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All People > vaboywnder > Scott's Blog > 2013 > August

My First ZipCar Experience

Posted by vaboywnder Aug 13, 2013

Earlier this year I signed up for ZipCar ( which is an hourly car rental service located mostly in metropolitan areas and near University's.  The idea is that if you only need to use a car for a short amount of time you can rent cars by the hour.  The hourly rate includes gas and insurance costs.  ZipCar provides a gas card inside the car in the event you need to fill up.

A couple of weeks ago I took my first trip to Boston and stayed at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.  Like many hotels in Boston parking can be very expensive.  The Renaissance Hotel charges $46 a day for parking.  Since there were many restaurants in walking distance and the Light Rail system was close by I thought this might be a good time to try ZipCar for the one or two times during the trip that I actually might actually need a car for a short period and not have to pay the nightly parking rate.

I loaded the Zip Car app on my phone and found there were 4-5 Zip Cars located across the street from my hotel in a parking garage.   I made my first reservation and once I got to the garage I had trouble locating the Zipcars because there was no signage there.  I asked an attendant for the garage and he told me they were located on the second level by the elevator.  After I found the location the rest was pretty easy.  I used my ZipCard (you get a card after you join the program) to unlock the car and I was on my way.  On my way back to the garage to return the ZipCar I noticed a very faint smell of cigarette smoke but didn't think too much of it.  I returned the ZipCar and everything went very smooth but then got this email the next day:

Dear Scott,


After your reservation in Focus Sedan Fanfare on 08/03/13 , it was reported that there was evidence of someone was smoking in the vehicle.


If the Zipcar was in this condition when you picked it up, we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Please be sure to always inspect your Zipcar inside and out for cleanliness or damage before the start of your reservation, and call the number listed on your Zipcard at 1-866-494-7227 (1-866-4ZIPCAR) to report any issues.


According to Zipcar's 6 Simple Rules, smoking is never permitted in Zipcars. Just like you, every member wants his or her Zipcar to be in good condition and ready to go at the start of each reservation.


Please understand that not following the rules can lead to fines. While we are not charging you this time, if you return your Zipcar in this condition again, you will be charged a $50 fee and any extra charges associated with cleaning the car.


Thank you for being a part of the Zipcar community,




Zipcar Member Services

After I received the email I called ZipCar customer service to let them know that I was a non-smoker and that I had noticed a faint cigarette smoke smell when I was driving back to the garage. The agent was very courteous and said there was no problem and that my response would be noted.  She advised me that if that should happen in the future to call them prior to my returning of the car to let them know.

Despite the smoking issue I was still pleased with the Zipcar service and will give them another try later this year when I travel up to Toronto.