Upseller's Hall of Fame: Dollar Rent-a-Car Lies, Promising Cars That Don't Exist

A couple weeks ago, I reserved a compact with Dollar Rent-a-Car in San Antonio. At the counter, the agent flat-out lied to me about what kind of car I was scheduled to get, in an attempt to upsell me to a higher class of vehicle.

The conversation went something like this:

Agent: I see you’ve reserved a compact. We’ve got a 2-door Suzuki Forenza.
me: That’s fine, thanks.
Agent: The Forenza doesn’t have power windows, power locks, or power steering. For only $45 more for the duration of the rental, we can put you into a nice new Nissan Sentra, that’s a midsize.
me: (incredulously) The Forenza doesn’t have power steering?!!?
Agent: No, it doesn’t. We buy them with no options for $8000, that’s how we can rent them out so cheap.
me: (skeptically) But no power steering?? I’ll still take the compact, thanks.
Agent: You’re sure? It’s not much more for the Sentra!
me: I’m sure.

Excuse me, ma’am, your pants appear to be on fire.

The car they described (a 2-door Suzuki Forenza with no power steering) doesn’t even exist. There is no 2-door Forenza. And all Forenzas come with power steering. They made this stuff up to make me question my choice of a compact car.

Luckily, I didn’t budge: Because they must have been out of smaller cars, they upgraded me to the car they were trying to upsell me anyway, for free.

Getting the upgrade was nice enough. Being lied to? Not so much. MARK ASHLEY

Rental car agent blows smoke up my backside, redux [Upgrade: Travel Better]
(Photo: powerbooktrance)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.