Why I Stopped Renting Cars From Enterprise

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Isn’t it interesting how we often use one incident to help filter our options? I’ve done it with fast-food, and prior to getting a top status with a company, with rental cars.

Prior to the summer of 2008, Enterprise was among the rental car companies I rented from the most. Their staff were always extremely courteous, their rates were usually competitive, and they charged the fewest fees for renting a car under the age of 25. The thing I wasn’t fond of was the hard sell for additional coverage. But the walk around and encouragement to add CDW/LDW wasn’t awful, so when they came in the cheapest, I went with Enterprise.

But in early August of 2008, the hard sell became too much. (How sad is it that I still remember the date?). I had just flown into Minneapolis to connect to a flight out the next morning for a 10 day trip to Europe (on a mistake rate of course!). I rented a car from Enterprise so I could make my first visit to the Mall of America, run last minute errands, etc.

Everyone at that location was perfectly nice — they offered me complimentary bottled water, and as we headed to my car the rep was asking about my travel plans in a friendly manner. Then we began the usual walk around the car to check for dents, scratches, etc. She suggested I get additional coverage and I told her I was all set.

She then mentioned that since I was just renting for a day, didn’t I want to get it just make sure nothing happened? Because if I did bring the car back with any scratches or dents, they’d have to hold on to my deposit until it got worked out and that would start my vacation on the wrong note. I thanked her but declined.

Then it went too far. “They’ve just paved all the roads around here and if you bring back the car with any bits of tar on it, we’d have to take your entire deposit to get it fixed and I’d hate to see that happen to a nice lady like you right before you leave for London.”

Wow. Hard sell + manipulative approach that was just simply inaccurate, all under the guise of concern for my welfare.

That was just too much. She was wrong of course even though I didn’t have a Chase Sapphire at the time. But I most deeply resented the attempt to catch me at a vulnerable point, the start of my “big” vacation. Now to be fair, she might honestly have believed what she was saying and been truly concerned for me, but regardless it was the last straw. As I drove away, without extra coverage, I decided I was never renting from Enterprise again.

A year or two after that I got top status with Avis until 2013 and renting from other companies became moot. Even now as I’m becoming slightly more price sensitive and considering options in addition to National (I have executive elite), I still cringe at the thought of Enterprise.

And let’s face it, I’m being entirely unfair. My dad rented a car from them last weekend and had a positive experience, though not without some push for additional coverage. My one experience is not the norm. But, in an industry where it’s hard for a casual renter to tell the difference between between Budget, Hertz,  Dollar, Fox, etc sometimes one data point is all you need to narrow your choices.

Has one particular experience ever affected your future choices?


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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel


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