So...here's the story.
If you've been visiting here with me for the last few weeks, you know that the Cadillac was totaled. We've "bought" (long story) one car already, and we'll most probably tie up the second car this week. I didn't tell you that we had to buy TWO cars? That's another story. Maybe later.
Anyway, in addition to the settlement on the value of the Caddy, we got a rental car. Scored 12 days with it. The car is due back today. All weekend my wife and I have had little discussions about the best way to drop the car off. When? and How? mostly.
This morning, I say to her "Wow, hard to believe it's been 12 days already."
Her reply: "It hasn't. It's been 11 days."
Her: "Yeah. That's just the way they do it. It's due back by 11:00 this morning. You can call them if you want to."
Well, that's exactly what I did. First, I get all of my information together. I dig out my confirmation number. I pull out a calendar and count days. I get ready to call the insurance company and complain to them, just in case it's their fault.
I call the rental car company. Turns out that there are two different kinds of billing in the rental car industry: 24 hour billing, and calendar day billing. With 24 hour billing, the fees and such are calculated based on 24-hour periods. With calendar day billing, the fees are calculated by the day. The day you pick up the car is the first day. Period. The catch is that with calendar day billing, the time doesn't matter at all. You can pick the car up at 8:00am, and return it just before they close on that last night. Same fee.
This all makes perfect sense to me. I feel a bit better. We can coordinate something a little more suitable to our schedules, and it will all be fine.
But for some reason, I don't let it go there. I start asking Allison questions about how we were supposed to know that the car was due back at any time, even though the contract we have explicitly states "11:45am".
I ask her about how sophisticated her computer systems are. "You're telling me that your billing system is smart enough to bill that way, but you can't print out your contracts to say that?"
I ask her to please explain calendar day billing to the agent that actually executed the rental contract for my wife, and to explain to him that most rentals are not billed this way, and that it would help their customers out to explain the key differences.
I share with her that it might not be a bad practice to tell their customers essentially that "I know the contract says one thing, but our computers aren't smart enough to print the contract correctly, and these are the true facts."
I'm really laying it on thick at this point. I think the main reason is that I really don't like her tone. And then I'm like "Did she...did she just cut me off?" and a little later "Did she cut me off again?"
And then I realize that she's once again explaining the concept of calendar day billing to me, as if I didn't get it the first time.
So as I'm getting tired of the exchange, I lob one more zinger out there..."Can you print me another contract that says that it's not really due until close-of-business and fax it out to me?"
She can't do that. The system won't let her.
This is the part I kinda feel bad about: I then ask her to hand-scrawl a note to that effect, and fax that to me instead. I ask her to include her full name and title (she's the manager), along with my contract number.
She agrees, and promptly hangs up the phone. A minute later, the fax rings. She doesn't include her title, or my contract number, or even her last name! The note isn't even dated. She wrote the thing with a Sharpie or something.
For a moment I thought about calling her back and telling her that just wasn't good enough. I could tell her that if we had to take this matter to court or something, that it would never stand up for me.
But I didn't. I let it go.
End of story.