Oy, what a hassle

 My letter below was to Zipcar, after a hellish afternoon!  Mostly not their fault, at all, but still a pain!

Hello, Sorry to have chosen the category I did, I wish there were an "all of the above." I just completed a reservation of a car ("Church St/Wood St / Smart Spadina" in Toronto) and have a few comments / concerns. It’s been a while since I’ve used a Zipcar so there were a couple new things I have questions / comments on! First, for the sake of whoever owns it, I found a ZipCard (numbered 159087) in the glove compartment – I left it there in case it was intentionally there but thought I should let you know in case that member’s looking for it! Second is a repair / problem issue. When I picked up the car one of the warning lights was on in the vehicle. It turned out (after eventually finding the translation of it in the manual — which is missing pages and should probably be replaced) that the car had detected that one of the tires was significantly low (and, when I first drove it, this was very noticeable as the car was struggling to move forward properly). I drove straight to the Petro Canada Station at Jarvis and Wellesley (where Zipcars keeps a number of vehicles) and was told that they would not provide me change for the air machine, that they’re not a bank, and that it’s not their air machine so it’s my problem to deal with. This isn’t Zipcars’ fault (at all) but given the attitude expressed by all employees at this station, as well as the numerous signs posted expressing that they would not even provide assistance with a machine on their own lot, I question whether Zipcars should be providing them with business by renting space on their lot. After being turned away from there for lack of two quarters to run the machine, I made my way down to the Esso at Church and Dundas, which was remarkably helpful. I wonder if the handful of underutilized spots in their lot would be an appropriate place for a couple of Zipcars! It turned out that one front tire was overinflated by ~4 PSI and the other was underinflated by about 8 (it should have been at 29 and was around 21). By the time I had the car back in working order, this whole ordeal had taken me around half an hour which forced me to extend my reservation by that amount of time. I recognize that minor maintenance items like air pressure in the tired are our collective responsibility as Zipcars members and I’m normally happy to do it. The only reason I call all this to your attention is that this was such a significant problem (as I mention, there were notable performance issues with the vehicle) that either a) the previous driver knew there was a problem and didn’t report or fix it or b) there’s some sort of physical problem with the front left tire that is causing it to leak significantly — both of which are problems I feel responsible to tell you about! When I extended my reservation the only automated options I seemed to have to report it were either that the gas wasn’t full enough or that I was in an accident… I may have missed the menu option, if so, my apologies! Last, but not least (I thank you again for taking the time to read this!), a suggestion on the new text messaging features. I received three messages during my trip – one to notify me of the original reservation, a second to notify me of the extension I made, and a third to remind me it was almost over and I could respond via text to extend. The first two messages were sent as e-mails-to-text, which required me to respond to my carrier (Rogers) with "Read" in order to see what it was about (all I originally received was "You have mail from do_not_reply@zipcar.com. Please reply with ‘read’ to read your message." The third message came directly as a text from 746-57. Given that the technology is already in place to send messages directly to members — is it possible for ALL of these messages to be sent in the same manner as the third one? It would save time, money, and hassle for members – assuming it’s not too cost-prohibitive for Zipcar it might be a great feature. Thanks again — I appreciate you taking the time to read my feedback! Neal


4 responses to this post.

  1. Sounds reasonable to me. I hate when businesses won’t help out with simple things like change, especially when it was a Zipcar so they know it’s not yours and so it’s not like you could have expected to do this maintenance.


    • Thanks! I was trying to make it not come off as a complaint against Zipcar, because for the most part I suspect they knew nothing and/or were doing everything they could. I didn’t say it in my letter but after getting complete disdain from TWO different employees at the PetroCanada station and attempting to explain logically to them why it was in their interest to give me change, I ultimately realized they were just assholes, gave them a ‘fuck you’ and stormed out. I’ve never thrown a hissyfit on a customer service person before but it was clear to me the second person I was speaking to was the franchisee himself and just really hated customers or something!


      • I often stand up for the person in customer service but in this case they were in the wrong. I get the no giving change rule on principal because one runs out BUT in this case they get revenue from Zip Cars and doing a good deed once in a while and giving out some change isn’t going to break the bank. Here’s where a small amount of brains are needed to start determining things on a case to case basis.


  2. Problems solved 🙂

    For anyone wondering, Zipcar actually went WELL above and beyond to respond to this – I opened my e-mail inbox today to one e-mail from their national office and one from Toronto, which individually and combined provided a credit for the extra time I spent dealing with the tires (which I didn’t even need/want but was happy to receive), gave me directions on how to best report lost items in vehicles, confirmed that they would consider recommendations regarding location choice that reflect “Zipcar-like” behaviour of property owners / users, and gave some useful suggestions re text alerts. This is one of the reasons I just love being a Zipcar member — even though I don’t use it often, the communal attitude and customer service provided is top-notch and they really value their members!


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