June 20, 2024
Noah Finkel thinks he might be on Alamo's dreaded Do Not Rent list, but he can't get a straight answer -- or rent a car. How can we find out?

TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently rented a car from Alamo. I made a reservation online, but when I tried to pick up the car at the airport, a representative informed me that I could not rent from Alamo because I was on the Do Not Rent list.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter 

Alamo said I had to resolve this through the corporate office of Enterprise, which owns Alamo. Unfortunately, I have had no success in resolving this issue there either.

Alamo says I owe $204 from a rental in 2018. I rented the vehicle while my car was being repaired, and there could have been a mix-up involving the insurance company’s payment. I called Enterprise and offered to pay the debt, but Enterprise could not locate the amount of the debt or the reason for it. In fact, the agent with whom I spoke could not determine if I was on the Do Not Rent list.

I’m happy to pay whatever I owe. At this point, I’m willing to pay even if this was a mistake. The brands Enterprise owns all are leading, trusted car rental car companies and are very competitive on price. I’d like to be able to rent from them again. Can you help me?

— Noah Finkel, Glenview, Illinois

ANSWER: I’m sorry you got on Alamo’s Do Not Rent list. The company should have helped you get off the list quickly — after all, you wanted to give them more business. But it looks like there was a breakdown in communication between Alamo and Enterprise.

The Do Not Rent list is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a list of customers who are no longer allowed to rent from a car rental company. The most common reason for getting on the list is failing to pay for your car. Often, it’s a repair bill, but it can also be a rental bill. As you speculate, your insurance company might have agreed to pay for your 2018 rental and then reneged, leaving you responsible.

When something like that happens, a car rental company will try to contact the renter to work something out. It’s not clear why that didn’t happen.

Most car rental companies will tell you if you’re on a Do Not Rent list and will help you get off the list, if possible. When you can’t get a straight answer, you need to take your case to someone higher up, preferably in writing. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Enterprise customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped you solve this mystery.

I contacted Enterprise on your behalf. “We have investigated this issue, and it has been resolved,” a representative responded. “Mr. Finkel should have no further issues.”

So, what happened? An Enterprise representative explained to you that your insurance company paid Enterprise, but an employee mistakenly issued two invoices for the rental. Then Enterprise failed to zero out the second invoice, which resulted in an unpaid bill.

I checked with you, and you confirmed that you’re no longer on the Do Not Rent list.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help/.
(c) 2023 Christopher Elliott
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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