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picked up a spanking-new Suburban with 107 miles, the previous renter smoked in it

picked up a spanking-new Suburban with 107 miles, the previous renter smoked in it

Old Feb 5, 20, 9:27 am
  #1  
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picked up a spanking-new Suburban with 107 miles, the previous renter smoked in it

This is going to be a rant about smoking. Unlike most people who don't smoke(never smoked in my life), I fully support smoker's right to smoke.

However, did they have to smoke in a brand spanking- new Chevy Suburban that I picked up? When I got into the car, I saw the mileage and thought I was gonna have a great 600-mile trip in it.

Well.. no. It was a warm day and all 4 windows were rolled down. That should have been my first clue. I drove off the lot and didn't roll up the windows.

I got to my hotel 5 minutes away. I rolled up the windows and locked it. I smelled smoke, but I figured that it was the hotel parking garage.

Went up to my room and came back down again because i forgot my phone. I got into from the passenger seat and wow..... it was like being back at my grandma's house again. She was a lifetime smoker... even smoked around me when I was a little kid. However, that was a different time... even doctors smoked camels.

I closed the door and it was quite clear that someone had smoked in this brand spanking-new SUV before. Not just a couple of cigs, more like a whole carton. There were three NO SMOKING round stickers clearly on the dash. One on each side of the stereo and one next to the AC.

I called the rental counter, but couldn't get through the maze of prompts to a live human. I drove back to the lot. After speaking to a couple of employees, they confirmed it. The guy who returned it that morning smoked in the new SUV.

They said it was a 20-something guy and they billed him for it. The 2nd employees said that he sprayed air fresheners and left the windows open to air it out. (which was why they were open when I got in)

Unfortunately, they didn't have any other large SUV to exchange. The only other vehicle that could seat 6 was a Kia something.... I asked the employee to spray more air freshener. He did so and ended up giving me the whole industrial-size can. The manager or supervisor came over and apologized He offered to take 50% of my bill. He wrote it on the contract and put his name and cell# on it.

I drove away with the windows open. It was sunny and pretty warm, so I figured that it was fine. No. It started pouring rain for the next 2 days, which meant that I couldn't keep the windows open too much. It got so bad that I had to call my doctor for a prescription of inhaler, which I had not taken in over 7 years.

3 of the people in my group were smokers and even they were upset that someone smoked in a brand-new rental vehicle. (they told me that they didnt' even smoke in their own cars) they were smokers, so the smoke didn't really bother them. As a joke, I took out the N95 mask that I kept in my carry-on, just in case. Didn't help.

- end of rant.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 1:26 pm
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At least if you smoke in a car, do so with the window partially open and blow the smoke out the window. I have a friend that smokes in her car and I canít even tell that she does that
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Old Feb 5, 20, 1:46 pm
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50% off seems like a good deal to me.
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Old Feb 5, 20, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
50% off seems like a good deal to me.
Not if your employer is paying for it.
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Old Feb 6, 20, 4:25 am
  #5  
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It's not a good idea to save your employer money?
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Old Feb 6, 20, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
It's not a good idea to save your employer money?
The discount is meant as compensation for your bad customer experience, not your company's. A voucher off a future leisure rental would make more sense.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by Auto Enthusiast View Post
The discount is meant as compensation for your bad customer experience, not your company's. A voucher off a future leisure rental would make more sense.
No the compensation is for the shortfall in the service provide to the employer. The company is the customer, the driver is the consumer. Sadly SUV inventories have been pared and getting swaps or upgrades when things do not work, let alone smoking etc, has become increasingly difficult.

Sounds very poor though. I smoke cigars on vacation but like your pax I never smoke in vehicles or houses/offices etc.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 6:27 am
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Don't most car rental agencies have some ozone machines to deal with this kind of problem? Appreciate that it may take some time to get rid of the smell fully, but it seems like the only way to rid the car of the smell permanently.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 6:50 am
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They should have taken the vehicle off the rental lot until they were satisfied that the smoke odor was gone. They might have done that if it was from a major agency, but then they'd have to tell the customer that they don't have the vehicle that he reserved, and what they were able to offer him didn't meet his needs. I had a similar problem with Fox in Ontario, California last month. They didn't have any full size cars (what I had reserved) and offered me an "upgrade" to a small SUV, telling me how much their customers loved them. I don't, and I was renting the car for 2 weeks. After about an hour of wasted time, the manager looked at the computer and said she'd have some full sized cars coming in at 9 AM the next morning and she'd call me when they had one for me, so I left with a smallish mid-size car and a discount of about $15. No call in the morning, no call that day, or the next day. She wouldn't give me their phone number so I could call them, saying "we're all out on the lot all day and can't hear the phone ring." I tried calling the corporate number but they couldn't get me to the local office either.

I was near LAX a couple of days later, so I stopped by, told them my story and asked if I could exchange the car there (my contract was for return to LAX anyway), assuming they had a suitable replacement. They were great - no hassle, had plenty of cars for me to choose from (I picked the "like" make and model that I reserved) and in 15 minutes I was on my way happy with my ride.

This was my first rental from Fox - I never trusted them because their rates were so low, but in this case, their rate was about $250 less than Hertz so I had to take the chance. Obviously different offices of the same agency are different, and probably more different for a budget agency than a full priced one - and based on my experience, I'm not as reluctant to rent from Fox at LAX as I've been, but Ontario - NEVER AGAIN. They're just plain liars there.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
50% off seems like a good deal to me.
I had garlic smell in an otherwise new rental vehicle last year. Didn't like it one bit and left a window partially open during the day.

Annoying but not really a reduction in functionality.
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Old Feb 11, 20, 11:16 am
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Originally Posted by rjlon View Post
No the compensation is for the shortfall in the service provide to the employer. The company is the customer, the driver is the consumer.
How exactly was anyone sitting in the company office inconvenienced by the smell in the car? Should the end consumer receive any compensation for such breakdowns in service they are directly forced to endure and resolve?
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Old Feb 11, 20, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers View Post
They should have taken the vehicle off the rental lot until they were satisfied that the smoke odor was gone. They might have done that if it was from a major agency, but then they'd have to tell the customer that they don't have the vehicle that he reserved, and what they were able to offer him didn't meet his needs. I had a similar problem with Fox in Ontario, California last month. They didn't have any full size cars (what I had reserved) and offered me an "upgrade" to a small SUV, telling me how much their customers loved them. I don't, and I was renting the car for 2 weeks. After about an hour of wasted time, the manager looked at the computer and said she'd have some full sized cars coming in at 9 AM the next morning and she'd call me when they had one for me, so I left with a smallish mid-size car and a discount of about $15. No call in the morning, no call that day, or the next day. She wouldn't give me their phone number so I could call them, saying "we're all out on the lot all day and can't hear the phone ring." I tried calling the corporate number but they couldn't get me to the local office either.

I was near LAX a couple of days later, so I stopped by, told them my story and asked if I could exchange the car there (my contract was for return to LAX anyway), assuming they had a suitable replacement. They were great - no hassle, had plenty of cars for me to choose from (I picked the "like" make and model that I reserved) and in 15 minutes I was on my way happy with my ride.

This was my first rental from Fox - I never trusted them because their rates were so low, but in this case, their rate was about $250 less than Hertz so I had to take the chance. Obviously different offices of the same agency are different, and probably more different for a budget agency than a full priced one - and based on my experience, I'm not as reluctant to rent from Fox at LAX as I've been, but Ontario - NEVER AGAIN. They're just plain liars there.
There must be a company out there that makes some kind of test strip or detector that can conclusively determine the presence of cigarette smoke residue?

I'm gonna look into that...

Something like this, but minus the alarm.(which would not work well in vehicles)

https://www.amazon.com/Lifesaver-Cigarette-Cigar-No-Smoking-Alarm/dp/B07J6N6KQY https://www.amazon.com/Lifesaver-Cigarette-Cigar-No-Smoking-Alarm/dp/B07J6N6KQY
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Old Feb 11, 20, 1:46 pm
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I had this happen to me in New Jersey several years ago. Thankfully they were able to swap me out. In your case as they had no replacement cars, I think your options become more limited but you did have options. You could have moved to a smaller car and had a colleague also get a rental car. Or canceled the reservation and rented from another provider or another location for the same provider. You could have also inquired about swapping the vehicle out the next day. None of these are great options, but there were other options. The unfortunate thing is they also cost you time and convenience.

I would agree that compensating your company (or perhaps customer) for the vehicle isn't really fair to you. I typically ask a vendor to reimburse me with points or vouchers rather than reduce the cost, as I can then redeem for my benefit.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 1:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Vangrovsky View Post
It got so bad that I had to call my doctor for a prescription of inhaler, which I had not taken in over 7 years.
- end of rant.
If you are that sensitive to it, perhaps you should have taken something else besides an SUV. Sounds like you put the need of the SUV above your personal health?

Originally Posted by Lore View Post
Don't most car rental agencies have some ozone machines to deal with this kind of problem? Appreciate that it may take some time to get rid of the smell fully, but it seems like the only way to rid the car of the smell permanently.
Most probably use the can of stuff.. can't remember what it's called, but you open it and have to leave the vehicle fully closed up for 24-72 hours. It does work though.. just takes time.
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Old Feb 17, 20, 7:09 pm
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I once rented a Camaro SS from the National location at Santa Barbara airport. The smell of freshly smoked weed in that car was disgusting. There was still a smoke haze in the car. Turns out over discussions with the rental counter that it was the employees who drive the cars to/from the car wash and car prep area that had smoked in the car. Unfortunately the only other car was a Kia something, which I took. So say I was unhappy would be an understatement! However I was going on a Navy base and really did not want to have any issues with 'that smell' wafting out of the car at the security checkpoint....
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