First, a bit of back-story. I hired a car from [Useless Workshy Car Rental Company], and it was RUBBISH. During the week I had it, I had smoke billowing from under the bonnet, and the brakes failed on me, and I drove around the south of England in a jelly-mould with only three hub caps.
Sadly, my letter of complaint only drew a half-arsed technical explanation from a chap we shall call Simon, with the offer of ten per cent off my NEXT rental with the company. Not good enough. Time to deploy the twin weapons of SARCASM, TEH LULZ and the INTERNETS. That's three weapons. Here we go...
Can I call you Simon? I hope you don't mind me being familiar with you, but this is going to be a bit of an epic, and by the time we've reached the end of this saga, it'll be like we've known each other for years.
I refer to our rapidly expanding correspondence regarding my hire of your company's Ford Ka (Reg No: AR53HOL, known hereafter as "The Wreck") between 12-19 June. You may remember that the vehicle suffered from a number of technical and cosmetic faults which made my week with The Wreck less than enjoyable. These included:
Missing hub cap at the time of hire: Unforgivable on a car that is supposed to show your company in the best light. I checked all the gutters and ditches between Weymouth and Reading but was, alas, unable to find a suitable replacement. When I got The Wreck home on the first Saturday, my charming wife laughed at it, panicked at what the neighbours might think, and made me hide it under a sheet.
Missing oil filler cap: Resulting in billowing smoke at Winchester Services, leaving little old ladies fleeing running away muttering something about the Blitz; lorry drivers standing by with fire extinguishers; and a run on marshmallows-on-sticks in the service station shop. That wasn't the best start to the week, I can tell you for nothing, Simon. And my mood wasn't helped by the £17.98 I had to shell out for the two litres of the second-cheapest engine oil.
Malfunctioning brakes: You know that hairpin turn on the hill coming down into Weymouth? I bet you've never driven it, knuckles white against the steering wheel, screaming "AAAAARGH! NO BRAKES!" at a red-faced, uncomprehending cyclist sweating like a transvestite in Marks and Spencer, as The Wreck bore down on him. I missed. (Actually, I made that last bit up, but, hey, it got your attention)
Radio not working: I'll come clean, Simon. I'm on pills for my nerves, and there's nothing worse when you're a raving madman than being trapped in The Wreck for a whole week listening to your own internal dialogue. This is particularly true when the bulk of the conversation comprises the words "AAAAARGH!" and "NO BRAKES!" as I hurtle onwards to an uncertain fate.
Happily, I avoided going stark, raving bonkers by the simple game of counting how many people fled for their very lives at the sound of The Wreck's horrible, grinding brakes in a five mile stretch, then trying to beat that record. But I lost count almost immediately.
So, all of The Wreck's faults aside, while I certainly didn't expect to rent this:
I would have been more than happy to receive a reasonably good quality example of this:
Instead, I was driving around the south of England in one of these:
To borrow a line from those old "History Today" sketches: "See that battered old roller skate? The one with only three wheels someone's just pulled out of a swamp? That's your car, that is." A car constructed from tinfoil, sticky tape and the tormented souls of the dead.
Although, to be honest, a time machine wouldn't be such a bad idea. I could get myself next week's Euro Millions numbers, rub red hot chilli powder into the gusset of Adolf Hitler's underpants, before going back to tell my past self to stop being a plank and hire a car from one of your local competitors.
I've read and digested your explanation, and - frankly - I'm hardly punching the air at the generosity of your offer of recompense. I'm not interested in theories of how the brakes failed - the fact is that I was hired a car that was a danger to myself, pedestrians and other road users, and I'm not in the business of killing other people completely TO DEATH.
A ten per cent discount against my next rental with your company? As the situation stands, that's going to be ten per cent of the square root of naff all, isn't it?
How about – and here's a bit of your so-called out-of-the-box thinking, Simon - a discount against THIS rental with your company? I believe, in business circles, it is known as a "refund".
You might want to apply this new-fangled "refund" concept on the oil which I bought to save The Wreck from exploding on the M3 in the kind of fireball you only ever see on Top Gear when they blow up a caravan. You will note from the receipts I sent with my previous letter that the parched, smoking engine actually demanded two litres, but you have only paid me for one, and I'm still £8.99 down on that front. Sort that one out, if that's the very least you do.
You might - from this letter - assume I'm angry with your company, turning a vile shade of green and hurling US Army tanks at passing helicopters whilst screaming "HULK SMASH!" as passers-by. If I'm honest, I'm not, mostly because I'm on these pills for my nerves. I'm just exasperated at the Premier League muppetry that left me with a fourth-rate vehicle followed by fifth-rate service, and I'm simply asking you to do the right thing.
As the pop world's poor, ill Cheryl Cole might say in the circumstances: "I'm going to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight for this refund", so I'm still going to ask you for my money back, because It's a refund worth fighting for.
See? That wasn't so bad, was it? Looking forward to your reply.
Your newest best pal,
"Oh yeah," I hear you say, "I bet you didn't REALLY send that letter."
Au contraire. Here it is, in all its PDF-style glory for you to cut out, keep and show to your grandchildren. Enjoy.