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(CBC)   Budget Rent A Car, where the retroactive dubious overcharges for invisible damage is just another part of our world class service   (cbc.ca) divider line 108
    More: Fail, Budget Rent A Car, vehicle inspection, Vancouver Airport, Wendy Chernoff  
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14052 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Nov 2012 at 8:46 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-05 08:50:03 AM  
Hello? Visa? I have an unauthorized charge from Budget rent a car. Yeah, they charged me 300 bucks without telling me for no reason. Please reverse all charges from them.

(Visa fraud services) "Certainly sir. Your money will be returned tomorrow"
 
2012-11-05 08:50:34 AM  
Yeah,
I do a walk through of the vehicle and then mark the ever loving shiat of the checksheet before I ever take a rental car.
Then again, I only go with reputable U.S. companies.
You'd expect something like this from Canucks.
 
2012-11-05 08:53:36 AM  
The Better Business Bureau has 70 recent complaints about Budget outlets in B.C., which it said show a "pattern."

Oops, sounds like Budget Rent-A-Car has fallen behind on their Better Business Bureau dues.

/seriously, BBB can DIAF.
 
2012-11-05 08:56:22 AM  
Glad someone's finally doing something about this. Their pre-rental inspection is a quick glance, their post-rental investigation may as well be performed by a CSI team. If you don't want to pay note EVERYTHING to them the first time they pull out that clipbpoard.
 
2012-11-05 09:00:25 AM  
www.cbc.ca

You and your ridiculously large microphone are required to leave these premises. No. I will not acknowledge your ridiculously large microphone. I am ignoring it.
 
2012-11-05 09:00:30 AM  
Good to know. Great way to win repeat customers.
 
2012-11-05 09:01:12 AM  
I've never had a problem. Intial walkthrough with them I note absolutely EVERYTHING. Any scratch, tiny speck, dents. Then final inspection when returned. There's actually been times I returned the car with less "damage" because a few initial specks were just mud or whatever. Budget has a different method than this or are these people just lying?
 
2012-11-05 09:01:21 AM  
let us not forget recent shenanigans of Enterprise Rent A Car posted on Fark. Enterprise lobbied the WashDC folks who are supposed to be working for YOU America. your friends in WashDC made it possible for Enterprise to legally ignore automobile manufacturer recalls, thus keeping dangerous unsafe cars on the road for you to rent.

after a mom & dads beautiful young daughters were killed because of one of these Enterprise cars it still took substantial screaming & shouting in the media to get Enterprise to even consider changing their evil ways.

these people are not worthy of your dollars or your patronage. ignore them and we can put them out of business. shame on them for their evil greed.

hint: check out who owns Enterprise, they own a lot of things, and they treat their employees like cattle.
 
2012-11-05 09:01:22 AM  
They all pull their own scams. I had an Avis rep tell me that I was being charged more because I returned the car early. What kind of BS is that. Of course a couple of phone calls and that got cleared up real fast. But the fact they they would even try to pull a scam like that says something about the company.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-05 09:02:47 AM  
Great way to win repeat customers.

As far as I know all the major rental companies have contracts that say they can charge you anything they like for any reason they fabricate and if you don't agree you can walk.
 
2012-11-05 09:07:26 AM  
As others have noted, this story is total BS. I've rented cars many a time, and probably Budget was better than 50% of these rentals. I note the damage with them when I pick up the car, and other than the inconvenience of having to get them to come out and look at the car with me, that's as far as the problem goes. I have had to use nighttime dropoff a million times, and I always take photos and video documenting the condition of the car when I leave it, but I've never once been charged a cent extra and had to use it.

And from TFA, I'm sorry, but a wheel dent is not "normal wear and tear". You kerb the car, you should pay to fix the damage. Especially if the rental is rolling alloys, which most anything except the base models will be these days.
 
2012-11-05 09:07:51 AM  

fluffy2097: Hello? Visa? I have an unauthorized charge from Budget rent a car. Yeah, they charged me 300 bucks without telling me for no reason. Please reverse all charges from them.

(Visa fraud services) "Certainly sir. Your money will be returned tomorrow"


Plus if you put your rental on Visa or some other credit cards you could be insured by your credit card company (unless you have another policy that would cover the rental). I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.

I just rented a car through Priceline from Alamo and the service was awful. Pushed to buy insurance, pushed to upgrade to an SUV (the $100/d to get an SUV would be more than a week in a condo cost me...), told we were stupid for not buying the gas (we only ended up using 1/2 a tank). I hate rental car games.
 
2012-11-05 09:11:17 AM  

fluffy2097: Hello? Visa? I have an unauthorized charge from Budget rent a car. Yeah, they charged me 300 bucks without telling me for no reason. Please reverse all charges from them.

(Visa fraud services) "Certainly sir. Your money will be returned tomorrow"


Yeah, that doesn't work. I tried that when Sixt at Heathrow dinged me for non existent damage to one of their rental cars. There was no damage to the windscreen at any time, yet once I was back home in the States they billed me waaaay over the odds for repair of a chip - actually billed me more than a replacement windscreen would have cost. I sent them an email demanding return of my money, and then contacted my bank credit card department to reverse it. Two days later I got a call back from the bank saying Sixt had said it was a real charge, so it would stand. End of story, no possibility of argument. The whole thing was compounded by Sixt being based in Germany, and the head office and the Heathrow branch always saying I needed to be speaking to the other.
 
2012-11-05 09:12:05 AM  
Recently had a rental for long term (my poor '10 Charger took a long time to fix). The Enterprise rep told me between vehicle switches that any "ding" smaller than a dime was inconsequential. I still think taking a lot of "before" pictures is a good idea. Enterprise was really good, would recommend.
 
2012-11-05 09:12:08 AM  

spidermilk: fluffy2097: Hello? Visa? I have an unauthorized charge from Budget rent a car. Yeah, they charged me 300 bucks without telling me for no reason. Please reverse all charges from them.

(Visa fraud services) "Certainly sir. Your money will be returned tomorrow"

Plus if you put your rental on Visa or some other credit cards you could be insured by your credit card company (unless you have another policy that would cover the rental). I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.

I just rented a car through Priceline from Alamo and the service was awful. Pushed to buy insurance, pushed to upgrade to an SUV (the $100/d to get an SUV would be more than a week in a condo cost me...), told we were stupid for not buying the gas (we only ended up using 1/2 a tank). I hate rental car games.


credit card companies are extremely damaging to merchants.

The merchant instantly loses all your money, and is highly unlikely to be able to contest the issue and get it back.

Furthermore, if the merchant gets enough charge backs, the card companies will simply ban them from accepting credit card transactions at all.

Can you imagine what would happen if Budget was forced to accept cash or check only?
 
2012-11-05 09:13:32 AM  

Shagbert: Yeah, that doesn't work. I tried that when Sixt at Heathrow dinged me for non existent damage to one of their rental cars. There was no damage to the windscreen at any time, yet once I was back home in the States they billed me waaaay over the odds for repair of a chip - actually billed me more than a replacement windscreen would have cost. I sent them an email demanding return of my money, and then contacted my bank credit card department to reverse it. Two days later I got a call back from the bank saying Sixt had said it was a real charge, so it would stand. End of story, no possibility of argument. The whole thing was compounded by Sixt being based in Germany, and the head office and the Heathrow branch always saying I needed to be speaking to the other.


You are in the UK. That is your problem.

America is farking serious about their money.
 
2012-11-05 09:17:06 AM  

spidermilk: I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.


What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

In other words, they don't "find out" they are dealing with a credit card company, they know it. Because they are with 100% of their customers.

And also, I've had a charge or two reversed in my time, and the credit card company doesn't treat this lightly. They will require evidence that the charge is fraudulent, and they will take their time to consider that evidence carefully.
 
2012-11-05 09:17:40 AM  
I hate budget. They offered me a free upgrade from basic economy to a luxury, fully loaded Malibu, then charged me $30 extra a day for the upgrade.

I was flabbergasted! The lady said "we have tons of them right now, I'll just upgrade you to one of them." Then when I returned, there was a charge for upgrading as well as the daily charges. I was livid. That was the day I spent so long screaming at every supervisor I could find I almost missed my flight home.

Budget is TERRIBLE.
 
2012-11-05 09:17:41 AM  

Tarmangani: The Better Business Bureau has 70 recent complaints about Budget outlets in B.C., which it said show a "pattern."

Oops, sounds like Budget Rent-A-Car has fallen behind on their Better Business Bureau dues.

/seriously, BBB can DIAF.


This. BBB is complicit in a lot of scams and frauds simply by providing the veneer of respectability. Most people don't realize a BBB rating of A+ can be gained just by addressing complaints, not resolving them positively.

And don't even get me started on the extortion and confidence scam that is Ripoffreport.com.
 
2012-11-05 09:17:58 AM  
National was BAD about this for about a year. I'm a FF and rented exclusively through National until I returned a car at DFW. About 2 months later I get a letter in the mail telling me they're going to charge me $600 for a windshield.
I call up the # and they tell me the windshield was "shattered" upon return (completely ludicrous--not even a chip), and I tell them to pound sand.
A month later, they pulled the same thing at DFW to the tune of $1200 for damage to the driver's side door (there was none).


They've gotten better, but my belief is that once the car is turned in and you get your receipt, that's it.
 
2012-11-05 09:17:59 AM  
Enterprise is already on my shiatlist. I'll just add Budget.
/Avis and National have always been easy to deal with, for me.
 
2012-11-05 09:18:12 AM  
I have Hertz #1 Gold. I've never had them even remotely screw with me. I've even had loose body panels I've had to push back in place before they came to look at it.

I was given a car at the Tampa airport. I drove over the causeway to Clearwater, went to a client, stayed there at the hotel, got gas, and back to the airport. I noticed on my receipt I had driven 600 miles. Looks like someone had 'borrowed' the car before I got it. But I didn't care. It came with free unlimited mileage. The only problem was they stuck me with lousy cars for a while after that.

I was in Orlando and someone actually ran out of gas in the Hertz driveway. They got their money's worth out of the prepaid fuel option. They were getting high 5s on the bus.
 
2012-11-05 09:20:10 AM  
Every rental car I get, I ask for the form, and mark the shiat out of it. I take pictures all around the car and e-mail them to myself before I leave the lot. Sound like a PITA? Yep, it is.....but as said before, the check-out 'inspection' is just a glance, the return inspection is white-glove. The practice seems to be that SOMEBODY will just fork over the deductible / damage fee, and it works often enough that they keep doing it.

If the car gets damaged after you take it, might as well pay to fix it yourself. Your credit card and primary insurer will likely cover you if you claim it....and if it's minor, a paintless dent repair is $50-75, a rock-chip in a windshield can be fixed cheaply, and you can replace an entire windshield for under $300. (Someone broke into my rental by smashing a passenger window), and a glass company came out to my house and replaced it for $150. Rental company never knew.
 
2012-11-05 09:20:35 AM  

fluffy2097: Hello? Visa? I have an unauthorized charge from Budget rent a car. Yeah, they charged me 300 bucks without telling me for no reason. Please reverse all charges from them.

(Visa fraud services) "Certainly sir. Your money will be returned tomorrow"


That might work, if it's the first time you've gotten mad enough to go that route. The second time--and I mean the second time in your life--that you ask for a chargeback, out come the fine-toothed combs. The third time, you'd better have video footage of someone holding a gun to your head as they swiped your card.

Whenever possible, browbeat the business itself into reversing the charges. The chargeback gun only has so many bullets in it, and there are a ton of people out there who will rip you off without so much as a second thought.
 
2012-11-05 09:20:52 AM  
I rent from the Sikh guy with the buy/sell/rent lot of older cars at the end of my street.

Broke a wheel running into a curb. My fault, I tell him. "Forget about it, happens, happens." he tells me.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-11-05 09:22:19 AM  
gweilo8888

I think the meaning of the comment you were replying to was this:

When a rental company realizes they are negotiating a damage claim with the credit card company that insured the rental, the company they depend on to earn income, rather than a lawyerless mortal who can't hurt them, they will act like honest businessmen instead of thieves.
 
2012-11-05 09:24:42 AM  

fluffy2097: Shagbert: Yeah, that doesn't work. I tried that when Sixt at Heathrow dinged me for non existent damage to one of their rental cars. There was no damage to the windscreen at any time, yet once I was back home in the States they billed me waaaay over the odds for repair of a chip - actually billed me more than a replacement windscreen would have cost. I sent them an email demanding return of my money, and then contacted my bank credit card department to reverse it. Two days later I got a call back from the bank saying Sixt had said it was a real charge, so it would stand. End of story, no possibility of argument. The whole thing was compounded by Sixt being based in Germany, and the head office and the Heathrow branch always saying I needed to be speaking to the other.

You are in the UK. That is your problem.

America is farking serious about their money.


Nope, not any more. Today marks my 5th year in the US, in fact.
 
2012-11-05 09:25:46 AM  
As for the premise of this article, well, duh. And I doubt that Budget is any better or worse than any other rental company. It's the nature of the industry.

Beware any business that tries to pass off its lowest-skilled, bottom-rung employees as middle-to-upper management. That 22-year-old wearing the blazer and tie does nothing in his day more complicated than handing you a key and operating a cash register. So why is he under such strict orders to speak, act and dress as though he, too, is a member of the business elite? Because the rental car companies think, perhaps correctly, that enough of their customers are dumb enough to care about this.
 
2012-11-05 09:26:34 AM  
I've rented for work from an airport Budget in Georgia (not Atlanta) and from Enterprise for personal use and I've never had a problem with either. Enterprise doesn't bill for anything less than a square inch. Never had any issues with Budget, but that could be because they knew it was a business account and they don't mess with that.
 
2012-11-05 09:26:34 AM  

Shagbert: I tried that when Sixt at Heathrow dinged me for non existent damage to one of their rental cars.


when Sixt at Heathrow

at Heathrow



/born at night. Not last night.
 
2012-11-05 09:26:50 AM  

gweilo8888: spidermilk: I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.

What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

In other words, they don't "find out" they are dealing with a credit card company, they know it. Because they are with 100% of their customers.

And also, I've had a charge or two reversed in my time, and the credit card company doesn't treat this lightly. They will require evidence that the charge is fraudulent, and they will take their time to consider that evidence carefully.


Yea I know they all required credit card. What I'm referring to is that if you don't have an insurance policy that will cover your rental car and if you don't buy the rental car's insurance and you have a credit card that will provide insurance to your rental car. Once they find out that the $300 'scratches' fee they sent you is going through Visa's rental car insurance department they just give up.
 
2012-11-05 09:28:43 AM  

ZAZ: gweilo8888

I think the meaning of the comment you were replying to was this:

When a rental company realizes they are negotiating a damage claim with the credit card company that insured the rental, the company they depend on to earn income, rather than a lawyerless mortal who can't hurt them, they will act like honest businessmen instead of thieves.


It's my experience that they act like honest businessmen simply if you make sure to note the damage present on the car before you leave the lot, and you treat the vehicle properly while it is in your care. And that includes Budget. And in Canada, as well. (Most recent rental I had was in Canada.)

No threats and credit card companies are needed if you take the five minutes necessary to protect yourself.
 
2012-11-05 09:30:10 AM  

gweilo8888: spidermilk: I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.

What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

In other words, they don't "find out" they are dealing with a credit card company, they know it. Because they are with 100% of their customers.

And also, I've had a charge or two reversed in my time, and the credit card company doesn't treat this lightly. They will require evidence that the charge is fraudulent, and they will take their time to consider that evidence carefully.


Most, if not all, reputable rental companies will accept debit cards by placing an additional "deposit" charge on the card in the amount of the insurance deductable or some fraction thereof and returning it when you return the car. What fly-by-night rental companies do you deal with that don't?
 
2012-11-05 09:31:12 AM  

gweilo8888: What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.


I've only rented a car from Enterprise on the two occasions I've needed to do so. I used my debit card and they put a hold on some money for the duration of the rental. Maybe things work differently in your state.

/CA
 
2012-11-05 09:33:05 AM  

GlobalStrategic MapleSyrup Reserve: Glad someone's finally doing something about this. Their pre-rental inspection is a quick glance, their post-rental investigation may as well be performed by a CSI team.


That's doing it wrong.

oukewldave: I've never had a problem. Intial walkthrough with them I note absolutely EVERYTHING. Any scratch, tiny speck, dents.


That's doing it right.

No problems with Enterprise, the only one I've used in 10 years.
Check all panels, open all doors, look in trunk, glovebox and center console, examine all tires and wheels/hubcaps. Denote scratches on headlamp covers, rock dings in windows, spots on interior.
It's my pre-rental inspection kid, go fix your tie and get me some coffee.
 
2012-11-05 09:34:59 AM  

StrangeQ: gweilo8888: spidermilk: I have heard that when rental companies find out they are dealing with a credit card company they will just give up on these trick charges.

What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

In other words, they don't "find out" they are dealing with a credit card company, they know it. Because they are with 100% of their customers.

And also, I've had a charge or two reversed in my time, and the credit card company doesn't treat this lightly. They will require evidence that the charge is fraudulent, and they will take their time to consider that evidence carefully.

Most, if not all, reputable rental companies will accept debit cards by placing an additional "deposit" charge on the card in the amount of the insurance deductable or some fraction thereof and returning it when you return the car. What fly-by-night rental companies do you deal with that don't?


Avis. Hertz. National. Budget. Thrifty. At least in the US market, no, sorry. Not a single one of these will take a debit card. Thrifty or Budget (forget which) was the last one that used to do so, about 8-10 years ago.

Even if you have a confirmed booking on a debit card, when you show up they will refuse to honor the booking unless you provide a real credit card. And they will actually turn your business away if you don't have one, even if you show proof that you have comprehensive automotive insurance that covers you for rental cars.
 
2012-11-05 09:35:58 AM  

Honest Bender: gweilo8888: What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

I've only rented a car from Enterprise on the two occasions I've needed to do so. I used my debit card and they put a hold on some money for the duration of the rental. Maybe things work differently in your state.

/CA


Must be a per-state thing then, yes. (But every state I have rented in requires a credit card.)
 
2012-11-05 09:38:33 AM  

Honest Bender: I've only rented a car from Enterprise on the two occasions I've needed to do so. I used my debit card and they put a hold on some money for the duration of the rental. Maybe things work differently in your state.

/CA


In GA, Enterprise will let you use a debit card but require more documentation, including 1 or 2 pay stubs. Pain in the arse, got a CC just for this crap.
 
2012-11-05 09:42:44 AM  

gweilo8888: Honest Bender: gweilo8888: What the hell fly-by-night, mom-and-pop rental car companies are you using that will allow you to rent a car and pay with a debit card, check, or cash? Every rental car company I am aware of (even Budget and Thrifty, these days) explicitly *requires* you to use a proper credit card. Even a debit card isn't sufficient, because with a debit card they can't put a hold on the funds to charge you for damage and extras if you return the car beat-up or late.

I've only rented a car from Enterprise on the two occasions I've needed to do so. I used my debit card and they put a hold on some money for the duration of the rental. Maybe things work differently in your state.

/CA

Must be a per-state thing then, yes. (But every state I have rented in requires a credit card.)


Enterprise and Hertz have both regularly rented to me with a debit card in MD as well. It's more involved than with a credit card, but when you refuse to own one it's all you can do. (have since relented after facing the fact that even if you refuse to play the bullshiat credit game, the corporate world will still hold you to its rules)
 
2012-11-05 09:45:03 AM  

gweilo8888: Must be a per-state thing then, yes. (But every state I have rented in requires a credit card.)


Depends too whether it's a "retail" rental, or an insurance-replacement one.

If it's the latter, they'll let any swinging dick walk out with car only plunking down their debit card because the vast majority of insurance companies offer direct-bill services to car rental companies.
 
2012-11-05 09:45:23 AM  
One time I was on the bus back to the terminal from the rental car lot, and the guy calls me and is like "SIR, you didn't leave the key! We need that key!!". I was like, um nooo, the key is in the ignition, the dude turned it when he checked the mileage. Idiots. I was laughing but kept checking my statement in case they pulled some BS. Had a Sheraton try to dick me over by charging again for a prepaid room, slimeballs. Traveling is such a pain in the butt because of the 5% of counter clerks who decide to be total dicks, and the 40% of fellow travelers of course who are born total dicks.
 
2012-11-05 09:45:30 AM  
After reading that article I think I will do what I always wanted to do. Next time I rent a car, I will treat the roads as my own personal bumper-car ride. Concrete median? No problem...watch the sparks fly! Slow driver in front of me? No problem...just give gramps a little nudge at 80 mph. Donuts at the mall parking lot on Black Friday anyone?
 
2012-11-05 09:45:34 AM  

fluffy2097: Shagbert: I tried that when Sixt at Heathrow dinged me for non existent damage to one of their rental cars.

when Sixt at Heathrow

at Heathrow


/born at night. Not last night.


Yes, I was renting in England. With an American credit card. Issued by an American bank. It's not that complicated to follow, is it?
 
2012-11-05 09:46:23 AM  
I love how the in-airport pickup area always resembles the black hole of Calcutta. You need a miner's helmet just to find your way to the car. Return area? Brightly lit, you can get a tan from all the candlepower being thrown at your car. What seemed to be a minor scuff on pickup looks like the Grand Canyon on delivery.

But, of course, that's probably just a coincidence.
 
2012-11-05 09:47:17 AM  

Odd Bird: It's my pre-rental inspection kid, go fix your tie and get me some coffee.


Yea... this.

Note everything. Write on the back of the form and down the margins.

Another handy hint is to take a gauge cluster pic before and after noting the mileage and tank reading on each. (This one has gotten me out of a $85 return fuel charge for ~10 gallons of fuel.) Thank you Enterprise at Ontario International CA for trying that. I appreciate that.
 
2012-11-05 09:48:25 AM  
I just say 'fark it' and pay for the extra insurance and drive the hell out of the car.
 
2012-11-05 09:50:08 AM  
Lots of rental companies are going this route - there's an upcharge for everything from prepaid gas, to GPS to 'upgrades'.....and the employees are pretty much forced to have to run through the upgrade script (When I tried to tell the Avis rep in Orlando that I wasn't interested, she said that she had to run through the entire speech - and I believe her). They're not making much money when I go through Priceline or Hotwire, so they're looking to get money whereever they can, including hitting every renter up for 'damage' in the hopes that someone will pay.
 
2012-11-05 09:53:38 AM  
I rent cars probably 20 times a year. Two steps that have saved me hassle on multiple rentals:

1. ALWAYS do a pre-acceptance walk-around of the car and note all damage. If they tell you they have it "in their system" or "don't care about little marks like that," ignore them. Describe the damage on your invoice, date it, and demand that the manager on duty initial it.

2. If there's real damage to the car when you get ready to accept it (e.g. a crack in the windshield, or a dent or scratch through the paint), take a picture of it with your phone or camera, making sure it notes the date.

The worst in my experience are Budget and Dollar, mainly because they push their insurance coverage on you and get vindictive when you decline. Last time I had a Dollar car in Las Vegas, for example, they tried to tell me they pre-inspect all their cars and all damage is noted so there's nothing to write down. The car they brought me had a cracked tail light (someone had clearly backed into a pole). I demanded that they acknowledge it in writing, so the manager agreed to initial my invoice. Sure enough, when I returned it the check-in guy went immediately to that damage, clicked on his little computer, and said that this damage wasn't in their system. I showed him the write-up from his manager, he grumbled, and let me go without billing me for it.

Whenever the cost is close I try to use Hertz #1 Gold. I've never once had them raise a fuss on a car. The one time I did damage a car -- knocked a side view mirror off in England -- I owned up to it, and they billed me all of 33 pounds to fix it.

/CSB, I know.
 
2012-11-05 10:04:18 AM  
I only use Hertz #1 Gold, never had a problem.
The person behind the counter always goes around the car with me and notes everything.
 
2012-11-05 10:05:37 AM  
Another tip for the car rental neophytes - never just walk up to a counter cold and ask for a car. You will get the highest possible rate, and there is a chance they will have nothing anyway. Even if you're standing 20 feet away call them or use your smartphone to book. Better is to book even a day ahead, it will be like 25-50% off.
 
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