December 3, 2012
Bad products, bad services, hidden resort fees. When travel can take a wrong turn.
So much all at once. The most major, our rental camper was hit by a car trying to avoid a head on collision with another vehicle. No one was hurt.
We weren’t even in the camper, it was parked on the side of the road. The hours that followed proved to be extremely exhausting and disappointing. In a nutshell, the rental agency neglected to take care of matters, or even to bother picking up their phone at one point.
Eventually I got through, but…. ohhhh so much more. Let’s just say I not only had to chase up their designated tow company, but we received four phone calls from the tow driver having to provide him with directions on the location.
The weirdest thing:
The rental company is out of New Zealand technically, but has a rep we’ve been dealing with here. Because they were too busy to come out of their meeting (here on the West Coast), the rep in New Zealand asked me to phone the Tow Company and ask the Tow company to phone them, their 800 line, and to give them their membership number. New Zealand rep said he can’t make calls to 800 lines. I’m thinking what? What about a direct line? Your rep here is too busy to come out of their late night meeting so I’m doing their job?
What part of Accident is not understood and all that it entails? transferring, moving luggage, trying to figure where we’re going to stay (even though it’s my hometown I don’t have an apartment here), how we’re going to get where we’re staying, etc.. all while my iphone battery is on it’s last legs.
I contact the 800 line of the Tow Company and explain “Hi, my name is Anahit Lewis and I’ve been in an accident. I have a rental through (blank blank) but they’re out of New Zealand and I have their membership number but you need to contact them because they can’t contact you because you have an 800 line (and they’re cheap)… although they have an 800 line that you can get through to.
The rep? “uhhh, I’m sorry can you repeat that?” I was on the phone with them for awhile providing info but really persuading them to contact New Zealand (I think the rep felt contacting New Zealand was out of her comfort zone — don’t blame her).
Then when they said a tow is on their way the tow driver doesn’t bother pulling up the directions. He called four times.. the last call my friend Sergio was on the line (my phone was about dead) for over 5 minutes tech supporting him through, seriously, all the streets of Pasadena. I couldn’t believe it.
For goodness sake we were in one of the busiest locations in Old Town Pasadena.. Ralphs supermarket, everybody and their grandma knows where that is including all the navigation and free map apps on the web.
We were left stranded for over three hours. No follow-up calls.
I kept thinking what if this happened to us out in the boonies?
-> Accident at 6:45p
-> Tow truck for car that hit us 7:30p
– >Tow truck for us 10:00p
As Peter says, “we get a 2nd rate tow company, 2nd rate service, what does that say about this company?”
There’s even more about the rental… but I’m too exhausted to go into it and besides we’re waiting to hear how they will proceed with the refund we’ve asked (for days unused) as we no longer wish to use the camper. I have no confidence at this point in them if we break down again.. away from a city I know. Maybe things will turn around.. we’ll see.
There’s also the matter that I was charged a hidden resort fee from the hotel Luxor we stayed in Vegas. I was on the phone with Luxor yesterday evening trying to chase up a manager. My morning was spent at the rental camper company trying to chase up the rep that handles the brand of campers we were using (it’s a rental service with many other brands). We were never able to reach them.
As for Luxor, I asked for a refund on the hidden resort fee but was refused, so I took it to social media and also the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and BBB (Better Business Bureau). The International Business Times even wrote up a story on the FTC admonishing Vegas for the hidden resort fees. Many customers have complained apparently. Extremely unethical. It’s not all of Vegas hotels, make sure to read the fine print. I was never charged this extra “resort fee” at Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino by the way.
What was supposed to be a weekend of working on Peter’s shopping cart for his blog and several other matters in preparation for a business meet this Monday has unfortunately taken a backseat to write complaint letters, make phone calls and chase up people.
I’m glad the accident happened in my hometown, Los Angeles and not out in the boonies. I’m thankful for my friends Sergio and Monica who came to our rescue.
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