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Rental car bait & switch

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Replies to: Rental car bait & switch

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24719 replies20 threads Senior Member
    I just rented off Hotwire as it was $100 less than any other rate I could find. (forgot about Costco). I did this last year too and it was fine. The only issue I have is that it is 'off airport' but I knew that before booking, and I'll have to allow another half hour for drop off.
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  • Anxiousmom1Anxiousmom1 353 replies8 threads Member
    Also a devoted Autoslash user here. I've saved serious money on several rentals.
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  • gosmomgosmom 2036 replies58 threads Senior Member
    @twoinanddone ....we've rented off airport many times and all but one, we were allowed to return the car to the airport, not where we picked it up. We only learned of this when the off site rental guy asked where we were returning to...and told us there wouldn't be a charge for dropping at airport.
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  • HImomHImom 35994 replies396 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    OK, will try to remember autoslash. I've been pretty happy with Costco travel for rental cars so far, but note that they don't have Hertz as one of their options. I have had some good Hertz rentals as well thru AAA.

    A friend mentioned that he's had a lot of issues with rental cars lately as well and you really have to watch them carefully. He has gotten some bad cars, some dirty cars, and some cars with scratches and other issues. He carefully documents them so he isn't charged for what others have done. :(
    edited February 2018
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  • mom60mom60 8372 replies514 threads Senior Member
    @OHMomof2 - we used Omega in New Zealand and we were very pleased with the car and the service. One issue we did have is our connecting flight was delayed and we would be arriving after the counter was closed. We called and they told us we would have to pick up the car the next day which wouldn’t have worked as our lodging was a few hour drive away. They suggested we go to the Omega rental site in the city where we were delayed and pay for the car and do all the paperwork. They told us where the car would be parked and left the key behind the bumper. It was nice of them since the agency was off site of the airport and they brought the car to the airport for us.
    I hate Budget. We had an issue in Canada where they insisted the car was damaged on the undercarriage. We had an early morning flight and had to just drop the car without an inspection post return.We knew we hadn’t hit anything. They were insistent and our credit card company paid the bill but it left a bad feeling with me for the company.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3373 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Off airport locations are usually a lot cheaper except for one-way rentals. The 30-50% taxes and fees charged at some airports is just crazy. Sometimes we take the train to an in-city location, which usually is a lot faster (since the rental counters are usually off-airport and require a 15-20 min bus ride) and also almost all of them allow return at the airport.
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  • jym626jym626 57650 replies3022 threads Senior Member
    There really are only 3 rental car companies:
    AvisBudget Group (owns Avis, Budget, and Payless)
    Enterprise Holdings (owns Alamo, Enterprise, and National)
    Hertz Global Holdings (owns Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty)
    So if you like Enterprise but not Alamo, they really are the same parent company.

    We have rarely (not never but rarely) had an issue with being pushed into an upgrade (once in Denver when going to the slopes- I forget the details but we did end up paying a small bit more for a car that was a better choice for us at the time). The vast majority of the time if the car we requested isn’t there they give us the upgrade for the same price. Some of the companies are now going to the “pick any car in the row/class you requested” approach so there is not a problem with the car you want not being there. There are usually several to choose from.

    Once recently the car in our “spot” (DH is Hertz Gold, and now Hertz Presidents circle, but this happened before he was presidents circle) that they gave us wouldnt work for us ( I think it was a hatchback and we needed a trunk) and they happened to have one much better car in the row of cars we were to “choose” from (it might have been there in error). DH asked- “can we take that one?” and sure enough- it was available and off we went.

    My favorite story I told recently and will repeat, but will cut to the chase. We were traveling with several family members and a baby and wanted to use points to rent a Chevy Tahoe. Apparently Hertz doesn’t rent anything higher than a Durango (or equivalent) on points, so we decided to cancel the reservation we had for a Tahoe for a week (around $900) and take the Durango, having to pay only taxes and airport fees. So... we get to the car in our spot reserved for us, and .... it was the Chevy Tahoe! So we got it instead of the Dodge Durango, and the cost for the week (taxes and airport fees, etc...)....... wait for it.....
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    $45 !
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83284 replies739 threads Senior Member
    However, the different brands within the same company may have different practices aimed at different markets. The Hertz brand appears to market itself as a more premium brand to business travelers (often higher prices, but with corporate discount codes), while the Dollar and Thrifty brands (and the Advantage brand that used to be part of the Hertz group before the Dollar and Thrifty acquisition) appear to market themselves to price-sensitive personal travelers (often lower prices, but less convenient off-airport lots and more upselling at the rental counter).
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  • jym626jym626 57650 replies3022 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    And toyota and Lexus, Nissan and Infiniti, Honda and Acura cater to different markets but are the same parent company. Ultimately , if need be and you deem to deal with corporate, you are dealing with the parent corporation.
    edited February 2018
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  • college_querycollege_query 4445 replies354 threads Senior Member
    About a year and a half ago, I used Autoslash to rent a car for a family reunion. I travel a lot for work and always use National or Enterprise (our company policy) but for personal use, through Autoslash the lowest price was with Avis.

    When I picked up the car (I had reserved an "intermediate size") they asked me "Is a Toyota Camry okay?" and I said "sure." Then, later in the day I noticed instead of the $78 I was quoted, I was charged $181 instead. I called back to see why I was charged more than twice the rate was I was quoted. They said it was because I was renting a "full size" instead of an "intermediate size."

    I complained, because I had no idea when they asked me "Is a Toyota Camry okay" that I was, in fact, agreeing to rent a different class of car. If they had asked me "Would you like to upgrade to a Toyota Camry" I would have declined.

    I was able to get them to honor the original quoted rate, but I spent a lot of time on the phone. I felt they had been very deceptive in how they tricked me to an upgrade.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 41220 replies479 threads Senior Member
    Re: SFO car shortage. Business folk fly into SFO and do one way rentals. Mr. B never gets charged for one way dropoff when he flies into SJC and then out of SFO. They want those cars in SFO!
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13725 replies113 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    If we're going to the SF area to see S1, we generally fly into SJC, take a cab 5 minutes to the B&B where we stay, and pick up the car in San Bruno the next morning. Saves us a ton on the airport taxes, though it's a bit of an exercise to get there. DH is happy to go through the rigamarole to save $$.

    We had Avis in NZ and we're USAA members. I scraped the car while DH was trying to direct me backing up on a dead-end street. Noticeable dent in the side panel. It took a while to process the claim (and I sweated the "loss of use" provision), but it only cost us $200 on a $1500 repair. I was thrilled.

    I rented a minivan from Avis (their desk was at our local Sears store) to move out S2 when he graduated. We'd rented minivans from them previously with no issue. This time, they gave us a monster-sized Sprinter; they said this was now their standard "minivan." It was like driving a &^%$ truck. I was not happy at all, esp since I was driving to Boston.

    The worst part was that I had to pick up DH at the train station @ 1 am. Was waiting outside in the van for him (engine off, lights out, door locked) when a group of REALLY drunk late-20-somethings started banging on my windows. I hit the lock to make sure it was secure and accidentally opened it. The guys started piling in the van. They clearly thought I was an Uber driver. I started screaming "Get the --- out of my car!" and a less-smashed one of them (the one who kept pressing his face against the window) managed to get them out. They stumbled into a nearby cab.
    edited March 2018
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  • techmom99techmom99 3516 replies6 threads Senior Member
    A few months ago, I made a reservation with Budget through AAA. I clearly indicated that my second driver was 21 years of age and was told there would be a small surcharge. When we arrived, they told me that there would be a second deposit required. I was okay with that because I would get the money back but they insisted that the credit card had to be my son's. Well, my son didn't have a credit card (I got him one after this). On top of that, they wanted a $50/day surcharge for the underage driver. My son had to drag me away from the counter after they refused to refund my deposit. I contacted AAA later and got it back.

    We walked over to the Hertz counter, got a nicer car for a better price, no double deposit and only a $3/day surcharge. My only regret is that I didn't make the reservation online with my AARP card because I could have gotten a better discount.

    I will never use Budget again.
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  • HImomHImom 35994 replies396 threads Senior Member
    Wow! That’s awful! It’s disturbing how many of us have had recent bad rental experiences. With them having more people not bothering to rent cars and taking Uber and Lyft instead, you’d think they’d work harder to keep loyal customers instead of alienating us! Guess they think a quick buck here or there is better than a loyal customer base.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 41220 replies479 threads Senior Member
    Never, ever try to rent from Budget in Maui at the airport. They are so understaffed and have very little inventory of cars... people have to wait in line for 2 hours to get to the counter. We were lucky that it only took us 45 minutes. The Lincoln they gave us instead of the compact car was the size of an aircraft carrier... :)
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  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom 15911 replies347 threads Senior Member
    Interesting to read the smash and grabs are so common in San Francisco. When my son went for a job interview in the area several years ago he left a cheap camera in the front seat of his rental when he went to eat. Came out to a broken window and no camera (he didn't realize anything had been stolen till he called me while he was waiting for the police and I told him to take a picture of the damage, then he realized what was missing). He had said yes to the insurance but it turned out they had not charged him. They tried to make him pay $500 for the damages after he got back. He went into our local enterprise and showed them the paperwork with his agreement to take insurance clearly indicated. They called the SF dealer and sorted it out. He never heard any more from them.
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  • gouf78gouf78 7868 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Autoslash will find the lowest price from ALL (Budget, Hertz, Avis, Thrifty etc) companies--you choose which one after seeing the prices.
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  • greenwitchgreenwitch 9284 replies42 threads Senior Member
    @swimcatsmom - I know our regular USAA car insurance waives the deductible for windows that are smashed. I wonder if the rental agencies have a similar situation, meaning they were really trying to bilk you!

    I've just learned with rental car situations - print everything out, save everything for a couple of extra months, check out everything before you sign or initial it.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13237 replies247 threads Senior Member
    @VeryHappy and @mom60 thanks! It's Lucky. Older cars, I know this and that's OK as long as they are reliable.
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  • TempeMomTempeMom 2970 replies25 threads Senior Member
    I'm getting a rental at SFO next week. This thread led to a search of smash and grab and apparently they are #1 in the US.
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