Public Service Announcement!
ALWAYS CHECK THE TAGS ON YOUR RENTAL CARS!!
Until very recently I didn’t think this was something I would ever have to consider when I rented a vehicle. How wrong I was! I don’t know how many of you ever have the need to rent a car but I recently had an experience that may be helpful to any of you that may need to rent one in the future.
I have rented vehicles several times and every one of those times I had absolutely no problems until last month. Last month my daughter, granddaughter (age 5), and I needed to go to St. Robert, MO for my son-in-law’s National Guard boot camp graduation. Flying was way too expensive for us and train and bus fare wasn’t much better so we decided to drive. St. Robert is almost a thousand miles away and I did not want to put that wear and tear on my car and my daughter didn’t want to put that wear on her car either so we decided to rent a car.
Like I said I had rented vehicles before and always from our local Enterprise Rent A Car here in Whiteville, NC and I had always been super satisfied with the vehicles I rented and the customer service I received….until my experience Tuesday July 23rd of 2019. This story is a bit long but trust me if you ever have to rent a car you want to read on.
I booked the car rental on April 28th, so it was booked almost three months in advance. I booked as soon as we got the date for boot camp graduation and wanted to make sure that we would definitely get a vehicle and not have to drive ours.
We showed up to pick up the car at 11:45, 15 minutes before our scheduled noon pick up. The gentleman there pulled up the reservation and got everything ready and then took us out on the lot to the car. As we approached the car my daughter noticed that the sticker on the license tag was expired. You can NOT get onto a military base with expired license tags. The sole purpose of our trip was to go to my son-in-laws’s boot camp graduation on base at Fort Leonard Wood. We mentioned that to the employee and asked about the license tag.
This employee checked the glove compartment, said he did not see the sticker and then he went into the office and I waited for him by the car. My daughter went back home to begin hauling our luggage out onto the porch so we could go ahead and get on the road.We had a hotel room reserved for the night in Cookeville, TN which is roughly 7 hours and 20 minutes from where we live. The plan was to get there before dark, since it is in the Tennessee mountains and rest before we finished the other 7 hour and 20 some minute drive the next day to Missouri.
When the employee returned he told me that he couldn’t find the sticker but that he had checked the license tag in their system and that it was fine. He also told me that even if it weren’t and if we got stopped the ticket would be their responsibility anyway. (Not necessarily true!) I asked him again was the tag for sure good. He said yes so I signed the paperwork, got the keys and left. The first thing I did after I left was stop at the Go-Gas and fill the gas tank. Then I went home to get the girls. When I got there my husband expressed some concern about the license tag and decided to check it online while we packed the car.
Long story short, when my husband checked the tag it was actually dead! I had rented a car that had a dead tag and we needed to leave ASAP on a 15+ hour drive to a very important event and the tags were DEAD!
As soon as we got the car packed (which was less than 5 minutes after we discovered the tags were dead) we headed back up to the Enterprise lot so we could hopefully get the car exchanged for one that did NOT have dead tags. When we got to the lot there was a note on the door that said the office was closed until 3 pm. By this time it was 12:30/12:45 and we really needed to be on the road headed to Tennessee. So I called the 1 800 number for Enterprise and when I got an agent on the line I explained the situation to him. He assured me that I could trade the car and gave us the address for the next nearest Enterprise that was on the way that we were headed, which was in Lumberton.
We drove to Lumberton and they did not have a car for us, the agents at the 800 number do not have access to the inventory on the individual lots- file that for future reference. They were very nice and called the Laurinburg office, which was also on our way and thankfully they did have a vehicle we could trade for. So we headed to Laurinburg.
We arrived in Laurinburg about 2/2:15 and they were awesome! They were cleaning a car for us and we were assured that we would be on our way shortly. They were very apologetic and I was very pleased with THEIR customer service.
In the end we were good and the vehicle was actually better on gas than the one we were given in Whiteville. We finally were able to leave about 3 pm and did not make it to our hotel in Cookeville until around 11 pm but we did at least make it with a vehicle that did NOT have dead tags.
So the lesson for today is ALWAYS make sure when you rent a car that you are not given one with dead tags.