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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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    1. Even though they are the same companies, the policies at Enterprise are definitely different from Alamo and National. Alamo is becoming my favorite for ease of use. I hit up the kiosk, grab my information, and head to my car. No people necessary. Though I’ve had people walk up to my screen (staff) and start clicking on things while talking quickly. That’s really bothered me, and I’ve shooed them away.

  1. “Decline all coverage and return gas full.” I repeat this same phrase, in the same way, until they get the point.

  2. I’m unsure why you think that you are being unfair. Your experience with Enterprise was negative, and you do have choices.

  3. Did you get the sense it may have been a gender thing? I know exactly what you’re talking about, as I used to rent from Enterprise all the time. But with me, all it ever took was one ‘no, I have full coverage’ and that was that.Once or twice they tried to go a bit further but I just stopped them in their tracks and said ‘nope.’

    Enterprise as a company could get itself into a lot of trouble if someone successfully obtained their statistics on who is buying the extra coverage and who isn’t. It was be interesting to see what they’d reveal…

    1. I sometimes wonder that myself. I also had places ask me, don’t you want a prettier car than the economy? Prettier! I fought that by making the situation really awkward by saying, you don’t think I’d fit in an economy car? and just staring at them.

      1. Didn’t the guy at the rental-car counter use a weird gender-biased approach to trying to convince us to upgrade when we went to Minnesota? I don’t remember what it was now; but I remember being like, really? when we walked away.

        1. oh yeah! You are totally right! He asked if we wanted a cute car to drive around in and one big enough to hold our shopping, or something like that?

          1. Yes, that was it! I was like sure, if it doesn’t cost any more than the car we already reserved. 😛 Sometimes we’ve lucked into saying no, that’s okay, and then they tell us, well… we’re out of the car you reserved… I was hoping that was the case that time.

    2. I believe 100% it’s gender bias. When I rent a car, no pressure. They always give my wife the hard sell with the extra insurance. Did it just today as a matter of fact. What’s really strange is the Enterprise agent was a woman also.

  4. I’m actually very loyal to Enterprise BECAUSE of one incident. I was rear ended and my car was totaled. While my car didn’t have a huge blue book value, it was hard to find a replacement (I like manual transmission) and found one several states away. The other person’s insurance provided for a local rental but when I told the local Enterprise my dilemma they told me to go ahead and drive it 1,000+ miles away and return it to them there (one way rental) and they would deal with the insurance company. I felt they REALLY were looking out for me and were trying make my life easier.

  5. My son worked for them for years. I live in their world HQ city of St. Louis. I used to audit them for an insurance company that underwrote the optional insurance (They basically get a cut of the premium per day) and I still don’t like to rent from them. I hate the walk around. I have no trouble telling them no on the optional insurance as my employer won’t let me buy it. I just hate the extra time. I just want to get in my car and go at that point in my journey.

  6. The real mistake you made was renting a car at all. You should have taken the light rail train from MSP to Mall of America. 10 minutes and you are at the mall. The light rail serves both MSP terminals. Boo.

  7. I’ve rented from Enterprise ten or so times over the past five years; occasionally the agent pushes me to pay for their coverage but it’s never tough to decline. I’ve also received complimentary upgrades to decent mid-range vehicles (e.g. Chevy Impala, Nissan Rogue) about every other rental. I suppose I should go for status with another rental company, but my Enterprise experiences have been uniformly positive.

  8. I used to be a frequent user of Enterprise. They were competively priced and provided good service. However, more recently they were the highest cost by far. I wanted to rent a car at IAD and return it to BWI. Avis quoted me $198. Enterprise quoted $350 for the same car type. When I told Enterprise that I would return it to IAD, it was the same $ as Avis. same thing happened in Europe recently when I wanted to pick up a car downtown an return it to the local airport. Enterprise proposed a stiff dropoff charge, until their competitors.

  9. Enterprise is the worst and I will not rent from them at all cost!

    Every time you get into a car it has no gas in it or maybe a 1/4 tank.

    They are a HUGE pain about the walk around, the representative working with me once said she had ( and did) redo the entire sheet because I marked additional damage that she refused to mark. She claimed it was to small to mark but I had a damage problem with them in the past so I am very cautions on the walk arounds with them.

    My dislike of Enterprise is a big problem because when my car goes in for service they are the only place the dealer will get me a rental car from.

  10. Sorry to hear about your experience, but this is exactly why I stopped renting from Enterprise many years ago. I hate their upsell, and I hate how they check every nick and scratch on the car. The major agencies don’t mind normal wear and tear and marks on the car. As long as there are no dents the majors are OK with it. I like that.

    Plus it’s faster to rent from the non Enterprise agencies since they aren’t walking around the car with you all the time.

  11. Never again with Enterprise. I rented from them in England and they couldn’t have been nicer. There was some minor damage which they fixed and billed my credit card. Then I turned to my credit card company for the reimbursement. From there, Enterprise could not be more difficult to work with. They wouldn’t send me paperwork on the repairs or any other documentation, ignoring emails and calls. I had to call the St. Louis corporate office to get even the first reply from them. Seven months later I still haven’t been reimbursed because Enterprise won’t hand over basic information to the CC’s insuror in what should be a routine matter.

  12. Ugh, don’t even get me started on Enterprise. Like you, I used to rent from them because they had lower fees for under-25 drivers. One time, several years ago, I rented a car to drive roundtrip DC to Pittsburgh to visit my family (I owned an old beater car at the time that I didn’t want to put 250 miles on, and flights were too expensive).

    There was some rain during my drive, and the Enterprise rental continually hydroplaned all over the road. It was the most stressful and unsettling drive of my life. When I got to Pittsburgh, I took the car to the Enterprise office there, and they told me that they don’t allow one way rentals. I’m like, this isn’t a one way rental, the car or the tires or something has a dramatic safety problem. I want to exchange the car because this one hydroplanes too much! The enterprise rep told me “When it rains, cars WILL hydroplane.” Really? All the time like your junk car did? They refused to do anything about it and they were completely unapologetic. Never rented from them again.

  13. same way here in Austin TX, pushing the coverage hard. i switched to Avis/Budget even though they are farther.

  14. @Mike G has got it right, although he failed to mention “I have my own GPS” as a part of his mantra.
    Enterprise seems to be more relentless than most when it comes to pushing extras though.

  15. They are staffed by a bunch of college graduates in suits thinking they are working for a top investment firm. Will never ever rent from Enterprise.

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