Enterprise Tells Post-Op Patient To Drive 400 Miles On A Faulty Tire

Enterprise wouldn’t replace Melissa’s rental car even after a mechanic declared the tire on her current car “unrepairable,” and warned that it would be unsafe to drive 400+ miles back to New York from Rochester on a donut spare. Enterprise told Melissa to spend the day repairing the car at a garage at her own expense. Melissa, who was recovering from surgery, asked to swap her broken car for one that worked, a request Enterprise repeatedly denied.

Melissa writes:

I have a rental car from Enterprise in Manhattan. I rented the car on Sunday, August 17, in order to visit my parents in Rochester, NY and to have a necessary medical procedure performed there. After driving to Rochester, I noticed that the tire on the car had become dangerously low. I contacted my local branch on August 18 to see what could be done. I was told that I would have to go to a garage myself, wait for them to fix the tire and pay for it at my own expense. I did not have time for this, nor did I think the cost was my responsibility. I asked if I could simply receive a new car. Apparently, because Rochester and Manhattan are in two different “zones” they cannot switch the car without the Manhattan manager’s approval. I called the Manhattan branch, where I was again told that I needed to fix the tire at my own time and expense. The evening of August 19, I called the Customer Service number and spoke to a representative, Drew. He said that because the Manhattan branch was closed, I could not switch out the car at that time.

Three days after arriving in Rochester, I was still in possession of a faulty car. Since I am only in the area about 5 days out of the year, my schedule was jam-packed, and I did not have time to go to a mechanic. Also, one of the reasons for not owning a car is that I did not want to have to deal with car repairs. This morning, August 20, I underwent a medical procedure requiring anesthesia. Because of the medication I was given, I am not permitted to drive for 24 hours. After arriving home (I was driven by my mom in her vehicle), I decided to call Enterprise again to try to get the problem resolved. I spoke to Barb, who connected me with roadside assistance. A representative from AAA was sent out at approximately 2pm. He inspected the tire and determined that it was unrepairable and replaced it with the spare. However, the spare is only a temporary “donut” and so cannot be driven 400 miles at highway speeds to Manhattan.

I again called Enterprise customer service at 2:45pm on August 20. I explained the situation, and was connected to what I believe was the Manhattan office, though I was never told. However, as I was trying to explain that I could not drive to another branch because of the anesthesia, the representative became confused and hung up on me. I called customer service again, and was again disconnected. On the third try of the hour, I was finally connected to a very helpful individual, whose name I believe was David. I explained the situation for what felt like the millionth time, and he tried to work out a solution. I was told to go to a branch 12 miles from my parents’ house and I would receive a new car. However, after explaining again that I could not legally drive until Thursday, I requested that Enterprise “pick me up” as they advertise on TV. He said that the distance was too long, to which I replied that there was a closer branch. I was told that my mother, who was not authorized to drive the car, could drive to the closest branch without an issue, and they would give me a new car. However, after arriving at the Brockport branch I was told that I could not get a new car and that I would have to go to a service station and have the car repaired. I explained that I did not have time for that, and that another branch with an available car should bring that vehicle to my location. This request was refused. The only other option I was given was to drive to the other, larger location tomorrow and hope they give me another car.

I do not own a car, in large part because I do not want to deal with the hassles of owning a car. I rented a car so that I could drive between Manhattan and Rochester and also so that I would not need to borrow my parents’ car while in Rochester, since I have a busy schedule and they work. I have already spent three days calling different representatives and waiting for a mechanic to change the tire. Unfortunately, since the problem was not resolved sooner, an Enterprise representative would need to deliver a new car to me because of my medical situation today. However, this is not merely an issue of poor customer service, it is also an issue of safety. The mechanic determined that the car was unsafe to drive back to Manhattan. It is possible that the problem could be resolved by getting a new tire, however, I do not believe it is the customer’s responsibility to take time out of their vacation to repair a car that was faulty to begin with. I am shocked that such a large company has such a dysfunctional rental car system, especially a rental company that prides itself on customer service and “picking up” the customer.

I am extremely dissatisfied with the level of service that I have received. I am struggling to understand why it is so difficult for a rental car company to swap out a customer’s broken rental car. Unless this matter is resolved to my satisfaction before I return to Manhattan, I do not intend to rent from Enterprise in the future.

Your time and safety shouldn’t fall prey to Enterprise’s bureaucratic incompetence. Try using Enterprise’s email format to reach higher-ups who can order their subordinates to respect common sense and replace the busted rental.

(AP Photo/James A. Finley)

Comments

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  1. 108Reliant says:

    Enterprise Rental is a name that I will always avoid in the future. A couple of years ago I had a truck that needed repairs that would take all day. I had a friend drop me off at Enterprise to pick up a rental for the day, since it was my only day off and I had a lot of errands to do. Being keen on what charges they could possibly hit me with, I took out the extra $9.99 a day insurance policy. When I took the car back, they went outside to “inspect the car”. They found a “scratch” that wasn’t there before, and proceeded to tell me that I was responsible for the repair to the scratch. I said, “Excuse me, but I have the $9.99 a day insurance on the car.” They looked at my paperwork and agreed and said that because of that I was not responsible. It was apparently a bold face attempt to get more money out of me than was already taken for the rental of the day. I told them that they were a couple of shysters and if they had a honor left in them, they would stop working for a crooked company.

  2. Mr_Mantastic says:

    I assume you inspected the car before you rented it. Was the tire low then? If the gentleman who inspected the tire determined it was irreparable, it more than likely happened on your drive to Rochester. Perhaps you ran over a nail on your way. Is Enterprise responsible for the condition of the roads? Do you think that Enterprise should be responsible for your faulty driving? Whenever I run over a nail in my car, which is a few times a year, I don’t blame the manufacturer of the vehicle or tires. I plug it myself and take responsibility for it. If the tire was in poor shape before you rented it, then they dropped the ball bigtime and you should email carpet bomb the crap out of them.

  3. Pylon83 says:

    While Enterprise didn’t really step up here, I think the assertion that the car was “Faulty” to begin with is a bit of a stretch. The OP simply says the the tire was “unrepairable”, which is usually an indication that either the tire is too bald to patch or the hole is in the sidewall. If the problem was a hole in the sidewall, there is no way to know whether it was there when she picked up the car or whether it occurred while she was driving it. Moreover, I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable of Enterprise to expect her to have it taken care of, assuming they would reimburse for the new tire (She simply says that she was told to pay for it, but makes no mention either way of whether they would reimburse her for it, which they likely would have). There is some level of responsibility that the renter takes on when renting a car, and I don’t think asking her to have the tire fixed, assuming it would be reimbursed, is unreasonable. Finally, in my opinion the medical issue is completely and totally irrelevant. She can’t expect Enterprise to alter their policies and procedures because she had surgery, medically necessary or not.

  4. nicemarmot617 says:

    I use Amex for all my car rental needs. That way if crap like this happens I put Amex to work for me. And yes, they should have replaced the car the first day the OP asked. What the hell is the point of renting a car that doesn’t work? The tire was probably already in need of replacement before she rented the car and Enterprise put her safety at risk, then refused to rent her another car. Yikes.

  5. Hawk07 says:

    I’m lost on how it’s the customer’s responsibility to get the tire repaired on their dime.

  6. Dyscord says:

    There’s not enough info in this. Did they say they would pay her back? What was wrong with the tire exactly? If it’s low or had a leak then buy a can of fix-a-flat.

    I would find this annoying, but instead of going through all the hassle, I’d just buy a used tire for about 10 bucks to put it on.

  7. SinisterMatt says:

    The only way that Enterprise should have replaced the car was if the tire had been like that before she left. If it was the sidewall it was probably on the interior of the tire and therefore unnoticeable, so there would be no way of knowing whether or not it was a pre-existing condition (borrowing that phrase from the insurance companies), or if she punctured it or something.

    I wonder if Enterprise’s rationale for denying a replacement car and mandating that she replace the tire comes from the fact that she drove it to Rochester before the problem was noticed, a distance of about 330 miles. A lot can happen in that distance. It seems logical that Enterprise assumed that she caused the problem, hence it was not their problem.

    Cheers!

  8. Benny Gesserit says:

    I was in the same situation (minus the surgery.) Rented from Enterprise and got a flat in a strange city. Called the auto club number quoted on the contract and the gal on the phone said – Georgia drawl -

    “Sir, you are 3 blocks from a garage. Please drive it there on the doughnut, have the tire repaired/replaced and STOP CALLING US.” click.

    One usually finds ladies of her style and sophistication in bowling alleys. I did as the “charming” lady had suggested and had a shiny new tire in about 30 minutes.

    When I returned the vehicle, the Enterprise rep said “The cost of the rental’s only $35 more than the tire. Let’s call it even?”

    Fine by me. I’m not blaming the gal here but surely the time spent on the phone (not to mention the heartache dealing with it while recovering) was more than the time out of her schedule getting a tire put on. Pick your battles, my Mom used to say.

    Taking your business elsewhere is valid – it’s obvious they’ll never supply the level of service you expect.

  9. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Enterprise should swap the car for her… but if it was me I’d just take the car to a tire shop, be out in 1/2 an hour, and get Enterprise to pay for it when I returned the car.

    Earlier this year I rented a car for a week at Enterprise. I declined the insurance but they persisted and said that I could “test it out” for a couple of days and If I didn’t like it could cancel it. :)

  10. snoop-blog says:

    I had the same thing happen to me from Enterprise. Rented a car, and as soon as I got to work, my co-worker pointed out that steel belts were showing, and the tires were bald. They tried the same thing with me, But in the end I had to take it to a goodyear that deemed the tires unsafe to drive period. Not even for in town they said, let alone the highway. I had to call some pretty higher ups to get anything done, spent over an hour of my time waiting for the new tires to get put on, and will never ever return to enterprise ever again.

  11. loudguitars says:

    Those of you who think she should have paid for the tire with the expectation that Enterprise would reimburse her upon return are a remarkably trusting bunch. There’s no way in hell I’d do that without at LEAST an explicit promise from someone whose name, location, and if possible customer service number I knew.

    That said, while I think Enterprise was being obnoxious in not replacing the car, she probably still would have had to pay for the tire repair even if they HAD replaced it. If a tire’s defective to the point of being un-repairable when it leaves Manhattan, ain’t no way it’s making it all the way to Rochester without a significant problem.

  12. HogwartsAlum says:

    They ARE obnoxious. They rented a car for me on my mom’s credit card so I could drive to St Louis (the car I had at the time was not up to the trip) that had a broken driver’s side mirror. My mom was livid. I don’t recall if she got her money back or not, but their customer service was awful.

  13. TechnoDestructo says:

    Every employee is a “management trainee.” I think that’s so they can avoid paying overtime.

    When that kind of dishonesty is built into the damn HIRING practices, I don’t think it’s reasonable to assume they’ll be any better to the customers.

  14. Pylon83 says:

    @TechnoDestructo:
    I’m not sure how hiring someone as a management trainee, making them fully aware of the fact they will be salaried employees exempt from overtime is dishonest. I interviewed with Enterprise a few years ago, and they made clear that it’s 50ish hours per week and no overtime.

  15. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Pylon83:

    They aren’t “management trainees.” They aren’t managers. Most of them won’t be managers. That’s like saying every burger flipper at McDonald’s is a management trainee just because a few of them eventually will be.

  16. hegemonyhog says:

    I rented a Saturn from Enterprise that went entirely dead the day after I picked it up. They were out there with a replacement car after I called.

    Granted, I called on Saturday, and they came Monday, and I had to have a friend drive me around all weekend to the class I was teaching, and they gave me the world’s most beat up Chevy Aveo…but who’s counting?

  17. Pylon83 says:

    @TechnoDestructo:
    So what? They are told up-front what the deal is, that they are training to become managers. Not everyone who trains for something actually succeeds at it. I’m not saying that it’s not slightly scam-ish, but it’s certainly not dishonest. They do take advantage of people who are quick to jump at an opportunity to become a “manager” at something and make a lot of money, but who don’t listen to the details.

  18. snoop-blog says:

    The people who work at my local office are clowns. I had to call states away to get someone to jump some asses at our local office. After the ass-chewing from corporate, which the lady that helped me told me she did, they couldn’t be nicer, but before that, It was like getting tech support from someone in India…

    It’s funny how quickly they changed their tone after the ass chewing though, hell they even upgraded me to one of their premium cars, which they told me several times before they didn’t even have any cars, let alone an upgrade. Then it went from no cars period to I could pay for an upgrade (in the same call), All of them are a bunch of liars.

  19. purplesun says:

    Actually, if you look at the FAQ on their website:

    What happens if the vehicle I have rented is damaged or stolen?

    You are responsible for the cost to repair the vehicle or the value of the vehicle prior to the loss if stolen or not repairable… {snip}

    Also, if you click around some more, looks like a flat-tire would force you to deal with their roadside assistance.

    What I gather from this is that, once the car is in your possession, its maintenance is your responsibility. It’s probably outlined in the fine-print on the contract you have to sign.

    The OP (or a family member or friend) should just go to a Discount Tire in the area, or what have you, get a cheap tire put on, and forget about it.

    From their own contract, they don’t really owe the renters of their cars anything.

  20. matt314159 says:

    @Pylon83:
    the comment about them making it clear that it’s 50 hours with no overtime compensation…I’m pretty sure that is in direct violation of the FLSA overtime policy. Though if every employee agrees to be a “management trainee” then maybe that does weasel them out of overtime regs, but that’s kind of a slimy thing to do if you ask me.

  21. drdom says:

    I have my own Enterprise horror story, which was nearly as bad.

    I flew into SFO on a flight that arrived about 9PM, and well after dark. I took the shuttle and picked up the car. I tried to look it over as best one could in a lot with poor lighting.

    As I drove out of the Enterprise driveway, around the corner and onto the freeway, the right front hub cap comes rolling off the car, and is promptly run over by another car. I pulled over and foolishly retrieved the hub cap. As I went to get back into the car, I noticed that the front tires were nearly bald.

    I immediately returned to Enterprise. Driving a rental car back was a hassle in and of itself, since they think you’re there to return the car and leave.

    I explained the situation to the lot attendant, who sent me inside. Upon speaking to the counter person, and then the manager, I was told that once I drove off the lot I was responsible for the car, and for the tires. I explained that I only had the car 5 minutes, and that I wanted a different car. They claimed that they only had a larger more expensive car, that I would pay extra for. I politely declined, and left, taking the shuttle back to the terminal and made other arrangements to get to my hotel.

    Enterprise put a hold for $2K on my credit card, and tried to make me pay them for the hub cap, the tires and the cancellation.

    Fast forward to the conclusion, no one at Enterprise was willing to even have a civil conversation, all the way up the tree. I contested the charge, which was promptly reversed. After 2 months of fighting, Enterprise finally gave it up.

    Our company no longer uses Enterprise for any of our associates anywhere in the US, largely as a result of my experience and similar incidents with others in our company. In fact, we are expressly prohibited from using them, as our CEO had his vacation ruined by their hyjinx as well.

    Sending customers out with bald tires, especially in San Francisco is unconscionable.Their antics are shameful. But in the end, they lost a customer. Our company spends 70-80K per year on rental cars. Hertz is a tad more expensive, but the convenience and the lack of problems proved to be more than worth the small difference.

  22. BeeBoo says:

    Amtrak runs from NYC to Rochester and it’s a pleasant ride along the Hudson much of the way.

  23. god_forbids says:

    I worked at Enterprise before, and I can see what they were trying to do here. IF (biiiig if) it was more convenient for everyone [distance, etc.], we would usually have the customer go to a shop and get it fixed. The shops would be able to tell whether it was patchable or not, and replace it if needed. The time for this was never over 20 minutes. I should know because I took dozens of cars in for that type of service. The shops prioritized our cars by contract agreement.

    Problems are induced when traveling hundreds of miles, because even though it is a national company ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR BRANCHES ARE NOT FRANCHISES!!!! That’s right, they are independently owned by companies which cover everywhere from part of a state to multi-state areas. As such, “just getting another car” from a different rental group becomes a $30,000 asset transfer from one independent company to another. Because nobody wants that, it means a driver will have to be dispatched to go pick up the car and return it to the original branch ($$$$$).

    I also see where NATRES (the 800 number people) failed the customer by not following up with the local branches with specialty instructions. NATRES are the ONLY people in the company who will never see a customer face-to-face (they are in a building in St. Louis), so they are prone to telling all sorts of lies and making all kinds of promises. BUT!!! If you are a branch and a customer comes in and NATRES told them something, you are supposed to STFU and HELP THE CUSTOMER at all costs. So, the branches failed here too.

    It should also be noted that replacing tires and other small stuff happened frequently enough that the reps sometimes forgot to mention that you will be reimbursed, but it’s pretty much a given. HOWEVER – tires are a part of the car, so they are only covered if you have ERAC’s insurance (or your own). The most important fact to be aware of is JUST BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T SEE/NOTICE IT HAPPEN DOESN’T MEAN IT DIDN’T. People came back with busted up, screwed up, broken, slashed and otherwise destroyed crap and thought if they shrugged and claimed to not know how that got there everything would be A-OK.

    I am not blaming the OP but please please please realize that when renting a car you ARE ACCEPTING FULL FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY for a 5-figure piece of machinery and not a toy, it can and will cost you $$$ out of pocket if you are cheap and skimp on insurance. If you did it, your fault. If your kid did it, your fault. If some creepy guy in the parking lot did it, your fault. If the devil did it, your fault. If some bitch with a grey car and breast implants did it, YOUR FAULT. I know it sucks but when you sign on the dotted line, everything and anything that happens becomes YOUR FAULT. If you don’t want such “hassles”, then rent a car from your roomie or friend or something.

    BTW to all of you folks up there, ERAC MT’s are paid hourly wages, PLUS overtime past 40 hrs. Unfortunately, that fact is *included* in the estimated yearly wage figure (they tell you this in interview 1). This is true for the next two or three levels up until assistant branch manager, when the variable part becomes a % of branch profits.

  24. Mp3dog says:

    Aside from everything that is wrong with their lack of customer care, apparently Enterprise does not understand the power of negative publicity on the internet (more specifically, forums such as this one). So let me just make it clear to any of the “higher ups” from Enterprise who may be reading this:

    As a direct result of what I have just read, I WILL NEVER rent a car from Enterprise for the rest of my life. I would imagine that the same would be true for several others who are reading this as well.

  25. crashfrog says:

    @Pylon83: I’m not sure how hiring someone as a management trainee, making them fully aware of the fact they will be salaried employees exempt from overtime is dishonest.

    It’s dishonest because it’s a violation of US labor law, which makes it illegal to classify someone as “management” for the sole purpose of avoiding overtime payment.

    Moreover, being a management trainee doesn’t even meet the letter of the law in terms of providing ineligibility for overtime, so Enterprise is deliberately lying to their hires.

    You may be considered “management”, but if the majority of your day to day duties aren’t related to managing people, but providing customer service or working a line or something, you’re eligible for overtime and your employer is violating labor laws.

  26. shufflemoomin says:

    Personally, I have to question why the op kept saying she didn’t have time to go to a garage and have the tire fixed when she had time to spent hours on the phone with them over a period of days. Why not just skip all that and go get the tire fixed? Problem solved.

  27. Zatnikitelman says:

    @shufflemoomin:
    Well let’s see here, “medically unable” comes to mind.

    My family has had some experiences with them, but since we own Ford vehicles and there is an enterprise IN the ford dealer, they are fairly convenient. Fortunately nothing quite as bad as this has happened, though they have lied frequently about the availability of certain cars.

    A company this bad does NOT deserve to have a name as illustrious as Enterprise. That name, and the ships commissioned as such, have literally saved this country and will continue to do so. They should change their name to something like g.w. bush, or congress!

  28. mariospants says:

    This is a crazy story – I was under the impression that these rental car agencies had 24 road side assistance??? In which case, an authorized repair person would have hooked her up with a new tire (happened once when we rented a u-haul trailer). The world would implode if u-haul had better roadside service than Enterprise, it just wouldn’t make any sense.

    Anyway, if the price is reasonable, you’re renting for only a day or so and you’re not already travelling under your work’s insurance company (if you rent on business) get the rental car in-house insurance. Twice now I’ve had plastic wheelcovers stolen off of rental cars I’ve driven and both times after the return visual inspection I’ve taken great pleasure in saying “I paid for the full insurance, it’s your problem, see you later.” when they pointed out the missing hubcaps. Otherwise I’m sure that they would have a) gouged me and b) delayed me for an hour or so filling out paperwork.

    As the saying goes:

    “A rental car is transportation.
    A rental car with insurance is entertainment.”

  29. sonneillon says:

    Stupid donut spares. I hate those things, full sized spares are the only way to go.

  30. nybiker says:

    @Zatnikitelman: You’re right. After watching History Channel’s Battle 360 (with limited commercial interruption – 1 commercial break in the entire hour), and discovering that the founder of the company was an aviator on the USS Enterprise during WWII, and that’s why he named the company after the ship, I was thinking, gee, maybe they are a good company.

    After reading this story, I might have to disagree a little. Granted, we don’t know all the facts in the story, but, still, “god_forbids’s” comments are good ones to keep in mind the next time someone rents a car from anyone.

    I think there’s blame to go around on both sides.

  31. chartrule says:

    you would think that a rental company would include full size spares in the trunk rather than donuts considering the amount of usage of the vehicles

  32. AgentTuttle says:

    So let me get this straight. A hundred people rent and put wear and tear on the car, but if a tire fails while I have it, I have to replace the tire? Umm,… bullshit? Is it the same with the tranny? (Pun intended)

  33. laker says:

    I had a similar experience – I was in Syracuse and they wanted me to drive it back to the city (NYC – specifically Brooklyn). Although I ended up having the car checked out and cleared before I came back (it was the MIDDLE OF WINTER IN SYRACUSE!!!), the following worked in helping me get a different car with 4 wheel drive the next week (up until then, they refused to give me 4 wheel drive because I was under 25 – and they said by policy they couldn’t):

    1 – I called the enterprise line (800 number) and then THEY connected me to the local enterprise in NYC so that the woman from Enterprise who was very nice, listened to the entire conversation we had and realized that the store manager was being inappropriate, refused to acknowledge that I was putting myself in harm’s way, and was misportraying Enterprise corporate policy. So she put this in her report :-).

    2 – I MAGICALLY received an enterprise survey request THAT evening hahahahahhaa. I think it may have been coincidence but really… hrm… So you know what that store got in ratings

    3 – On another occassion when I had a tire issue, I had the tire entirely replaced and Enterprise reimbursed me – THAT is what this customer should’ve done

    4 – I called Enterprise corporate customer service which doubles as the number you receive for Business Class peoples’ customer service. Call them, and the first person you get off the bat is usually an Admin Assistant to a VP. I spoke to the assistant to the VP of customer service – who clarified that my manager was not divulging all of the policy details – turns out that if you’re under 25, you CAN have a 4 wheel drive but it must be valued at under $30K or so for insurance purposes.

    5 – When I arrived at my local enterprise the next time they were open – for a car swap – who would’ve known but suddenly they had found a 4 wheel drive, UNDER 30k, that I could drive for the rest of my rental (3 – 4 months of rentals ahead of me at that point).

    The manager of the store asked me why I had gotten him into trouble with corporate despite his helpfulness – and I pointed out to him that the manner in which he spoke to me, and the fact that he withheld info on being able to get me a 4 wheel drive was unacceptable. He apologized, and said if there are any other issues for the rest of my rental period, PLEASE tell him first and he promises to resolve them without hesitation. He wasn’t lying :).

    So remember:

    1 – Business Class folks have a # they call and that # is in the same building I guess or is the same folks as Customer Service Execs I think? In fact, I believe that # was on their website under Business Class. The actual location is in downtown NYC (for THIS region – i.e. Downstate NY).

    2 – Offer to do a survey if you can somehow

    3 – Have the 800 number for Enterprise monitor your call directly (not via some recording) with the store managers. The 800 number is the only nationwide link between Enterprise regions.

  34. laker says:

    Oh one more note… When I needed a tire replaced – I had the NYC manager speak to the Syracuse mgr and the Syracuse folks offered to pick up the car from me while I was at work, take it to have the tire replaced, and then drop it back in front of my work. So that’s a good way to deal with this stuff.

    As far as paying for the cost of fixing the tire – they reimbursed me the minute I returned to NYC.

  35. BeThisWay says:

    @ purplesun -

    The paragraph you quoted applies to damage that would be considered for coverage under comprehensive and collision, not vehicle maintenance. Generally bad tires are considered maintenance, which is the responsibility of the car rental company.

    If on the other hand it was determined that the tire was in good working order but had been (for example) slit then that would be the responsibility of the renter.

  36. Coles_Law says:

    @BeeBoo: Amtrak will also drive you around over the weekend, right?

  37. god_forbids says:

    @crashfrog: Please see post above for correct info on “Management Trainee” compensation. Though many small companies do shady stuff like that, ERAC does not lie to interviewees and does not skirt labor laws. Also, the monikers in Daily Rental are:

    Management Trainee (MT)
    Management Assistant (MA)
    Assistant Rental Manager (ARM)
    Branch Rental Manager (BRM)

    It is quite possible to go from MT to BRM in 18 months, I have seen it done. Even MT’s and MA’s frequently designate duties (i.e. “manage”) other employees but the company does not pay salaries until ARM. You are encouraged to go from MT to MA within 9 months, at which time you will be able to make the MTs do the less glamorous tasks in the branch like helping preps wash cars in crunch times. Still, at times I shared car-washing duties with our Group Rental Manager (high, high up guy) so nobody is truly exempt. Except NATRES (grumble, grumble).

  38. crashfrog says:

    @god_forbids: ERAC does not lie to interviewees and does not skirt labor laws.

    I’m glad to hear that. Nonetheless, labor law violations are very common. In 3/4ths of the jobs I’ve worked, my manager was violating labor law (most commonly in regards to overtime), simply because almost every hire was ignorant of their rights under the law. The posters they have to put up do essentially nothing. Who wants to risk their job by complaining?

  39. akalish says:

    Enterprise is hands down the trashiest outfit out there. Yet on the infrequent occasions that I do need a rental, I rent from them because they always have the cheapest rates among all the rental places near me.

    This is my solution to the Enterprise scam machine: bring a digital camera with you and take pictures of _everything_ on the car, and from every angle. That way you’ve got evidence on your side when they try to scam you. And this is a given with any contract, but make sure any exceptions, offers, etc are noted on the contract by the clerk (whoops, I mean “management trainee”–lol what a bunch of b.s.).

  40. Laffy Daffy says:

    A few years ago we rented a car for a vacation from Milwaukee to South Carolina. Somewhere around Indianapolis, the tire pressure light came on. We called Enterprise and the agent told us we could swap cars at the Louisville airport and they would repair the tire problem. We did just that, and planned to swap back on the way home. But on our return trip the car wasn’t ready so they told us just to bring it back to Milwaukee. A few weeks later we got a call from Enterprise in Louisville wondering where their car was. I explained what happened and never heard from them again.

  41. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I have no use whatsoever for, nor will I EVER rent from Enterprise again.
    They could not be bothered to call me on my cell phone to tell me the location I had to return the car (on the day I was SCHEDULED to return the car) closed early that day due to weather.
    Their sole response when I contacted them later about it?
    “Well if you send a receipt, we’ll reimburse your cab fare to the airport.”
    Enterprise Rent-A-Car = FAIL

  42. madanthony says:

    @loudguitars:

    Well, the OP would have paid for the tire, so if they refused to reimburse her, she could always argue that she paid for the tire and is keeping it and leaving the car with three tires.

  43. Dobernala says:

    @boones farmer: Did it occur to you to spend the $0.75 to put some air into it rather than going through the hassle of swapping cars?

  44. FrankReality says:

    Geez, Enterprise spends a few tens of million of marketing bucks to give a impression that the company will go the extra mile for customer satisfaction, then blows that carefully crafted image away to save a few bucks.

    Marketing is propaganda.. believe it at your own risk.

  45. AgentTuttle says:

    @madanthony: I like that solution, leave with the tire you bought,… OH and have them buy the rim back from you.

  46. Byzantine says:

    @chartrule: Enterprise is obviously saving a bundle by only supplying their cars with donuts as spare tires.

  47. dequeued says:

    I traveled from Manhattan to Rochester recently, and I would recommend taking the Amtrak empire service.
    It is almost certainly cheaper (~$50 each way if you buy the ticket a week in advance)
    And it is way easier than driving for eight hours.

    No real delays, and I had an outlet at my seat so I watched movies the whole way with my laptop, and plenty of leg room.

  48. shor0814 says:

    From the description, (dangerously low, but not completely flat) the tire probably had a worn out bead which would not be a customer’s fault. It is also possible that the tire is wore so bad that it was punctured by normal driving conditions. Usually, a sidewall tear will deflate the whole tire.

    Also, for those saying she should spend the money on the tire, remember, some tire shops will not sell single tires, and will only do pairs if you are lucky. The standard answer is that 4 tires need to be replaced at the same time. Do you think the local branch is going to hand over $300+ when you return the car?

  49. Pylon83 says:

    @shor0814:
    I don’t know what kind of scummy tire shops you patronize, but I have never had a problem buying one new tire after a flat. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Moreover, most people aren’t pushovers and will simply insist that the tire shop replace only the one tire and that they don’t care if they recommend replacing all 4.

  50. Explorer3253 says:

    I had the exact same problem. I had a flat tire on my enterprise rental car and was told that they could only put the donut on. They sent out AAA and a donut was put on and I was then told to go to a tire shop to have it fixed at my expense (which they would reimburse me once I got back to my home location). I was in Boston and had to get back to NY and they refused to help me get back home. My home location tried their hardest to accommodate me but the Waltham, MA location was not helpful one bit. I had to drive home a Chrystler 300M with a repaired tire. Let me tell you..it was far from a safe ride home. Enterprise corporate needs to provide better customer service as a whole. I understand the flat tire may not have happened by them, however based on the position of the staple, the tire shop feels that it was there for a while and had a slow leak.

  51. dweebster says:

    @drdom: I rented from Enterprise ONCE. Once. Los Angeles, not too far from Topanga. Had my car totalled and needed a loaner. The rep walked around the car and had me sign off on the overly detailed forms about the car’s condition. I get in and drive off. Look over on the passenger seat and it’s COVERED with individual staples – like someone had a party with a staple remover and a file cabinet full of documents. Obviously, at least that Enterprise location isn’t big on cleaning up their cars. Thankfully I wasn’t driving with someone in a nice outfit or bare legs.

    That was about 16 years ago now, haven’t given Enterprise a dime since. Second the vote for Hertz – maybe pay a little more than the low-end companies (often not with AAA), but they treat me well, often get free upgrades, the cars work or they make it right, and I’ve never had a filthy or dangerous interior like I experienced at Enterprise.

    Enterprise seems to be the “Uhaul” of car rental companies, and although there’s probably all sorts of wiggle room in their fine print to put problems with their cars onto customers, they could have found some way to offer more than no help to this lady. Boy, I’m glad I’ve stuck with Hertz.

  52. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    For all of you recommending Enterprise as being cheapest, I recommend carrentals.com. They survey all the major rental car companies for their best rates for a particular rental. It’s extremely rare for Enterprise to be anywhere near the cheapest.

    BTW, I rent on a regular basis for business travel, and I’ve never once had a rental car company tell me to have something fixed at my expense and they would reimburse me. It’s either been that they’ve sent someone out to fix things or sent out a new car. Hell, Avis even sent out a second set of keys for me when I was stupid enough to lock my keys in the trunk of one rental. And yes, they were the cheapest company for that particular rental (I’m a cheap bastard.)

  53. tmweber says:

    Earlier this summer on a vacation in San Francisco, I rented a car from Enterprise for about a week. The total I was initially quoted was about 250. When we returned the car, the guy came out with a receipt for 100. I bit my tongue and assumed he had just made an error, but sure enough, my credit card only had the 100 charged to it. I was happy about it but it does not give me much confidence in Enterprise’s organizational skills.

  54. god_forbids says:

    @tmweber: There is a button one can click which takes off all the insurance options when estimating charges. Most of the time they leave it checked so the amounts will print out on the contract and they can try to sell them to you (if un-checked, the amounts won’t print). Inexperienced folks will often forget to unclick it when giving estimates, and as in your case the final figure will vary wildly.

    The thing about ERAC is you never know whether the person helping you has been there 20 days or 20 years, as there are no name tags and sometimes higher-ups would come by and type up a few contracts. As you might imagine, the experience varies wildly as well ;)

  55. scoosdad says:

    @BeeBoo: Amtrak schedule from ROC to NYC for today:

    Train sold out
    Train sold out
    Upgrade option available– buy $147 bedroom seat
    Train sold out

    Fare is normally $92 one way coach, 7 hour 33 minute trip

  56. scoosdad says:

    @scoosdad: What got cut off at the bottom of my comment was, that Amtrak is great if you can plan ahead but it’s not something you want to depend on using if it’s last-minute in the Northeast.

  57. Lotus STP says:

    Having just traveled from Wrentham MA to Rochester NY with no driver side window, I can’t say I’m impressed with Enterprise’s roadside assistance. We lost the window during a smash-and-grab at the Wrentham Premium Outlet Mall (another story). While the Enterprise rep on the phone was friendly, she was of no real help. Our only option was to drive from Wrentham to Albany NY to exchange our van for another rental.

    Mind you, this happened on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. As we approached Albany we took a vote and decided to continue to Rochester with the broken window. At least the staff @ Wrentham Premium Outlets helped us clean up the broken glass and vacuumed out our van.

    After reading through the other comments on this post I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences with Hertz; I rented from them when on Nantucket and received a free upgrade from a Nissan Sedan to a Subaru Outback. Will rent from them again!

    As far as taking Amtrak? I’ve had mixed results when taking the train, with delays up to 5 hours.

  58. benbell says:

    I can attest to some of the comments in this thread about Enterprise employees getting paid overtime. I know there were a few branches that had some problems in the past but as a whole, ERAC pays its employees for overtime past 40 hours in a week. As another note, almost every rental employee and an Enterprise rental desk has a 4 year degree, it’s a requirement of the job and seemingly of the economy as of late.

    As to comment on the OP’s situation. It becomes very difficult for Enterprise to determine whether your problem was caused by you or if there was a problem with the tire. Enterprise is the largest rental car company in the USA and there are tons and tons of customers who try to rip them off.

    I would have probably just replaced the tire and asked for a reimbursement when I returned.

  59. A lot of companies are staffed with people who simply don’t care. In the end, if something happens, the firm is to blame and the employee is absolved…

  60. shor0814 says:

    @Pylon83:

    In some states, they won’t accept the liability of replacing one worn out tire. In the OP’s case, I was assuming wear out, not a sliced sidewall. Most state laws require a minimum tread depth and reputable shops will not touch a car if it will leave with any tire outside the legal limits.

    As for being a pushover, not hardly, but I do know that it is a dumb idea to replace one worn out tire.

    I also know this is a rental, which is why I recommend telling Enterprise to shove it and fix the tire themselves.

  61. hermiti says:

    I had a similar experience…I rented a truck from Enterprise and drove approximately 300 miles, the entire time it felt as if I was hydroplaning. Upon getting to my destination I mentioned that to a coworker of mine, upon inspecting the tires there was approximately 4 inches of exposed steel radial and the individual wires were jutting out as far as an inch. It appeared that the camber on the front end was horribly misaligned. Knowing that my tire could blow out at anytime I called Enterprise, I told the representative my situation and that I would be unavailable due to the fact that I was working and on business the entire day, and that someone should arrive and switch vehicles with me as it was their error in the first place. She told me that she would talk to a supervisor and placed me on hold. I waited on hold for 45 minutes, then she simply hung up on me…unbelievable. I called back and told them my situation again, and how I was previously treated. The next woman that I talked to was very reasonable and connected me to a local office. The local office told me they would like to see what they could do regarding the situation and would call me back in 15 minutes, an hour goes by and no phone call. So I initiated the call, and was promptly put on hold, I waited and waited, another 30 minutes on hold. I picked up another phone and called them again and the guy asked if he could put me on hold, being very aggravated at this point I firmly told him no, that I was tired of being placed on hold and dealing with their poor customer service. So he dealt with me on the phone and again refused to provide an alternate car for me, that I would have to take the truck to be repaired on my own time, so after arguing with him I said fine, I would take it to get the tires replaced. I drove to the tire place and walked in and told him that I had an Enterprise vehicle, the clerk at the front desk told me that due to a dispute that they had with Enterprise they would no longer be providing them any tire replacement/repair services. Now being far more aggravated, I placed a second call, and I told them how pathetic their service is, etc… So the guy feeling somewhat humiliated had an escort come out and show me the way as I was not even remotely familiar with the area, upon arriving to Enterprise I had to wait over an hour for a replacement vehicle…

  62. jeffs3rd says:

    I haven’t rented from Enterprise Rent-a-car before, but have rented 26′ box trucks from the truck division. I had a less than steller experience with a broken down truck which cost me about 4 hours of wait time when the replacement truck broke down.

    Needless to say, if I were the OP and the tire going low was truly not my fault (didn’t hit any potholes or boards or anything like that), I would rent a car from another company in rochester and Enterprise would find their car on the side of some dirt road in the country. I would then send them the bill for the replacement rental.

    It’s just common sense to replace the tire at the companies expense.

  63. muledoggie says:

    One can find horror stories about any car rental company. The vast, vast majority of the time, these companies do an OK job. This based on 25 years experience with many different companies and common sense.

    Mule

  64. Meathamper says:

    I have had great experiences with many rental services, but im my opinion, just buy a Winnebago.

  65. shepd says:

    Wow, I mean, just… wow.

    If you need a company that can support your medical lifestyle, you’ll need to inquire with them in advance. If I have a meal at a restaurant and start choking on it, I don’t expect anything past one of the employees having read the Heimlich maneuverer check sheet in the employee break room to help me. If I were going to be in an incredibly frail state and expected to be waited on hand and foot, I’d have my lunch in the nursing home. Or at home with family.

    Moral of the story: If you’re in this sort of shape, don’t rent a car. Use the taxi, or, better yet, if it’s a one-off thing, get your family/friends to drive you around.

    Taxi = They drive to you.
    Rental Car = You drive to them. At least when dropping it off. Except in special cases.

    Sorry, but really, unless you are in the desert, there’s a garage under 10 minutes away that will be happy to put one new tire on in way less than 15 minutes. And since you had a partial flat, you didn’t even need to worry about driving on the toy wheel if you hadn’t futzed about, you could have just (at a reduced speed) driven there!

    I am 99% certain Enterprise would have reimbursed you for the cost of the tire. And if you didn’t have the ~$75 for the tire & service, I expect Enterprise would have (smartly) not rented to you in the first place.

    As for places that will only repair 4 tires at once, I’ve never heard of such a place in my life, ever. And, being the cheap bastard I am, I phoned TWO DOZEN places with tires not only in my city, but also the major city a 2 hour drive away (Conclusion: It was cheaper, gas wise, for me to drive for 4 hours and get the tires done there, by about $100, so I did it). I ended up getting all 4 tires done only because they were so damn cheap, but I was quoted for just one.

  66. FiftyFourFortyOrFight says:

    I have to hop in here and say that Enterprise is by far my favorite car rental company. I don’t know how they do it, but the morale and attitude of their staffs has been remarkably high every time I’ve rented from them, in at least six different cities. I just turned in a rental of theirs today, and all three employees I dealt with were genuinely nice, friendly, and respectful.

    That said, as the former employee pointed out, they’re not really a national chain the way Hertz and Avis are, so if you’re going long distance, things can get complicated.

    But they’re my go-to choice. Admittedly, I’ve never had to test them with a big problem – but I can tell a story about my parents and a bad set of tires from Hertz that makes this one seem kinda tame! I think muledoggie is right – there are horror stories out there for any big company.

  67. Canino says:

    I don’t know what rental company it was, but my parents once had a rental car’s fuel pump go out while on vacation and the rental company expected them to have it towed to a shop, wait for it to be fixed, and pay for it to be repaired. They were in some out-of-the-way place where there were no local dealers for that make of car and it was going to take at least a day just to get the part.

    My dad told them where by the side of the road they could find it, called his credit card company and disputed all charges, and rented another car from somewhere else. AMEX for the win.

  68. cerbie says:

    @god_forbids: Wow. That the business can even remain working with that level of organizational separation amazes and frightens me.

  69. picardia says:

    @Pylon83: It isn’t “relevant” that she’s incredibly sick and can’t drive? It’s absolutely mind-boggling to me that people believe “customer service” should have NOTHING to do with the customer’s individual needs. Is there such a thing as an unreasonable request by a customer? Yes. Did she make an unreasonable request? No. Was she given contradictory information multiple times? Yes. How anybody gets from such clearly demonstrated bureaucratic incompetence to blaming the OP is beyond me.

  70. DoubleEcho says:

    You know, I’d love to see a show like Dateline do a story on crooked car rental places. Have them rent a car, use a hidden camera and then park and take pictures of the car (for proof). Then, drive on one one of those stationary things (kind of like a dyno, so the car has some mileage on the odometer but hasn’t actually gone anywhere). Have them take the car back to the rental place, wait for them to tell them there’s damage on the car, and then show them video of what they actually did with the car and see how they justify it (and see how many car rental places do the same thing).

  71. econobiker says:

    @Byzantine: uhm, most cars today are typically sold with donut temporary spare tire for a several reasons- 1. save car mfg money, 2. reduce weight for corporate fuel mpg goals, and 3. probably due to the fact that mechanics don’t rotate 5 tires anymore (does anyone remember the VW Jetta??? ad with the two mechanics in awe over the full size spare?)

    Most trucks/suvs have a full sized tire (probably for handling/weight/towing liability) but only on a “cheapo” wheel that doesn’t match the rest of the vehicle’s wheels such as a painted black or silver steel wheel when the vehicle has aluminum or chrome wheels. I was amazed that my now ex-wife’s high end 2001 Dodge Durango SLT AWD came with a matching alloy rim spare but when the ex-inlaws bought a lower end SXT 4WD Durango it had the same alloy rims as the SLT but with a cheap steel full size spare. Swapping this spare tire with a worn tire is a way to save money when replacing the tires- only have to buy 3 new ones…

    That said , most cars have the space for a full size spare. The donut spare is one of the first things that I replace with a full size spare when buying a used car. If the vehicle has steel wheels usually with a junkyard sourced wheel and cheap used tire, or if it has OEM alloy rims I try to source a junkyard rim but put a good tire on it to rotate through the rest of the wheels.

    One thing to note is always inspect used cars/trucks for spare/tire changing equipment. Many lower end used car places seem to either remove that stuff as part of their business model or buy auction cars without the equipment included.

  72. After the two times of a trying to explain reservation means reserving a vehicle (the last one involving calling corporate, them telling the local people to get on the ball, and still not getting a vehicle), I refuse to do business with them ever again. Hertz is more expensive, but I have never had issues with them. Enterprise I always had issues with, every single time. It is worth the extra money to use their competition just to not have to deal with their nonsense.

  73. bougatsa says:

    I rent a car almost every other weekend and my first choice is Enterprise. I’ve never had issues with them at several of their shops in the Toronto area. Good rates and good small economical cars. Once the car was pretty dirty and they offered an additional 15% discount on the spot. The only problem with Enterprise is that they are never open on Sundays.

    Avis is my #2 choice and I am very happy with them too. In Calgary, they offer a discount if you show them your monthly public transportation pass.

    Hertz used to be my #1, but I stopped going to them because they are consistently 25% more expensive and it became harder to find/receive discounts. Plus, the CDP code I received from work (I work for a huge Global US company) for personal use is 20% MORE expensive than with no code at all. That has really put me off for years.

    To the OP,

  74. bougatsa says:

    oops, to the OP, I get your point of view, but sometimes sticking to principles causes more trouble than biting the bullet.

    @mariospants: “A rental car is transportation.
    A rental car with insurance is entertainment.”

    – I hate that expression.

  75. TandJ says:

    Six months after the original post; I am appalled at Enterprise.

    I had an experience with them in Boise, Idaho a couple of years ago where my reserved vehicle was not avaailable for several days when my car was supposed to be in for body work. I was able to walk back to the dealership and retrieve my car until they had the vehicle. Then they tried an upsale to a larger (and the only available) vehicle and pushed insurance.

    Needless to say, consumers have better choices than to do business with Enterprise.