I rented an Audi A5 SUV this week from a brand name car rental company. I picked the vehicle up Sunday late afternoon due to the fact I needed to leave my house very early on Monday morning to pick up a coworker to drive down to NJ. The vehicle drove nice, smooth and was very comfortable on the short 15 mile drive to my house. I parked the vehicle in my driveway and went to bed early.
Monday morning at 5:30 am I hopped into the SUV and was on my way to pick up a coworker who was waiting for me a few miles away. I noticed a warning light on the dashboard. It was a LOW key fob light. I remembered I had to push the start button on the car 3 X before the vehicle started. I called the rental company and they said not to worry about it and to keep the FOB next to the starter button when starting the vehicle and it would be fine. Not the answer I was looking for but I was on a time schedule and figured all would be well? I was about 5 miles from where I had to pick up my other passenger.
As I was merging onto the highway the Audi started to make a loud sound like it had a flat tire. I quickly pulled off to the side of the very DARK highway and put the emergency flashers on. I cautiously got out of the vehicle with my cell phone in hand. I put the cell phone light on so I could see and the tires surprisingly enough the tired looked fine. I got back in the vehicle and continued on my way. I drove about 100 yards and the noise came back. It seemed to be really loud if I went over 30 MPH. Once again, I pulled over onto the dark breakdown lane on the very busy highway.
I called the phone number for the rental place. They instructed me to call the emergency # for roadside assistance. I called the roadside assistance and reported the problem. 1 hour later help arrived. Let me note that was 1 HOUR of cars driving very close to me, from 65 MPH to WTF MPH. The cars, trucks, 18 wheelers were wizzing by me as I was helpless on the side of the highway. What if someone was texting and driving and rammed into the back of my vehicle????
When help arrived, he noticed I didn’t have a flat tire and due to the fact it was SO dark and I was in the breakdown lane of a MAJOR highway, he recommended that I drive SLOWLY to the next exit. The roadside assistance person followed me and called me on my cell phone as he was driving behind me to make sure I was okay and then told me that he saw the engine splash shield dragging underneath the vehicle. He suggested I drive slow and continued to follow me.
When I got to a safe place, I was not able to drive the vehicle any further due to the fact the flap would eventually fall off and either hit another car on the highway or it would fall off I would run over it. The next issue was the roadside assistance was not the type of vehicle to tow. Soooooooooo I had to call roadside assistance again who told me I needed to stay with the vehicle until a tow truck arrived. This process took another 1.5 hours. The new roadside person crawled under the vehicle, tucked the flap under a nook but said it would fall down again without the screws in place. At that point I was so flustered I called my coworker who came to pick me up and the road side assistance person towed the vehicle away.
So lets get this straight. I rented a vehicle from a well known rental company. I had an issue. I called them not once but TWICE. The second time was with a MAJOR issue and they didn’t send a vehicle to come pick me up. They didn’t do much of anything but apologize for my current set of circumstance. I had to do everything to get that vehicle back to the rental place. I had to call my coworker to come pick ME up and take me to the rental place as the tow provider wasn’t allowed to have me as a passenger.
Once I arrived at the rental place, I was greeted with smiles and hello’s. I did my very best to be cordial and explained my situation from the first issue with the low FOB key to the what I thought was a flat to the real problem of the engine shield. I haven’t heard that many sorry’s in that short of time ever from a company.
How about the fact I rented a vehicle from YOUR company and it failed. I was told “We do not look UNDER the car to check it”. I said “Well maybe you should start implementing that safety feature”.
I really liked the way the Audi handled and it was a great vehicle. I am considering it for my next vehicle and that is why I picked it to drive on my journey. My question is, who maintains the rentals and checks them for safety?
End of the story, they gave me the vehicle complimentary. My company benefited from that as they were paying for it. Original rental was an Audi, they offered me a Hyundai Sante Fe in replacement. No GPS, It got me to and fro with no issues. It was a 2019 with under 10K on it. Unacceptable service from this rental company.
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