I recently had an experience that left me so perplexed that I still have no idea how this happens to people or how it isn’t more widely reported…
I helped a friend move from Seattle to Portland. Seems like it should be easy, right? Order one of the many truck services, pick it up in Seattle, pack up the boxes and furniture, and deliver it to Portland, Oregon. Totally Simple, except when it isn’t. About two weeks before the big move, we searched the internet for the various moving truck companies, and hit all the big names of course.
First up… Budget truck rentals – http://www.budgettruck.com/Default.aspx
Since they were one of the lower cost rentals, we decided to check them out, we selected our participating dealer, clicked through the reservation process which was mostly harmless, then hit “Submit Reservation.”
Except, when it isn’t. 5 days before we were to pick up the truck, I get a phone call, “Hello this is we don’t have a truck for you, in fact, we’re overbooked by nearly 15 rentals. You can try to come get a truck but I cannot promise that we’ll have anything on site for you.” (See Above) I asked, “Wait, I have a reservation. I can give you the confirmation number.” — “I know, the system will confirm the reservation, but the local truck store doesn’t have to give you a truck. And we won’t have any…” and went on and on but did not provide any other options, checking with another retailer, nothing. Just – So sorry chuck!
Then I saw this on the reservation confirmation email: (Underlined Emphasis Mine)
Terms and Conditions
A reservation is not a contract. Reservation only guarantees the rate quoted and shows a customer’s preferences for a pickup location, drop-off location, time of rental, date of rental and equipment type.
The pickup location, drop-off location, time of rental and date of rental selected in a reservation is a preference only and if a preference selected is not available, Budget reserves the right to offer a customer alternatives.
All equipment selected in a reservation is subject to availability at time of pickup. If the equipment requested is not available, Budget reserves the right to substitute equipment at no additional charge to the customer.
Sadly, not only did they lose the opportunity to help out a customer, they’ve lost out on any future business. (I’ve moved five times in the last five years. To say that I’m not a frequent customer, would be inaccurate.)
Then, we went with the “old tried and trusted” rental company. U-haul – http://www.uhaul.com/ – not the cheapest, but they’re a national moving company, you see their trucks everywhere, always on the freeway going from here and there, it’s what they do, right? Wrong. They confirmed our reservation, provided a confirmation number and sent the email below:
Note: “Guaranteed Reservation,” it says. *phew* That’s a relief, except when it isn’t. The day of my move – a day before my friend’s move – he gets an email, “We are unable to secure a truck for you at the time you selected. Your only option is to pick up a larger truck” not in Seattle, where we asked, but in Renton, Washington – which is only a mere 16 miles, or at .89 cents per mile: An extra $28.48 tacked onto our rental. Also, since we ALL know how Seattle traffic can be/is, that would have taken another hour or more to travel – oh, by the way: “You cannot pick up the truck until 5 p.m.”
Seriously – Are you kidding me? No “sorry for the inconvenience.” No “we’re really full at the end of the month.” Nothing. Just – Here’s your option, take it or leave it. – Well, needless to say, after exploring our options, we left it.
And by exploring our options, I mean: We looked high and low, everywhere. From Enterprise, Avis, and Hertz… Everywhere. And then we found it. In Portland.
Ryder Truck Rentals – 310 N. Columbia Blvd – Portland, Oregon – http://reservations.ryder.com/reservation/reservation.aspx – We called and were directed to the local affiliate – I’m really sad I didn’t get her name, she deserves some serious kudos and a wholehearted thank you. She truly was a life saver – who said we could rent the truck, all things included – mileage round-trip, too – for less than the U-Haul would have been. Sold!
How refreshing, she reserved our truck, confirmed our reservation, and when we got there the next morning, had the truck ready for us. This the service we were looking for, nothing special when it comes to expectations from a moving truck company. Just make a promise to your customer and deliver on that promise, and this Ryder truck company did.
Update: I forgot this wonderful tidbit. While the other two truck rental companies required a credit card for their supposed “guarantee,” Ryder just told us to come on down, there would definitely be a truck waiting for us. No worries – and there weren’t. I’m incredibly pleased with their service. A cool thing we noticed on the office wall: “In and Out in twenty minutes or you get a discount.” Quality Customer Service, Great Value, Exceed Expectations. – That’s all we ever ask for from service companies, right?
Now, I know where I will be renting my moving trucks from, they weren’t my first choice, but they will be my forever choice and I hope all my friends give Ryder a call, I know I won’t go to the other places ever again.