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counter agent said: "sir, we have zero cars until next week" (already prepaid online)

counter agent said: "sir, we have zero cars until next week" (already prepaid online)

Old Jul 16, 19, 8:58 am
  #1  
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counter agent said: "sir, we have zero cars until next week" (already prepaid online)

what was I supposed to do when the National rental counter agent said: "sir, we have zero cars until next week"

my rental was fully prepaid online more than 3 weeks ago. I got no phone call or email from anybody.

the agent offered zero help, except telling me to try the Hertz or Avis counter on the other side. I ended up getting a car from Hertz at almost double the price for a car half the size)

I felt like I was in an episode of "Seinfeld"

All National did was refund my money, with not a word of apology....
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Old Jul 16, 19, 9:06 am
  #2  
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Oversold situations happen sometimes and are never fun to deal with for the rental company or the customer. Not much you can do at this point except to try to force National to pay the difference in price between what you reserved with them at and what you ended up paying at Hertz. I would follow-up with their customer support team with a clearly worded explanation and a well-documented case. Keep pressing them. You should at least be able to get a credit for a future rental in the amount of the difference you had to pay.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 9:45 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
Oversold situations happen sometimes and are never fun to deal with for the rental company or the customer. Not much you can do at this point except to try to force National to pay the difference in price between what you reserved with them at and what you ended up paying at Hertz. I would follow-up with their customer support team with a clearly worded explanation and a well-documented case. Keep pressing them. You should at least be able to get a credit for a future rental in the amount of the difference you had to pay.
I understand.... but the agent told me that location had no cars for almost a week before I arrived.... and wasn't expecting any cars until the next week.

During all that time, the National website(as well as 3rd party websites) continue to show almost every category of car/truck/SUV as available....
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Old Jul 16, 19, 12:16 pm
  #4  
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What location was this? I'm going to assume it was a smaller location in Canada or near one of the US national parks that experience very high demand over the summer.

As far as them continuing to show inventory when none was available, it's a failing on the part of local management. They should have zeroed out the availability in the reservation system so as not to compound the problem, but obviously, they didn't do that.

Unlike the airlines which have very tight control over inventory on a particular flight and will "zero out" the inventory once all seats are gone (or raise the price when a fare bucket is sold out), with the rental car companies, if they have say 5 cars left, you could go on their website and make 50 or even 500 reservations. Rental car IT is not nearly as advanced as some other industries. Some of this is just because the business model is a bit different, but some just has to do with incompetence. Botton line, they have tools to manage inventory, but it often requires them to be actively monitoring their booking volumes. Some locations/managers do this better than others, and some (like at the location you were trying to rent from), completely fall down on the job. We agree that it's quite frustrating.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:08 pm
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I have had far more rental oversold situations than I care to remember, mostly in BOS. Now UBER is my friend and Hertz/National are not.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:37 pm
  #6  
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Since there's no penalties for no-showing they truly have to overbook.

Also smaller locations will a lot of times show cars available for immediate booking and pickup that they dont currently have onsite. The reason is that the location pulls cars a day before from a central location. Thus the car is available to be rented, it's just parked offsite at another location. This happens frequently when booking at non-airport locations.

As OP was prepaid there should've been a car ready for him. At a minimum company needs to pay difference between what he was to pay and what he paid. If they refuse file a small claims case. In most states these are quick and easy. You can include costs to file, taking time off work to goto court, etc.... Most companies will either just pay or simply not show up to court resulting in default win. Once you win can ask court to seize property to pay for claim. They'll pay real quickly when you come in and seize a Mustang for falling to pay a $250 court claim.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:59 pm
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Use Costco to rent your cars. I had a sold out situation like that - in fact, there were 13 people ahead of me at Budget who had also been left high and dry. I called Enterprise, rented a car for slightly more, and when I got back I sent a note to Costco about it. They not only got Budget to refund me the difference, they sent me a Costco gift card as well. I do all my rentals through them now.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 5:41 pm
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Enterprise is usually good with moving cars around to fill its fleets. They’ll pull cars from up to 200 miles away to fill demand.
You got a manager who messed up. Complain to Enterprise Holdings corporate. Someone will get reprimanded as a result when corporate investigates.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 6:00 pm
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Is there an option to prepay through National’s site? Is there any advantage to do so? (I’m guessing no, given the OP’s situation).
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Old Aug 14, 19, 6:05 am
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This has happened to me in Puerto Vallarta, where there were a ton of people in the same situation, and all rental agencies apparently treating it as common knowledge that nobody had any cars at high season.

For the reasons mentioned, I have standardised my renting around enterprise, - certainly in NYC. Relatively often will they not only FIND you a car,, if cars are truly in short supply,, they will give you a luxury car!!
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Old Aug 14, 19, 8:01 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Something similar happened to us on our honeymoon back in the 1990s. I prepaid for a convertible with National at the San Antonio airport. I reconfirmed the reservation about a week in advance.

We got to the counter. No convertibles. They had gotten rid of ragtops three months earlier, because of a rash of damaged tops in San Antonio.

The person at the counter first checked with every other company and found nothing. He then offered to upgrade us to a Lincoln Town Car. Instead, we took a Mustang hardtop with a partial refund.

It turns out that a lot of rental car locations are franchised, and their inventories aren't in the main computer system. If a location is a corporate location (typically busy airports like O'Hare, LAX, and DFW), the main computer system better tracks inventory.

San Antonio was a franchise location, and they hadn't bothered to inform corporate that they got rid of ragtops.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 10:16 am
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Franchises were certainly the norm back in the 80s and early 90s, but almost all locations have transformed into corporate ownership within the past 20 years or so. National recently even bought out its remaining franchises in most rural markets.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by picturegal View Post
Use Costco to rent your cars. I had a sold out situation like that - in fact, there were 13 people ahead of me at Budget who had also been left high and dry. I called Enterprise, rented a car for slightly more, and when I got back I sent a note to Costco about it. They not only got Budget to refund me the difference, they sent me a Costco gift card as well. I do all my rentals through them now.
+1 on this. Costco Travel has consistently provided the best rates on rental cars, and I've never been left in an "oversold" situation.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 12:57 pm
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You can consider to send an email to [email protected] with detailed explanation & hertz invoice
I had a similar situation where Alamo/Enterprise/National were all sold out at a major airport
The resa was for 7 days.
Counter guy was not helpful at all and kept asking customers to check with Avis/Hertz/Fox etc.

I ended up with renting from a local small company with much higher price & crappy car.
I sent the email with photos & alt rental invoice, National apologized and offered 5 free rental days
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Old Aug 22, 19, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by flyerCO View Post
Since there's no penalties for no-showing they truly have to overbook.

Also smaller locations will a lot of times show cars available for immediate booking and pickup that they dont currently have onsite. The reason is that the location pulls cars a day before from a central location. Thus the car is available to be rented, it's just parked offsite at another location. This happens frequently when booking at non-airport locations.
I know Avis uses the nearest airport to deliver cars to locations in metro areas. Unfortunately it sometimes means you book a car and they are still waiting for it when you arrive.
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