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View Full Version : Distraught Over Treatment by AB



Tribs
06-18-2013, 09:00 PM
Let me start by stating I was a loyal 9 year customer of AB. I believed upon checkout on 6/16 that all was fine and that I would remain a loyal customer, despite all that happened this trip. Then I checked my bank account today and my bad experiences turned to a nightmare.

Step by step....

First, very early in the trip I had a flat tire. That is when I discovered that the spare was flat and there was no lug wrench in the truck only a jack. A friend stopped to help me and he had to go to AB to get me assistance. The guy who showed up gave me a bill for two flat tires. I told him no, that I only had one flat tire and that I only needed help because AB failed to give me a good spare and lug wrench. He said he would take care of the bill when he got back to the office. I asked him for a lug wrench and he said he didn't have one to give me but I could go ask at the office. The tire he put on the truck as a replacement was bad. I told him it was bad. He said when it goes flat call the office. I went to the office to get a lug wrench and the woman told me they didn't come in the SUVs - uh, how do you change the tire? I told her I needed a lug wrench and she gave me one. The replacement tire went flat within 24 hours. Friends assisted when that tire went flat. I emailed AB and they had me bring in the truck, they put on a good tire and checked all of the tires. I was appeased as it seemed as if they were being a responsible company.

Second, the clutch went out on the truck. Again, I thought they were being responsible. They immediately gave me a new truck, but no credit on the extra gas I had in the tank, and when I complained because the new truck's tailgate and window did not work properly (would not close without having to slam it several times and would not stay open without putting a rock in it) they said that was the only truck they had. Do you know how hard it is to use an SUV that has a bad tailgate when you shore dive? This incident did not surprise me. I have long term rentals and none have ever gone without me having to switch trucks or have a repair done (bad muffler, master cylinder failed, etc...). Even though this happened, I wasn't too upset. I was more upset about the gas and the tailgate/window then having to waste time going to the office to swap trucks.

Third, when they gave me the second truck, there was an extra key on the ring. I asked what it was for because the fuel cap was broken and didn't need a key. The woman did not know, but told me to keep the key on the ring. Ok. Days later, I learned what that key was for. Another customer had returned the truck because it broke down. She left her house key on the ring. How do I know this? AB had an employee, who was my neighbor, come ask me for the key. I was happy to give it to her and I did. Then, these two strangers (1 male and 1 female) pull up to my house demanding their key. They informed me that not only did AB tell them who I was, what truck I had, where I lived, they also gave them my departure date. Unbelievable! Now, someone unrelated to the company knew all my personal information including when I would be packed to leave the island. As you can imagine, not much sleep was had that last night. Overall, this made me very nervous the rest of my trip since I travel alone and do not need strangers knowing where I am at.

Fourth, I showed up to check out and was completely mislead. The gentleman was professional, checked the truck, said everything was fine, and he voided my deposit authorization in front of me. He drove me to the airport, we shook hands and he wished me a safe flight. I was so relieved. I thought this meant that the guy who came out to replace the tire (first incident) had done what he said he would do - he took care of the bill. I was really happy. In fact, despite everything I was considering AB again for next year's extended trip. Why? Because AB is the only company I have found that will give a discount for long term rentals. I have contacted several companies, especially since prices went up this year, but they still came in at the lowest price - by several hundred dollars. And I thought, they were responsible and took care of everything - so I was going to chalk it up to a bad year and give them a chance again. Then it happened today...

I logged on to my bank account to verify that the last few charges were posted to my checking account from Bonaire and there was an unauthorized charge from AB. This charge caused several things to bounce at a penalty of $35 per each item from my bank, plus whatever the companies are now going to charge me. I contacted my bank to inform them that this charge was not authorized and that I wanted all of the bills paid and my money restored to my account. They had me fill out a form and told me to contact AB and if they do not reverse the charges within 24 hours I will have to go through the formal process of filing against an international fraud charge. I asked what all that entailed and the clerk said she was uncertain, but knew that it couldn't go through the normal district attorney route because it was international. She said it would be a federal thing, but she also said not to worry because the bank would assist me with the paper work if the charge is not reversed within 24 hours.

I sent the email to AB requesting a refund. I do not yet have a response because they were closed when I sent it. I will update this thread when I know what the next step is in this process.

For those that saw my other posts under Fox Car Rental, this is my position on the company. They say they are a sister company to AB, but you use the AB offices, you call AB if there is a problem, and all of the charges show up as AB. You tell me, is this a sister company? In any case, I suggest not using Fox for anything because I have already been told that this "shell" company is going to make it complicated in recovering my money from the US perspective if this becomes a federal case. I never expected that, so lesson learned and now shared.

Up until now, I have always recommended AB. I have sent them a lot of customers. I guess no good deed goes unpunished. I'm feeling pretty raw. I was robbed of a tank of gasoline and now I feel like I was robbed by a company. I'm not in a good frame of mind and I apologize for this being so long. Thank you for reading it.

kob
06-19-2013, 08:15 AM
Thanks for posting, Tribs. Sorry to hear of your undeserved shabby treatment. I have never rented from AB (Poppy & Budget are my usual choices), but if I was ever considering AB, you have really helped. Hope it all works out.

Tribs
06-19-2013, 09:25 AM
Thanks KOB. The first round of emails have begun. I received a message from AB:


"The 16th of may you did have a flat tire. Our mecanic come to you because the spare was flat as well and you didn't have the right tools.





You only paid for the repair of the flat tire and not for roadcall assistance or any thing else."

This is rich. They admit that they didn't give me the tools. I guess I am supposed to be thankful that they didn't charge me for the "roadcall assistance or any thing else." Unbelievable. Their mechanic said he would take care of the bill because I didn't have a good spare or the tools. This is not taking care of the bill.

Tribs
06-19-2013, 09:46 AM
I just heard back from them again. I have to be fair, this is the type of customer service I am used to from them. Honestly, for the past 9 years, they had been wonderful!



"Dear Jeanine,




I didn't know that the mecanic said to you that he would take car of the bill. I looked in you contract and saw that was the reason we have to charge, the flat tire,



But if the mecanic told you that he will take car of the bill so I will take car of the refund of the $26,50.



I'm verry sorry for the misunderstanding."

wwguy
06-19-2013, 06:15 PM
I've been following these misadventures with interest over the past month or so in the 3 different threads started on Trib's rental from Fox.

From the BT bleachers, here's what I've gleaned from this saga:
- The cheapest deal on a Bonaire car rental isn't always the best deal.
- When 2 businesses are affiliated, and one is significantly cheaper, there's a reason.
- When you have repeated problems with a car rental company, find another rental company ASAP.
- Keep more than $26.50 cushion in your checking account.
- When you get good advice from the BT community, take it.

All reinforce and justify why I'm willing to pay a little more to rent from Telerin or Budget. FWIW: We're paying the same rate at Telerin for an upcoming September trip that we've been paying since 2011.

Tribs, I'm glad everything (almost) worked out in the end and that you're (almost) happy (again.) Reading your posts this appears to have been an emotional roller coaster to deal with. Nobody deserves this from any service company, nor should they tolerate it. I hope you'll start your next search for a Bonaire truck rental with different criteria and renewed optimism. I'm glad to see you didn't let this ruin what appears to be an otherwise great trip!

jimw
06-20-2013, 12:11 AM
ww, well stated! Tribs, Welcome back!

Judy W
06-20-2013, 07:26 AM
Morning Tribsy, Just saw this and I'm sad your trip ended on a bad note. Definitely not a good set of circumstances surrounding Fox Rental. Thanks for posting, to warn others of the complications you can incur when traveling in foreign countries. Bonaire is the only foreign country where we rent a vehicle; driving elsewhere is too costly and scary! Hope your next trip goes better (it should, we'll be there :)) and that you can find a reasonable rental next year.

Hitbrits
06-20-2013, 03:14 PM
Hi we have been using AB ever since Netty left the island and her car rental business. We have had some problems but they have always taken care of them. We have even booked 2 weeks with them this July and were given an additional 10% off. The employees have always been very polite and try very hard to take care any problems that arise. I hope we have a pleasant two week rental with AB. Ralph and Judy

hallerdodd
07-01-2013, 02:23 PM
You might want to try SG Auto (Stuyvesant Group). They have discounts for rentals of longer than 30 days.

Bas Tol
07-03-2013, 09:54 PM
why would you change a tire in the baking sun, probably in not the safest of places to be (roadside), looking for and working with dirty rusty tools, dirty spare?? And then pay too much to have a rental company take care of it?? Get a tire inflator thingy that fits in the inflator hose of your regulator. Most dive shops carry them... $10 or so. You can also use an old first stage with just one low pressure hose, cut off the fitting at the end and hose will tightly fit the tire valve. Provided of course you have a scuba tank in the car, fill the tire and drive to nearest tire shop, if it's flat before you get there, fill it again. There are many tire repair shops, some service 24hrs. They will get the wheel off, fix it and put it back.. right there.. while you wait. Much easier, faster and cheaper too.

ModFreddie
07-09-2013, 06:04 PM
MIKE P contact ModFreddie Freddie@bonairetalk.com or moderators@bonairetalk.com

pat murphy
11-24-2013, 11:13 AM
we rented from AB a few times after netty left. had some good experiences with AB...and some bad ones. one van they gave us had a leaking gas tank. i always smelled gas but they kept saying that the choke was set for a "too rich" setting. since we parked on gravel all the time i never noticed any drip marks under the van. on one of their other vehicles the lights would go on for no reason. instead of them giving me a different vehicle they said i had to drive it to their repair facility...which i did. when they couldn't fix it before lunch time they "put it back together" and told me to drive it back to our house. wouldn't you know it, there was a downpour and the headlight and wiper controls were in the same module....now sitting on a table at the garage. then i had to drive it back after lunch and sit around while they tried to fix it...when they couldn't i finally got a new vehicle. someone told me at the time that they had been changing personnel pretty often and were having management problems. after that i used island rentals and carib rentals till i bought my own truck.

Dee
11-24-2013, 07:26 PM
omg, I love AB , sorry for your toubles. they are usually very on point.
Its an island, all companies have their troubles. Good you bought our own truck.

wwguy
11-24-2013, 08:12 PM
we rented from AB a few times after netty left. had some good experiences with AB...and some bad ones.
<snip>

someone told me at the time that they had been changing personnel pretty often and were having management problems. after that i used island rentals and carib rentals till i bought my own truck.

In the spirit of fairness to AB: You neglected to mention that you bought your own truck 7 years ago, according to your post in this other thread (http://www.bonairetalk.com/forums/showthread.php?74429-Non-resident-vehicle-ownership&p=438396#post438396) today. This implies that your problems with AB occurred 8 or 9 years ago... or more.

pat murphy
11-25-2013, 10:35 AM
actually, i think the experience was less than that as i rented for some short periods when our truck was getting work done on it. but, yes, it was more than a year or two ago. and it was one of their employees at the time who said that personnel changes had affected their services and they were working on correcting them. all companies can have problems and sometimes give service below what would be expected. it's how they respond to the problems that separate the good ones from the others. as tribs said, she finally got some of the service she expected from AB.

one thing all the companies should try to remember is that there are a lot of repeat visitors to bonaire. if someone has a good experience with a business on their first trip, they'll likely use that company again and again. but, as the saying goes "all it takes is one 'aw crap' to wipe out all the atta boys"

coldwaterlloyd
11-28-2013, 02:17 PM
The whole truck rental thing on Bonaire boggles my mind . I have rented from four different companys on four different trips . Had issues every time , flat bald tires , flat spares , non-working componants , then you take the beater truck back and they say we scratched it , argue and hassle with them and it goes away after half an hour , Imagine the folks that just pay them and go , It is a cash grab opportunity bussiness like no other I have witnessed anywhere else , bash me if you like but next time I try Poppy , it is the only outfit I have not read similar posts about .

wwguy
11-28-2013, 04:00 PM
The whole truck rental thing on Bonaire boggles my mind .

It boggles mine too.

Somebody is putting the dents in body panels, scratches in the paint, and holes in tire sidewalls. Somebody is soaking the seats and undercarriage with saltwater, causing rust to spread. Somebody is melting the plastic dashboard by leaving DEET wipes laying on it. So it's only fair that somebody has to pay for it somehow. The difference with Telerin is that they greet you with a smile, they inspect their vehicles carefully, and (usually) don't try to charge you for damage you didn't do. But if you are Somebody, you can expect to be held accountable any damage done to the vehicle.

It boggles my mind that everyone usually thinks "somebody" is somebody else.

randl
11-28-2013, 06:07 PM
It's getting tougher to rent from Telerin, though. We tried in October to reserve a truck for the week after Christmas but she was sold out. We haven't done a very good job of keeping the secret...

D'oh!

Anyway,

:HT:

Cornhusker
11-29-2013, 12:16 AM
One thing we do is when we rent we take out our video camera and walk around the entire truck and have a detailed video copy of the truck with the person who is doing the renting in the video, so if any "issue" is encountered we have proof that such was not the case. Also we use a credit card as so much easier to reverse any charges in dispute rather than a debit card. Also I go over the entire truck and make sure all necessary equipment is in place for changing a tire---and if the tires are like racing slicks I simply say no--get different tires put on--get me a different truck or go find another company. The rental pool of trucks is not fully rented so while you might encounter some inconvenience do not worry as you will find something that is safe. Cornhusker.

tursiops
11-29-2013, 11:17 AM
I want to thank everyone for this thread. It reinforces for me one of the many reasons that I always (25 times over 15 years) take my groups to Buddy Dive. They get decent trucks without hassle, and immediate response to problems if there are any. I want to lead a happy group, and deal with as few problems as possible during the trip; truck problems are not on my list!

thom
11-30-2013, 07:23 PM
Mel, I was thinking the same thing. I've been spending two weeks at Buddy every September for the past 10 years, always used their trucks, never had an issue. When I had a low tire, they changed it right away even though there was no hurry. They have never tried to charge me for damage, I've never damaged their truck. The trucks are in pretty good condition, they replace them regularly.

Renting a truck at the resort makes everything easy. No driving around to deal with anything, it just makes vacationing easier and that makes life more enjoyable.

Kudos to Buddy Dive on their vehicles well done.

Dee
12-04-2013, 07:10 AM
I understand that sometimes someone has an issue with a truck/car rental company. I have never had any issues with AB for over 20 years I have been going to Bonaire. When people or groups stay at my vacation rental home or at Perla, they use AB and no issues have been reported yet. I am sorry for the person who had those issues. But I thought they actually rented from Fox?? or am I confused even though they said it was a subsidiary of AB, its like Lexus vs Toyota, you get totally different service. Maybe I am just confused like I said. The only issues I have are that all the rental rates seem to be going up.

Bob McDonald
03-06-2014, 12:52 PM
Our second experience with AB involved an agreement to rent a truck when we arrived a few minutes after 9:00 PM on a Saturday. We had that agreement in writing with the AB personnel in Holland (?!). HOWEVER, when we arrived on time, we were told they were closed and that they would not provide the truck when we arrived. Long story short, they billed us for the day they did not provide us with the truck. We exchanged increasingly uncomfortable emails and they refused to delete the charge for the day they DID NOT provide us with the truck.

I will not and have not rented from them again.


Bob

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


why would you change a tire in the baking sun, probably in not the safest of places to be (roadside), looking for and working with dirty rusty tools, dirty spare?? And then pay too much to have a rental company take care of it?? Get a tire inflator thingy that fits in the inflator hose of your regulator. Most dive shops carry them... $10 or so. You can also use an old first stage with just one low pressure hose, cut off the fitting at the end and hose will tightly fit the tire valve. Provided of course you have a scuba tank in the car, fill the tire and drive to nearest tire shop, if it's flat before you get there, fill it again. There are many tire repair shops, some service 24hrs. They will get the wheel off, fix it and put it back.. right there.. while you wait. Much easier, faster and cheaper too.

kob
03-06-2014, 02:41 PM
Bob -- did you pay by credit card? If so, dispute the charge and it will come off your card until dispute is resolved. Unless AB can provide documentation that you actually rented the car on that day, you should be made whole.

Tribs
03-06-2014, 05:04 PM
I haven't been over here in a while, but it seems the thread heated back up and now I am being questioned. Not surprised. To answer the question about AB/Fox, Fox had no location - no office, no address, nothing to make them a distinct company from AB except being told you were renting from Fox. It was all handled through AB. They may be a subsidiary, or sister agency, or whatever you want to call it, but everything was handled through AB. EVERYTHING.

As for this next trip, I gave both Fox and AB a chance again. The email address for Fox came back as being invalid and AB chose not to respond to me. I'm glad they have a strong following. I was loyal to AB for 9 trips. I was willing to say...maybe it was a bad year. But I am now going to use Poppy. And...I will not stay at any place that packages with AB, unless they have another option available.

It is a small island. People have loyalties. There is a lot of politics on a small island. All I need is good customer service. Something goes wrong, fix it - don't try to take advantage of the customer. Plain and simple. If you have a company you love to work with - then that is who you go with - just know that for others that company may not be their choice. I'd rather hear the problems so that I can make an informed decision.

tristanjbstevens
03-21-2014, 04:13 PM
I had a much smaller issue with AB but it still managed to grind my gears.

I booked with AB well in advance by email and they were more than happy to accommodate. Through the booking process, there were two things that were discussed. First, that my mother was already in Bonaire so would be stopping by earlier in the day to pick up some child seats from them (so she could install them in her car and be able to take my wife and kids straight to our little house). Second, was what my flight number was so that they could arrange a "free taxi" to meet me at the airport.

When I arrived, I was told that the taxi would simply be driving me home because AB was closed. I thought this was odd seeing as how they didn't mention to me that they would be closed when my flight arrived, and I had specifically asked to rent from the day I arrived, to the day I left. Oh well, no big deal, it's a "free taxi". I would just have to spend an extra hour collecting my car the next day.

Unfortunately, the next day, I was told that I was still being charged for the day prior because they "sent a car to pick me up" and that the cost of a days rental was virtually the same as the cost of a cab home. I told them that that was all well and fine, but if I had known that I was going to be charged for it, I would have waited at the airport for my mother to drop my wife and kids off and then come back to get me. The woman at the desk agreed that they probably should be more clear in the future, but that she didn't think that there was much that she could do.

Bye bye AB.