I reserved a car from Payless Car Rental for pickup at the San Juan, Puerto Rico airport recently. After arriving the airport, my husband and I waited nearly a half hour for the car rental shuttle to show up. It did not show up until another couple called the local office – I was trying to, but my reservation did not include the number of the local office, and naturally I got nothing but recordings calling the main number. Apparently, the S.J. office does not bother sending the shuttle to the airport arrival area unless someone calls. Neither this useful bit of information nor the local office phone number were included on the printout of my car reservation.
Already hot and frustrated, we finally arrived at the Payless office some distance from the actual airport. But before we could drive off in the rental car, we were grilled by a staffer who demanded proof that I have car insurance and that it covers P.R. I showed him a card I carry in my wallet, but that was not good enough. He said he had to talk to the insurance company. He proceeded to dial and said his call did not go through. I called on my cell phone and was connected immediately. After my insurance agent confirmed the existence of my insurance policy and that it applies to P.R., the Payless employee proceeded to grill me with other questions, such as whether or not my husband and I are married. (We have been married since long before this employee was born!)
After at least a half hour, including an extremely thorough inspection of the car (a Kia), we were finally on our way. Unfortunately, the car ran so badly – brakes locking, vibrating at speeds over 50 mph, and other problems – we had to ditch our original plan to visit different parts of the island, including the mountains, on the way to and from Rincon.
This was my third trip to P.R. in the last four years, and before this trip, I had rented cars THREE TIMES in P.R. – in Carolina, Vieques, and Condado – and I have never before faced such intense questioning verging on harassment. Payless’s third degree, complete lack of regular shuttle service at the airport, at least one car that is very poorly maintained, and horrible location on Calle Marginal Los Angeles (which was nearly impossible to find when it finally was time to return the Kia) combined to make our vacation far less enjoyable than it would have or should have been. Needless to say, I will never rent from Payless again.Edited: 27 May 2012, 03:18