Alamo Roadside Assistance

OK so you may ask what there is to review about hiring a car… here are some observations…

We booked a seven-seat minivan for 21 days online (with a cool promo code that you can acquire by buying this book, which we would highly recommend for anyone going to Orlando on vacation) for just over $700 with unlimited miles and up to five extra drivers.

The rental was booked from 10 am through to 5pm (I had paid for the extra day).  As the Junior Freaks were still working on UK time they had us up real early.  We went to pick up the car at 6am and they had added an extra $50 to the quote (later found out to be for the 4 hours extra I had to car…).  I was not informed of this – it was only when I went to sign the paperwork that I noticed the extra fee; luckily I had a printed copy of the reservation with me as the staff member didn’t have a clue.  After a discussion (“Are you having a laugh?”) the extra charge was removed from the rental… I wonder how many suckers fall for that.

We picked a Chervolet that seemed fine (in the parking lot) however once out in the daylight it became clear that there was paint all over the windscreen and driver window (which had been rolled down).  Lesson learned; always check everything thoroughly…I spent the next few days scraping off the paint at every opportunity.

We noticed on the freeway that when we used the brakes at high speed the car made a scraping sound.  I didn’t worry too much as they still seemed to be effective.

Around a week later I went to brake and almost ended up on the grass… there was an awful noise and the car took much longer than normal to stop.  Luckily for us we were less than 1/2 a miles from the villa we were staying at so we managed to get back.

I called Roadside Assistance at 6:15pm and was given a choice; I could wait up to an hour and a tow truck would be with me to take the car and I back to the Airport where I could pick up a new vehicle, or, I could wait up to three hours for a truck to arrive with a new car on it for me.  I opted for the first option and patiently waited…And waited.  And waited some more.  I called at 7:45 and asked for an update.  I was informed that the tow had got stuck in traffic but was now well on the way to me and would be with me within 60 minutes.

About 20 minutes later the tow arrived.  The driver was great and explained that he did not work for Alamo and only got the call the pick me up at 7:15.  During our ride to the airport I discovered many things (did you know for example that the tow trucks have a 500,000 miles warranty in the US?  Some of the bigger trucks have a 1,000,000 miles warranty.  Wow.  I can’t see them doing that in the UK…) including the drivers location when he got the call; yes you guessed it – the Airport.

Neither the driver nor I could work out the logic.  They sent an empty truck from the Airport (45 miles away by the way) to pick me and the car up so we could go back to the airport to pick another car… which I then had to drive back to the villa again… What? Anyway – when I get to the airport I have a “discussion” with a staff member who added a $100 credit to the rental. The “broken” car had less than a quarter tank left (the new car had a full tank) and as it was sitting at 29,500 miles the tow driver reckoned it would be sent to the special garage in the sky for rental cars (apparently Alamo keep the cars until 30k). Would I rent again?  Yes.  Alamo represents excellent value on most leisure rentals.  The service was not great and I don’t think there was any need to lie to me.  We did get a new car, a refund and some gas.  I guess all is well that ends well?

Alamo Website

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