Upgrade: Travel Better has good some ideas on how you can avoid those excessive airport rental car fees (you know, the ones like “facility fee.” What is that, you have to pay a fee for the rental place having a roof? Can I choose the place without a roof then?) One idea is to rent at the airport, then drop the car off the next day downtown. This way you only pay extra airport fees on the first day. Just make sure the place isn’t going to tack on a one-way dropoff fee. This is even better in Europe, which isn’t as into one-way fees as America is.
The email address for the CEO of Uhaul, Joe Schoen, appears to be firstname.lastname@example.org. Useful in case his cellphone inbox is full.
Enterprise Car Rental charged Mike $560 for a scratch on the bumper he felt was unfair, but after he followed The Consumerist’s instructions on sending an Executive Email Carpet Bomb (EECB), all that changed. “Long story short,” he writes, “Within ONE DAY, that email was forward with highlights , such as URGENT -PLEASE RESOLVE, and ultimately reached the northeast manager, who called me and apologized profusely for their poor handling of the situation, and WAIVED ALL charges ($560 for repairs). done..all wiped… GONE!!! THANK you for publishing that thread.. it absolutely positively works!!!”
We first discovered the very useful FeedFlix back in May, and since then the site’s been updated to present more data on how well you utilize your Netflix membership. By pasting in any of your private Netflix RSS feeds, you’ll see a breakdown of your activity stats, like how long on average you keep titles and your average cost-per-rental. A handy new feature is the “email alerts” function, where you’ll receive a weekly reminder if you’ve kept a title past a certain number of days. We’ve included a screenshot below.
I just got “The Rules Of Attraction” from Netflix and it’s a screener disc. As a matter of fact, 3 or 4 times through the movie, 5-10 minute sections of the movie have “This is the property of Lion’s Gate Films, This disc is not to be sold or rented”. Interestingly, it was a 2 sided DVD and when I watched the 2nd side, it was a test pattern. No extras, no subtitles, no language options. Just the movie with legal disclaimers overlaid throughout.
We’ll admit, there’s a small part of us that’s impressed with the idea—save money on your wedding by renting a fake super fancy cake, and serve the guests a far cheaper sheet cake! But then we think about the bloated ecosphere of wedding planning, and how pointless it all is, and how nobody stays together anyway, and how “the perfect wedding” is all about vanity and wish fulfillment instead of expressing your love… and then we like this idea even more.
I’ve always found Enterprise to have stellar service, but if for some reason you should have an issue not resolvable at the branch or through regular customer service, here’s the contact info for their CEO Andy Taylor.
Matthew Meeds of Fairway, Kansas, doesn’t want to pay Time Warner Cable a monthly rental fee for his cable box—he’d rather own one outright. He’s filed suit against the cable provider and its parent company, Time Warner, Inc., accusing them of establishing an illegal tying arrangement by making the box rental a condition of the subscription agreement. He’s seeking class-action status for all TWC premium customers in Kansas.
Look, we know gas is expensive, but don’t save a couple bucks by topping off your U-Haul’s gas tank with water. We won’t pretend to care about U-Haul—not even U-Haul cares about their vehicles—but the next renter will want to bludgeon you with a rusty ice pick when their truck breaks down because you hosed the engine.
Now that it’s summer, many people are doing the moving thing. For some, this might mean renting a truck or trailer from U-Haul, like reader Ryan. He reserved a truck from U-Haul online well in advance of his move, but when he went in for pickup was told none were available. Ryan called corporate, who called the store and convinced the surly manager to give Ryan a truck. Three days after Ryan returned the truck, he got this voicemail from from U-Haul: “This is Alexandria U-Haul Rentals. Your rental truck was due three days ago and you haven’t returned it. If you don’t return our truck today I will call the police.” See how Ryan handled the situation, inside.
Many people succumb to the appeal of renting which allows consumers to make smaller monthly payments instead of paying a large lump sum. Sometimes renting makes sense but other times it’s a money trap. To help you decide when to rent, MSN Money has put together a list of things you should and should never rent. The list, inside…
USAA is like a unicorn in a pack of walruses: a financial services company that truly cares about its customers and really helps them out. Not as some kind of lucky exception, but as a matter of policy. Reader “Mary Marsala With Fries’” story, about how USAA opened up several cans of whoop-ass on an Enterprise facility that was trying to screw her over on charges, is yet further proof.
A second Hollywood Video employee has written in to counter the claims made last week by an anonymous employee—he writes, “It sounds like whoever wrote in initially has a particularly evil district manager who is instituting his own policies,” and says that person should “go over his DM and talk to someone at corporate.” But for the rest of us, what matters is that “The EW [magazine subscription offer] never went away, they just stopped requiring employees to push it. They’re actively promoting it again. There’s no ‘silence is acceptance’ however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.”
An anonymous disgruntled employee sent us a long list of complaints about Hollywood Video, which can be summed up with “we’re desperate to earn some money, so any tactic is fair game.” Among them is this gem.
A California court has upheld the scrawny Netflix “throttling” settlement from 2006. That was when Netflix settled a class-action lawsuit that alleged they intentionally slowed down the rental rates of high-renting customers. The settlement only really benefited lawyers and Netflix, but it stands.
Our favorite travel troubleshooter blogger Chris Elliot interviewed a car rental salesperson to reveal six insider tips on how to get the most for your money. We like number 5, rent after a busy holiday.
5. Timing is everything. The largest expense incurred by a car rental company is depreciation. Basically, these companies are leasing all the cars in their fleet. They’re charged different rates for different types of cars. “It is very important for car rental companies to have as many cars on the road as possible, as any cars that are sitting are not making money, and are actually costing the company money in depreciation fees.” A customer who shows up after a busy holiday weekend can more or less name the price for a rental car. “They should be begging for you to take cars off their lot,” he adds.
To get a view on what goes on inside the (twisted) mind of some car rental salespeople, check out our “6 Confessions Of An Alamo Car Rental Agent.”
Andrew is having some trouble with Blockbuster: the 360 and Wii games he rented were unplayable, and the store manager refused to refund his debit card or apply the cost of the unused rentals to a purchase, saying “It’s not store policy.” She even tried to upsell Anrew to their Game Plan, saying, “Five bucks additional wouldn’t have killed you, with what you spent on the games previously.” What? He finally convinced her to credit his debit account—”however, she terminated my ability to rent games from the store” as a consequence. Andrew, don’t you understand? Blockbuster needs that money if they’re ever going to buy Circuit City. Here’s Andrew’s story:
Thanks to the demands of movie studios, as of April 15th any pay-per-view movies you record to your DirecTV DVR will disappear after 24 hours. [DirecTV] Thanks to Mark!