Car rental desks - the nth level of hell · Aug 19, 10:31 pm

Upsell is such a terrible word really. It basically means you, the customer, have not bought enough already, and how can they, the seller, make you buy more stuff that you didn’t want when you started.

The worse example I’ve hit of this was yesterday, at the Avis counter at San Francisco Airport. I had a car booked. The type of car was already selected. The price was nicely printed on the bit of paper I had printed out to give to the person at the rentals desk. I’ve just spent 11 hours in a single seat in a dark metal tube (they make you close the windows on International flights so luckier people than me might sleep). I’ve just spent 2.5 hours in a queue with over a thousand other people at immigration due to some computer failure. Can I just have the car I asked for and you agreed to provide?


The woman at the Avis desk was going to first try and upsell me on every little variable in the transaction. I’m sure she’s normally a nice person and is made into this upselling demon by company policy and a desire to keep her job, but boy did I want to shout at her to just stop it and give me the car I had asked for (I didn’t, I just politely smiled and said no thank you a lot).

Did I want a bigger car? No thank you (polite smile). But it’s a really small car you have. No thank you (polite smile). How about a nicer small car then? No thank you (polite smile). And you’ll definitely want the many levels of insurance we have beyond the basics (this one wasn’t even asked as a question if memory serves me correctly). No thank you (well, I took the break down cover, as I was too tired to fend off every upsell by this point). Did I want to buy all the petrols? No thank you (polite smile). It’s really much cheaper (if you use a full tank, which I won’t as I’m only going to drive 80 odd miles). No thank you (polite smile).

Arghhh. Please, just give me the thing I’d already specified and you’d agreed to give me for the price you originally said you would.

In the end, the woman behind the counter gave me a car, charged me some random amount over what I expected, which by this point I was too tired to quibble with as all I wanted to do was collapse in my hotel as my body clock told me it was way past my bedtime, and she did so with bad grace as I clearly wasn’t going to be a nice customer and spend an order of magnitude more than I originally wanted.

It really gives you a bad start to your trip when given you’re at your lowest ebb and people just try to take you for a ride (when really you want to drive yourself, thank you very much). Otherwise everyone I’ve met over has, as ever, been rather kind and pleasant. Even the man at immigration, usually a steely faced bunch, apologised to me for the delay.

Rant over. At least till I return the car I guess…

  1. Could have been worse:

    — jimbo7    Aug 20, 09:17 am    #

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