Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tilting at Alamo Rent a Car Windmills

We arrived in Birmingham a couple of days ago to visit granddaughter Riley and her parents. While having a fine time we also took a run at Alamo Rent A Car (the tilting at windmills reference) for what seems to be a strange business practice.

What it boils down to is that we found a great deal on a four-day rental for a full size car. Ordinarily, a full size car is loaded with features such as power seats or a sunroof. What we ended up with instead is a standard car. Our Hyundai Sonata isn't a bad little car, although it was obviously designed for a remote entry that it doesn't have. The only way to unlock the doors or the trunk is to first unlock the driver's door, and then push the buttons around the arm rest, a real nuisance.

Back in olden times, when cars didn't have remote entry units, there were locks on the driver's and passenger's side, and a lock on the trunk as well.

The Alamo people tell us that full size and standard are actually "the same," and offered explanations of mergers with National and changing categories to explain all this. Why, then, are they treated as separate categories on the Alamo site, and why do they charge more for the full size?

Good questions, we thought, and a post to our invaluable Flyer Talk elicited a prompt suggestion to ask it of the Alabama Attorney General's consumer affairs department, which we've now done as a public service.

Gosh but it's nice to have the time in retirement to attend to some of the minor injustices of life.

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