Beware: Payless often means Pay More!!!!!

It wasn’t one person, it was three.  It didn’t happen once, but three times.  It must be a company requirement or something.  To what am I referring?  Poor customer service and overcharging.  That’s what I’m talking about.

Here comes the story:
Company name:  Payless Car Rental
Location:  Las Vegas International Airport
Date:  January 17, 2011
Employee names:  lady, guy in garage, and lady manager  (We were so mad we forgot to get their names!)
Background:  This reservation was made less than one week in advance.  The price was significantly lower than all the other agencies.

THE STORY:  It all started with the pick up.  Everything was going smoothly at first.  The “lady” behind the counter and I were making small talk about the weather.  Then our dialogue went something like this:

lady: “And you’ll be needing the (blah, blah, blah) insurance coverage.  Do you want to use the same credit card?” 
Barb: “Insurance? No, I don’t need any extra insurance.” 

lady: “Well your current insurance doesn’t cover everything so you’ll just get the minimum then?” 
Barb: “How much is it?” 

lady: “Only $23 a day!” 
Barb: “$23 a day?  That’s more than I’m paying for the car!  AND I’m only going to be driving a few miles back and forth.  No, I won’t need that.”

lady:  “Well if something happens to the car, you’re responsible.”
Barb:  “Of course.”

From this point forward she was VERY rude.  She was short, blunt and to the point.  All friendliness has disappeared.  I had to ask her where the cars were located and she seemed annoyed with having to tell me.  I could hardly wait to get out of there.

The car return was, yet, another disappointing experience.
My husband and I pulled into the lot to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas.  The”guy in the garage” quickly looked over the car then gave us the receipt.  Upon checking over the receipt, my husband and I found an eleven dollar charge for gas. When my husband asked the guy about the charge, the guy said the tank was not full.  A shouting match ensued.  It wasn’t pretty.  The guy called his manager who arrived about ten minutes later – the car’s engine was running this entire time.  She looked at the gas gauge and agreed with “the guy” that it was not full and that the charge was legitimate. My husband explained to her that the car’s engine had been running since the time we had returned and couldn’t that cause the needle to move slightly away from the full mark?  After more yelling between “the lady manager” and my husband, she reluctantly credited the account for the eleven dollar charge. 

The fact that all three employees behaved the exact same way makes me think it’s a corporate policy to charge extra fees then to be rude when these fees are discovered and questioned.  I wonder if they get commission on those fees or something.  It was one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had. 

Customer Service lessons learned from Payless Car Rental:

1.  If a customer turns down an extra charge, continue to be nice to them.  Thank them for being a customer.
2.  If a customer becomes irate, listen to the complaint and use empathy. Don’t take it personally and call the manager ASAP.
3.  As a manager, when dealing with an irate customer over an eleven dollar dispute, remain calm.  Don’t yell back and give them what they want.

Remember, a customer whose complaint is resolved quickly and easily will return 96% of the time AND they will tell others.  Look what happens with BAD customer service  –  a lost customer and one who blogs about it to the world.  OUCH!

1 Response to “Beware: Payless often means Pay More!!!!!”

  1. 1 Karen Lane January 23, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Barbara — Great story. I travel a lot, and it’s painful enough without rude interactions and extra charges. There are plenty of choices — this sounds like one to avoid!

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