On January 11, 2016, at 1:56 AM after arriving home from our offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, I realized that one of my bank accounts had been compromised. I logged into online banking and found that the following charges were placed against the available balance by Enterprise Rent A Car. I called the bank and talked to the fraud department and spoke to Daryl. He said that the charges should post in 4 hours. He advised me to contact US BANK in the morning to initiate a dispute at 1-800-872-2657 He said that they will start the dispute process and issue a provisional credit for these charges.
He concluded the conversation by stating that this type of conduct is “Not Unusual”…. Right
So at 3:00 AM I authored a letter to Donald Ross, The Vice Chairman Enterprise Holdings, this is the company that owns Enterprise Rent A Car. I assume that when he did his research and saw that we are a class action litigation firm at Western Capital, http://www.MyCollector.com, that he contacted his risk management team, his name was KEITH DUFFY, 702-597-4503 whom called me at exactly 8:59 AM PST , inquiring into our problem. Within 8 hours, the company determined that the error was bonafide and that all of the funds would be returned. The following is the text of the letter:
TO BE FILED WITH THE OFFICE OF CORPORATE COUNSEL FOR ENTERPRISE AND THE OFFICE OF DONALD ROSS AS WELL AS THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION/ CREDIT CARD FRAUD UNIT/ LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE
On January 11, 2017, at 1:56 AM after arriving home from work, I realized that my bank account had been compromised. I logged into online banking and found that the following charges were placed against the available balance by Enterprise Rent A Car.
(Photo Redacted for Privacy)
I called the bank and talked to the fraud department and spoke to Daryl. He said that the charges should post in 4 hours. He advised me to contact US BANK in the morning to initiate a dispute at 1-800-872-2657 He said that they will start the dispute process and issue a provisional credit for these charges.
This is the validation of the loss.
(Photo Redacted for Privacy)
He also said that since there was a rental on September 18, 2011, that they were given access to the card, We explained that the car broke down and I am now turning this over to legal.
We will contact the FBI and file a formal report of theft when the charges post.
CEO and Chairman, Western Capital USA
2:50AM, January 11, 2017
cc: Donald L. Ross Corporate
Our Public Statement:
Although this should not have happened, we recognize the efforts of the Enterprise Organization to remedy this problem in a prompt manner. We now consider this matter closed and will post this for our readers and viewers at www.CreditInAmerica.com
Reference Points for Victims:
Let The Investigations Begin: This is how you deal with billion dollar companies: Their own employees!
A former manager in the Enterprise fleet sales division has a guilty conscience to unload at your feet. 9 tips, 5 pages of insider info about how the car rental game really works. Car rental insurance is a scam, but you can flip the script and use if to your advantage. Prices are liquid, and depending on the day of the week and how you butter your agent in certain ways, you can get a good deal. Despite the commercial with the brown-paper-wrapped car, Enterprise employees hate picking you up and dropping you off.
Don’t use the tips that require lying.
They’re just there so you know how the game works.
The flagellation begins, inside…
Now, Confessions from the Enterprise rental counter:
1. Enterprise doesn’t have any set prices. That rate you got when you called in was either the full retail rate, or the first number that popped into the agent’s head. There are three main categories of rentals: personal (retail), corporate, and insurance, but on every single contract that goes out the agent manually types out how much you pay per day and he has authority to make it pretty much whatever he thinks you should pay. When an employee makes a reservation it’s critical to key in the rate quoted so the branch knows what to charge the customer when she comes in otherwise nobody would know what to charge. A good branch manager trains his employees to adjust the price as needed to keep the lot sitting tight, that means making some way-too-cheap deals when there are too many cars around. It also means someone walking in saying they need a car no matter the price, that customer might get charged twice what he would have paid just asking for a car.
2. By now everyone knows that you don’t need that extra rental insurance but just like service contracts at Best Buy, you can negotiate the daily rate of your rental down by agreeing to add all the insurance (we call it “full boat” when some poor soul gets soaked for all of the extra protections–damage waiver, personal accident insurance, and supplemental liability: the trifecta of consumer stupidity). One of the lines that I used to use was, “For just a few bucks a day you got a million dollars of coverage.” True, but the full million dollar payout from the supplemental liability doesn’t come due unless you die. Gruesomely. Nothing says you can’t initial the “decline” box instead once your contract is printed, thereby declining the insurance and paying only your lower rate.
3. Managers are the ones responsible for how much insurance (usually called “waiver”) their branch sells–frontline agents (“manager trainees”) aren’t commissioned, they just look a lot better on paper if they sell lots of waiver, this is also how they get promoted. The branch manager or assistant manager will be just as likely–if not more so–to drop the daily rate in order to sell you his pricey insurance package.
If you want to secure a really low daily rate but stay on that employee’s good site (i.e. so you can get the same deal again and again), take your rental by any Enterprise in the region the next day and remove the extra coverage, you can take that coverage off at any time but if you pay for one day’s coverage the person that sold you the waiver still gets credit for the sale and you get the cheaper daily rate for the rest of your rental, win-win.
4. This is the big money tip: Most of Enterprise’s business comes from insurance replacement rentals. Insurance customers pay a lot less and all insurance contracts have unlimited miles. The only substantial difference between a retail deal and an insurance deal (other than price) is that insurance clients are billed in a calendar day instead of a 24-hour clock, this means you can return a car anytime until closing and you’re still charged the day’s rate (conversely, if you have the car at 8am you may as well keep it until 6). If you’re going on a long vacation this can save you a fortune: that minivan that cost you $69.99 per day retail goes for $37.99 if your car is in the body shop and Allstate is footing the bill, the SUV we roll for $109 per day retail is $50.99 if you’re renting because some State Farm customer smashed up your car. The daily rates vary by geography. Insurance rates are negotiated for each region, but they are usually around half of daily retail rates.
Here’s how to get that insurance rate on your next rental: Call for a reservation, say your car was totaled and you need a replacement; your insurance company is cutting you a check for $25.00 per day flat so you need something for under $25. Tell the agent that your insurance company is State Farm, or Farmers, or someone big–the big insurance companies have the best rates (rates will vary a few dollars from company to company). You’ll need your own proof of insurance when you come in but don’t that needs to match what you say here, nobody cares and people utilize different insurance companies for all kinds of reasons (you were hit by another company’s insured is probably the main reason). The important thing is that the insurance company is cutting you a check so you’re responsible for this rental, you’ll bring your own credit card, you don’t even know who your adjuster was (if you know the name of a local adjustor you can use it, Enterprise’s computer will show the adjustor’s name but nobody’s going to check, State Farm uses regional teams for their claims so for State Farm you could say “State Farm Team number something, I forget the exact number.”).
The agent hates these calls–the cheapest car on his books is more than your lousy $25 allowance. In this case he is supposed to give you ‘standard insurance rates’ which are midway between what a big insurance company pays and retail, but in this instance he’ll usually just source you to State Farm’s bargain prices because it’s not worth his time. He should offer you an economy or compact for somewhere around the $25. Stick to your guns: you absolutely have to keep under your $25. He can work that price to come to exactly $25 after tax (or close, if not just call another branch). By now you’re locked into the insurance company’s rates and he knows you’re cheap: if you want an upgrade now is the time: “well I did have a Taurus, my adjustor mentioned I should be able to get something like that for $29.99, can we just do that instead? I can’t really afford it but I think I need the space for my kids.” Remember to be as nice as possible, if the agent likes you he’ll make the deal even if he has to go out of his way to get your car (hint: mentioning you might need supplemental insurance can work wonders to seal the deal, see above).
Daily insurance rates are flexible per region and carrier, in my region which was a major Southern metropolitan area daily rates start around $21.99 for the economy, $23.99 compact, $27.99 mid, $30.99 full, $40.99 premium. Minivans start around $37.99, SUVs around $50.99, Luxury is rare on insurance deals but starts around $49.99. This is the bare minimum insurance replacement cost, rates are generally higher in the East and Northeast, a touch lower in the Midwest, and a lot higher on the West coast. Adjust your figures up or down depending on your geography, call two or three branches and you’ll have a good idea of all the rates in your region.
5. Enterprise runs the “weekend specials” because there are loads of spare cars on weekends. Airport and tourist-heavy places won’t have much for you, but neighborhood branches will be “sitting fat” (way too many cars) 40 out of 52 weeks of every year, a branch that has zero cars on the lot can pull a car from another nearby store that certainly will have too many. Weekends are hard on insurance adjustors’ numbers so they push the body shops to get all their jobs done by Friday evening, therefore a ton of rental returns come in on Fridays. Prices for the weekends are especially flexible, entirely dependent on how many cars there are in the area. I usually told my employees to roll a car at ANY price just get it off my books–having a car unrented over the weekend is murder on your branch’s numbers, the more expensive the car the more we need to get it off the books for that weekend. If you want the premium car for $14.99 a day and I have one, I’ll roll it (only caveat being you have to add my extra insurance if you want that price _and_ unlimited miles…plenty of locations are open on Saturday just stop by and remove the insurance tomorrow but keep your lower price). Enterprise corporate really frowns on cutting the rate and adding insurance but it’s a great tool to clear out the lot on Friday afternoon.
6. For the best weekend deal call up on Friday sometime before 2pm and say, “I have all my info, drivers license and credit card, can I get a rental all setup so I don’t have to do anything but sign the ticket when I come in?” This is GOLD because now the agent can pre-write your ticket and get that car off his books before the 2pm count (if a car is unrented at 2pm, it counts against the branch for that day so he’ll write your ticket before 2:00 and then the car can sit there all day for all he cares). Have your rate in mind and ask for it–don’t be afraid to make your own price! If there is a car available, you’ll get that car. If you still can’t get the rate you want, casually mention you probably need the extra insurance. He’ll write the contract now, then you initial the “decline” boxes when you come for the car (so you changed your mind). The contract is already written; he can go back and take off the waiver with just a couple keystrokes, it’ll probably cheese him off but you’ll get your lower rate and not pay for the insurance.
7. What if you’re traveling to a far away city and don’t want to use the insurance replacement method? Call ERES at 1-800-Rent-a-Car and tell them you’re a State Farm adjustor from [whatever city you’re from]. Your wife/mom/dad/whoever is going to be needing a car in [whatever city you’re going to]. Here’s some jargon for you, say: “I can’t exactly send the reservation over on ARMS [the automatic reservation system, which would make State Farm pay the bill] can you help me get her setup with my rates?” Insurance adjustors are treated like royalty at Enterprise, they’ll bend over backwards to make you happy.
Any insurance company will do, adjustors are the top of the customer pyramid. A little more jargon to help you look like you know what you’re talking about: Ecar is economy, Ccar is compact, Scar is midsize, Fcar is full, P-car is the premium, then SUVs and Minivans are usually just referred to as SUVs and Minivans, an adjustor probably wouldn’t ask for a luxury but that’s an Lcar. So you would say, “My wife is in Buffalo this weekend I need to get her something close to an F-car, pickup Friday evening drop off Monday, can you get that set up for me? Also, you guys are so good to us, my wife really has to get to her mom’s house, can you maybe note on the reservation this is an adjustor’s wife and she’s really in a hurry so they know to take care of her?” When she shows up at the branch they’re going to give her the best car they’ve got, probably a free upgrade if there is a spare one around, and send her on her way without any hassle about extra insurance (remember, she’s married to a state farm adjustor, she certainly knows not to take the extra coverage). It’s a courtesy for one region to help out another region’s adjustors when they pass through since adjustors refer the bulk of Enterprise’s business.
8. Enterprise has what they call “ESQI,” like car dealers each branch is rated on how many customers rate our service as 5/5 on the phone surveys. Anything less than 5 is the same as zero. Managers have to answer for this number like you can’t believe, so next time you forget to fill the tank or you bring a car back a few hours late, say there was some problem with the car–it smelled smoky, wasn’t running right, anything that says you’re not entirely happy with your experience. Most people just turn the car in and go; you’d be amazed what you can get away with just so the manager makes you “extremely satisfied.” I’d happily waive up to a full day’s rental charges if I think that’s needed to keep you happy, a grunt doesn’t have much stake in the ESQI but he has the authority to do the same. Policy depends on the branch, but it’s pretty standard to allow any rep to waive up to a day’s rental (or a tank of gas, something equivalent) without even asking if they thought it was necessary to get me a 5/5.
9. One final note: employees truly will give you a better deal the better mood they’re in. All employees universally hate ‘the ride,’ where we have to pick up a customer and drive them back to the shop. If you make us pick you up, even if you’re really close, we won’t be so happy to serve you as if you’d walked in. Set the deal up on the phone and if you can get a ride in, do it. It seems small but every little bit helps, the agent is holding all the cards until your contract gets signed, you’re already getting a way too cheap deal on his car–give the guy a break if you can get a ride in just as easily.”
Dear Mr. Paisola,
In my humble opinion, based on my own personal experience, Enterprise Rent-a-Car is likely involved in a nationwide consumer scam.
I returned a car with VERY minor nicks and paint scratches on the roof that could easily have been made by the claws of a crow who landed atop the car to shit.
Simplified, Enterprise appears to have a practice of charging customers for normal wear and tear to vehicles by creating “accident” reports, and then pursuing the matter with customers’ insurance companies or attempting to collect and sometimes collecting by charging the customer for “repairs,” – and sometimes charging customers’ credit cards or turning the matter over to collection agencies.
I found the following supporting anecdotal evidence:
Below is the text of a letter I faxed earlier this year to the top in-house lawyer for Enterprise, indicating a copy to the Illinois Attorney General. Enterprise responded in writing stating that “in the interest of customer service” they would drop the matter.
I’ve excised some detail for simplicity and privacy.
ATT: General Counsel
Re: Rental Agreement XXXXX. Vehicle “Accident” Report # XXXXX
Dear Mr. General Counsel:
Your affiliate, Enterprise Leasing Company of Chicago, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car (collectively, “Enterprise”), are improperly attempting to pin us – my friend, XXXXXXX, (the Renter) and me (“Authorized Additional Driver” or “AAD”) – with legal and financial responsibility for “several small dings” and “two small knicks [sic] through the paint” on the roof of a Chevrolet Aveo that we rented last weekend.
Enterprise claims these dings and nicks were not on the car roof when we took possession of the car, and as “proof” argues that the manager’s handwritten “ok” next to the word “roof” establishes conclusively that the dings and nicks were not there before we took the car. “OK” does not mean “perfect.” No reasonable Renter could be expected to understand “OK” as “perfect.” More importantly, no reasonable consumer could read the Rental Agreement and be on notice that Enterprise might seek to hold the Renter legally and financially responsible for these tiny dings and “knicks,” or that the presence of these dings and “knicks” could suffice for Enterprise to conclude that the Renter had caused the car “damage” in an “accident.”
Hopefully you can inject reason into this situation, and immediately stop what portends to become a litigated matter that will cost Enterprise far more money than the $XXX.00 which Enterprise was paid pursuant to the above-referenced Rental Agreement. If we pursue this matter, and we will if this does not stop immediately, we will surely prevail, and the Limitation of Remedy and consequential damage waivers in paragraph 15 of the Rental Agreement would not apply.
Enterprise is way out on a legal limb, and committing several violations of law, among which are or will be violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act.
Enterprise has generated a Vehicle “Accident” Report which among other things purports to identify the alleged “accident” date as xx/yy/08, despite that this document expressly states that “Customer [me, the AAD] unaware of how may have occurred. Customer also disputes that the damage was caused while it was in their care.”
There was no “accident,” which term is not defined in the Rental Agreement. We caused no “damage” to this car while in our possession. “Damage” is also not a defined term in the Rental Agreement.
Someone from Enterprise has now called and stated on voice mail that he wishes to discuss “the accident” and “damage” to this vehicle. This call will not be returned.
I know this is not an isolated incident. The Internet is replete with examples of consumers complaining about Enterprise’s apparent pattern and practice of erroneously charging Renters with the cost of repairing regular wear and tear under the guise of ostensible “accidents” and “damage” claims. This practice is not supported by any reading of the Rental Agreement.
The credit card authorization appearing at the end of paragraph 3 of the Rental Agreement is hereby REVOKED. The Internet is also littered with consumer claims of erroneous or arguably invalid credit and debit card charges by Enterprise, together with aggressive collection agency action against innocent former Renters. This type of problem had best not occur here.
Please feel free to contact me via phone or email.
/REDACTED FOR PRIVACY./
cc: Illinois Attorney General Consumer Fraud Bureau
We are simply reporting our experience. We deal with high dollar multi-million dollar fraud schemes and this is what we do. Just because the amount of money at stake was smaller, please do not infer that you should walk away. If you are in a situation, such as the one you see here, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and watch this short video.