1) They Really, Really Push Gouge-Price ‘Insurance’ You Don’t Need
Many credit card companies or your own car insurance company cover you for CDW
The rental companies’ CDW/LDW has one big advantage: If you damage a car, you can return it and
walk away with no further responsibility. With other insurance, you may have to pay up front and make
claims later. But that freedom from responsibility comes at a high price to you—and a fat profit to the
2) They Pile on Damage ‘Costs
Rental companies don’t like it when you use your “free” credit card coverage, so they keep escalating
new cost elements they hope your card won’t cover so you’ll have to buy their overpriced stuff anyhow.
In addition to the actual costs of repair—often inflated beyond what a normal person would pay
you typically encounter these extras:
- “Loss of use” charges—the list-price daily rental rate for every day the car is out of service
even when the rental company has lots of cars available at the time, and even if the actual
rental rate is a lot less than the list-price daily rate.
- “Administrative” fee for processing the paperwork.
- Towing, storage, and other associated expenses of retrieving a damaged car.
- “Loss of value,” the amount they claim is the reduced resale value caused by the damage,
even when repaired.
3) They Overbook with Impunity
Rental car companies overbook for the same reasons airlines and hotels do: to compensate
for no-shows and to offset drivers who return cars early. Presumably, they rely on historical
experience to overbook to a “safe” level that minimizes being unable to provide a car to a
customer with a reservation.
4)They Gouge on Fuel Charges
Make sure your tank is full or you can pay 3 times more for fuel to fill up by car rental company
5) They Charge for Something That Costs Nothing
Additional driver or drivers in the age group of 18 -24
6)They Play Games with Discounts
AAA, AARP, and lots of other organizations. In reality, those big discounts usually apply selectively
to the very high daily rates; discounts on weekly rates tend to be much lower. Just don’t obsess about
getting the “best” rate: If it looks good, take it.
7)They Charge More for Driving Less
Rent a car for a week, pay $289 including tax. Rent a car for four days, pay $333.
Rent a car for a week but turn it in three days early, pay $333.
8)They Add Phony Fees
Of those itemized add-ons, only the convention center fee and the taxes are paid out as
such to governmental agencies. The other fees are all really a part of doing business
at the airport and should be included in the base rate. You find similar charges, with varying names
and rates, at most other rental locations.
9)They Include Woefully Weak Liability Insurance
10)They Hide Maximum Age Limits
This one for our senior readers: Some rental companies in some locations impose maximum age limits, starting at 70 years.