Enterprise Rent A Car

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Enterprise Rent A Car

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61% positive

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Review of "Enterprise Rent A Car"

published 09/12/2013 | ryanando
Member since : 22/09/2005
Reviews : 344
Members who trust : 121
About me :
Haven't been around for a long time now. Who knows if I'll ever return.
Good
Pro cheap if you are travelling with a group and don't have any accidents
Cons dont get to choose your car, excesses are crazy, deposit is big.
exceptional
Type of car rented
Available selection
Customer Service
Vehicle Quality
Value for Money

"3-star ship Enterprise"

Bad luck and trouble

October was a month where I had a couple of rather long journeys planned for my car. Being my car, it heard these plans and then made its own. At the start of the month one of my front tyres went flat so I had to get that replaced. While doing that the mechanic noticed I had a broken spring (which explained a mystery clattering noise we'd heard a few months ago). I thought that was the end of my troubles until two days before going on an 8 hour drive to Alton towers. An ominous clunking noise began that even the mechanic couldn't find till the next day. Something to do with a bent axle grinding away at a bracket that holds the wheel on. Either way the part would take a day or two to come in to the garage so effectively, I was screwed. Instantly I called all my friends who were supposed to be safely snuggled in the backseat on this journey and had a bit of a panic about having to look at hire cars no less than 17 hours before we were due to leave. What fun.

The Website

After an hour or so of searching we had a few names and numbers to look into. Enterprise was the most promising of all. Their website gives you a list of a few different types of cars and a few specifications of each type all falling into categories marked A to F. It looked like category D was going to be the best for our needs which meant that we'd be getting a car that was a "large compact" which stated we'd get Vauxhall Astra, Ford focus or similar, with 3 or five doors, a five seater with power steering and an FM radio. You get a bunch of bigger or smaller cars at varying prices and if you are lucky you may even be able to find a voucher code online to get a bit of a discount so make sure you have a look around.

The only thing the website didn't seem to mention was the engine size of the cars in each category. If you know roughly nothing about cars, basically the bigger the engine size, the quicker you'll be able to pull out at junctions and roundabouts. My absolute farce of a car actually has a decent sized engine on it, not the biggest, not the smallest but it certainly makes the difference. I was looking to get something, therefore, that either matched or exceeded my cars pulling power with its 1.4 engine. It didn't look like I'd get that information online though. Throw in that I was pushed for time, I decided just to give my local office a phone.

Calling for help

Phoning was fairly simple. I explained the situation and asked what size engine I could expect to get under category D. The answer given was 1.4 to 1.6 ish which was perfect. I asked if I could book it for the next morning and there didn't seem to be a problem. The only issue I had was that the car wouldn't be available till 9 which meant pushing our schedule back by an hour. I full expect if I had booked further in advance it would have been available earlier than that. I was given the list of paperwork I'd need to bring down with me and booked in to pick it up.

You will need your drivers licence (preferably both parts but they can find your details if you can't, it just takes a bit longer) and a utility bill or something else with your address on it. Simple enough. If you are under 25 you won't be able to rent a car from enterprise. A lot of places are the same.

Getting there

The website offers to pick you up if you need it, but also states that's subject to geographical restrictions. We weren't offered it when I phoned the office but that wasn't really a problem for us as the Dundee Branch is directly next to the bus station and less than a five minute taxi ride away from our house meaning it's really easy to get to. If you need the address of the office you are going to, the website will give you it. You have the option to drop the car off at another office too. If you were, for example, driving down to Stoke-on-Trent and not needing the car for the rest of the week, you could hire it for the day to get down and drop it off at the office in Stoke. That can add a wee bit to the price though.
Sign your life away

We arrived at the office just before 9 and had to hand over all the paperwork to the staff. The guy on the desk then took me outside (in the pouring rain; apparently the office doesn't come with umbrellas) into the parking lot behind the office to introduce me to the car and explain a few things about it. He showed me a little gauge and said that any damage smaller than the circle in the gauge was ok and I'd not need to pay for it. He then came in heavy with the scare tactics and alerted me to the major downside of renting a car. If the car was damaged then I would have to pay an excess of £700 and not just once. If there were more than two areas of damage or more than one incident, the excess applies for every separate piece of damage. What that means is if you have two dents (bigger than the gauge) that cost £700 each to get fixed, you'll end up paying £1400. This would even apply if someone ELSE dings your car for you which I found ridiculous. He then advised that I could pay about £11 a day to bring that excess down to £100 per piece of damage which would have added an extra £44 to the bill.

I'm either brave or stupid and remembered that in theory most small bumps and scrapes don't cost £700 each to get fixed so odds are, if I was careful, even if I had a little bump, I'd not need to pay that much anyway. I declined his offer/scare tactic and it became a running joke throughout the trip that its ok to cause damage as long as it's smaller than this (imagine I'm making a circle with my hand). You don't need to get insurance out yourself, which is one less hassle at least.

That all said and done, the guy done a once over of the car to check for any damage before we got in it. I left him in the car park as by this point it was torrential rain. Once he was done, he came in with the drenched paperwork and got me to sign the top sheet. The rain meant that the ink washed off almost instantly; I was ok with this.

The Car

Once everyone arrived at the office we went out and piled into the car which was an ugly beast of a thing, a cream coloured, diesel powered fiat 500. It looked a bit like a mini on steroids and had one of those cool glass roofs, a bit like the pope-mobile. The car, despite being a bit ugly to look at, was actually very comfy inside and had all the mod cons. We were able to plug in our I-pod, I had controls on my steering wheel, and there was a little screen display for the cd/mp3/radio information in the middle of the dashboard. You can pay extra for sat-nav, but I already have one, so I just brought that along and plugged it in. The boot had plenty of space in it, and no-one was overly uncomfy throughout the journey (in fact, my friend Kev slept for a lot of it) so mostly it was a good car. It also came with parking sensors which was interesting and completely new to me. We even named her! I christen thee "Ding" (as long as it's not bigger than this!)

My only gripe is that, as it turns out, Fiat 500's don't have a 1.4 engine, they have a 1.3 engine. That meant that any time I had to pull out of a junction or at a roundabout or slip road, I got the fear. If you don't know what fear I'm talking about, imagine you're used to being to nip out into the tiniest of spaces with ease. Then imagine that, all of a sudden, your car stalls, breaks down and rolls slowly out into oncoming traffic. That's what it feels like when your engine size goes down. It is not comfortable. Thankfully, it was mostly motorway driving and once Ding was out on the open road, she performed just fine. In fact she was so responsive that the first hour was very wobbly as the slightest touch of the wheel had her wanting to change direction. That responsiveness came in handy when an idiot pulled right in front of me around about Manchester and I had to swerve to avoid him at 70mph. Kev was very much awake at that point and from there on I got a regular update on how conscious he was any time we came to a stop.

On the off chance that the car does break down, they'll even give you a couple of numbers to call. We didn't have to use these numbers thankfully.
Fill 'er up!

I'm used to a petrol car, but thankfully they have a bright orange thing on the car key that reminds you it's a diesel car. They even put a sticker on the petrol cap cover saying DEISEL ONLY so it'll be quite hard for you to forget. Even so, we all made sure that if anyone said "petrol" for the entire journey, everyone screamed "DEISEL!!" at them for about five minutes. It worked so perfectly, I had to really think when I got my car back afterwards and needed to fill her up with...deis...no... petrol! Your tank will be full (or as full as it really can be after a drive back from the petrol station) when you pick it up and the only stipulation is that you return it with a full tank.

Take out

One thing I didn't really enjoy is that the Dundee office had a really thin entrance road to the car park. It felt almost like they had set me up to scrape the car before we'd even gotten away. Word to the wise, just be careful. You don't get a lot of chance to get used to the car before you have to start doing the scary stuff like pulling out at a busy junction, straight onto a roundabout and then a set of traffic lights.
Bring it on home

Taking Ding back home was very quick and painless. I drove into the scarily thin road and parked her up (after some "oh god there's someone coming out" manoeuvring). Into the office I went and handed over the keys. The smiley girl behind the desk asked us how our trip was and got all excited about Alton Towers and then popped out to check the car over. About a minute later she popped back in to let us know everything was fine and wished us on our merry way. The next day I had a missed call from them that, after a quick Google, I found out was a customer experience survey which I hate doing (when I'm not being paid for it) so I didn't bother to return the call.

The Price

The cost for three days hire for a category D car from 9 o'clock on Friday till 9 o'clock on the following Tuesday at that point was £70. Oddly it came to one whole penny cheaper in the office than it came to online! Thankfully that cost was divided between the five of us and worked out at £14 each. That would have jumped up by £44 if we took the extra insurance to bring the excess down (essentially wasted money if you don't have a bump that costs over £100 to fix) meaning it could have been £22.80 each or £114 in total. Be aware also; they will need a deposit of £200 that will be refunded to you when you return the car. It all went on my credit card so that wasn't a problem for me, but if you only have a current account that might make things a bit of a squeeze. The refund was back in my account within a day of returning the car. Again, make sure you look around for voucher codes online before booking as they are occasionally floating around the web and could help save you a bit of money.
The Verdict

The staff were all very efficient and polite and I had no problems with the car. Mostly I was impressed but there were a couple of things I didn't like. The excess payments for damage are excessive. Also they really should give the customer a little bit more of a choice of what car they drive as I would have went for something that had a bigger engine within the range if I was given the choice. I'll take a star off for both. They at least made it very clear how much it'd be and gave me the choice to pay a little more to bring it down but that did feel like them trying to squeeze money out of scared customers. Overall, however, I'd recommend them if you need a hire car. They were the cheapest we could find but that was before adding on the extra for lower excesses. You might be able to find other car hire companies whose excesses are a lot lower that doesn't cost as much as this would have if we took out the extra cover. A thumbs up and three stars out of five from me.

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Comments on this review

  • Graygirl published 12/12/2013
    Excellent review x
  • Coloneljohn published 12/12/2013
    Excellently reviewed.John
  • catsholiday published 11/12/2013
    A fine review over here too!
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Product Information : Enterprise Rent A Car

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Listed on Ciao since: 11/08/2001