Karl Shouler

A Note to Zipcar

This is a note I wrote to Zipcar this past week as a result of a poor experience I had with them. Anyone who knows me has heard me praise their service at one time or another, so I felt compelled to keep my cult-ish allegience to them in check.

Update: Zipcar responded within about an hour of me sending this, with a mea culpa in the form of a $30 credit toward future driving.

On March 31st, I had a full day reservation to use the Mercedes C300 Chana at 3rd/Arch. My girlfriend and I were driving up to New York from Philadelphia for Easter, and thought it would be fun to spend a bit extra on a nicer car for the long trip.

About 45 minutes into the drive, the car warned us the front right tire was low on pressure (down to about 25 psi from 44 psi). I pulled off and filled the tire with air. Another hour into the trip, it was low again, so I filled it. This repeated 4 or 5 times throughout the day, and was a bummer given we were driving something so much nicer than we’re used to.

I called the next morning (4/1) to tell you about the problems I had. An agent offered me an hour of free driving, and though I spent more time than that on my knees in parking lots filling the tire with air, I took it and mentally noted not to take that car again.

Now today, it’s been a bit more than a month, and I was on zipcar.com checking my bill and noticed my account was never credited for the time I was promised. So although it was a measly hour, I called again through the app this morning. I spoke with another agent, who I retold my story to, and her response was that there was no record of my call from April 1st. Not, “we’re sorry for your inconvenience”, but one of skepticism that my story was even true! She put me on hold for 5 minutes or so, and upon return told me they could check the call logs for my conversation and get back to me in 1-3 days. What? Does my account have a history of fraud or suspicious activity? I couldn’t believe what just happened.. I’m now more frustrated that this representative chose not to believe me than the fact that I spent our luxurious drive filling up a tire.

My girlfriend and I have been consistently good customers and quite vocal to our friends and family about how zipcar is doing great things to change a broken rental market. That said, this has been a really disappointing experience for me, and unless this is rectified in some way, ideally being refunded for my March 31st trip, I really can’t see my attitude being the same anymore. I plan to consider my other options and remind my friends to do the same.