North America

Remember the Alamo but Forget Alamo Rental Car

May 1st, 2020

Today Alamo announced all employees are required to wear masks. I don’t know if our posts had anything to do with it, but I assume it didn’t hurt. Let’s hope other car rental companies follow suite. Here is the letter I sent their customer service.

To Whom it May Concern at Alamo Rental Cars / Enterprise Holdings

My name is Robert G. Rose. I’m the producer and host of Raw Travel TV and a recent Alamo customer. On April 1st, 2020 during the beginning of the peak of COVID 19 pandemic in New York City , I decided to travel and self-isolate on the farm where I grew up in Middle Tennessee. I booked a one-way flight to Nashville Tennessee.

After flying on a near-empty flight to Nashville International Airport (BNA), I proceeded to pick up my rental car from Alamo, which I had reserved for 14 days since I knew I would be self-quarantined at least 14 days. During the trip, I took every possible precaution, including wearing a mask and gloves the entire flight and drive home, as well as frequently sanitizing my hands.

When signing paperwork for the vehicle, I asked the gentleman at the counter if I could extend beyond 14 days if needed. He replied I just needed to call into the number on the receipt jacket to do so.

After my initial 14 days of isolation, it became clear that New York City was still not safe. I thought it safer for me and others to remain on my rural farm rather than a small apartment in a crowded city rife with the virus.

On or about April 13th, I called in to extend my rental. I spoke to Michelle, who said she would extend the rental for 14 more days until April 29th at the same weekly rate I’d previously booked. She specifically recommended April 29th as the return date because that date would lock me into a lower weekly rate rather than a more expensive monthly rate. I thanked her and agreed to her terms. She gave a reference #35133893.

I took the opportunity to report to her that the front passenger tire had a leak and was flat on day 2 of the rental, but that we had fixed the tire by plugging it ourselves to avoid any unnecessary contact with roadside assistance. Also, I told her about damage on the rear left fender, which I hadn’t noticed when I had picked up and she said she made a notation

On April 28th, when it became apparent I would not be returning to NYC anytime soon, I called customer service again to inquire about extending the rental for another two weeks. The lady I spoke with informed me that since I had already extended once on the phone, that I would need to go into a physical Alamo location to extend the rental again.

I’m taking safety precautions, why can’t Enterprise Holdings’ Employees?

I asked her if I needed to go to the Nashville Airport location specifically, or if there was a location closer to me where I could take care of it.

After giving her my current zip code, she suggested that I instead go to the Huntsville, Alabama airport (approximately 40 or so miles away from me as opposed to Nashville almost 90 miles away).

Since I had an issue with the tire and back rear damage, I inquired about the possibility of exchanging the vehicle.

She stated that if I wanted to exchange the vehicle, I’d have to do that in Nashville, but if I just wanted to extend the current reservation, I could do so in Huntsville. She stated she was sending a message for Nashville to ring or email me within 48 hours to be certain, but I never heard from them (and my frequent phone calls and emails went unanswered or flipped over to the national customer service).

To my initial confusion, she also insisted that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th, not April 29th as I had in my notes. After a little back and forth, I took her word for that. However, to be sure, I did call back a few hours later and spoke to Robert, who confirmed the information, and he also stressed that the vehicle was not due back until 6 pm on April 30th and he again confirmed that I could extend the rental at the Huntsville airport.

On April 30th, I ultimately chose to extend the car rental in Huntsville because it was 1) closer than Nashville and 2) I was short on time and 3) I could then be assured of keeping the same vehicle which had only had one occupant for the month, so I knew it was clean and safe from infection.

I arrived at Huntsville airport at approximately 5 pm, one hour before the car was supposedly due at 6 pm. I was surprised to see that receivers at the return area were not wearing masks, nor were they seemingly practicing social distancing, even though I had on a mask and gloves and was clearly trying to maintain distance.

When I walked into the airport to extend the rental, the clerk was behind a makeshift plexiglass window, and she did seem to be sanitizing her hands frequently. However, after a few minutes on the computer, she informed me that she was unable to extend the rental beyond one more day.  And when she tried to extend for one additional day the entire bill increased by over 50%.

She seemed incapable of grasping the billing discrepancy but made no attempt to call Customer Service Headquarters or to ask for help from an on-site supervisor who she said was busy with other customers.

So, I called Customer Service while standing there and after getting hung up on by someone initially, eventually spoke to Danilo. He said that because I returned vehicle April 30th instead of April 29th, the extra day had kicked in the monthly rate instead of the weekly rate I’d been quoted.  

Frustrated that was getting late and I was getting nowhere fast, I informed the lady at the counter that I was going to try to drive to Nashville and return it there before they closed. I asked her what time BNA closed. She again was unhelpful and was unable or unwilling to tell me and replied that every location has different hours.

Before heading back to the vehicle to drive to Nashville, now a 2-hour drive instead of a little over an hour drive, it would have been for me initially, I tried customer service once again. I spoke to a young lady whose English-language skills were challenging. However, she did connect me promptly to a supervisor, David.

Unfortunately, David only made this deteriorating situation worse. Instead of helping to resolve the problem, David droned on endlessly without pause how company policy was that rental extensions had to be taken at the physical location where the vehicle was picked up.

When I was finally able to edge a question in, I asked why both previous agents had told me otherwise. David deflected and again went on a long-winded explanation about company policy, without addressing the erroneous information I’d received or offering a hint of apology.  

He also all but accused me of being a liar, saying that he had no record of me extending the vehicle to April 14th. When I gave him the reference number provided, he said he could see in the notes that I’d called in and wanted to extend but saw no evidence of the contract being extended. He kept saying he understood that I thought I had extended but that since Michelle didn’t extend the contract in “the system,” I hadn’t actually extended the agreement. Thus, because I had returned the car a day later, I would be subject to the higher monthly fee. He then added that I was currently in breach of contract because it was past 6 pm on April 30th and would be subject to even more potentially higher penalties and fees.

I asked for David’s employee #, and he gave me #E772PF, but given how the conversation was going, I have doubts that is his real Employee #. If that is indeed David’s employee # and if his role is to de-escalate tension and retain customers, he did the exact opposite. Because of David’s rude tone and could-care-less, glib response to my inquiries, I then decided that I’d return the vehicle to Alamo and use any another car rental company my remaining time in Tennessee and, if I could help it, for any future travel.

When I finally arrived at Nashville Airport about 2 hours later nearing 8 pm (4 hours after I had set out) with a fully gassed up vehicle, the young attendant who received me was without mask and gloveless. He was climbing into the vehicle to check the mileage, etc.

He asked if everything was ok and I told him I was not happy. He then walked me over to the night manager and asked him if he could help me. The mask-less night manager and the other young man were standing right next to each other, about a foot apart. Despite me having a mask and gloves neither appeared to be practicing any social distancing.

When I mentioned there was a pandemic going on, they did apologize and separated a bit. But when I aired my grievances with the night manager, he mumbled something about the car was no longer accruing charges and that he’d take up with management in the morning about my billing and treatment.

I rented another vehicle with Budget Rental Car on the spot paying a premium for the last- minute rental. I sprayed and wiped down the new car from Budget as much as possible and drove home with my mask and gloves on, trying not to touch anything other than what was necessary to drive safely. I arrived back home at about 11 pm, roughly 7 hours from when I’d begun an errand that should have taken 2 hours to complete.

Despite the billing hassles, the repeated misinformation, and the glibly rude treatment by David the supervisor and the shrugging treatment by the Nashville night manager, by far, my biggest concern from this experience was Alamo’s attitude towards customers during this pandemic. Instead of making it easy to extend via telephone, I had to interact with up to 6 people in person yesterday, each seemingly taking safety precautions much less seriously than their customers, many of whom were wearing masks.

This morning, May 1st, Anthony, the Nashville Tri-Brand Manager for Alamo, Enterprise and National called to apologize and straighten out the billing. He informed me that as of today, May 1st, 2020, all Alamo employees are required to wear masks when interacting with customers. Anthony was going to send me an email with his contact info and billing summary, but as of the writing of this letter about 4 hours later, I have not yet received it.

I did, however, also receive a call from Mr. Shawn Hurley, VP of the Middle Tennessee area rental car locations, and he assured me that corporately, Alamo and Enterprise Holdings do take customer safety seriously.  Shawn expressed his frustration at my treatment and said he would do everything he could to improve his staff’s behavior when it comes to safety. I appreciated Shawn’s call and believe he will try his best to address this issue.

Based on my observations, neither Nashville or Huntsville Airport Alamo Rental Car employees are taking enough safety precautions to protect themselves or customers. It’s frustrating to see and hear companies pay lip-service only to something as crucial as customer safety.

I, like many, am extremely challenged during this time. I’m trying to continue to run my business, while working remotely. I am trying to ensure my employees, vendors, freelancers, and others who depend on this show for their livelihood are taken care of while keeping myself and my loved ones safe. I’ve had many friends and friends and relatives of friends who have had COVID 19 and recovered but it was tough. I’ve had others who have not been so fortunate and have succumbed. I take this dangerous disease and health recommendations seriously and if you want my business, I believe you should as well.

I specifically chose Alamo because I felt the service would be better than an off-brand, less expensive choice so I could focus on other, more pressing issues. Unfortunately, the opposite has occurred. As a result, I am behind on my sleep, my work, and my business.

Yet, I consider myself very fortunate compared to so many who have lost so much. I owe it to them to do what I can to communicate the urgency of this matter to others who may not understand or comprehend the potential of this situation. It is absolutely zero fun to watch a pandemic explode all around you, while you wonder if you will be next, or do you already have the virus and not know it or does your neighbor have it or who will die next from the disease or to wonder if you should shelter in place or escape while you can to a safer environment?

I could have easily dropped this matter when the billing discrepancy was adjusted. However, I feel a bigger responsibility to my friends, family, viewers and social media followers to be transparent so that they can potentially avoid any unnecessary safety risks or additional stress during this stressful time. I regret that I cannot recommend Alamo Rental Car to them.

I hope that by publicizing my experience, this may help in some small way bolster Alamo’s commitments to better customer treatment, more robust customer service training, and most importantly, during this unique time, a much more significant commitment to employee and customer safety and health.


Robert G. Rose

Executive Producer & Host

Raw Travel TV

Central America

Warning – Dollar Rent-A-Scammed in Roatan


The attempted scam began innocently enough and could have happened to any traveler. I booked a car online using the popular website as I’ve done dozens, perhaps hundreds of times.. Except this time it was for Roatan, the popular island and diving spot just off the coast of Honduras.

I had plenty of economically feasible rental car options to choose from, but I chose Dollar Rental Carbecause they are a familiar company I’ve used many times over the years. I figured a brand name company like Dollar would help me avoid any potential headaches from renting in a developing country where I suspected they had few protections for consumers.

I was wrong.

Taping in beautiful Roatan
Taping in beautiful Roatan


We arrived to Roatan via a ferry from the mainland in semi rough seas that had about ½ the passengers hurling into bags. I was cool, so long as I kept my head down and my eyes off of the other retching passengers.

After claiming our luggage and asking several taxi drivers where Dollar Rental Car was located, we were met with another sea, but this time a sea of blank stares that then led to huddled conferences among the taxi drivers. Eventually receiving wildly conflicting information. No one, it seems, had even heard of Dollar Rental Car much less knew the location.

I proceeded to call the Roatan telephone # provided for Dollar by KAYAK from my reservation email but to no avail. The phone # was disconnected and no forwarding number was provided. Hmmmm… more than frustrating this would turn out to be RED FLAG #1. .

Finally a lone driver stepped forward and claimed to know where Dollar’s rental office was located. Ten minutes later our driver pulls into what is essentially a wooden shack with two small Dollar Rental Car signs haphazardly tacked up to the chain link fence and an even smaller, home printer printed sign tacked or taped to a small shack that apparently served as the Roatan’s Dollar Rental Car. “This is their office?” I thought.

The shack had a very temporary feel to it, especially in comparison to the other rental car companies surrounding it. Suddenly I regretted not booking with another, even an “off brand” rental car company.

The “office” interior wasn’t any more appealing, consisting of a couple of folding chairs, a desk and an old computer terminal. But hey, function over form right? Well, the function was a sticking point as well. The lone woman in the office was busy tapping her mobile device and didn’t even look up, much less acknowledge us when we walked into the shack, creating an awkward moment until eventually I broke the silence by asking “hello, do you work here?”. That led to an even more awkward grunt that I could not decipher as either “yes” or “no”, so I waited.

Finally some young, rotund (not shorthand for someone from Roatan) guy in shorts, an ill-fitting t-shirt and flip flops came into the office and somewhat took charge.

I asked if Dollar’s phone # changed or something and he replied that he thought we were coming in by plane not by boat. What this had to do with their telephone # not working I’m not sure, but I was so relieved that they actually had our reservation that I let it slide.


Gas gauge at time of pick up
Gas gauge at time of pick up

The guy proceeded to pull out a boiler plate Dollar Rental Car Contract and filling it out by hand. He then asked me what our rate was. I was further confused. “Don’t you have a record?” I asked as I dig into my bag for my laptop to pull up the reservation.

Finally we both confirmed the rate of $37 U.S. per day and he asked me to sign on the dotted line. There was none of the usual insurance disclaimer or up sells. In fact, there was no mention of insurance at all.

This would turn out to be RED FLAG #2, but we were late already so I didn’t argue.

When his helper pulled the tiny economy car around, we piled our luggage and ourselves in like clowns in a clown car and we were ready to take off when I noted that the fuel was not only on empty, the gauge was sitting on the wrong side of the “E” symbol. Was it broken? We half hoped. Nope! There was just no gas in the car, well, there was enough to pull the car around in the lot form the back to the front, but was there enough to get us where we could gas up? That was the mystery.

We all nervously tittered and laughed about possibly running out of gas in Honduras, but I was seriously concerned as we had very real time constraints and something like running out of gas could seriously jeopardize our shoot. Our entire purpose for being in Roatan in the 1st place was to produce for our Honduras episode of Raw Travel (launching Oct. 5th in the U.S.).

The guys at Dollar assured me there was a gas station just a couple of miles down the road and that the car would make it there and we did. But not before some very nervous moments and not before filming the thing on our Go Pro camera just for laughs. Who rents a car to a customer on empty? No, not even on empty but past empty? Evidently Dollar Rental Car in Roatan that is who. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present RED FLAG #3.


This was my 2nd time in Roatan and I sort of knew the lay of the land. We were heading to the West End of the island which is where most of the action we needed to document happens and was only a 20-25 minute drive away from the airport and the rental car agency.

I was torn over whether we actually needed a car, but in the end decided on one in case we needed to drive to other parts of the island. Since we were going to be in Roatan less than 24 hours I felt I wouldn’t take chances in case we needed a vehicle to chase a good story.

Turns out, one of the stories WOULD be the Dollar Rental Car experience and will hopefully serve as a warning for other unsuspecting travelers to Honduras or any other country that Dollar Rental Car operates that they do not take responsibility for the action of their agents in other countries.

As things turned out we didn’t need the car. We promptly drove to the west End, checked into our hotel and began setting up shoots for that afternoon and the next morning. The West End is easily covered on foot so the car remained parked until it was time to return it and catch the early afternoon ferry back to the mainland. What little we drove the car was 100% without incident.

Rental Car Roatan

The next day, right on schedule we returned the little car to the Dollar Rental car shack this time with an 1/8 tank of gas so at least the next customer wouldn’t be sweating bullets wondering if they will be stranded in Roatan after renting from Dollar (unless of course the staffers go joy riding after hours).

Mr. T-shirt and flip-flops, and his hearty assistant from the day before inspected the car and gave it a “good to go” thumbs up. The assistant then drove us a few miles back to the boat ferry. No issues and again no problems with the car whatsoever just some small talk about Roatan, our trip, living in the U.S., etc.

Mr. Assistant made it clear we were early for our ferry and had plenty of time to eat at the ferry station ,which we proceeded to do immediately after waving goodbye and thought we’d seen the last of the Roatan Dollar Rental Car folks.

We checked in for the ferry, breezed through security and had some lunch. While we were waiting around for our departure time is when the Dollar Rental Car scam kicked into high gear.



I emerged from the restroom when one of my travel mates alerted me that some guys from Dollar Rental Car were in the lobby of the ferry terminal and wished to see me. I thought maybe I had left something in the car or something so I walked outside to the lobby where 2 guys I’d never seen before, wearing official looking red polo shirts with Dollar Rental Car logos, were waiting for me and glaring my direction severely. The younger of the two spoke English and told me in his most grown up voice that there was a problem with the car.

I sighed. Here it comes. After all this time, all these red flags, here is the very scam I’d been hoping to avoid. I tried to remain calm. “What problem?! I barely drove it” I replied.

The young guy then proceeded to tell me that somehow I had messed up the transmission or something or another. I laughed at the audacity of the claim. He pulled out his mobile phone, which already had a man on the other line claiming to be the “manager” and asked me to come back to the office. The ferry would be leaving soon so that was not possible I said.

This official sounding gentleman, who spoke perfect English, then went straight into full scam mode accusing me of screwing up the transmission and “ruining the car” and said I was going to “have to pay something”.

I relayed to him that I had barely driven it and said that if there had been a problem with the car why didn’t Mr. Assistant who drove us to the ferry say something then? Wouldn’t he have noticed something? Maybe he messed up the car on the drive back to the office form the ferry or maybe, just maybe, there was nothing wrong with the car in the first place. Were they just some guys trying to extort a little money from tourists?

He replied that Mr. Assistant had alerted them that there HAD been a problem with the car when he dropped us at the ferry and when he returned it to the shack it was damaged and I owed money to fix the car.

I was on the verge of hanging up when he asked me if I’d ever driven a stick (manual transmission) before.

I informed Mr. Official Sounding Voice (AKA the manager) that I’d driven a stick many times, including learning how to drive as a preteen on a stick on the farm I grew up on many years ago.

After more back and forth and my voice beginning to raise a bit, a small crowd was now gathering as more travelers arrived to catch the ferry. I finally wearied of this brazen scam and told Mr. Official Sounding Voice the truth. I told him that we were in Roatan filming a travel show and that we had videotaped the pickup of the car and would now begin filming this incident and since the whole thing is taped documentary style it would be no trouble at all to put the whole thing on national TV for the world to see in a cute little segment entitled “Dollar Rental Car Tries to Scam Us”.

I gave him the name and website ( of the show and told him to look it up. He paused, and then asked to speak to his “mechanic”, the other employee. After a brief conversation in Spanish the mobile was returned back to me.

Mr. Official Sounding said “never mind” and that even though I had ruined the car he was going to forget about it.

That is when I really got mad. Really? You are going to forget all about me ruining a car now?


All it took for him to give up this charade was for me to simply offer up some potentially damaging publicity? If I had really damaged the car would he have rolled over so easily?

What if I hadn’t been a producer for a travel show and had been just on vacation as I was in 2010 when I first visited Roatan? What of the people who, like me, use Kayak and rent from Dollar Rental Car because of the brand recognition and they think this will protect them from scam artists like these clowns who prey on unsuspecting tourists?

How many people are afraid of any issues like this in another country and simply pay these guys money to go away and forget the whole thing?

I told him too late. This WAS going on TV and nothing he can say or do will stop it. I hung up the phone, pointed to the two guys and said something like “the next time you try to scam somebody you better, you better…” and just like in a bad sitcom show I could not find the words to finish my sentence in English or Spanish. So I stormed off, but I think they got the point.

To be honest I’m not sure what I said exactly, but I wish I had it to do over again. I would have played along longer with the scam, gathered my Go Pro camera and gotten the names, images on tape, etc. before unloading the travel show truth on them.

But I had a ferry to catch and let’s face it, in the heat of the moment, you don’t always think rationally and that is exactly what the scam artists are hoping.

Dollar is supposed to be a legitimate business operating in a very popular tourism destination as a service to their customers worldwide. Yet, when I contacted them about this issue thinking I was doing them a favor reporting on some rogue agents using their good name in order to scam unsuspecting travelers, they took days to get back to me.  Then they absolved themselves of any responsibility stating they sent the Roatan managements an email.

They sent them an email? The so-called and alleged managers are the very ones who tried to commit the scam in the 1st place and all Dollar does is send an email? What did the email say? “Bad agents… bad!” or perhaps “better luck next time guys”.

You can see Dollar Rental Car’s response to my emails below as well as my follow up email to them to which they have thus far never responded (as of 8/13/13).

I’ve always had positive dealings with Dollar in the U.S., which is why I’m shocked and disappointed that Dollar would ignore this problem, and by doing so essentially be complicit in potential alleged fraud that could be committed against their own customers.

If Dollar runs their business like a solid citizen in the U.S., why allow potential scam artists apparent free rein and risk customer good will just because the location is abroad? Something doesn’t smell right.

I wonder if they might change their mind come next spring when the Honduras episode hits the airwaves and this smelly business is out in the open for all to see? I guess we’ll find out won’t we.


Hi Robert,
Thank you for contacting us. I have forwarded your message to the location’s management to review and address. I’m sorry but we do not comment on behalf of our franchisees, who are independently-owned and operated businesses.
Anna B. / Manager, Corporate Communications



Thank you for finally replying to my concerns. However, I must admit I’m pretty taken aback by your response. I want to make sure I understand it accurately. Are you saying it is acceptable for your independently owned franchisees to attempt fraud while operating under Dollar’s franchise agreements?

Are there any steps made by Dollar to protect consumers in locations like Honduras where the consumers are led to believe they are dealing with a reputable U.S. company when in fact, they are dealing with independent operators with which, assuming your statement is accurate, you have little to no control, even in cases of potential criminal activity?

Why would Dollar give the rights to your name, logo and branding if you cannot insure consumers are protected against potentially criminal behavior?

Are you comfortable with your statement going public in our Honduras episode of Raw Travel? (The episode is currently scheduled to air in March 2014).