Thursday, September 06, 2012

LIFE: Enterprise Rent-A-Car, 7-Eleven Phones PFUI!!!

[Do NOT click on ANY LINK found in the comment section of this blog. No matter how innocuous the link MIGHT appear to be, it is MOST LIKELY SPAM or a link to MALWARE. I am disheartened by the need to do this, which accounts for the sparsity of posts this year.]

Not every probem has a solution. When you are in the service industry, what makes--or breaks-- a reputation is how much effort you put into TRYING to find a solution. When you make NO effort whatsoever, you deserve every bit of bad karma you can possibly get.

Three weeks ago, I lost my phone service is the midst of losing all of my internet connection on all five computers I have here. It was a cascading failure that started with the two android tablets, first the Toshiba Thrive, then the Envizion 7. Midway through the week I lost connection through Ollie, followed by my main computer Quincy. And six days after it started, my last internet connection on Popeye went poof. Early in that sequence, I lost my house phone, which is a Vonage box that runs off the internet too. So, I was without any home phone capability from sometime early on the Tuesday to late on Saturday.

I don't blame either Vonage or Rogers for those issues. Hardware fails and some effort was put into servicing my needs at the time. Those efforts weren't entirely satisfactory, but at least they fessed up and apologized.

The other companies? Hope they don't make a profit again in my lifetime. I'd wish hell, fire and brimstone on them, but some innocent bystanders would get caught in the storm. On the other hand, if you work for the ... well let's call them armpits of service, you shouldn't be surprised when karma's a bitch.

At any rate, the first problem was the emergency phone, known as the 7-Eleven piece of crap phone, wouldn't work. Was charged, because it's kept on a charger. I knew it was on its last legs due to finding out that the company that advertises, BRAGS even, that there are no hidden charges on their pay as you go plan, was charging for access to the 911 service. And when called, stated baldly, it's required by law that they charge for the service. Ahhhh, not in Ontario they don't. As of now. In the future, maybe. But not now. And their hidden charge by the company with no hidden charges, FOURTY PERCENT MORE than any other company that also charges, without having to actually give the raised money to the government here in the province. Pure profit.

So, when I needed the emergency phone (I had used it for a total of seven minutes in 14 months of ownership), it did not work. Changed charging outlets three times over the next five days, but it never worked. Yelled at 7-Eleven when I told them (eventually) to take the phone and deposit it where the sun doesn't reflect off the screen. Checked yesterday when I was getting rid of the sim card inside. It worked then. Still ended up in the garbage. GIGO.

Okay, so, I was a bit peeved when I used one of the two still working computers to book a reservation with Enterprise on the Wednesday for the following day (To go buy a real cell phone, oh the irony). The slogan they use on all their advertising, "We'll pick you up," is omnipresent. It's the same jingle you hear ad nauseum when on hold on their 'customer support' line. But I couldn't find any place to check off I actually wanted to be picked up. I've needed picking up every time I've used the service, given the fact I surrendered my car back on Remembrance Day last year. But I finally noticed NO CHECKBOX.

So, I sent off an email saying I needed picking up and that I had NO PHONE SERVICE. No home phone, no cell phone. Could I get confirmation. I sent it to customer support at THREE hours and a bit later,  Mary replied with the boilerplate text from the website. I was expected to phone an hour in advance of my reservation to confirm pickup.

Several epithets escaped my mouth. I angrily emailed back, asking if she had read the email? Wednesday ended with no reply. But surely TWO emails back and forth with Mary at Enterprise Customer Support was sufficient to communicate the uniqueness of the situation and any customer support rep with more than 10 minutes worth of training and more than a negative amount of empathy would be doing something positive about the situation.

Thursday morning came. Still no reply from Mary. The time for pickup came. And passed. With no other option available, I did the untenable. I went across the street and woke my 87-year old, recently-widowed neighbour who is still struggling with the effects of losing her husband of more than a half-century. I watched her, still in bedclothes, come to her back door. Asked to borrow the phone. Being one of the nicest people alive she was quick to do it. And I called Enterprise, seething as I was doing it. Was I the worst guy in the world or what?

Of course the local Enterprise hadn't gotten any information from dear old Mary. "Do you want us to come get you right now?" Yes, I answered and then excused myself as quickly as possible, letting my neighbour get back to bed. I went back over to my house to await the driver from Enterprise, which is about five minutes away from me. Takes seven minutes to drive from my house back to their office, because of all left-hand turns. I waited for 43 minutes.

Turns out, 'coming to get you' is a euphemism for finding somebody to come get me ... THEN coming to get me. Since, at this stage, the locals were being apologetic and the person I was most mad at in the world, and it's a looooooooooong list, was this Mary, I decided I'd stop yelling at them. They told me a number of things:
  1. No, their email address was not published on the internet by design
  2. No, they don't WANT people to ask to be picked up, so they don't make it easy
  3. Yes, good ol' Mary COULD have forwarded the email I sent along to them or
  4. YES, ever-helpful Mary COULD have given me the private email address

At the very least, she could have replied in a timely manner to my second email that would have allowed me to CANCEL my Enterprise reservation and I could have used my email to get a buddy to play taxi driver for a day. It would have cost me some brownie points, but I've spent years accumulating them for emergencies of this nature. Seems Mary didn't do the least she could do, she'd actually found a way to do less than the least she could do.

The rest of the morning was spent shopping, spending money. Including a new cell phone from Walmart with a pay as you go plan from Virgin Mobile. Maybe not the big boys, but several steps above that crappy service from 7-Eleven. And no, just in case you are wondering, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever step foot in one of their stores again. If you were wondering.

Half-way through my day of spend and spend, I stopped at home and found an email from the unsainted Mary had arrived. Yes she had read the email. No it didn't matter, I was responsible for finding a neighbour to call for me or to allow me to use their phone. The milk of human kindness dripped from every word she typed. I genuinely hope Mary never finds herself in the same situation as my neighbour, the one who's grief I did interrupt, because you should never wish that upon another person. It's close, but even her lack of empathy doesn't quite fill the bill. Later I tried to give my neighbour a brand new Kindle reader as a means of assuaging my guilt in the matter. But she declined.

When the day ended and I returned the car to Enterprise (Still early enough for them to rent it out again and double-book the vehicle for extra profit), I had a copy of Mary's emails available for them. The local manager offered to rebate my day's rental. I declined saying, "I pay my bills and if I accept the money, I have to stop ranting and raving. I want the charge to the credit card and I want a written apology with somebody with a title from Enterprise. I know he'll (a bit chauvinistically, i know) have his secretary do it. But I want some acknowledgement of the complete screw up that today was." I didn't ask for Mary to be fired, although I left no doubt that IF I ran Enterprise, she'd be an ex-employee five hours ago.

I got a call from Enterprise surveys on the following Monday. Enterprise didn't fare so well. But it was suggested a followup contact would come the next day. TWO WEEKS LATER, I called the local Enterprise manager ... a new guy .... surprise!!! That was last Thursday. He was supposed to pass along my desire to be an EX-Enterprise customer along to somebody higher on his red-tape chain. I got two emails from Enterprise Plus, the on-line arm of Enterprise that has my personal information AND financial info. But nobody contacted me ... and yes, I have a very much working home phone again.

Today, I called that customer support line again. Talked to Lendell and to Kyle. Told them I wanted my membership cancelled, written confirmation of same, including that Enterprise no longer had my personal information, Neither asked why. Kyle said "yes sir and thank you for selecting Enterprise Rent-A-Car." My guess? They've been through this before. Which says all that there has to be said for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Want to bet I'll have to sic a lawyer on them to get the written confirmation they've deleted my personal information from their computers? I do to. 

Next Thursday, when I have to go to the doctors amongst other places, I will be using Budget Rent-A-Car. What I didn't know when I first selected Enterprise, was that their slogan is not all that unique. Just about all the car companies do that now. Sure, like Enterprise, they'd prefer I didn't ask to be picked up, but at least they charge 25 percent less than the company with the slogan. New Enterprise slogan? "We charge more for less."

E for effort, Enterprise and 7-Eleven. You don't care. I'm just one customer who doesn't make the barest dent in your bottom line. But at least the three readers of this blog have now been forewarned. Maybe they'll tell enough people, who'll tell enough people, etc. Karma has a funny way of making things like that happen.

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