Subject: renting cars
Hi , regarding backing up car reservations I read something in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine in the OMBUDSMAN section that gave me a new perspective ( Just for the record:I am not a regular reader of this magazine)

These are the facts that were exposed in the magazine:

1) XXXX made a reservation with National for a week long driving tour of the Northeast. When he arrived to pickup the car in Manchester, N.H. , he was told that the car was not available.

2) The agent apologized for the inconvenience and told him that National would pay for his taxi ride to a hotel and for accomomodations overnight and would deliver a car to him next morning.

3)The agent instructed him to put the hotel charge in his credit card and to get a receipt from the taxi. The next morning National sent a car to the hotel as promised. When he returned the rental a week later, he gave the same agent the receipts for the $162 hotel room and the $32 cash fare, and she noted both charges on his rental agreement.

4)But.... when he received the bill for the car, there was no credit for the hotel and taxi charges.

5) When he called National to find out why, he was told that he would not be reimbursed because the company had no record of offering him any compensation.

He was finally refunded by National thanks to the help of Ombudsman , this is his version of what happened:

Afler we brought XXX's case to National 's attention, the company agreed that it wasn 't fair and apologized to him for its deplorable services.Ombudsman is pleased that in addition to apologizing, the company has refunded XXX the cost of this hotel stay and taxi fare and offered him a $50 credit toward a future rental.

While it is not standard practice to reimburse customers for hotel bills or other expenses incurred when a reserved rental car is not available. National says that on rare occasions such arrangements my be offered. In most cases,National and other companies will try to find a car at a competing agency and will pay for any difference in the cost of the rental.

National says that it checked with the Manchester office after XXX brought the charges to its attention and found no record of an agent offering him compensation.Fortunalely for XXX, the agent had in fact noted on the rental agreement that the $194 in expenses should be deducted from his bill , and in the end, that was proof enough for National.

The lesson here is clear: When a company makes any verbal offer of compensation, always be sure to get it in writing before you accept. If you don't, the offer may end yp going the way of so many promises - into the thin air.

Sorry it is a little long but I though it could provide useful information regarding car rentals.

Just for the record I do not favor back up reservations because I also feel it is burden on the system that and the end backfires.

Graziella Miami Beach.