I don’t have a car in Baltimore. As such, I was happy when a company called FlexCar made some cars available at Hopkins. I could take a car for a few hours at a time, for $6 per hour, and with about a $30 sign-up fee. Their customer service was always very friendly and helpful, and I had no trouble speaking with a real person.
Unfortunately, they “merged” with their main competitor, Zipcar. Effectively, they were taken over. FlexCars are becoming Zipcars. The rates are higher ($9 per hour). There’s an annual fee of about $50.
I used some free credit I got for switching my account over to Zipcar this weekend. When I got in the car, the key was in the glove box (as it had been with FlexCars). I took it out of the glove box, did my driving, and put it back where I found it. Later I got a voicemail saying that the person after me couldn’t find the key. However, to return the call, I had to go through their main 866 number system. Their phone menu is horrible. The menu options are ambiguous and unhelpful. Pressing zero repeatedly got me nowhere. To get anywhere, you have to enter your Zipcard number — and I don’t keep the card on my person. When I expressed my displeasure at this to the rep (that I finally got to), he said there was no way around the phone system, even if I was trying to return their call!
Now, granted, they did send me an email survey after the call, and I let them know about these issues, but my first experience with Zipcar left me annoyed at best.
The funny thing is, technically it’s the exact same thing as FlexCar. The same cars (here) even that I had used under FlexCar. It’s amazing what a difference it makes who is running the show on the back-end though. I recommended FlexCar to people frequently. I will not recommend Zipcar to anyone.
Mediocrity has won out yet again.