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RetailI'm an ex-Enterprise Rent-A-Car employee at a major airport, and I've seen it all. AMA!

Jul 10th 2017 by ecars1277 • 22 Questions • 338 Points

I've pretty much done and seen it all in my time with Enterprise. I know a lot of people have a lot of questions about how rental car companies work...so ask away.

My Proof: http://imgur.com/gs495jP

Q:

Do you notice if customers switch the tires?

A:

To be honest, I wouldn't.


Q:

What's the oddest thing someone has left in a returned car?

A:

Drugs. Guy came back. Too late! Lucky the cops didn't take him away.


Q:

My friend has a job interview for a management trainee position. What can you tell me about this job, and what should she expect to make?

Also, any interview tips I can pass along?

A:

ERAC is a great company, and they really do care about their employees. As the saying goes "we work hard and reward hard work". It is very customer service and sales focused. Expect to go out of your way to please every customer, no matter their demands, and be prepared to sell. ERAC employees are highly regarded by other companies, and more than once during my tenure was I asked about a job from someone I was renting a car to.


Q:

What exactly are you expected to sell? I rent a car at least once per month and I've never really been sold anything, other than maybe asking if I want a GPS or satellite radio upgrade. I make my reservation online and show up and pick up the keys.

Are there people who don't book a car beforehand and you have to sell them at the counter? Should the employees be trying to get me to upgrade my vehicle?

Or, is it more about going to local businesses and trying to get their car rental business?

A:

Both. In home city, it's about going to body shops and dealerships and trying to get them to send their customers who need cars over to Enterprise. Insurance replacements are nearly 50% of Enterprise's business in home city. At the airport, and in home city, the agents try to sell everything: Upgrades, fuel, coverage/insurance, satellite, etc. Walk-in's (or 'pop-fly's') aren't counted the same towards our sales numbers since we can't "upgrade" them because they weren't in for a reservation at all. I'm shocked you weren't offered upgrades or coverage. Perhaps if it was a corporate account you already had coverage included in the rate and it specifically said no upgrades? Happens all the time. In those cases the agent will save you the time and just get you into a car ASAP so you can be on your way.


Q:

Thanks for the info.

I have a question about the vehicle selection. Sometimes, when I rent, I'll get asked at the counter, "I've got you in an XYZ, is that okay?" I can usually say, "I don't really like the radio or seats in that model, do you have anything else?" Usually, I'll be offered something else in the same class to choose from.

However, especially at National, which is staffed by Enterprise at my local branch, they will have already processed all my paperwork before I arrive. This is not a location with the Emerald Aisle, so they pick the vehicle for me. I've been given a two door Camaro and a 7-passenger SUV in back-to-back visits under a standard rental.

My question is this: how much does it tick off the employee if I were to ask for a different vehicle, even though they've already prepared everything and assigned me a car? A sports car is cool, but not if I need to take more than one passenger. Or, the SUV might take twice as much fuel and its just me driving a long distance.

Does it hurt anything to ask for a different vehicle or is there a way to indicate a preference when reserving online?

A:

At my airport, Enterprise was separate from National, and we (National) did have an Emerald Aisle. At Enterprise, we don't assign a vehicle until you arrive, and changing your vehicle class when you get in isn't a problem at all (if it's an upgrade the agent will be very happy to change it for you) I can't speak for National, but I can't imagine it's that hard to modify the contract with a different vehicle. You could always call in advance on the day of and request something if you want to avoid them having to change it out. Otherwise, we're always happy to change it for you :)


Q:

I once left my tablet in the rental car I returned. Half way home it hit me I left it in the passenger seat. When I returned, they told me there was nothing in the car.

Do you feel like that's common?

I complained, but in the end I never saw it again

A:

I've heard of it, but it's not too common. Didn't really happen was I was there. The car cleaners are always on camera so they'd most certainly be caught, and most no better than to steal a customers tablet. Now, people leave us free presents all the time, beer, cigs...but not usually a tablet.


Q:

How do you deal with a returned car that reeks of the ganja?

A:

Windows down, trunk open. If it's a cold day hopefully the next customer won't notice. If it's a hot day...don't rent it until after dark :). Normally it's not worth charging the detail fee.


Q:

What's the magic phrase to whisper to skip all the excruciating contract detail & car inspection, to just get a car & be on our way(*)?
(The main reason I avoid Enterprise at nearly any cost)

A:

"I don't need an upgrade, don't want coverage, no prepaid fuel or satellite radio." They have to do the inspection, though, it's for your own good. The politer you are, the quicker the agent is likely to work for you.

Enterprise is set up to be very customer-agent interaction focused. It's not like National, or even Alamo, where you can just grab a car and drive away. I personally loved getting to know all of my customers and was happy to go out of my way to make their day. Next time, check in using the automated kiosks, that should help too!


Q:

Why did we get a scion iq when we booked a toyota matrix or similar? Three grown ass men trying to stuff suitcases in that pos at midnight was very inconvenient

A:

No idea. If you complained they probably would have switched you out. Enterprise is very customer service focused, and employees are empowered to do anything to ensure every customer leaves completely satisfied.


Q:

They had not toyota matrix's available at the time if i remember but we did complain and just got a sorry in return.

A:

You should've asked for a free upgrade on your next rental. They probably would have done at least that for you.


Q:

Are you excited about the New Queens of the Stone Age album?

A:

Never been more excited about anything in my life.


Q:

Why does nobody every answer the damned phone? I memorized the damned hold music.

A:

Airport or home city? Airport is pretty good with phones. Home city has less staff and it's hard when there's customers waiting to be checked in, out, and the phone is ringing. Trust me, when we need to call other branches to get things done we wait on hold as long as you do.


Q:

Does it make sense to always reserve the cheapest car, then wait to see what is offered as an upgrade when I arrive? It seems like those upgrades are cheaper than what is offered when I'm reserving, and there's the chance that the type I reserved isn't available and I'll get an upgrade anyway.

A:

Depends. Usually the lowest we can go for an upgrade is between $8-10/day (besides giving a free upgrade, which we can do at any time, for any reason). If the difference between the Economy and a Full Size car is $20/day, I'd say book the economy and tell the sales agent at the counter you want a full size when you come in. He'll probably start somewhere around $15-20 a day, but will eventually settle on between $8-10, because getting an upgrade is better than getting nothing. Especially if you are going from car to SUV, the counter is usually the way to get the best price. Check online first so you know what the difference is, and if you're actually getting a good deal.


Q:

I only have motorcycle insurance, no car insurance, booked through USAA, going to pay with discover credit card, should I get CDW and supplemental liability insurance? My credit card covers the CDW part, right? Do I still need supplemental liability insurance? I heard rental car companies cover the minimum liability insurance required by state law is that true?

A:

They do cover the minimum liability required by law. Because you have no car insurance, the secondary collision coverage on the discover card may kick in and become primary coverage, you'd have to call and ask first. If that's the case, I'd waive the CDW and just get Liability, which covers you for up to $1 Million -- far over the minimum required.


Q:

Why do car rental companies (not necessarily just Enterprise) charge so much to return a car to a different location? I'm trying to plan a trip where we drive across two provinces and then fly back. But every rental company I've checked is charging an extra $400-$600 on top of the regular rental fee. Is there ever a way to get that lower?

A:

Airport to airport, no. Airport to home city, yes. The airports and the local locations use two different computer systems. The airport system builds the drop fee into the actual daily rate of the car, and we can't change that. The home city locations have the drop fee seperate, and if you ask nicely they can take that off.


Q:

He said he parted on great terms and enjoyed working there.

Why wouldn't he say nice things?

A:

Exactly. And I have given tips on getting the best deal. Enteprise was great to me -- why bash them?


Q:

If Josh Homme were a rental car, which rental car would he be?

A:

Mirage


Q:

Do you refer to the dildos you find with the indefinite article?

A:

huh


Q:

What, if any, shady practices did you encounter or were encouraged to engage in?

A:

I steered clear of shady practices. Can't do that stuff at the airport anyway. Of all of the companies, I'd say Enterprise is the most honest.


Q:

I know the main AMA is long over but just had to comment...

What's with shaking my hand? I'm renting a car, not asking for your permission to marry your daughter? No one else during my trip aggressively wants to shake my hand, No one at the airport, my hotel, a cab, a restaurant...

We aren't friends, I'm not heavily invested in this transaction. I wan a car to drive around.

I started telling the agents, friends don't shake hands, friends hug! Then open my arms wide and smile a HUGE smile. They seem to get pretty creeped out.

There was one exception to this that also coincides with the only bad experience I have ever had with Enterprise.

I had been travelling at least once a week for work at my previous job. My last trip was to SFO and I rented a car at Enterprise. Same as I had done countless times at countless airports.

I end up leaving that job and am not traveling for work in my new job. I get a letter in the mail telling me I have an unpaid rental car. I'm almost 100% certain I do not. I respond by calling and finding out more information. Turns out the same time I rented a car in SFO someone with a similar name rented a car in San Diego (a city I have never been to). I explained that I have never been to San Diego. That they have made a mistake it's not me, I'm not paying someone else's bill. Rinse and repeat TWO MORE TIMES over the next several months. I finally won't get off the phone till I get multiple assurances that the issues has been resolved. I have used Gmail since it was first introduced and all correspondence is in my account. (This is important).

1.5 years later I end up back at the job I left and am taking my first trip. I hitch a ride to the event, but need to rent a car to get back home. Go to Enterprise in Oxen Hill, MD.

At the counter trying to rent a car. Get told they can't rent to me because I have an unpaid rental bill. Explain the whole thing to them. The gentlemen at the counter was a SAINT (I wrote him a really nice letter after all this copying his manager and his district manager). I WAS SO FUCKING PISSED!!!!

He spends 1.5 hrs (my buddy is trying to let me let him rent the car -- I refuse) sifting through various people at Enterprise. I show hime the 2+ year old emails, with all the correspondence. The people he is talking to have none of these records. He moved heaven and earth and got the issue resolved.

That guy. That guy got an actual genuine hug from me!

A:

It's just part of our customer philosophy. Handshake and a smile with every customer -- no exceptions. Some love it, some don't. We will go out of our way to take care of issues, especially if you are polite and we know it isn't your issue. Customer satisfaction was our number one priority!


Q:

Who was the biggest, whiniest dick customer you ever had? Also, I apologize.

A:

I've been threatened, yelled at, swore at, etc. Multiple times. It never was my fault, either. It was because they didn't read our debit card policy (which is CLEARLY stated online), their credit cards got denied, they reserved a car at the wrong location, etc. They always seemed to think it was my fault and screamed at me, which never made us want to help them. The people who simply said "ohh, yeah, my mistake" we would go out of our way, do absolutely anything to see if we could fix it for them and get them into a car. But if you yell, scream, and call us names, we'll definitely get you into a car -- but it'll have blue and red lights at the top and you won't be driving it.


Q:

This one time, my dad was needlessly rude to a rent-a-car employee. When he was given his keys, the car was all the way at the farthest end of the lot. He believes (and I gleefully agree) that the employee did this as a form of petty vengeance. Did he?

A:

Absolutely. Don't be rude to us. What did we ever do to you? If you're nice we'd do anything to make you completely happy. If you're a douche you're only hurting yourself.