Update: Basically nothing has happened, not a single human conversation. Feel free to follow along over on Facebook
Update 2: Well, I finally went in search of an actual human (the local manager)…. It didn’t go well. I recorded the conversation, will post it up when I get a chance.
Several months back we switched our rental car business over to Avis from Enterprise. As an Avis First customer I’ve really enjoyed the experience and tell everyone I know about how simple it makes everything.
And up until now things have gone pretty smoothly. There are occasions when they don’t have the car I ordered but they’ve typically made up for it with an equivalent or upgraded option. It’s par for the course. I don’t rent a great deal locally (maybe half a dozen times a year), usually it’s when I’m on the road and arriving at airports, but I recently needed a rental for a month. So I went to their STL airport location, pull into their parking lot and it’s full. So I go and ask the security guard who sits at the gate if this is where I have to park my car if I’m renting one. She says yes and that’ll I’ll just have to wait until something opens up. Luckily that’s not more than 5 minutes and I get a spot right by a stairwell and begin the long walk to grab my rental car. They didn’t have the car I ordered, but they had a new slightly better car available that they gave me instead. It would cost me a few bucks more in gas due to worse gas mileage but no biggie, so I went on my merry way.
Then I get a call saying that while on vacation I received a piece of mail stating that my car has been towed as an ‘abandoned vehicle’. Not the rental car mind you, but *my* car that’s in their parking lot. It’s dated June 16 and says that there’s charges of $350 for the towing and something like $50 a day for every day it’s stored. I get on the phone and start trying to call the local Avis, apparently which is impossible to talk to an actual person as when you get through the littany of options (all of which take you to their main reservations people and not the local office) you have the option to talk to the ‘manager on duty’…which then transfers you to either a) a generic cellphone voicemail or b) a busy signal.
So I figure I’ll call the main numbers and talk with them. I was routed through 8 different people after being put on hold each time, none of whom had any idea why I was talking with them. In other words after a certain amount of time of being put on hold (as the agent attempted to connect me to the local office) it would ring into a brand new person. I was sent to all kind of places, including one that handles impounding (yay!)…except only for *their* cars which have been impounded (not so yay). Virtually all of these people tell me that the lot in which I was parked was ‘probably’ not a long term lot (they couldn’t verify this), that I shouldn’t have parked there, and that they are sure it would be well marked with lots of signs to that effect and that I probably just missed them. Oh…and that I would be responsible for getting my car back…and paying for it.
So now I’m irked, but hey, maybe I did miss some big sign and somehow this is all my fault even though the security guard explicitly told me to park there. So I get in my car, drive there, and videotape entering the parking lot…I drive to where I had parked my car…I drive to the other end of the lot and I ask the security guard if this is where I’m supposed to park if I’m renting a car. She say yes. I make another run up the parking lot looking for signs to inform me that I can’t park there long term. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
So I ask you, what exactly am I supposed to do here? I’m stunned. The towing company doesn’t open until Monday (right now it’s Saturday).