Sizing up the sincerity of corporate apologies

Jason Landman’s stateroom on the Carnival Miracle vibrated from the moment his ship cast off in Long Beach, Calif., until it docked seven days later. “It shook and rattled literally from start to finish of the cruise,” he says.
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Are car rental companies downgrading their categories to rev up revenues?


P.J. Zornosa is a longtime Alamo Rent a Car customer. He knows what to ask for when he’s renting a car, and knows what to expect. Or at least, he thought he did.

This week, Zornosa rented a midsize car from Alamo. But instead of being given the key to a Pontiac G6 “or similar” he was offered a Volkswagen Beetle. Could that be correct?

I inquired as to how could a Beetle be a “midsize.” I was defensively told that it and the Toyota Corolla were midsize cars. They said, “I don’t determine the classification of cars and their size.”

Zornosa is right. Even VW classifies its Beetle as a compact car.

Are car rental companies quietly changing their categories to make more money? An Alamo spokeswoman denies it.

Alamo has always classified the Volkswagen Beetle as a midsize car. No changes at all. However, car classes obviously are subject to change — as fleets change over time, criteria may be revised here and there. Also, while there are some similarities among car rental companies’ classifications, there are also differences.

If you’ve seen a car rental category downgrade in the recent past, let me know.