Jefe's House

Philly to Enterprise. Come In, Enterprise.

by on Nov.04, 2015, under The Sixth Boro, The Truth Is In Here

carshare

I’m having gas pains. I know that bitching about a car rental company is a mere #firstworldproblem but on the other hand here I am in the City of Brotherly Love for an extended stay and we’re trying to be green and all by not owning a car.  My wife and I can afford a car; we just don’t want or need to own one, so we use public transportation as much as possible and rent cars as needed.

When we first came to town we discovered a cool little experiment called PhillyCarShare, a local nonprofit with a grass roots, hometown, environmentalist feel. Then it got bought by Enterprise and now all the employees of Enterprise CarShare live in far away states and handle customers from multiple cities across the US, UK and Canada.  Mostly this depersonalized corporatization has been fine but it hasn’t been without its zany frustrations, so much so that this past year we also joined the Avis Budget-owned rival company Zipcar to compare the two. Both have their pros and cons.

Here’s a CarShare con: with Enterprise CarShare you must return the car with a minimum 1/4 tank of gas. They also provide a gas credit card in the car so that you don’t have to pay for it yourself.  They also ask you to book an extra 15 minutes of time in case you do need to get gas.  So far, so good.

But sometimes their card doesn’t work at some gas stations, or sometimes the card isn’t there at all because a previous driver accidentally kept it, and then you must pay for the gas yourself and send Enterprise CarShare a receipt (or leave the car below 1/4 tank and pay a hefty penalty fee).

Except that sometimes you find out that the gas pump doesn’t print receipts. When these pump problems happen I simply pay for $5 or $10 worth of gas with my own credit card, wait for the charge to appear on my statement and send a screen capture of it to Enterprise CarShare so that it can be credited to my account.

Keep in mind this is all a result of CarShare’s credit card not working so it really burns me up when they make it seem like it’s the customer’s fault and chastise them rather than thanking them for taking the time. See this email exchange below from last week between myself and an Enterprise CarShare customer service rep whom I’ll call “Jane.”

Subject: gas receipt submission

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2015 

From: Jeffrey Stanley

To: info@enterprisecarshare.com

Hi, here’s a receipt from my trip on 10/17/15. I put $5.01 worth of gas in the car with my Mastercard debit card as the pump wouldn’t accept the Enterprise fuel card. Please see attached.

thanks, Jeff

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Subject: re: gas receipt submission

Date: Nov. 2, 2015

From: Jane at Enterprise CarShare

To: Jeffrey Stanley

Jeff, Going forward we need the actual receipt from the gas station. We need to be able to see the final copy with the date, time and amount of gallons the car took. Did you want this credited back to your account, or have a check mailed to you personally? If mailed, please confirm the address.

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Subject: gas receipt submission

Date: Nov. 2, 2015

From: Jeffrey Stanley

To: Jane at Enterprise CarShare

This gas station, Lukoil where the car is based, doesn’t give receipts. Whenever I’m at a gas station where the pump is functional re printing receipts I do that.  Yes, please just credit it to my account. Thanks.

[NB: I wonder how much money it costs Enterprise Carshare to have someone in their company request a check for $5.01, have that check printed by someone else, and have that check mailed to me by probably a third person, added to the cost of how much they're all getting paid per hour. Surely it's way more than $5.01 which seems excessively wasteful and inefficient, but that's just me.]

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Subject: re: gas receipt submission

Date: Nov. 2, 2015

From: Jane at Enterprise CarShare

To: Jeffrey Stanley

Thanks Jeff, I certainly understand, however, going forward we will need a receipt. If you see the car will need gas, please try another station.

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[NB:  Try another station? And there’s the logic breakdown that made me lose it, friends.  First, I won’t know that their card isn’t working until I’ve already waited in line, turned off my car, put the nozzle into my tank and am  standing there ready to pump the gas. Remember that, according to Enterprise CarShare, you’ve only got 15 minutes to get this done and which you’ve already paid extra for in the rental cost.

Secondly, even if the card is there and it works, I  won’t know that the pump isn’t going to give me a receipt until after I have pumped the gas, and this could happen at any station.

The end result of all this is that the next time I see that the car needs gas I’ll put the bare minimum in to bring it back to a quarter tank, like $1.00 worth instead of courteously putting in $5 or $10 worth, so I won’t have to worry as much if Enterprise CarShare tries to make me feel contrite for sending them a credit card statement with date and transaction number instead of a receipt, to make up for the fact that the gas station where their car is kept doesn’t accept their cards.  God forbid they should thank me for my time and effort.

Now I know why so many of the times when you get into one of their cars it’s riding right on that quarter-tank line. It’s because the person before me didn’t want to refill it more than one drop beyond the minimum because they don’t want to have to deal with people like Jane.   Here’s my infuriated response to what I see as their Eastern Bloc-style bureaucratic condescension:]

—————————-

Subject: gas receipt submission

Date: Nov. 2, 2015

From: Jeffrey Stanley

To: Jane at Enterprise CarShare

Enterprise CarShare is asking way too much of it’s customers, Jane.  That is quite ludicrous as there are no other stations in the immediate vicinity [of my home] and there’s no reason why my credit card statement can’t serve as proof of purchase.  Are you suggesting I’m pulling a fast one to bilk $5.01 from your company? Great customer service, Jane.  The company should rethink its policy regarding acceptable proof of purchase. And do you really think I’m going take even more time and pay you more money to put gas in your car by driving all over South Philly looking for a pump that’ll give me a receipt when I’ve got a 4-year-old strapped in a car seat in the back?  Telling your customers to book an extra 15 minutes to purchase gas is already penalty enough.  I don’t get these kinds of hassles with Zipcar.  Please keep the emails coming as I’ll be making our conversation public via social media. Look for #enterprisehatesitscustomers

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And so, #enterprisecarsharehatesitscustomers

 

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