Mary Dampier’s rental from Alamo was problem-free until she returned the vehicle to San Francisco International Airport. That’s when she was drawn into what she says is a frivolous claim that has ended with Enterprise (which owns Alamo) threatening her with a collection agency, legal action and being blacklisted from renting with the company again.
The problem? The cracked bumper (above) which Dampier says was pre-existing. Alamo wants $481 for repairs, but Dampier insists she didn’t do it.
Will Alamo sue her for $481? Probably not. Will it report her to a collections agency? It could, but she has certain rights that could render the collection-agency route ineffective. And being blacklisted would be a problem, but Dampier has no intention of renting from Enterprise again.
Despite the government’s insistence that American air travelers broadly support its new airport security measures — which include either a full-body scan or a so-called “enhanced” pat-down — a weekend poll by the Consumer Travel Alliance finds public sentiment has turned against the policy.
Asked whether they supported National Opt-Out Day, on which air travelers plan to call attention to what they say are overly invasive TSA screening techniques by intentionally refusing the full-body scans at the airport, a surprising 70 percent answered “yes.” The poll of more than 1,000 travelers suggests that air travel could be slowed significantly or even grind to a halt on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
The Consumer Travel Alliance and several other groups that represent travelers, including the Business Travel Coalition, do not believe Opt-Out Day is the best way to promote change. In fact, history suggests litigation combined with public pressure is a more effective way to change TSA practices. (Two policy changes last week involving the screening of pilots and children under 12, were a direct response to lawsuits and intense public pressure.)
Remember the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, where a valet takes a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT out for a joyride? Brandi Mahoney claims it happened to her when she stayed at the Embassy Suites Portland – Downtown in Portland, Ore., recently.
Kalevi Ruuska contacted me with an urgent problem recently. One of his friends was being asked to pay an odd cancellation fee by Air Berlin, and would not take “no” for an answer. The airline had hired a collection agency to pursue its claim.
His story underscores a fact few of us here in the United States seem to understand: No matter how bad airline fees are here, they’re worse in Europe.