Reader P. works for one of those big national car rental companies, on the customer service front lines. She has some insights for how to get on the good side of car rental employees, how to make sure the car you ordered ends up where you need it, and the potential hazards of online reservation systems.
When Sean returned a rented truck to Budget Truck Rental nearly a year ago, he went through the standard inspection with an employee, who then signed off on the return. Now the company has sent a $500 bill to collection for damage they refuse to provide evidence of.
Earlier this summer, we wrote about how Paul was being gouged by Advantage Rent-A-Car on repairs that had to be made after his rental was damaged in a hit and run. Paul was willing to pay the repairs on the vehicle, but Advantage wanted almost double the amount. After we posted his story, Paul was able to get in touch with a higher-up at Advantage who passed him along directly to the Chairman. Here’s what happened.
Paul is being cheated by Advantage Rent-A-Car in one of the most transparent, odious scams we’ve seen a rental car company try to pull. After a thief damaged his rental on a recent trip, Advantage says because the car was in the shop for 49 hours, he owes them 22 days worth of rent. “I asked how they got that number and they said they use a 4 hour work day, which is laughable! Even with that it would only be 12 days. Even if you are generous and give them 2 weekends it only gets to 16!”
USAA is like a unicorn in a pack of walruses: a financial services company that truly cares about its customers and really helps them out. Not as some kind of lucky exception, but as a matter of policy. Reader “Mary Marsala With Fries’” story, about how USAA opened up several cans of whoop-ass on an Enterprise facility that was trying to screw her over on charges, is yet further proof.
ABC has some good tips on how to save when renting cars. For instance:
After reading these six confessions of a current Alamo car rental agent, you will learn:
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Steven Dentali, who was charged the fee in October after renting a car from Dollar Rent A Car in Manchester, N.H. “I said to them, ‘You’re telling me I’m penalized no matter what? There’s no way around me having to pay something?’”
During my break I made a reservation to rent a car from Enterprise. My flight was delayed and when I got to my destination, all Enterprise’s cars were gone. However, they did tell me that AVIS was price-matching Enterprise’s rates and so I was able to go over to the AVIS desk and get a car for roughly the same price. This was a good thing too as it was holiday time and otherwise I would be paying roughly triple. So, something to remember if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, call up one of the rental places “co-optetitors” and see if they’ll give you a similar car for similar price. As for the logic behind them taking your reservation only to sell it out from under you, well, that’s a story for another day.
Budget Rent-A-Car settled with the FTC over its illegal charge of fuel fees even for customers who returned the car with a full tank of gas. Budget claimed in its advertising and in-store signage that customers would not be charge for fuel if the car came back with its tank full. In reality, Budget would charge customers a $5, $6, or $9.50 fuel fee if they drove fewer than 75 miles and returned with the tank full. The only way to get the fee reversed was to present a gas receipt, a procedure Budget didn’t disclose in advance. Under the terms of the settlement, Budget will have to stop doing this crap.
Due to the Costco membership second driver discount, I suggested that my parents use Alamo on their trip to visit me. When my mother told the rep on the phone and again at airport pickup that she was a Costco member for the free additional driver, they told her there was no such thing and they had never heard of it. I have used this discount, and it was the only reason I recommended Alamo. Rather than contacting someone else who might know of the partnership discount or listening to their customer, they were rude to my mother and she left with no second driver rather than pay the additional $9/day they were asking for.
When you’re looking online for flights or car rentals, consider trying the country-specific versions of popular travel websites, suggests the New York Times. In at least some cases, the price difference can be more than 50%.
Here’s about 385 working discount codes and coupons for National, Enterprise, Budget, AVIS, and HERTZ, courtesy of Fat Wallet. The post says they’re all tested as of 6/30/07. If you have trouble using any of the codes, read through the pages of messages for tips and pointers.
Dollar/Thrifty's Unwritten Rule For Mechanics To "Find" Problems Covered By Warranty And Bill The Manufacturer
An unverified reader report has an interesting claim that should grab the attention of every auto-maker. Dudes, Dollar/Thrifty Group car rental is totally ripping you off.
Upgrade: Travel Better says most car rental places will charge drivers under 25 an additional $25 per day, but there are a couple of things you can do to reduce the ding.
At least one Enterprise rental place has a cheat sheet for manipulating buyers into buying what is sometimes unnecessary car insurance. Here’s a transcript of the document one of our readers snagged from an Enterprise in Fort Lee, NJ .
You may have missed it, but a number of national car-rental places amended or ended their car-rental grace periods this year. These were rules that said if you returned your car an hour or two late, they wouldn’t charge you for the overtime.