Payless Rent-A-Car Profits from Lousy Cars, Rampant Fraud
When I first landed in Puerto Rico, I was scheduled to pick up a car from my very favorite rental car company of all time; Enterprise. They are honest, ethical, and unwaveringly committed to the satisfaction of the consumer (as their top-of-market rating on JD Powers five years running will agree.) Turns out I landed on the opposite side of the island from my reservation, so I was forced to consider other options at the last second, and Payless-Rent-a-Car deliver not just a car, but a headache, hassle, and a busted-ass car all at once.
First of all, the telephone service was so far below lackluster I can barely explain it. They treated me like a third-class citizen, despite my fat fistful of cash and Amex Black with unlimited ceiling. They don't give the first rat's ass who you are, they treat everyone with equal disdain.
I rented a car and the gorgeous little hotty at the counter asked me merely a few questions:
1 – Would you like to return the car with a full tank of gas, or just half a tank?
2 – Would you like to purchase full insurance, or just the minimum?
Here's the problem with the half-truths this exceptionally tigh-bodied hotty spilled all over me. None of those were the minimum or free option. Empty tank was the free answer. No insurance was the free option. Since I gave her my StateFarm insurance card, the insurance she sold me without my permission turned out to have no value.
I returned the car a day early, and they pretended to have insufficient understanding of the English language to understand what I was asking. In the short term I ended up paying almost double for my dinged up, rough-running Mazda 3-series, which was much smaller than what I was promised on the telephone.
But this could be a modest modicum of misunderstanding, right? I exercised my journalistic weight, threw it around a bit, and called corporate headquarters for clarification. All I wanted in order to make things right was a refund on my unduly charged double-insurance, but they refused to so much as return my calls. I called customer care (with an absurdly complicated and unruly telephone tree), but never got so much as permission to talk to a live person.
Once my boss told me to switch over to Enterprise, on account of their unbeatable Month-or-More renal program, I called them to ask them to match the price for convenience. I only faced endless rounds of telephone tree calling, which ultimately ended in a kindly bid of almost twice as much as Enterprise would rent the car for, and fro a lesser car at that, and with fewer drop-off location options at that. I'm not one to blast without cause, so let me pay compliment by saying Enterprise is the rental agency to use.
It was a fair car, but more beat up and smaller than I'd ever rented in my life, and I've traveled an awful lot for business and leisure. Worse still was that I was quoted on the 800-number to get a bigger car, and that I was shuttled-in by taxi at the 11th hour and given no choice in the vehicle. They said they had no more cars, even though it was closing time and there were literally dozens of cars on the lot. Whatever, I guess I was ripped off.
Come hell, come high water (two things you may indeed experience in Puerto Rico), don't ever rent a car from Payless no matter what you do. You'll pay far more and get far less than you would with anyone else, and when you're overcharged, you'll find it impossible to get the matter corrected, even if you're a self-admitted journalist who has the capacity to write up your experience in the mainstream media.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We called in to fact-check this disparaging article, and talked with Cynthia in customer service, who was very hesitant to give her name, requiring three requests before providing so little as a fifrst name, and no last name or employee identification number. The number and extension she gave us to contact corporate communications dumped me back in to the general customer contact telephone tree, which ultimately ended with a blank voicemail box.
Bottom line is that these guys robbed us, treated us exceptionally badly, and no amount of calling on the part of the author, or myself as the editor, have ever resolved any number of complaints. If they are so eager to rip off journalists working to promote them, even after we've proclaimed our status and begged for no more than simply getting what we had expected to pay for, I can't imagine how poorly a traditional, regular customer would fare in the very same sort of situation. In short what I'm saying is that we are journalists, threw our weight around, and still got ripped off. I can not imagine how you might ever to fare any better.