Kars4Kids: More Than A Jingle
|I've been watching lots of 24|
|This means war|
This past winter my 1996 Honda Accord completely crapped out. I mean royally crapped out. We are talking hole in the gas line and tank, brakes completely shot, all four tires warn out, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We debated just fixing the brakes but that felt like we were placing a bandage over a sword wound. So we decided to donate the car. Logically, if you even think of donating a car the jingle starts playing in your head (I think Kars4Kids has partnered with Google and Apple and has plans to take over the world). The pickup was incredibly smooth. Well, other than the fact that they called my mom's home in Chicago every time we attempted to arrange a time. I called them five times asking them to change my number in their system to my current cell #. But I understand. It's incredibly difficult it is to change 10 digits on a computer. But at the end of the day, the car was donated.
First of all, they send you a pamphlet in the mail telling you that in order to use the vacation voucher you have to send in a $50 down-payment. Weird, but not completely unacceptable. So we did this (which by the way was cashed immediately). Then we attempted to call to actually book our hotel. This is where the fun started. It took us over a month to get a hold of someone. I'm not exaggerating. During this period of silence, I was hung up on three times and transferred umpteen times to a customer service agent that couldn't help me, but informed me that Susan, or Rebecca, or Caroline would be glad to help me when she return from vacation next week. The complication was that Kars4Kids actually plays no role in booking the vacation. They put you in touch with a travel agent (in Florida I think).
Eventually we learned that one can only book one of their locations (they have places all over the U.S.) three months before the planned travel date. Frustrating, but OK, what can you do. So Sarah and I both put it in our calendars. Three months prior to our 1-year anniversary we are calling this place and booking our room. Eventually we actually got through (it took calling about 10 times). We informed the travel agent of our plans, to which you laughed under her breath and said, "Oh, all those locations have been booked for months. There is no way you're staying there."
So after spending yet another several hours on the phone we learned that their 365 day/year travel voucher is essentially only good for any time except summer months, desirable locations or any day of the week that ends in the letters d, a, y.
To bring a conclusion to this rant, I would recommend pursuing alternative organizations if you are hoping to donate your car. And when that jingle starts in your head, think of the Krasses and turn the channel.
Part of me loves the ironic inevitability that because I wrote "Kars4Kids" all over this blog Google will place their adds all over 1000goodmornings.net. Great. Please advertise your shotty organization on my blog.
[Insert evil villain laugh]