just procrastinating

Friday, January 16, 2004

Not Cool
Via the Modulator, I read about this story from the New York Times about some poor sap who got stuck with a $3400 car rental bill because he failed to read in the contact that it would cost him a buck a mile if he left state. They knew he left state because his trip was tracked by satellite. The company is making him pay. I sent Payless Car Rental an email, saying I wouldn't rent from them again if this wasn't forgiven (not that I would anyway, but just so they'd know that).

This kind of thing bugs me, not only that the trip was tracked by satellite without him knowing it, but also the slimy "gotcha" kind of charges that some companies try to get away with. I had a similar run in with SunCom. My wife signed a one year contract with them for a cell phone. After the year was up, since we both now had cell phones through work, we decided we didn't need it anymore and called to cancel. They told us that since you didn't cancel in the 30 day window before the end of the first year, the contract automatically renews....for another year! When they told her this on the phone, my wife said, "This is bullshit" and they hung up on her, which I guess is fine since you aren't supposed to take it out on the customer service people -- but it really is bullshit. I had to call back and try to talk them down, but no amount of persuasion or negotiation would get us out of it. We either had to pay $200 to cancel or keep the phone for a year. So we kept it and cancelled a year later and then went with Alltel, which has a better deal and their contract renews every month.

But anyway, it's good when these things make the news, because it gets the word out and it makes the companies think twice about trying to screw over their customers. I imagine that Payless branch is going to be hurting for awhile.

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