Finances & Money

I’ll Refund That for You THIS Time…

Last week, we took the MINI to the dealer for some work and got a rental from the in-house Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The dealership agreed to cover the whole cost for the Toyota Corolla even though we had to keep it an extra 8 hours, but I still had to leave a credit card for coverage, just in case. We got it with 3/8th tank of fuel, and when we returned it, I’m positive it had 3/8th tank of fuel.

Yesterday when I downloaded my credit card transactions to Quicken, I saw a charge from Enterprise for $8.20. What’s up with that?

So I called, left a message with the service adviser and waited. The adviser called back and confirmed that the dealership did in fact cover the rental, so “the charge was probably for fuel”. I wanted answers! She said she would talk to Enterprise and find out for me.

A couple hours later, Enterprise called me and confirmed the charge was for fuel. They said I brought the car back with a 1/4 tank, not 3/8. But I told him that I:

1) Know I looked at the gauge and saw 3/8th when we turned it in and we weren’t parked on any slope

2) Filled it to 1/2 tank and only drove it 30 miles. What kind of Toyota Corolla gets 120 miles to the tank on highway driving? That’s like 10mpg!

So the Enterprise guy said, and this is the kicker, “I’ll refund that for you THIS time”, like he was doing me a favor. I repeated that this was not my error and made sure to sound insulted at the accusation that I’m stupid or lying. Unfortunately, when we returned the car, the Enterprise people had left for the day (it was about 6pm) and I had to just leave the the keys at their desk.

I’ve rented all our vehicles from Enterprise (about a dozen in the last 5 years) because they’re convenient and never give me a hassle about fuel. This is the first time Enterprise has been stingy, and it’s definitely the first time they’ve argued with me on anything. I won’t change how we rent cars, but I will make sure I either get visual confirmation of damage/fuel levels when I turn in the vehicle to that location again, or at the minimum take a timestamped picture of the gauge for records. But it shouldn’t be this much of a hassle to be a trusted customer, should it?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • dude,

    To answer your question… no, it shouldn’t. I used to rent from Enterprise, but then switched to National/Alamo after using them (and liking them) for business trips and when they offered free Emerald Club membership (basically reserve your car online, get dropped off at Emerald lot, pick out car, and go, no hassle). I found that using Enterprise was way too much of a hassle in general and the other chains like National didn’t bother you at all w/ all of the insurance, walk around the car crap. I’ve rented from National/Alamo 20+ times last year w/o incident.

  • Tom, my one issue is that there are about 10 Enterprises in short walking or driving distance from my home, but the only other company is Hertz (just one shop about a mile away). I don’t rent from airports because the closes one is 20-30 miles away.

    The neighborhood Enterprise locations are always great, but the ones in auto dealerships tend to be a little snooty or too busy to spend much time with you. But this is only the 2nd dealership site I’ve worked with so I might be generalizing too early.

  • The credit union where I have my car loan does that all the time. They misapplied the payment and then they do the favor of fixing it!

    I had a similar experience with the gas tank bringing back a moving truck. To avoid paying $6/gallon to fill it to the 1/2 way line, I put more in. So after putting 14 gallons in, it jumped from 3/8 to 5/8. It was frustrating because I did three fills, and only on the third did he gauge move.

  • dude,

    good call… the one huge benefit of Enterprise is local offices. I was more thinking of renting for travel/vacations/etc. In those cases I always choose National/Alamo (used to be Enterprise), but I used Enterprise when my car was in the shop 2 months ago.

    Although, about 6 months ago my wifes car was in for repair and they gave us a Chevy Cobalt that stank of smoke. We brought it back and requested another they told us, No that can’t be, our cars are non-smoking! She sat in the dang thing to get the mileage!

  • I feel your pain. I just recently rented a car from Enterprise, too. I had just been in an accident with my car and my mind was on about ten other things when I was signing up for the rental. However, about two blocks from their office, I recalled the Enterprise guy saying something about there being 1/2 tank of gas in the car. So I checked the gauge — it was now firmly stating “1/4” tank! So, as soon as I got to where I was going, I called them and complained. Thankfully, they took my word for it and adjusted the gas notation to 1/4. That said, it did leave a foul taste in my mouth that the guy would say 1/2 tank to begin with. I will certainly be paying more attention when renting cars (from anyone) in the future.

  • I got this kind of response from Time Warner one time when they tried to charge me for a movie we didn’t rent (we weren’t even home).

    My response was “Ok, well as a courtesy to you I won’t switch to DirectTV THIS time.”

    Really irritates me when they do this.

  • You can complain about it, but customer service no longer matters in American business. It’s a Milton Friedman world where nothing, not ethics, not customer service, not criminal behavior, matters as long as the company makes money.

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