Priceline Promised No "Young Renter Fee," But Avis Says Pay Up

When Lauren reserved a car rental through Priceline last week, she checked out the fine print to see if she’d have to pay any age-related extra fees, and according to Priceline what she bid would be the total price. Now Avis is telling her Priceline is wrong and she’ll have to come up with more money at the rental counter.

The wording is a little confusing, with Priceline telling customers to include any young renter fee in the bid, but also guaranteeing that there will be no further fee assessed by the rental company once the bid is accepted:

I logged on to Priceline.com to book a car rental reservation on 9/23/10. After reading the minimum age requirement page on Priceline.com that states, “With priceline.com, you should include these additional fees in your offer price. If your request is accepted, you will not be charged any additional Young Renter Fees at the rental counter,” I proceeded to book my car with the impression that once my offer was accepted, I would not be required to pay any additional young renter fees at the rental car desk.

After completing my reservation, I called to confirm and make 100% sure that I wouldn’t have to pay any additional fees. I was told by the first agent that I would have to pay another fee. I explained that the website states that I wouldn’t and after she looked into it, she told me that she would make note on my account so that I would not be required to pay a young renter fee when I pick up my car.

I was still wary of the situation, so I called Avis, the car rental company. Avis informed me that even though Priceline stated that I would not have to pay, that they would in fact charge me. The Avis representative also told me that this has happened in the past and that Priceline needs to change their website wording. I then called Priceline.com back and asked to speak with a manager. The manager who I spoke with went over the issue with me and also researched it for a few minutes. She said that she too interpreted the minimum age requirement as the customer would not pay any additional fees if the offer was accepted, but told me that there was nothing they could do at this time. She offered to cancel the transaction, but told me that I would still be required to pay for one day of the rental car, which is completely unacceptable to me.

The Priceline.com website specifically states, “If your request is accepted, you will not be charged any additional Young Renter Fees at the rental counter,” so as a consumer, I trusted this statement. I feel as if I have been lied to and basically robbed because I am stuck in this situation.

Priceline said they would get back to me within 5 days after their marketing department looks into it, but my trip is right around the corner and I cannot and will not pay any additional fees for my rental car. The customer service department was not helpful and I am not satisfied with what they offered me. I either want my rental at the price I agreed to pay, without any additional fees, or a FULL refund of $183.80 to my VISA.

What should I do?!

Any suggestions, readers?