Eight Things People Hate About Car Rental Companies
We'll be the first to admit that sometimes, renting a car can be more of a hassle than a convenience. Try as we might, there are just some aspects of the car rental industry that we here at Car Rental Express can't fix. The following are eight of the car rental industry's most annoying factors:
1) Constant Upselling
You've literally just stepped off of a cross country flight. You're tired and cranky. All you want to do is pick up your car rental and get to your hotel. But first you have to deal with the car rental counter attendant and his or her agenda. When it comes to working a counter at a major car rental chain there's only one end goal in mind – upsell. Whether it's the addition of a GPS system or an onsite upgrade, it's the attendant's job to cast the bait and reel you in. Yes, heated seats sound lovely, but not in August... in Los Angeles. Thanks, but no thanks.
2) Confusing Paperwork
Signing a rental agreement can often feel like you're signing your life away. There are so many conditions and restrictions, it's a wonder you don't have to have a lawyer read through the information packet first.
3) Outrageous Surcharges
There's a fee if you return your rental late, and if you return it early. You'll be charged extra if you go over a certain amount of miles and if you leave the tank with less than a certain amount of gas. It costs more to drive if you're under the age of 25 or if you plan to have more than one person behind the wheel. When it comes to car rentals, there's a cost for everything. It's only a matter of time until those "complimentary" tissues in the center console start costing you too.
4) Car Rental Classifications
Most people are familiar with the manufacturer and EPA class rating for most American vehicles. Even if they aren't, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to tell the difference between a full size sedan and a compact car. Unfortunately, car rental companies tend to classify vehicles using their own system of requirements. Now, these requirements vary from company to company, and appear to change on a pretty constant basis. The lesson? Pay close attention to car rental classes. What one company calls a mid size sedan the rest of us may call a compact car.
5) Misplaced Rental Requests
Nothing is more frustrating than showing up at the rental counter only to be told that there is no record of the reservation you made six months ago. So, instead of the spacious SUV you were anticipating, you're stuck behind the wheel of the world's smallest compact car. Great.
6) Double Bookings
You'd think that booking a car rental ahead of time would save you from the hassle of double bookings. But no, you're just as likely to be caught in a double booking dilemma as the rest of us. This is because when you book a car rental ahead of time, you're not actually booking a specific vehicle. Your simply ensuring that there will be a car, any car, waiting for you when you arrive (and even then, well, see point #5). If the vehicle that you're expecting to receive is unavailable, it's the car rental company's responsibility to provide you with a comparable vehicle. Of course, what you consider comparable and what the rental company considers comparable rarely ever match.
7) Insurance Insanity
Insurance is always a sore spot for car rental customers. Is it necessary? What's covered if I'm in an accident? Is my credit card insurance coverage good enough? Good luck getting a straight answer from the rental attendant. Most companies don't train their employees to know what credit cards do and do not cover, or even what their own insurance policies actually entail. All they know is it's their job to upsell as many policies as possible to the client.
8) Prepaid Gas "Perks"
In order to avoid getting gouged on refueling costs, you've probably considered the prepaid gas option that allows you to return the car without filling up the tank. Convenient? Sure. Economical? Absolutely not. Unless you bring back the vehicle with an empty tank (impossible), you've wasted money. Rental companies will never refund you for the gas you didn't use. And those so-call competitive rates? More than 60% of the time, the prepaid refueling rate is higher than the posted AAA rate.