“I’ll take the vehicle, but I expect to be fully refunded…”

I work for a car rental company as an escalation agent. Basically when a customer demands a supervisor I take the call.

Mobile format, so apologies in advance for any typo.

The following story happened last month. It may not be the most exciting story ever, but it highlights some of the technical limitations I have to deal with, and some pretty weird decisions involving Corporate reservations. That being said, Joe (not his real name) could’ve been more cooperative instead of telling me that I didn’t want to help him. More on that later.

So good old Joe prepaid 370 USD for his reservation, this included both the rental car and Roadside Assistance. When he arrived to pick up his vehicle, he learned that the company he works for already covered him for Roadside Assistance, so he requested to have it removed.

For whatever reason the counter couldn’t fulfill that task, so they told Joe to call us.
Apparently the agent who transferred me the call couldn’t assist him, so Joe got connected to me.

H: HenriquesDumbCousin
J: Joe

H: Thank you for calling rental car company, my name is HenriquesDumbCousin, may I have your name please?

J: Hey HenriquesDumbCousin, my name is Joe, how are you doing?

I never answer that question.

H: Thank you, how can I assist you?

J: Yeah, you see, I just paid for this reservation two hours ago. I selected Roadside Assistance, but I was told that my company already covers me for that, so I don’t need it.

I found it a little weird that Joe had to be transferred to me for such a simple task. I told him I’d do my best to assist him and asked for his Reservation number.

As soon as his Reservation loads I uncheck the Roadside Assistance check box and click on “Modify”. Much to my dismay, a small pop-up appears on my screen telling me it’s not possible to update the reservation. The original pick up time was 1530, and I received the customer after 1530 (like 1533, very unfortunate indeed). In order for this to work, I need to update the time and reselect the vehicle. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes, except…


… it’s a Corporate Reservation. Joe worked for a multibillionaire company that sells apples.

Here at the Call Center we are allowed to use Corporate discounts, but we only get the option to pay at the time of pick up. No option to pay in advance exists if the customer uses a Corporate discount.

For whatever reason, customers are allowed to pay in advance with Corporate discounts if they book the reservation themselves.

Normally you get a better rate if you choose to pay in advance, but with Corporate discounts there’s no difference at all.

Why this exists is baffling to me because if a customer pays in advance and calls us to modify their reservation, we get an empty screen, since Prepaid Reservations and Corporate discounts are not compatible on my system. I can remove the Corporate discount, apply one of mu discounts, and my system will allow me to reselect a vehicle, problem is that the Reservation will be more expensive. Sometimes hundreds of dollars more expensive.


So after updating the time I try to reselect the vehicle and get an empty screen. Remove the Corporate discount and the rate increases a few hundred dollars. I sigh, knowing what’s about to happen.

I explain the situation to the customer, I will need to rebook a new reservation, he’ll get the exact same rate (minus Roadside Assistance), then I’ll cancel his Prepaid Reservation and he’ll receive a full refund…

J: (clearly upset) but I’ll have to wait 3-5 business days…

H: … that’s correct sir.

J: But why can’t you just remove the Roadside Assistance option? I don’t need it.

I explain him the technical limitations.

J: So if your agent had done his job right and transferred me to you instead of wasting my time we wouldn’t have this issue…

H: My apologies for the inconvenience, sir.

J: But this is not my fault, I called on time, your agent made me wait!

H: Sir, you can keep blaming my agent, and you’re on your right, but that won’t solve anything…


Uh-huh. Customer keeps telling me that it’s been only like 3-5 minutes, it’s not fair, there has to be something we can do about it, etc. This call is taking longer than it should, so I tell the customer he has two options: get a refund and book a new reservation, or keep the reservation he has, but he’ll have to pay for Roadside Assistance.

J: Okay HenriquesDumbCousin, I’ll take the vehicle, but when I return it I expect to be fully refunded my 60 USD, I’m not paying for Roadside Assistance.

H: No sir, if you take the vehicle you’re agreeing to the charges and there won’t be any refunds.

J: It’s clear you don’t want to help me, so connect me to someone who wants to help customers, I’ll speak with your supervisor.

H: That person doesn’t take calls or e-mails, sir.

J: I’ll speak with your supervisor, thank you.

H: No sir.

Customer keeps demanding to speak with my supervisor, accuses me of not wanting to help him.

J: HenriquesDumbCousin, if you don’t want to help me then just release the call, I’ll call again and ask for someone willing to help.

H: Sounds like a plan!


Guess what happened next? Joe cancelled the reservation, booked a new reservation (without Roadside Assistance), and called again to have the cancellation fee waived. Pretty much what I told him to do in the first place.

What do you think?

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Lady, I don’t make the prices

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