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Car Rental

HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer

Thursday, August 20, 2015



Car Rental
Rental Car

Airlines may mesmerize with their charges for this, that and the other...and the other...and the other. However, car rental companies could still teach the airlines a thing or two about weirdly accumulating charges.

Car rental companies can pile on fees in ways I cannot anticipate but there are a few common sense steps that can be taken to avoid them within the U. S.

First, call several national rental companies to get competitive pricing and ask:
- Any geographical limits and how to avoid charges for violating them;
- Any charge for “extra drivers” and how to avoid those charges;
- Any charge for an early return, if appropriate, and how to avoid it;
- Any charge for using a toll lane, and how to avoid it;
- Get a direct quote for your desired rental.

Second, call the local office from which you intend to rent and ask them all the same questions. Clear up any discrepancies between terms given by the national office vs the local before you rent.

Third, avoid their collision insurance. Get your rental car collision insurance through your credit card company, car insurance company or a third-party such as Expedia or Priceline. Don’t rely on their web sites for the information; call all those sources to find the least expensive, most comprehensive insurance you can get for your rental car. Be sure to determine what they do and do not cover (you’ll probably be surprised by some of the answers).

Fourth, take the “return with full tank” option. The other options can mean expensive surprises: the “buy a full tank” option can mean you get no credit for unused fuel and the “have rental company refuel” option can mean excessive per gallon charges and/or charges for an entire tank of gas, whether or not you use a tankful.

Fifth, sidestep the “extra driver” charges by joining the company’s “frequent rental” program. California does not allow charges for an extra driver and major rental companies in many other states will waive extra charges for the extra driver who is your spouse/partner if you belong to the program.

Sixth, check ahead of time for any geographical limits on your use of the rental car. Most major companies do not impose geographical limits; however, some smaller companies still impose geographical limits, can track you through GPS and will charge extra for violating the boundaries.

Seventh, you can avoid some considerable extra fees, such as airport or train station transportation fees if you take a cab to a suburban or city rental location instead. The airport and train station fees are for the obvious convenience of renting at a transportation hub but they can be considerably higher than rentals from other locations.

Eighth, avoid one-way rentals whereby you rent in one city and return the car in another. That is typically expensive. If you must use a one-way rental: compare rental fees of several companies, of course; ask whether they have a car in your rental location that needs to be returned to your final location (for which they may lower or waive the one-way fee); or combine then with local rentals to save the most money possible.

Ninth, avoid renting their GPS by using your own GPS device or by downloading the MapQuest App to your cell phone.

Tenth, avoid their portable charger fees by buying/packing your own portable in-car chargers for cellphones, etc.

Eleventh, avoid toll lanes, if possible. If you use a toll lane even once, some companies will charge a daily rate for your entire rental (plus the toll, natch), as though you used a toll lane every day.

Twelfth, upon returning the car, take a cell phone or camera photo of the gas gauge and car exterior to deal with any discrepancies regarding fuel or damages that might appear on your credit card statement.

Thirteenth, report exceptionally good or bad service to corporate headquarters, with the sales associate’s name. If the service was bad or unduly costly, you might be refunded some or all of the charges.

DO’S AND DON’TS

DO, call several national rental companies to get competitive pricing and ask:
- Any geographical limits and how to avoid charges for violating them;
- Any charge for “extra drivers” and how to avoid those charges;
- Any charge for an early return, if appropriate, and how to avoid it;
- Any charge for using a toll lane, and how to avoid it;
- Get a direct quote for your desired rental.

DO, call the local office from which you intend to rent and ask them all the same questions.

DO clear up any discrepancies between the national vs the local.

DO, avoid their collision insurance.

DO get your rental car collision insurance through your credit card company, car insurance company or a third-party such as Expedia or Priceline.

DO take the “return with full tank” option.

DO sign up for the company’s frequent rental program to sidestep “extra driver” charges.


DO check ahead of time for any geographical limits on your use of the rental car.

DO avoid some considerable extra fees, such as airport or train station transportation fees by renting from a suburban or city rental location instead.

DON’T make one-way rentals, if avoidable.

DON’T rent the rental company’s GPS.

DO use your own GPS or download the MapQuest App to your cell phone.

DON’T rent their portable charger.

DO buy and pack your own portable in-car chargers for cellphones, etc.

DON’T drive in toll lanes, if possible.

DO take a cell phone or camera photo of the gas gauge and car exterior when returning the car.

DO report exceptionally good or bad service to corporate headquarters, with the sales associate’s name.

By Kathy Catanzarite


Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Handelonthelaw.com Staff Writer

Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.





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