No Rentals Left? Pricematch With A Rival

During my break I made a reservation to rent a car from Enterprise. My flight was delayed and when I got to my destination, all Enterprise’s cars were gone. However, they did tell me that AVIS was price-matching Enterprise’s rates and so I was able to go over to the AVIS desk and get a car for roughly the same price. This was a good thing too as it was holiday time and otherwise I would be paying roughly triple. So, something to remember if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, call up one of the rental places “co-optetitors” and see if they’ll give you a similar car for similar price. As for the logic behind them taking your reservation only to sell it out from under you, well, that’s a story for another day.

(Photo: Marike79)

Comments

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  1. typetive says:

    What’s the point of making a reservation if they don’t have a car for you when you arrive? Don’t they even request your flight info when you reserve (so they’re aware that you’ve been delayed)?

  2. ancientsociety says:

    *ahem*

    [www.youtube.com]

    Obligatory…

  3. youbastid says:

    @ancientsociety: Beat me to it!!!

  4. humphrmi says:

    I’ve noticed that the car rental industry seems to be more willing to accomodate upgrades and other creative fixes like this when they overbook than other components of the travel industry (like hotels and airlines). I get more free upgrades this way, due to my particular car/class being overbooked than I get my actual booking. Usually the company just gives me the upgrade without even mentioning it when I check in. I’ve never had to haggle, except once when they tried to give me an “upgrade” to some POS top-heavy plastic toy SUV (like the Geo or whatever) and I pressed for a safer car. Otherwise, for me, sold out = free upgrade.

  5. Dorgon says:

    I flew into Vegas recently, and had a reservation with Thrifty. There was some problem with my credit card when they tried to swipe it. I called my bank, worked it out, and went back to the Thrifty counter. They wouldn’t take my card a second time.

    There were 10 rental companies to choose from. None of them would negotiate with me in person, match any prices I had at Thrifty, or do anything. So I called a friend who sits in front of his computer all day, had him make me a reservation on the Internet at a ridiculously cheap $12 a day, and then I walked over to Alamo and rented a car.

    This is the way to go if something is screwed up with your rental. I have to imagine it beats the in-person hustle every time.

  6. Buran says:

    @typetive: I was about to say, have these people forgotten what “reservation” means?

  7. umbriago says:

    They can be more flexible than you might think. They are also willing to bargain with stupid people. I made a reservation with Budget last summer – since it was the cheapest, after all, and that’s all I care about – and when I arrived at my destination, I promptly got on the Thrifty bus.
    Well, of course Thrifty couldn’t find a reservation I’d made with another company, but no problem, they said. We’ll honor this rate and give you a Ford Mustang.

  8. MBZ321 says:

    Just thought I add that many rental car companies are owned by each other (or one big other company).
    Avis and Budget are the same company.
    Dollar and Thrifty are the same company.
    Alamo, Enterprise, and National are the same company.

  9. Trick says:

    @ancientsociety:

    This works too…

    [www.youtube.com]

  10. Trick says:

    Ooops… NSFW language in the above YouTube URL.

  11. Annika-Lux says:

    The word “reservation” apparently means nothing to car rental businesses. When we flew into San Francisco a few years back, we got one of the last rental cars left at the airport. The people who came in after us were SOL, despite having reservations. We rented from National, but all of the companies were out of cars. It was horrible. And on top of that, all of the cars were filthy; one of them was infested with ants. It was pretty disgusting.

  12. StevieD says:

    Reservation is based upon anticipated inventory.

    If I rent a car for 1 day. The company is assuming that they will have the car on the next day to rent to another customer.

    I suspect there is not a lot of excess inventory just sitting around waiting to be rented. Which means if I don’t return the car, the rental car doesn’t have a car to rent.

  13. algormortis says:

    This happened to me, too.

    Hertz was not just nice about it, they beat the rate and gave me a Prius (i had a Corolla with the idiots at Enterprise) for the same amount of money.

  14. yg17 says:

    @StevieD: Precisely. I worked at Enterprise (in their IT department but I picked up on how things work at the branches). If people keep their cars longer, a car breaks down, gets in an accident, or something else prevents it from being returned at the scheduled time, it can screw up future reservations. And excess inventory, especially at airport locations where people might come in without a reservation at all and rent what excess is there, is thin. And, I’m assuming this happened around the holidays, which is a busy time for air travel. And a busy time for air travel is a busy time for car rental.

    I’m not saying that reserving a car is useless, because if you do reserve one at least a few days in advance, the companies (well, Enterprise at least) will make every effort possible to have a car available for you. But sometimes, things that are completely out of their control happen.

  15. Employees Must Wash Hands says:

    I wonder if Enterprise is more willing to do this with National and Alamo (and vice-versa) more than other chains, having acquired them last August.

  16. mmcnary says:

    You should always make the reservation, and for the smallest, cheapest car. those are the first out the door, and when they are gone, the rental company mill give you the free upgrade to whatever is left, usually the larger, more expensive cars…