Get What You Want By Asking For It

I use and love Zipcar, a New York area car-share rental service, but our last bill had an unexpected $50 late return fee. Whiskey tango foxtrot, I wondered aloud, I know for sure I returned that car on time. After calling, Dawn told me it turned out I hadn’t swiped out (to get into the cars you use a RFID enabled card) after dropping off the car. She said:

“Normally we would just try to extend the reservation, but there was a reservation right after yours. It won’t be refunded to your credit card but there will be $50 on your account for driving credit… Because like I said… I wasn’t able to refund the charge to your account. Next time, hold your card on the reader for about 10 seconds and that will end your reservation.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I prefer money to service credits, so I said something like:

I see, that’s understandable and I need to make sure to swipe out next time. I’ve been a customer with you guys for months and, but for this little mistake I made, which I promise not to make again, everything has been great and we totally love it. Just curious though, why can’t you refund the credit card $50 instead of putting a $50 service credit on the account?

There was a brief pause and then she said:

“Cause it’s a lot easier to do it this way (laughs) but if you want it back on the card (laughs), I can send it off to billing and see if we can put it back on the card.”

The call ended pleasantly soon afterwards, thus revealing the amazing power of getting what you want by asking for it. There’s no need to accept the first answer a company gives you, just because it’s their policy or procedure. Sometimes nudging just a little makes a big budge.