Thursday, June 24, 2010

Neat. Social Networking is Actually Good For Something Besides Killing Time and Playing Farmville.

So, some of you may have seen my post from a couple of days ago regarding my recent fiasco with Budget Rent A Car.  Basically, I copied and pasted a letter I'd sent to Budget BC's general inbox after trying in vain to get a hold of a helpful human on the phone for two days straight.  I was not a happy camper.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: hell hath no fury like a redhead scorned.  If you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, to be on the safe side you should probably be perpetually hugging me or something.  But that'd piss me off too.  I digress.

I posted this letter to my Posterous, which autoposts to my Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, and two other blogs that I author.  After I was done I went in to my Twitter account and tagged my post to both Budget Rent A Car's main Twitter account and to Budget BC's.  In no time, I had a reply from Ashley at Budget/Avis asking me to follow her so she could direct message me.  I did.  And she did.  As it turns out, Ashley is Budget/Avis's Social Media Specialist, and frankly, she was the ONLY person I dealt with during this whole debacle who was actually capable of getting anything done.  I can't thank Ashley enough for the time she's put in on this.  If all of Budget's staff were as conscientious, they'd be a hell of a force to reckon with.

The result?  I was provided with everything I asked for in my letter.  The only thing I was charged for was the base cost to fix the damages - no towing, no storage, and they waived all admin fees.  Essentially, $360 turned into $160.  THAT I can deal with.  I mean, I still think it's a little stupid since the damage was one of those wear and tear things that just happen.  However, I appreciate saving $200 on stupid.  Do you know how much wine I can buy with $200?

As for specifically the Vancouver Downtown Budget location, if you ever have the poor judgement to rent from them, don't expect anything even close to a semblance of adequate customer service.  Having worked in retail for 7 years prior to my life's turn to high-tech corporate wheelings and dealings, I know good customer service when I see it.  My service at Van Downtown was NOT it.  Seems it wasn't it for a lot of other people as well.  If you don't learn anything from my mistakes, pray that you end up with Ashley in your court.

Now that all is said and done, I have this to say.  Will I rent from Budget again?  No.  Will I recommend Budget to any of my acquaintances or associates?  Not likely.  Am I pleased with the outcome?  Substantially more than I was.  Will I hope that the Downtown location learns a thing or two about customer relations because of this?  Heck yes.  There's always got to be a silver lining, right?

Thanks again, Ashley.  You rock.


p.s. I can't find a picture suitable for this post, so here's a nice picture from the trip we took the Budgetmobile on.

Posted via email from robynn's cavalcade of crap she thinks is awesome

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Isn't Awesome. This is a Cavalcade of Crap, Actually.

Dear Budget Rent A Car,

I have tried numerous times today and yesterday to reach personnel in the claims department.  My calls have been ignored, and have not been returned although I was assured that I would receive priority treatment.  I have been given a vast array of excuses for why my calls have not been returned, all of them unacceptable in terms of proper business practice.  The customer service I’ve received is abominable, and I am absolutely dismayed at the disregard shown for paying customers, specifically those who have paid above and beyond a reasonable sum.

My rental reservation number is *******2CA0; contract number ***8148.

The issue I am having is with your LDW, which oh so conveniently and in the very fine print doesn’t cover any areas of the vehicle subject to regular wear and tear.  When I returned my brand new (46 km on it) Volvo on which the smallest mark would have shown on plainly, I was told by the lot attendant Anthony that there was a scuff on the rim, but that it was “no big deal”.  Well, when I entered to finalize payment, the gentleman I dealt with seemed to think otherwise, and I have been charged over $360 for “no big deal”.  I demand full documentation for this cost, and want to discuss this with the claims department as the damage is purely superficial and in no way affects the car’s rentability or operation.  I expect receipts for repair, and photographs of the car proving that the repairs were in fact completed.  These I will compare to the photos I took both prior to renting and upon return.  Should any of this documentation be missing or insufficient, I will dispute payment.  Wear and tear happens.  Get over it.  Your LDW should take this into consideration – anything else is unethical.

If I do not receive a call before 3pm tomorrow, June 23, 2010, the following will take place: I will submit a dispute to Mastercard and have them refuse the charges; I will file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau; I will be in touch one of my professional contacts who is a travel troubleshooter for MSNBC, National Geographic, and The Washington Post; and I will contact my local ombudsman.

I have done a vast amount of research into your company in the past couple of days, and frankly, wish I had done so prior to renting from you.  For all intents and purposes, you are scam artists.  I’m willing to bet that the minimal damage upon my return of the car will go unnoticed by the next renter, and they’ll be charged for the same thing.  It seems to be your business M.O.
I expect someone to contact me immediately.  7**-9**-6***

Robynn Holmstrom