5 reasons why you should avoid Enterprise, National, Alamo Car Rental

          I resigned from ERAC / EAN Holdings (the parent company of Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental agencies) after ten weeks working as a service agent at their Portland, Oregon, airport (PDX) locations.

          Are you looking for work?  I advise you to seek employment elsewhere.  Many of these reasons are systemic or intrinsic to EAN Holdings policy and are not limited to the PDX area.

          Maybe you are considering renting a vehicle and would like to be more informed.  Here are five reasons why you should never rent from Enterprise, Alamo, or National car rental agencies:

          1.  Safety is never first.  If a vehicle has a 'low tire pressure' indicator light on the dash the policy is to fill the low tire(s) and rent.  Service agents never inspect low tires for damage unless a nail is so large it's impossible to miss or a leak so fast the tire won't hold air.  Service agents never refill the windshield washer fluid until the reservoir is empty and either a customer or indicator light informs someone.
          Normal preventative maintenance (oil change, rotate tires, etc) is done when the manual recommends except when a large demand for vehicles occurs (every holiday, busy weekends, etc) then side-lined vehicles are rented without being maintained.
          Service equipment (gas pumps, vacuums, car washes, etc) are in a constant state of disrepair.  For example:  the automatic shut-off valve on the gas-hose nozzles don't always function.  I got my clothes soaked with gasoline once (and they don't issue sufficient uniforms nor provide laundry service).  I witnessed at least one "accidental" overflow every week and learned from a co-worker that small spills (less than 10 gallons) which everyone had caused/witnessed were inconsequential compared to his largest.  He claimed that once he set a gas nozzle to fill a car, went to lunch, and returned after 30 minutes to at least 100 gallons of gasoline "accidentally" spilled into the environment, storm drain, his work space.  (And no, neither OSHA nor the EPA were informed as the law requires.  EAN does not abide by any law that would slow work or cost them money.)

          2.  EAN Holdings unlawfully discriminates against employees with disabilities.  Under the Americans with Disabilites Act, it is the right of every disabled employee to inform their employer of their disability and request they make reasonable accommodations; the employer is legally required to make the accommodation if it does not impose an undue hardship on them.
          I'm a person with Aspergers (now called Autism Spectrum Disorder) and felt very stressed by some of EAN Holdings scheduling policies.  Not only how they handled ten-minute breaks and lunches, but how I (everyone) was, at times, scheduled to work until closing (either midnight or 1 a.m.) and then scheduled a morning shift the next day.  Employees rarely work the same shift.  In a normal five day work-week I was scheduled to begin at four different times.
          I informed the head manager as well as both supervisors of my disability and requested they make some scheduling accommodations to reduce my stress.  From that day on I was scorned, put off, talked down to, and treated disdainfully by every manager and supervisor.  For many weeks, whenever I would mention the unaddressed request to my chain-of-command, they told me they were "still looking in to it."  This refusal to accommodate my request was—ultimately—the final straw which caused me to resign.

          3.  Enterprise doesn't care about their employees, only about increasing company profit.  When I began working hourly for National/Alamo in January, both were union companies.  I and all of my co-workers (some of whom serviced cars for their entire adult lives) were 40 hour-a-week full time employees eligible for 1.5x overtime pay, holiday pay, vacation pay, med/dental benefits, 401K, life insurance, etc.
          However, Enterprise's hourly employees aren't unionized and—consequently—are all part time.  They each are scheduled to work less than 32 hours a week and are eligible for no benefits except those mandated by law.  All Enterprise hourly employees are youth who live at home/go to school, adults working a second job, or seniors augmenting their pensions/social security.
          Although the exact same cars are driven in-to and out-of our respective service islands (every day I cleaned cars rented by Enterprise and their service agents cleaned cars rented by National and Alamo) we never worked together at the same service islands, and did not share break rooms, supplies, or equipment. 
          In early March, the contract between the Teamsters Union and EAN Holdings expired.  National and Alamo hourly/union employees have been working without a contract since then.  Negotiations are now considered "stalled."  EAN Holdings wants to eliminate the union and make all National and Alamo hourly employees part-time with no benefits like their Enterprise hourly employees.  Obviously, the union wants to increase the benefits for their members without going on strike.  They are at an impasse.  Before I resigned the shop steward informed me, "it doesn't look good for the union."
          This was the penultimate reason for my resignation.  I wanted to be the first rat off the sinking ship.  I enjoy working outside, listening to music all day while I clean cars.  I quickly got hired to do the exact same job (in the exact same union) at a competing car rental company.

          4.  Everyone is either a thief or is extremely ethically challenged.  If you rent a vehicle from Enterprise, Alamo, or National and—in your rush to catch a plane—accidentally leave one of your cherished personal belongings in the trunk, under a seat, or in the glove box...rest assured it wasn't lost for long.  An employee found it and wears/uses/sold it.  There is an unenforced policy outlining how to turn-in found items.  When a lost item is found, it is supposed to be turned in to a manager and the company holds it for a few months before it is donated.  I turned-in items when I found them (almost every day), even after I discovered some of the items I had previously found had been thrown into the trash (maybe a manager called and the owners of those shoes or that jacket told him to discard them).  I witnessed so many lost items taken home by drivers, service agents, and even managers that I could not recount them all.  Some of the more noteworthy I watched people take home were:  suitcases, a sleeping bag, sporting equipment, jewelry, and watches.  Every day there would be more than one pair of sunglasses or prescription glasses found.  Umbrellas usually got thrown away immediately because locals of the Northwest don't use umbrellas, only tourists do.  The pile of cigarette lighter-to-USB chargers was so large (because most employees had stolen their fill) it had to be thrown away on a monthly basis or it would fill the found-this-but-have-no-use-for-it shelf (where I put a laptop printer six weeks before I resigned.  It probably still resides there.)

          5.  Lies, dishonesty, and 'fudging numbers' is encouraged, condoned, and incentivized.   Every supervisor lies to every subordinate (usually to encourage unsafe acts or to speed production at the expense of quality).  Every employee lies to his supervisor (usually to cover damage/mistakes, poor performance, or anything which could reduce the employee's bonus).  Every sales "rental" agent is dishonest to every customer (because their bonus is tied to selling upgrades or insurance).  Every manager fudges his numbers to his superiors (because his bonus is linked to renting every available vehicle and only keeping reserved vehicles on the lot).
          I was lied to by my manager when he hired me and every time I spoke with him after that day.  I only learned the truth about how my bonus was computed after I resigned and spoke with HR.
          I felt compelled to be dishonest to a manager because he required me to multitask in order to comply with the required number of vehicles needed (worst case: one car every 6 minutes during a three-hour period).  So I let a gasoline nozzle go unsupervised while I vacuumed only to discover one overflowing when I eventually smelled fumes.  I know that I caused over ten gallons to spill on that occasion (based on how much the nozzle could dispense and how many minutes I worked without remembering to check).  When I informed my manager of the spill, his first words were, "It wasn't too bad, right?  Probably only a couple gallons?  And you cleaned it up with the spill response kit?"  I gave him the answers he wanted to hear.  My third "yes" was mostly true.  I tried to clean it all up.  Except for the large amount that floated on a nearby stagnant puddle, which drained into a nearby green space and storm drain.  Absorbing several gallons of gas floating on 300 gallons of ditch-puddle water is impossible to accomplish with three carbon pillows and a few dozen carbon pads.
           I assisted several times in fudging management's numbers by moving cars where I was told to move them.  They were ready to rent, serviced and "clean" (no EAN cars are ever really clean after they have more than 3,000 miles or so—that's not possible in less than 6 minutes).  I moved them into storage/maintenance lots so they could tell their supervisors that their lots were empty.
          I witnessed rental agents lie to customers every day.  The local favorite is, "You really should get the additional insurance because if you're in an accident, say, and weren't nearby, so had to get it towed to a shop in a small town; without the additional coverage, the entire time the car is being repaired you'd be liable for the daily rental, which could be weeks!  You don't want to be liable for weeks of rental while it's being repaired do you?"  A lie that many, many, people fall for.

          Not every car rented by Enterprise, Alamo, or National is unsafe and dirty—any more than every EAN employee is a liar, a thief, and/or discriminates against people with disabilities and behaves immorally or unethically.

          Why should you apply to work for a company like this?

          Why would you do any business with a company like this?

          I personally know of at least two rental car companies who don't permit any of these behaviors and which will terminate an employee who steals, lies, allows or performs unsafe acts, discriminates, or behaves in an unethical manner.  Take your business or job application to a company with good business practices.  If you think I must be just a disgruntled employee and choose to not follow my advice...don't say I didn't try to warn you.


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