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Rental car bait & switch

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Replies to: Rental car bait & switch

  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,343 Senior Member
    I've never had a problem I'd get so ruffled about. I do choose based on both price and miles/gallon and do refuse free upgrades if the other model is lower mpg. My issue with Enterprise here is that when D2 would rent, some offices didn't honor the under 25 that central reservations ok'd. But we quickly figured which did. And one Enterprise rep scared the dickens out of us, trying to sell the insurance. Made it sound like the smallest scratch would lead to huge charges, while the car was out of service for repairs. That made me drop them for some time. Many credit cards include rental insurance.
  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 Registered User Posts: 3,527 Senior Member
    My H is a Hertz Gold member so we almost always rent from Hertz because there is no waiting in line. The few times I have had issues with rental cars were when I reserved through a third party (Hotwire). I got a refund (we came back a day earlier than expected) but dealing with Hotwire was painful.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,251 Super Moderator
    ^Yes, I'm having second thoughts about dealing with third party sites now!
  • guidedbywireguidedbywire Registered User Posts: 447 Member
    Last October, the Avis counter at the Denver airport straight up lied to me about Colorado traction laws and tried to stick me with a $100 upgrade to a "required" AWD vehicle so that I was "in compliance."

    When I rent for work through Enterprise I never get anything but free upgrades (even when I don't want them) from my local branch.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,343 Senior Member
    I usually check rentalcarmomma. They used to have better discounts than it seems now, but never an issue. We've adjusted pick up times, returned earlier or later and the original terms/pricing formulas were honored. But it's not pre-pay.
  • greenwitchgreenwitch Registered User Posts: 8,639 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    Rental car agents don't make a lot of money, and they make a commission if they get you to upgrade your car or buy their expensive insurance. It's the reason why many of them use a hard sell.

    If I ever think I have to get a bigger car, or need more insurance, I don't put that on the reservation. I ask the agent directly, knowing it will benefit them. That way, they usually offer you something else as well.

    But in general - this is why we have consumer protection laws, and we need more of them!

    @lookingforward - what they tried to scare your D with was "loss of use". They say that if you get in an accident, even if it isn't your fault, that they can charge you for every day that the car is out of service. Unless you buy THEIR insurance! Of course, most credit cards cover that collision, and your own auto policy might also. One lady kept trying to scare me and said, "only USAA covers loss of use so you better buy our collision coverage". Good thing we have USAA :-c
  • martharapmartharap Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    Budget is the one company we will never rent from again. Quite a few years ago we reserved a minivan, as we were 4 adults and 2 kids. When we went to pick it up, they had no vans. They told us that having a “reservation” didn’t mean that they actually had the vehicle on the lot. We had no choice but to take a huge pack van, like a delivery truck.

    It was a terrible experience and Budget is forever off our list.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    Well, the upcharge and different car was just a paper waiting for us and directing us to the bright yellow Camaro—no person until we went back downstairs to talk to the agent, having schlepped our very tired selves and bags to the car and back. I am not used to being charged an extra $100 for our reservation without our permission. It did NOT include any extra insurance or anything.

    I recall once when we traveled too Denver many years ago and H got our rental car while I was resting with our tired kids and they got him to buy tons of insurance that doubled the cost of the rental—as soon as H drive us all to the hotel, I called the car rental company and asked them where to return the car because I was very angry that they sold us all the insurance when we had it with our CC. They said if they removed all of the charges and just kept the rental charges would we keep the car? We agreed and when we returned the car, I made sure to get a receipt showing the amount we were charged matched the original quote we had from Costco without all the extra insurance charges.

    I guess we have had some sleazy things happen but for some reason I expect better and am always sadly surprised by these tactics. We’ve had bad experiences with Hertz, Enterprise and Budget. We did like Alamo but now that they’ve been taken over their rates aren’t competitive.
  • bookmama22bookmama22 Registered User Posts: 2,285 Senior Member
    We usually rent cars on vacation through Costco and I have done so when I travel on business as well. Usually there aren't any hassles. When we went to Maui on vacation a few years ago the entire rental car situation was a nightmare. No matter what you had reserved for they gave you the next available car as they didn't have enough staff to clean and turn the cars over when returned. We ended up with an SUV, a car we had never driven and certainly didn't need but they didn't charge us any extra.

    One of my colleagues who I sometimes travel with on business always uses the same rental car agency to accumulate points and other perks, his typical car rental is in their database and he just accesses the car in the lot. I don't think we even stopped to speak to an agent but I can't recall how we had the keys.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    The keys are in the car and we are members of many frequent renter programs but normally aren’t upcharged like they attempted to thus most recent rental. I guess one has to carefully check the documents and not get complacent.
  • dietz199dietz199 Registered User Posts: 3,620 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    This happened to our D in Maui. Car reserved thru Costco. They got there and were told 'an economy sized vehicle was not available, but they would be upgraded'. D said -great, as long as it for the same price. The agent indicated that was not possible and if they wanted a car they would need to take an upgrade. Luckily D pushed back - simply said, well okay, but let me call the Costco service desk first and you can talk to them. Funny thing, all of a sudden a suitable car for the contracted amount 'became available'.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    I've only had a problem when renting via a third party (it was Hotwire), so now I always book direct.

    I booked a lower priced but seems OK company car for New Zealand next month....hope that works out OK :| It was 1/5th the price of Hertz (I have gold and prefer to use them in the US) - the US companies seem to all be really pricey there. Even though I have good car insurance on my credit card, I opted to buy theirs. They want to hold a huge deposit if I don't.

    Fingers crossed...
  • gosmomgosmom Registered User Posts: 1,947 Senior Member
    @Himom....many of the rental car companies at SFO do not have the cars that have been reserved due to the rampant problem in San Francisco of car break ins. One rental agent told us that they have 65 cars A DAY that have been vandalized, and thus have to be repaired before renting. Staggering number, but San Francisco logged about 30,000 smash and grabs last year. (note to visitors: DO NOT leave ANYTHING in your rental in SF.)

    And as I believed you have experienced, many cars are towed--lots of tourists don't see signs, which are also very confusing. But it still doesn't excuse the agent trying to ding you for the additional amount for a smaller car. Glad you were able to hold them to the contract amount...
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,343 Senior Member
    Ime, the agent always goes over pricing before I sign. And I bring the booking receipt.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 34,234 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    One person told us a single rental car company had 90 smash and grabs per day with just their rental company! I find SF less and less attractive each time we visit, sadly.
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