m glad to hear you are all safe.
My god, what a story. I can’t believe Enterprise was so don’t-give-a-flying-fuck to your friends. I rarely need to rent a car, but when I do it’s been Enterprise. No more.
You are a good, good man, John G. Cole. Damn few people would do a 700-mile r/t even for their nearest and dearest.
And I mentioned in Adam’s thread that this weekend marked five years since the great Tunch left us. He is very much missed.
Yes, you are a good man.
I put this in the wrong thread earlier, and this is still the wrong thread, but I have to find someone else who was weirded out by the New York Times article about V-selfies? They have the weirdest editor’s note up about it today. Jezebel tells the story.
Link thing doesn’t work: https://jezebel.com/this-new-york-times-writer-failed-to-mention-she-used-h-1827575582
Is there a rental car company that is not run by a bunch of dicks? That might be a shorter list to keep.
I fully endorse your jihad against Enterprise. I also hope you do not end up on the wrong end of a cavity search because I used the term “jihad”.
Adam L Silverman
You just Bigfooted Bambi! You monster!!!//
1.There is nothing more satisfying than a John Cole rant.
2. FFS, Enterprise
I had an Avis car blow up on me and just die in the middle of the Nevada desert. I hitchhiked to the next casino and left the car there. They brought me a new car and figured out the dead one on their own and it only took a couple of hours. While this wasn’t ideal, shit happens and they fixed it the best they could at 3am.
Thank god it wasn’t enterprise. NCC 1701 sucks ass.
More adventurous man than I. I’d have offered to pay for an Uber for him to the nearest airport, where there are other choices of car rental agencies.
Oh gosh, I’m just glad they aren’t hurt! And that they have such a good friend in you. I’m sensitive b/c I’m in a rental van with my kids driving through unfamiliar territory. Crossing my fingers that National would be better (Be Best?) than Enterprise, who is now On Notice.
Enterprise, National, and Alamo are related, and up until this post I have found them to be the most responsive and least dishonest. There is a national travel ombudsman column in the Sunday Chicago Tribune, and of all the rental car companies, these three are the ones I don’t see frequently mentioned in the “I rented a car three months ago and everything was fine and then they sent me a bill for repairs of $1500” category.
I’ve never had an incident of that severity in a rental car, and I’ve never heard of a company being that unresponsive.
What happened with AAA? They were unresponsive as well?
@Adam L Silverman:
I hope their credit card company descends on Enterprise like the meteor that took out the dinosaurs.
We made the mistake of parking an Enterprise one ton van on a local street overnight and got an electronic ticket for “parking a commercial vehicle without a permit”.
Enterprise happily instantly paid it. There was no ticket, we learned from Enterprise when they billed us and I had to call the city to confirm.
Why didn’t Enterprise have commercial insurance?
Why didn’t they dispute?
A bit late to change now, I’l be renting from them Tuesday in SacTown.
As Jerry said, “I’m gonna beat the hell out of this car.”
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
I read this to my wife, and she told me that she thinks Dobson is where her grandparents got married, because they were too young to get hitched in Virginia, even with their parents’ say so.
Even in Upper Bumfuck Carolina, there are other car rental companies. None of them, however, claim to pick you up.
You are good people, Cole.???
That is terrible service. So sorry for your friends. You are a good person, John.
Recently I was looking at rental cars. I needed to return the car on a Sunday. All the local Enterprise offices were closed on Sundays. The only open one was at the airport. Wonder if that’s a corporate thing. I was surprised because it can’t be all that unusual for people to want to rent a car for a weekend trip and return it on a Sunday.
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
My parents went to Cherry Pt. NC because they were coming from Norfolk, VA and wanted friends to be there.
@efgoldman: It’s not a problem that they would not pick him up. They couldn’t even get them to confirm where to go.
@John Cole: Like I said above, when I looked into it all the local Enterprise offices were closed on Sundays. Only the airport office was open. Are they some kind of fundy-run company or something? Wonder if that’s why they’re unable to give you any inventory info. They’re basically not open on Sundays. Very crappy service.
Holy fuck, that’s awful. I’ll happily join the chorus of You’re A Good Man, John Cole. Seriously, driving that distance for a friend in that situation is the epitome of Doing Good.
And I hope the two of you give that branch of Enterprise holy hell. They’ve earned it.
When I traveled 30+ weeks a year I never rented from Enterprise. Because of the service mainly. When I got to an event I was getting paid to actually work, not be sitting at the rental office waiting for them to get it together.
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: Less scales, more hair. But pretty much.
Hahaha, is anybody else getting Budget Rental Car ads?
Sounds like Enterprise needs a good social media beating.
@SiubhanDuinne: @Adam L Silverman: I knew someone was going to beat me to this!
I’m renting a car this weekend. Enterprise is closest, but after this story, fuck them.
There’s a local outfit here named Word of Mouth Rent-A-Car.
Our corporate overlords and their paid-off political parties are nearly done moving us from advanced to developing nation status. But the Randian FreeMarkets will assure that such substandard customer service will shovel Enterprise into the dustheap in favor of better competition. But what’s that you say, mergers and acquisitions will absorb every car rental agency into one gigantic monopoly offering us all compact-class Synergys of one color only?
3rd world country.
Rented a car from Enterprise some years ago while repairs were being done on my car. I was making sure to go slightly under the posted speed in the school zone (doing 22 in a 25 mph zone) for the elementary school down the road from the school where I was teaching.
All of a sudden, a cop pulled out from the side of the road, lights and siren on. I thought that he must have clocked someone ahead of me speeding, and was thinking what an ass that person was for speeding in a school zone.
But, nope – the officer pulled me over, and claimed that I had been going 32 mph. I told him that I had checked my speed before entering the school zone, and that I drove that route every afternoon and was fully aware of the numerous school zones, because I taught in one.
He started to get a little shirty with me, and basically called me a liar. When I handed him my license and the rental paperwork, he paused and said, “This isn’t your vehicle?”
I told him that I had rented it that morning from the Enterprise franchise a few miles down the road (apparently the Enterprise stickers in the window had escaped his laser sharp eyes…).
He acted suddenly uncomfortable, and said, “Let me check something.”
It turned out that he had ticketed four other drivers in grey sedans over the past couple of weeks, all in the same school zone where he liked to sit in wait, and all four drivers were driving that same damned Enterprise rental car! Apparently all the drivers had sworn that they were going 10 or 11 mph slower than the speed that his radar showed.
Enterprise had rented me a car with a miscalibrated speedometer. The worst part of it? The cop still wrote me a ticket instead of a warning.
Did I mention that the car reeked of stale urine and beer vomit, and since it was 95 degrees plus outside for the three days that I had the car, it was impossible to drive without the AC on and the windows rolled up?
@Betty Cracker: Run, do not walk, away from the hell that is Enterprise, Betty!! Save yourself!
We’ve returned rentals when the agency was closed. You leave the car locked in the lot, and drop the keys thru a slot. Not a big deal.
The Enterprise agency near Ballston in Arlington often runs out of compacts and mid-sizes. So they substitute a Benz from the dealer down the street.
I had one and hated the fucker.
I have used Enterprise in the past, as there is one located very my house. Always for things like wanting a bigger car while the in-laws are visiting, or car is in the shop, etc. Whenever I travel, I’ve used a different company, or just Uber-and-subway-it everywhere. But after this….it’s the spiky, acid-tipped dicks.
A commenter on Gin and Tacos writes:
“The Venn Diagram of companies who I would like to boycott for ethical reasons and companies that I cannot boycott in in any meaningful way, because their product is so crappy I would not take it for free, let alone pay money for it, is…
wait for it…
:waves arms in orchestra-conducting gesture:
A SINGLE OVERLAPPING CIRCLE!”
Is Rent-A-Wreck still in business. They rented old rust buckets that ran. Mostly.
@Mel: I rented a U-Haul once that had a FUBARed odometer. They tried to charge me for 200 miles I didn’t drive. No mas.
Gin and Tacos banned me from his Facebook page for being an old centrist white woman. Needless to say, I don’t follow his antics much anymore.
I got one of the most pleasant surprises of my life when we rented a U-Haul to clean out my murdered sister-in-law’s house in Vermont. I thought we’d have to bring it back, empty. Nope. One way rental to RI roughly $160. If I brought it back to Vermont, over $400.
Yes, but not near me.
First couple times we went to CA and FL was years pre-intartoobz. I sat at the kitchen table with te Yellow Pages and a legal pad calling 800 numbers for rates.
This late at night I feel like I’m talking to myself. Maybe i am.
Enterprise has been dead to me since 2001 when on my honeymoon they lied to me about costs of various items. Fuck them, fuck them right in the ear.
@Suzanne: Right around the same time that I got the ticket in the Enterprise pee-mobile, one of my friends and her husband rented a van to more comfortably take their three kids and her parents out for a picnic in a scenic park a few hours away.
Within an hour after entering the van, the girls (all three sitting in the second row seats) suddenly started to have.itchy scalps. At first, the adults thought there might be something in the van causing an allergic reaction, but nope.
When they reached the park, head checks revealed several lice on each girl’s hair, and a van inspection revealed a few on the second row seats.
They had had to wait an hour past the promised pick up time for the van, and had been told that the delay was due to it being returned late by a church group. They noticed that there were several candy wrappers and a comic book on the floor when they got in, so clearly it hadn’t been vacuumed or checked by the rental staff. Somebody in that church group must have had a whopping case of head lice, and left a few stragglers behind on the headrests when the van was speed swapped between renters.
Eight bottles of Nix and two harrowing days of tears and cootie combing later, they all were finally free of the nasty critters.
Sister Golden Bear
Enterprise’s national office once tried to claim that a car I did key drop off for, overnight because the office was closed, had been returned damaged.
Thankfully, 1) I checked with the local office I rented from and they had no record of it being damaged, and 2) more importantly, I always take photos of a car when I return it. Needless to say they quickly dropped the claim.
@Sister Golden Bear:
I think whether you use Enterprise or some other agency depends on whether you’re paying or you’re using an expense account. Enterprise is generally the lowest price for local, off-airport rentals.
A lot of the off-airport locations are franchises. Same for all rental companies. I assume they don’t feel any responsibility for them but they do hurt the brand.
I view car rentals like cell phones – pick one, they all fuck you over just hope they don’t decide to really roger you this time.
@Sister Golden Bear: That’s a great idea. Kudos for your win against Enterprise’s nastiness! It makes me feel a little better about my pee-mobile ticket.
I wanted to send you a long distance hug and wish you a speedy recovery from your surgery. I’ll be thinking of you and sending good energy your way!
I’m going to make myself unpopular by saying that I have rented from Enterprise over 110 times in the last 25 years, and I have only had one problem, and when I mentioned it, they immediately made it right.
It is inconvenient that their non-airport locations are closed on Sundays.
They REALLY want you to take the up-to-the-full-value-of-the-care insurance option, which more than doubles the bill, but I never do unless I’m compelled to drive in unpredictable winter conditions.
We used to have a local variety of Rent-a-Wreck, and I loved them. But they closed years ago. I used to love Budget and Dollar, too, but then they got bought up and no longer offer good deals.
Customer service has generally sucked in this country ever since all the companies started devouring each other.
That’s pretty terrible. I’m glad they’re ok and you are definitely that AAA level friend. I hope that Enterprise office gets the karma they’ve earned.
Jack the Cold Warrior
U-Haul treated us fairly the times we’ve used it. I’ve rented from Hertz, they were OK. Enterprise as a rental was good.
Enterprise help line is crap. I worked for a call center with US Auto Club, a Nationwide roadside assistance company for about 4 years. We dispatched assistance nation wide including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. It was actually fun in some ways, in the numerous calls that were laugh out loud due to the insane ways people get their cars stuck. Like 2 miles up a creek bed in a 2wd Ford Focus. Or trying to Baha dad’s Lincoln Continental over the Key west Sand dunes. Driving a FWD truck on a frozen Minnesota lake in January at night on a weekend. Easy to get DOWN the Boat Ramp. Impossible to get up it without tire chains. Or locking the keys in the car with the kid or dog inside at noon in July in Dallas Texas. That was not so funny. Windows WERE broken.
Our Clients included Ford, Volvo, Land Rover. And fracking Enterprise. Interfacing with them to help their stranded customers in broke down or damaged cars was difficult anytime and worse on Sunday. And this was 14 years ago.
Some companies just hover at mediocre or worse.
J R in WV
I often use Enterprise in Tuscon AZ because they rent 4×4 trucks, which are best for getting up the ranch roads to our winter place. One night I flew in about 12 pm midnight, and all they had to offer me was a Mercury Grand Marquise nearly a limo. I had reserved a 4×4 truck 6 of 8 weeks before I arrived.
So I took it, and drove it up the ranch road by going really fast across the sand bars the monsoon rains leave across the twisty road. It did OK, but there were funny noises underneath while going over the high spots on the up and down parts of the road, from dragging things into the dirt of the ranch road. It ran the whole 2 weeks I was out there.
Then one time they only had RWD trucks, an empty PU truck has no traction on that read axle, so again I drove really fast on the ranch road… Then a tire gave out, it had been shoddily repaired, and the plug blew out. Fortunately I was going about 30, on the ranch road because if a front tire blows out going the 80 I usually drive on the arrow straight roads out there it would have been a catastrophe. I had to pay $80 for a nearly new used tire from a Mexican-American guy down on the border, Douglas, AZ. He was very professional.
Won’t be using Enterprise again if I can help it.
Then when we went to Denver last fall for best friend’s 40th wedding anniversary. We introduced them when we all worked at my family’s business in smalltown WV. Way back in the day.
So I used AAA to book things, and they in theory made arrangements for a car at Hertz. The woman who waited on me at Hertz insisted upon renting me a Mercedes Benz, which I own one of, and did not want to rent from her. Eventually, after arguing for an hour, she agreed to rent us a Range Rover of some sort. It was expensive, but drove well.
We were pissed… I wanted a VW, which is what we have driven most over the years since out first one we bought in 1978… could not be done… Won’t be going back to Hertz. Running out of possibilities. Maybe the answer is to drive our car to wherever.
We rented a BMW SUV in Italy, it was barely big enough for 4 adults and our 4 big suitcases. It was OK. But it wanted to stop the motor every time you stopped the car at a light or even in traffic. Will NEVER buy a car with that option.
Doesn’t seem to be. But there is the ‘blend in with the locals’ Maui Cruisers.
I have only rented from Enterprise once and without incident. I cannot even remember being offered the option of purchasing roadside assistance in the event of disaster, but it seems like they should at least be able to tell you where to tow the vehicle, since it is their vehicle. Low volume rental locations can be a real hassle to deal with on short notice because they don’t have a big inventory. It sounds like somebody was working hard not to disrupt their own weekend. Rather than general social media, I might try dealing directly with them, which might be futile but which is more likely to result in a refund. This is my nightmare with cars, getting stranded in a place I cannot get out of. We also probably would have done exactly what you did.
You are a Mensch JC. Meanwhile Enterprise can go TAFFAARD.
That way they (rental car company) can charge you for the 8 or 9 hours of Sunday evening that you don’t need the car.
Regarding another comment about National and Alamo being related, Enterprise owns them.
I have an Enterprise rental sitting in my driveway right now, because my car got hit and they’re who my insurance co uses.
Around here, most non-airport car rentals are open from 1300-1700 on Sunday, if it all, but if you are just returning the car it’s not a problem because you push the keys through the little slot in the door. So you shouldn’t have to pay for an extra 8-9 hours on Sunday.
@Ocotillo: I think it’s more likely that Enterprise doesn’t aspire to serve the weekend getaway market, and has also deliberately constructed its rental locations around airports. You can rent from Hertz or Avis nearly anywhere. I rented from Hertz at the airport in Rutland, VT. It was the only rental company there, and you had to have an advance reservation because they bring the cars from other locations as needed. I don’t rent cars that frequently, but in my experience, it pays to be a single company renter and get whatever mileage or customer reward plan you can to lessen the likelihood that the company will blow you off if difficulties arise. Still, this was a really serious accident and Enterprise should have been ready with a wrecker because it OWNS the vehicle.
Dobson, NC. You were in Andy Griffith Land, and they close on Sunday (along with Enterprise, which really should get its act together).
You wuz just up the road from Mayberry, very close to Mt. Airy (the inspiration for Mayberry on the series) and, if you’d headed a bit northeast of Dobson, you were in Toast.
And RIP coyote. If you’d not been on the road, none of this would have happened. Including your premature demise.
Once a flight of mine got diverted to Buffalo, about an hour from my house. That was actually closer than going to JFK and then Rochester.
I went to the Hertz desk and asked for a 1-way rental to Rochester. They don’t have any. I go to Avis. Same thing.
I sit down and think about how I’m going to get home. Since I’m traveling for work, I call the corporate travel agent and tell them I need a 1-way rental to Rochester. Two minutes later the agent says she has one for me at Hertz. I ask her if she can stay on the phone while I go to Hertz since they said they do not have any. Of course she says yes.
I get to Hertz, same counter person, and tell them I have a 1-way rental to Rochester. Sure enough, they have one, give me the key, and away I go.
I also took another stranded traveler with me back to Rochester. “I hope you’re not an axe murderer” she said as we got in the car. “I hope YOU’RE not an axe murderer” I responded. Good times.
Also, never ever rent from U-Haul. My rental broke down south of Syracuse at 2am. Leaking fuel and then no power at all for anything in the truck. Not even hazard lights on the side of the road. A trucker took us to a Perkins restaurant (like a Denny’s). I call UHaul, since their motto is “we will do anything to get you on your way”. I know you’ll all be surprised – they did nothing for us at 2am. We had to wait until they opened on Sunday, and they towed the truck to their repair shop, dicked around with it for 2 hours, and then gave us a new truck. I will never ever use them again.
@Central Planning: In my rental out of Rutland, VT, on the way back I duly returned the car only to find out that the 8-seat plan could not make it back to Rutland due to thunder storm activity in Boston. Standing there with three other stranded travelers and no possibility of a flight the next day (completely booked), I suggested to the lone employee for both the airport and the rental company that I could have my car back to drive to Boston. She said that she would do even better by giving me the larger vehicle they had reserved for someone else and just make excuses to whoever that was. One of the guys who was also stranded ended up renting the car because he was going to a business meeting and could deduct the expense. And so the four of us, complete strangers, drove to Logan Airport together and not one of us missed our flight out of Logan — because of thunder storms every flight was delayed for hours, but not canceled. I sat down to get something to eat only to find out that the restaurant had completely run out of food due to stranded and delayed travelers. I drank copiously and was really glad to get home. Nearly every flight I have ever had to or from Logan seems to have a similar kind of story.
@efgoldman: I’ve done the “return the car when they’re closed thing” as well and gotten screwed by them claiming there was some issue with the car and it was my fault. I avoid returning cars when places aren’t open because of that.
@Barbara: It’s always fun to meet new people that way. Due to cancelled flights, I’ve also driven Detroit-Rochester and Washington DC-Rochester. Most of these issues seem to have been in the last 2-3 years.
@Central Planning: Driving from DC to Rochester NY would definitely count as enough time to get to know someone well. Ouch.
@efgoldman: I used Rent-A-Wreck years ago when I visited my brother in Seattle. They gave me an AMC Pacer. It ran, as you say, mostly.