Silly Customer Thinks Reserving A Vehicle From Enterprise Means Anything

Dan chose Enterprise to rent a van for his spring break vacation because the company offered the lowest price. What they couldn’t offer him was a van. Somewhat naively, he thought that using Enterprise’s online reservation system to reserve a vehicle would result in an actual vehicle being rented to him. No such luck. Now he’s left scrambling for a vehicle large enough to accommodate everyone on his trip.

I’ve been dealt a severe beating by Enterprise, and I’m staggering, but still in the fight. We are brave souls. My wife and I are taking our kids plus 3 of their friends an a whirlwind Spring Break trip. Rather than drive 2 vehicles, we decided to rent a van. It seemed smart at the time.

We decided to go with Enterprise because not only did they have the best rates in our area, but they also have a special program through AMEX Membership Rewards. We checked the rates and availability and chose the location with an advertised special of $64.99/day. The next lowest was $89.99/day. Total cost for 4 days – $298.96. The AMEX certificates are in $50 denominations and can’t be used for taxes, so we ordered $250 in certificates. To use the certificates, you must book through a special website. We did and got our confirmation #.

Fast forward 4 days. Just as I was about to call to schedule my pickup, I get a call from Enterprise. They say there is no van available and there never was. They said the web site was “wrong” and this vehicle has been sold out since February. The offer no solution other than I’m out of luck or a smaller vehicle (can’t fit). Of course I say this is not acceptable. After some pushing, the rep agrees to have the Area Manager give me a call.

Of course it has been several hours and there is no call. I call AMEX rewards and they contact Enterprise corporate. M says he will call around and try and find a van for me. He finally says he has located one – for $45.00 more per day. That is of course unacceptable. He talks some more with other locations. C. at one spot says he “might” price match the other location if he can “for sure” get a van in. I’m currently awaiting a call from C. That is where I stand now.

If I cancel I have no leverage and probably will pay far more – if I can even find a van 3 days before the trip. Plus I now have $250 in worthless Enterprise gift certificates. I’m sure AMEX will refund me, but it is still a hassle.

I’m just asking the Consumerist community to pray for sanity at Enterprise.

It does sound like divine intervention is the only thing that will get a van for Dan at this point. Well, that, and a much higher rental fee.

Update: Enterprise has promised Dan a van. Maybe. Keep your fingers crossed. He writes:

After applying immense telephonic pressure, allegedly there will be a van for me on my pick up day. According to C., the location manager, several people had booked this non-existent deal. Despite efforts to screw everyone, the scope of the goof has forced them to bring in several vans from Chicago. I guess no one drives vans in Chicago.

While I am more confident that I will be merrily cruising America in a van in a few days, the comments from the readers dampen my enthusiasm. I guess I’ll believe it when I have the keys. Then they’ll have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. Thanks to all for your concern and rental stories.