Sad that I am, I have to say that was intrigued (and pleased) to see a huge stall of Christmas stuff setting up in BM on Thursday. I may not have to schlep up to the West End to buy my Christmas Baubles after all. I hope they are open more than just Thurs-Sat.
I was a customer of Streetcar for many years, almost from day one, so I think my experience has a lot of credibility. For me it once had the same standing as businesses like First Direct and John Lewis. Innovative, a value for money product and very good customer service that differentiated it from competitors.
I stopped using their services because whilst the customer service was still good the product no longer was. They hired quality people (though not in high enough numbers to keep pace with a fast growing business), almost always agreed when you had a problem and were quick to compensate reasonably well. All essential for a high volume, fast growing business whose reputation is everything and who seem to want to hang on to every single customer (no matter how they behave towards other customers - what bar, restaurant, shop etc would put up with customers behaving antisocially?).
I simply got fed up when a high percentage of my bookings were ruined by filthy cars (inside and out - & I mean filthy not just the odd empty water bottle), almost always dented/scratched/stained, non availability, very low fuel, the car being returned late by someone else or not there at all. In other words, frequently unreliable.
I used to recommend Streetcar/Zipcar with a passion but now I advise that if you can afford your own car then you should absolutely get one as I have - even if you have to buy it with a friend or two.
My advice now is only be a customer 1. if you really cannot afford your own car 2. if you are so concerned with green issues you feel compelled to or 3. if you are prepared to gamble with every single booking you make.
They can do much more to deal with the problems that I list above but I saw no evidence of them trying to whilst I was a customer. How they satisfied the authorities about the merger is a mystery to me. Without credible competition I expect the pace of any improvement to their product will be glacial.
Over the years I did not change but their product did. It got much worse. I think their business model expects customers to get fed up and leave. It's just a question of when. The concept is good and the product used to be.
Wise words, Spacemaker; I concur with everything you've said. The upshot of my recent post on the subject was that I was asked to leave the club (with a full refund) as they told me they 'could not meet my high standards' (in response to me complaining when the vehicles weren't there!) I should say, at the peak of my membership, I was spending over £300 per month with them so to expect a vehicle to be available for a pre-arranged booking isn't too high an expectation is it? Or, if it is not, for them to provide adequate customer service.