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)