Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ft. Lauderdale Advantage Car Rental Review

I am going to skip over reviewing the airports because, let's face it, airports are airports and we don't really have a ton of choices out there. We did have a choice for our rental car company, however, and boy do I wish we chose a different company. Based on our friend's recommendation, we decided that we wanted to rent a SUV because we wanted to sit higher up for the ride from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West in order to see the scenery better. After doing some research on prices and availability, we chose Advantage because they offered the best price on a one way (we were flying into Ft. Lauderdale, but flying out of Miami) small SUV. When we got to the reservation booth, however, they didn't have a small SUV available. They informed us that the best that they could do was to give us a full size car (which we did not want, since we didn't need a big car; we just wanted a high car) at the same price that we were supposed to pay for the SUV. After we complained, they argued that they were actually giving us a discount off of the current price, which had gone up much higher since I made the reservation. Then they said, we didn't actually reserve a SUV; we only reserved the price and they could give us any car they wanted.

The whole thing reminded me of that Seinfeld episode:
Jerry: I don’t understand, I made a reservation, do you have my reservation?
Agent: Yes, we do, unfortunately we ran out of cars.
Jerry: But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.
Agent: I know why we have reservations.
Jerry: I don’t think you do. If you did, I’d have a car. See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don’t know how to hold the reservation and that’s really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

When I continued to argue against that logic, the manager told me that if I didn't stop arguing, he wouldn't rent me a car at all. After I started to dial the Advantage headquarters to let them know that their Ft. Laurderdale aiprort manager did not want to take my business, he changed his mind and decided to do me "a personal favor" and give us 20% off of the amount that we were supposed to pay for a car 2 levels lower. Gee, thanks so much for going out of your way. After about an hour of arguing, we were finally able to get on our way for the long drive to Key West, where we wound up missing the sunset because we arrived too late to go down to Mallory Square. I completely blame Advantange for that, and I will never use their company again.

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